Did you know that boutique cigars can provide cigar shop owners margins that are 20% more proftiable than traditional corporate offerings? The Great Lakes Smoke Show podcast just welcomed two special guests to talk about the recent Boutique Cigar Festival and the making, marketing and selling of boutique cigars. Cathy Poturny, Founder of Cigar Box Marketing, and Dr. Gaby Kafie, President of Kafie 1901 Cigars, joined the GLSS hosts for a great conversation that lasted just over 2 hours.
You’ll definitely want to watch on your own or put the audio on while you enjoy a cigar this week, there is a consistent stream of knowledge, observations, takeaways and perhaps most refreshingly – solutions. The talk was real, which will always grab my attention. Hosts Bob Pecorini and Frank Minutillo had no qualms about sharing that 90% of what they smoke now is boutique. “We don’t really smoke the big guys, we know what they’re about – we want something new and we’re always impressed at how many new and terrific cigars are out there,” they agreed as they fearlessly articulated what so many think but dare not say.
That we haven’t gotten to the most exciting reveal yet should tell you how engaging the appearance was. The biggest news of the entire show is that the Boutique Cigar Association of America is in the exploratory phase of staging a Boutique Cigar Festival in Florida next year. Understanding that the 2022 festival just took place last weekend – this is huge.
More specifics will be available in the coming weeks, but we do know a few details already. The property being looked at for the event is on the ocean and covers 400 acres. With a focus on location, convenience and accessibility, the Association’s 7 member board has been tasked with accommodating a minimum of 500 registrants and vendors.
Having only begun planning, producing and carrying out what have quickly become annual gatherings in the past couple years, it’s rather remarkable what the BCAA has been able to accomplish with these events – especially when one considers that there is no dedicated outreach team. The extent of the recruiting is If you want to be a part of this movement, let them know! Everyone involved runs their own business and has a full life of obligations like the rest of us, but still they make time for the Association and the largely family-owned businesses it represents.
That work and those hours are investments that appear to be paying off for the whole industry. Thinking beyond the few days a festival spans, the BCAA has so much that it still wants to share with the larger cigar community. Dr. Kafie, founder of the Association, related some of the group’s future plans to the world of medicine. It’s a way of looking at things I absolutely had not considered, but it makes sense immediately. Medical professionals are required to attend seminars and take continuing education courses to keep up on best practices and methods. Translating this to boutique cigars, the BCAA would like to conduct similarly fashioned experiences for Association members and could even extend those resources to referred non-members now that the PCA is a partner. By lifting the level of service across the board, everyone wins – even and especially the consumers, who will keep coming back for more unique experiences.
Last year, Cathy Poturny was brought on as a consultant for the Association and her vision of the educational resources includes everything from the basics of barcoding cigars all the way to choosing the best point-of-sale system, understanding intellectual property, branding & design, and the most effective ways to market your products. By giving them the tools to flourish, the ultimate mission of the BCAA is to provide 360° support to boutique operations. If they continue to do so this successfully, the best billboards for the Association will inevitably be the myriad companies that ultimately rise beyond boutique status and reach back to bring others with them whether through time, resources, or introductions.