The recently painted establishment stands out from the unpleasant thoroughfare of east London, in the relaxed atmosphere of Shoreditch, which is perhaps the only place where such an establishment could thrive. Punters on Shoreditch High Street can now enjoy carefully engineered e-cigs with their favourite cup of coffee.
The attractively designed Vape Lab with its solid oak floor, vintage tables and white tiles is set up at a strategic location, replacing the hair salon that functioned from there earlier. It attracts both people working in the offices at Bishopsgate and the hipsters that frequent the Andean restaurant located in nearby Hoxton.
Co-owner Pierre Durand lives in the same area and states that the atmosphere there is very friendly, exuding pleasant and positive sensations. He feels that the open-mindedness of the people there make it an ideal place to start such a venture. Pierre runs the business together with Jonathan Cadeilhan, an expat Frenchman like him.
Within just five days of its opening, Vape Labs has had its fair share of detractors.
A twitter user commented on the new coffee and e-cig establishment saying that its just like Vienna in 1900.
Another one was far more caustic saying that the shop’s life spirit just seeps out and flows onto the bus-floor.
This does not deter Durand and Cadeilhan who are enthusiastic about the business and confident that their knowledge of their clientele and e-cigs will ensure success.
The plans for the shop were developed in January and the shop was identified by March. The pair then roped in an interior designer friend to design the layout. The idea was to set up a shop where punters could enjoy a traditional cup of coffee and at the same time enjoy e-cigs from their organic, fair-trade Java range of well designed e-cigarettes.
Cadeilhan has closely observed the success story of e-cigarette shops in France and believes that these metallic, refillable, electronic devices will be the standard cigarettes in the near future. In France, there are already more than 1000 such shops with over 300 of these being in Paris alone. He feels that the London market is in a nascent stage and people will soon take to using electronic cigarettes. He predicts that most people will entirely give up smoking tobacco within the next five years.
An increasing number of people are making the switch from smoking tobacco to using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes produce vapour by heating nicotine-containing e-liquid. The vapour is inhaled by the user and therefore using an e-cigarette is called vaping. Unlike in the case of smoking, there are no restrictions on vaping indoors. Advocates of e-cigs claim that users can get the nicotine hit they are looking for, without being compelled to inhale harmful tar, ash and other toxic substances present in traditional cigarette smoke.
Durand also feels that vaping allows the users to relax and chat with each other. People smoking tobacco cigarettes have only a short time before the product is burnt out. Besides people have to go out into the cold to smoke.
The Vape Lab offers its clientele a choice of e-liquid flavours including Cuban tobacco, custard, coconut, absinthe and tangerine. Their products are priced quite high with base units which can be reused priced at a minimum of £45 and flavoured e-liquid priced at £7. The owners feel that the pricing of the 10ml bottle is fair considering that it is the equivalent of seven packs of tobacco cigarettes.
There are times when the Vape Lab appears to lack customers. However, it appears that this is, more often than not, on weekdays when people are unable to leave their work or other prior commitments.
The owners of Vape Lab plan to open similar shops in South Kensington and Mayfair. Before that they are looking to use their basement to set up a molecular cocktail bar.