If you read this, you want a business in tobacco. That literally means you will produce cigarettes. The kind that rock the palate, or soothe it with their delicate flavour. Whatever blend you have your heart set on, it will have to be something nobody else makes. Unless it somehow makes sense to be a “me too” (it rarely does, but never say never). You will have to find that market space nobody else dwells on or serves well and get to work from. Your niche.
And assuming you are just starting out, you will have to tip not-having-much -of-anything into an asset. It may sound like a David and Goliath story, except your quest is to invent a game outside of Goliath’s playground altogether. You will have to meet your consumer in a place you have the power to shape. A place of your own. What does that mean?
Whoever your consumer is, you will court them into changing behaviour to try what you have created for them to savour. Like a fine wine or perfume, your product will have to ignite an experience of comfort, pleasure, or luxury, as they define it in their lives. You will offer an oasis-of-an-experience, a rare moment to relish. And a quality product will always get you there. The question is, what kind?
Being something of an artist, you will get to work to define that. What is, however, certain, is that curiosity will always favour the artisanal product. The return to origins, to the pure, untainted product calls from the deep.
It will be up to you and your market judgement to choose from natural rustic or natural and sophisticated. Wherever you position yourself, you will be in the territory of natural, fine tobacco, done the classic, hundred years old way. What you are after is old recipes, old processes, natural materials and above all, quality.
Whatever you chose to bring into the world will carry your mark and creativity and will stand a solid chance to your customers. Assuming you have the generosity to follow them and give them time to be seduced.
You will, in other words, be looking at a boutique tobacco operation, to match the market share you envisage. And if you stay open and attentive to your consumer, your chances to endure and do well are at a maximum. It will not happen overnight, though.
Please bear in mind that getting to your first batch and selling it is a significant cost you will want to capitalise on, which is why it will be your objective to stay on the recipe, and replicate again and again the same blend, the same sensation, and the same thrill. Your brand is, to your consumer, your promise that they will get that in a pack. Much like making the finest of cheeses, when the pasture is changed, the cheese will not be the same.
But to thrive, you have to make sure first of all you are in business. And the strategy to play the long term game is to invest smart and grow smarter. A winning way starts at a minimum, with one simple product. It then diversifies without gigantic costs, with in-house resources. Maybe that means a quality increase, or a packaging innovation. Only then comes the increase in production capacity. It works like a charm. Where half of the charm is (a bit of) patience. To put it more crisply, your niche lives where premium quality meets your creativity. And you build it with your good judgement and patience. Our promise is we will support you all the way.