A famous quote attributed to Winston Churchill often comes to mind during these long, frustrating days of regulatory compliance leg work.
"If you're going through hell, keep going," Churchill said.
Today, we're not the company that we'd like to be. Unfortunately, our wonderful customers, who we have long considered our extended family, our Vape Family, have been forcibly pushed to the back of the line by a customer who has muscled past them and has no interest in our business except to shut it down. That customer is regulatory compliance.
By necessity, for the past year and a half, government regulation has become our biggest customer.
When the FDA mandates a pre-market tobacco product application (PMTA) that costs hundreds of thousands of dollars and demands 50,000 pages of documentation in order for us to continue to be able to sell our products in the United States, we have no choice but to divert all resources to compliance.
When the Consumer Product Safety Commission comes by for a surprise week long audit, we have no choice but to drop all other priorities and put that customer first--although we're proud that we survived this extremely detailed audit of our operations with a finding of no deficiencies.
When Congress changes the rules and decides that we can no longer ship customer orders through the United States Postal Service by sneaking the PACT Act into the budget bill, we have no choice but to devote all of our resources to figuring out another option or we will go out of business.
Kai's Virgin Vapor keeps rising to these challenges, we remain strong and, unlike many vape companies, we are in no immediate danger of going out of business. But that doesn't mean we are getting to run our business the way we would chose to.
Inevitably, the core of our business, making our customers happy, has had to come second. Inevitably, our customer service response times have suffered. Inevitably, our shipping times have suffered. Inevitably, the time we can devote to caring for our customers in the myriad ways that we do has been cut down.
We have had to drop long time customer favorite flavors because we couldn't afford the cost of an FDA application for all of our flavors. We have had to switch to plastic bottles overnight, when regulators suddenly decided that the child resistant caps our industry had been using weren't enough and that flow restrictors were required also--with zero grace period for the industry to switch over. We have had to halt all projects beyond full time compliance after the PACT Act was signed in December of 2020.
We have and absolutely will continue to find a way through these challenges, but, more than the work load and the stress, we regret the way the past year and a half has taken us away from our core mission: to make our customers happy.
We are giving our all in order to survive this most difficult year when regulatory compliance has taken the place of our customers as priority number one.
We take this moment to write you, our customers, because we want you to know, we haven't forgotten you. We are so grateful that you have stood by us during the past year and a half, that you have forgiven us our mistakes and lack of attention to your needs and that you have understood that this is not by choice.
You will always come first for us in our hearts and we look forward to the day that we can again put you first in practice. We thank you for your patience, your understanding, your loyalty and your compassion.
We will never stop fighting for you because we believe in our business for the same reason that we started it. We want to offer our customers a better choice when it comes to a product you are putting into your body and we want to offer you a small shelter in the storm of life, a place where you will be treated with dignity and respect and care--where you will be treated like family.
To our Vape Family--we thank you and we love you!