PuffingCigars.com published its first article on the internet in May 2008.
Names of founders and ages?
Rob Villalobos 22
Wyatt Bostic 20
Anthony Cantelmo 26
Grant Blunt 28
Tell us about the company:
Puffingcigars.com is a website dedicated to the exploration, investigation, and promotion of all things cigar related. We try to focus on bringing up to the moment news on the latest cigars, industry players, and happenings of the cigar industry. In our coverage of the industry we look at various aspects of how cigars interact with other facets of life too, so we are often writing reviews on cigar friendly restaurants, alcohol pairings, and a culture/ tip section that promotes the dos-and-don’ts of all things related to the social enjoyment of cigars. In doing all of this we really try to bridge the gap between the “old school” cigar connoisseur and the new up and coming generation.
What makes the company unique in its industry?
PuffingCigars.com is unique in our industry for a number of reasons: The most obvious would have to be that we are some of the youngest insiders who are reporting on the industry. It’s important to note that we have managed to bridge the gap between a print publication, which has contributors inside the cigar culture but can’t publish news in real time, and other online websites that simply obtain information from the outside looking in and are unable to see how something might have developed.
Our location, being on the West Coast, provides the cigar manufactures with access to a whole new palate segment, marketing, production ideas and feedback that they normally cannot obtain being secluded on the East.
Finally, and this is one of the most important points, is that PuffingCigars.com has been able to establish itself a “official brick and mortar supporter” to the cigar retailers. This means we are one of the few online presences that are able to direct consumers back to a local retailer whom can then further support the manufacturer. Without this we fear the cigar companies would be forced to consolidate and limit their creative abilities, sales, growth, etc. (think Walmart).
World domination! And after we accomplish that plan we will focus on the small things that make our website successful such as more content uploads, a further expansion into the hospitality and fine dining industry reviews, a continuation of our hard hitting exposes on shady behavior within the industry.
We are looking into growing our streams of revenue beyond the sale of direct advertisement (which we currently do not accept). PuffingCigars.com will help adapt the “old school companies” to a more modern way of operation. This will be done through continuing our consulting work in various fields, developing technologies for the cigar industry and generally pushing the cigar industry into the new century.
What was the start-up budget?
Take a shoe string and cut that in half – that’s what our budget was. It started with a simple hosting account, an open source platform (WordPress) and a lot of hard work from the team. Luckily we had support from our parents, girlfriends, wives, and family that allowed us to save just a little bit of money to get everything operating. To place a number on the initial personal investment – $500.00, much of this was the investment of cigars used for the reviews. Know that free cigars and merchandise were offered to us but we felt by accepting these “gifts” we could water down our credibility.
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