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August 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
August 2016
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Kurt's Corner
Guest Author: Rob Lembke, XIKAR VP Engineering and Process Excellence
on Crystal Humidifiers vs. 2-Way Humidity Control

         
 XIKAR and Boveda announced our supply partnership just prior to this year's IPCPR show.  We here at XIKAR HQ are very excited about this development and we welcome Boveda's 2-Way Humidity Control technology to our product line.  For years, XIKAR has provided numerous ways to keep your cigars stored properly and for many people our PG-based products have been (and will continue to be) the best solution for them.  In some cases, however, the XIKAR 2-Way Humidity Control will provide a precise and convenient solution that can only be achieved using Boveda's patented salt-based technology.  A few situations that may be ideal for XIKAR 2-Way Humidity Control are travel cases or other containers that have air-tight seals and non-wood structures.  Containers such as these hold humidity well, allowing for the precision of the 2-Way Humidity Control packs to really shine.  

The addition of the XIKAR 2-Way Humidity Control products to our humidification line rounds out our offerings for consumers, giving you a wide range of choices based on your specific needs, budgets and desire for convenience.  

Find more information on choosing the right XIKAR humidification device for your cigar storage needs in the XIKAR U section below.
   

July 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
July 2016
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Kurt's Corner
IPCPR 2016
 

           The 84th Annual International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailer Trade Show and Convention took place this week in Las Vegas, Nevada. XIKAR is thrilled to introduce several new innovations to our product line, as well as stunning new finishes to existing fan favorites and a variety of Limited Edition Gift Sets that will be available in time for the holiday season.
   These products were very well received by our valued XIKAR retailers, and we are overjoyed for them to deliver to stores throughout the upcoming months and into the hands of the XIKAR Nation!
   The XO cutter was perhaps the most highly anticipated launch at IPCPR this year. This ultimate cutting machine's revolutionary planetary gear system and unique circular form create an instant visual intrigue, with the popular opinion, "Once you get it in your hand, you’re hooked!”
   The Xidris single flame lighter was another popular item at the show, sure to fast track its way into your accessory collection. This high performance inspired lighter comes in a variety of eight striking color combinations and is equipped with XIKAR’s reliable Direct Inject™ Flame Technology.
   Find an overview of all new product introductions throughout this newsletter and on the XIKAR 2016 New Innovations Page, and keep an eye out for more exciting information including availability, coming soon!

      
     

June 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
June 2016
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Kurt's Corner
 

        XIKAR is dedicated to our mission to serve great products through honest and ergonomic design to achieve superior form, feel and function. Our team is constantly at work developing innovative concepts and products to deliver only the most attractive and superior functioning accessories to the XIKAR Nation. Over the next couple of weeks leading up to the IPCPR Trade Show and Convention, we are delighted to share sneak peeks of our newest, cutting edge accessories, some of which have been fine tuned in research and development for over 3 years. In celebration of our 20th Anniversary, we reflect back on the original products and constant values that have built the XIKAR brand into the industry leader it is today, while aspiring to revolutionize the standard of accessories in the cigar industry. Stay tuned!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

 

May 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
May 2016
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Kurt's Corner
 

     We in the cigar trade have finally received the FDA’s ruling of regulations it “deems” to impose on the premium cigar and other tobacco trades.  Unfortunately, these new regulations will make it extremely difficult and expensive to innovate cigars (up to $300,000 and three years to introduce each size of each blend).  To add insult to injury, the FDA has grandfathered only those brands / cigars in existence for sale before February 2007, when Congress gave them the right to regulate tobacco.  Thus, all of the innovations in cigar blends and brands that you have enjoyed since February 2007 will simply cease to exist by June 2018. By some estimates, this includes up to 50% of the cigars in the typical cigar shop humidor.
    Yet we hold out hope!  A Bill to exempt premium cigars, H.R 662, has passed the House Appropriations Committee, and now goes to the whole house for vote.  A similar bill exits in the Senate: S. 441.  How can you help? Go to www.cigarrights.org. Sign the petition. And take “Action” with your Congressman and Senator via the “Action Alert” banner at the top.  Your favorite pastime needs you, NOW!

Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

February 2016 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
February 2016
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Kurt's Corner

Winds (of change) are blowing! 
 

   I see lots of air moving around us these days!  Here in Kansas City, we’ve had incredibly unseasonal weather - in the 70 degree range.  These temperature swings arrive on strong warm winds from the southwest, usually in a matter of hours. Here we say, “if you don’t like the weather, just wait a day!”
   Speaking of warm winds, we get to witness a lot of hot air of another kind, on the political front this year.  Has another political race ever been this raucous and entertaining?  (Apparently so – even the founding fathers were well-known scrappers)  Either way, I predict that if you don’t like the current political weather, just wait a day, or a few minutes, and you’ll continue to see change.
   Wind also changes the environment of your humidor.  XIKAR is proud to announce our newest innovation: a humidor fan which automatically circulates the air in your humidor (for 15 seconds every 15 minutes).  This helps the overall ambience by overcoming gravity: humid air is heavier than dry, and tends to sit at the bottom of your humidor. It needs circulation which the HumiFan provides.  Here’s an additional tip: if you have a shelf / tray in your humidor, keep the cigars away from the sides – this will assist in the air rotation.

Happy smoking!  

 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

January 2016 Newseltter

XIKAR NATION
January 2016
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Kurt's Corner

 

Twenty years is a short time. Twenty years ago, I had just one, not two kids.  They are now in college, and have grown up so fast that I like to say, “in a few short years, they’ll be older than me!”

And just twenty years ago, Scott and I started XIKAR.  Out of an idea we built in our garages and sold to our local cigar retailers, Scott and I built an iconic* cutter – and then a brand.  Of this, I like to say, “the brand is bigger than the product.” 

How does this happen, when the road to success is littered with innovative product?  We began with a product of great function, form (artful to the eye), feel (ergonomic) and sold it at a fair price.  And we didn’t stop there – we added a lifetime guarantee, with a commitment to treat our customers as we want to be treated: with concern, good communication, consistency and quickness.  Add in a little luck (the cigar boom), and a lot of persistence (we didn’t pay ourselves the first two years!), and that’s how it happens.

How does it continue to happen?  You make it happen. You continue the now twenty-year-old dream by supporting why we exist – through your appreciation of cool product and service you can trust. Thank you!  In the coming weeks, you’ll see a 20th Anniversary commemorative edition cutter, as well as a “thank you tour”.  I hope to meet each of you in person at one of these events.  And at that event, if you can tell me where the name XIKAR originated, I’ll hand you a cool XIKAR pin.

*XIKAR is extremely pleased to announce, on our 20th Anniversary, the award of a Trademark by the United States Patent & Trademark Office on the shape of our cutter. In order to achieve this honor and its perpetual protection, we had to prove to the patent office that our cutter had achieved “iconic” status. From Idea to Icon!


 
 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

November 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
November 2015
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Kurt's Corner

#XiDay Black Friday

   Throughout the month of November, we find ourselves taking moments to reflect on the blessings in our lives that we are truly thankful for. At XIKAR, we have an endless list of opportunities, successes and experiences for which we are immensely appreciative. Each item on our list seems to connect directly with the one entity we are the most thankful for year in and year out: the XIKAR Nation.
   To show our appreciation to each and every member of XIKAR Nation, we have teamed up with our retailers to present the #XiDay Black Friday Sale! This event, running Friday, November 27th – Sunday, November 29th, features 20% off ALL XIKAR accessories at participating locations. It’s the perfect opportunity to complete all holiday shopping for the cigar smoker on your list, while also picking up a little treat for yourself!
   In addition to 20% off all accessories, we are also offering a special giveaway to #XiDay Black Friday participants, with the opportunity to WIN a new accessory every 15 minutes! Click here for full giveaway details.

   We wish you the happiest holiday season filled with the warmth of family and friends and, of course, a great cigar! 


 
Kurt Van Keppel
President, XIKAR Inc.

October 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
October 2015
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Kurt's Corner

A Cigar Lifestyle

   I love to travel.  Hunting and fishing trips, cigar events, vacations, in a variety of combinations fill my calendar each month. And I fill my bags with cigars for each, to smoke at the end of the day, or on the trail, in the boat... throughout the journey.
   Even when I am not on the road, I celebrate leisure time with a cigar, whether at golf (the cigar is definitely the most successful part of that outing!), in the garden, or around the fire pit. Actually, I’ll smoke a cigar with friends and associates any time we have a restful moment of camaraderie.
   Very clearly I have made a cigar central to leisure and camaraderie. In fact, I believe “a cigar is an hour-long vacation”, a source of happiness and pleasure.  The cigar creates the opportunity to celebrate with friends, whenever and wherever I can. I have a cigar lifestyle!
   I bet you do too!  In the coming months, I’ll share some of my recent celebrations with you.  And, I’ll invite you to share yours with me. 

Happy smoking!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc.

August 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
August 2015
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Kurt's Corner
The Nature of Innovation

 
   Nature may be the best innovator.  As Darwin suggested, adaptation to needs (survival) encourages solutions which over time succeed in achieving the goal. These adaptations appear in slow form, with nature favoring one trait over another, or appear in sudden changes such as a genetic mutation of superior survival skill.

   Product innovation follows a similar path, although not always with the survival goal. More often, at XIKAR for example, innovation answers a consumer need or problem that has common appeal.

   For example, Scott and I invented our Xi cutter, which celebrates its 20th anniversary early next year, in answer to my need for a superior cutter function (like scissors) with an ergonomic and artful form. "Nature" or the marketplace, favored our invention to the degree that the U.S. Patent and Trademark office recently awarded it iconic status through a Trademark on the cutter shape. We are very proud of the recognition, and delighted with the perpetual protection it provides!

   Not all our innovations will achieve this.  Some provide solutions over time though evolution of existing products or synthesis of ideas from disparate sources. Our recent launch of the Volta and Forte lighters demonstrate the first, while the PuroTemp, our remote readout hygrometer, illustrates synthesis.

   Whatever the scale of the idea, it begins with a source - you and your "problems" or needs.  We know these needs only if you tell us, through our solicitation in person, in newsletters or in surveys. We value that feedback like gold - because real solutions start with real needs.  Of course, we also smoke cigars daily, and realize some of those needs on our own.  We definitely produce, test and market the best of those.  And we are hungry for more!  If you've got a need, or perhaps even a solution that has common appeal,  let us know - you might have your name on a patent that one day becomes an icon!!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc

July 2015 Newsletter

XIKAR NATION
July 2015
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Kurt's Corner
 

You're invited to Kurt Van Keppel's Birthday Bash!!
 

On Friday, August 7th, XIKAR and Twins Smoke Shop in Londonderry, NH are teaming up to celebrate Kurt's birthday! Join us for a classy night with the best deals on XIKAR you'll find. The festivities will include food, prizes, entertainment and an extra special collection of XIKAR items! Come celebrate with Kurt on Friday, August 7th from 4-7PM!

Kurt Van Keppel

President, XIKAR, Inc.

 

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