The Innovative Women Of Vape- Spike Babaian- Vape Pioneer
Spike Babaian- Vape Pioneer
Spike Babaian is a force to be reckoned with. The native New Yorker is not only one of the vaping industry pioneers in the United States; she is the award-winning co-owner of the VapeNY shops and a vaping advocate. Her passion for the vaping industry is evident in the dynamism and urgency of her message to all vaping customers and enthusiasts.
Spike is first and foremost a vapor. Before 2008, she was smoking up to 35 cigarettes daily. It was that year that a chance encounter with a former customer turned her onto e-cigarettes.
“One of my clients, at my old business said ‘I don’t smoke anymore’ and I said what do you mean you don’t smoke anymore? You smoked three packs a day,”
He offered her his e-cigarette, and once she cleaned it off (she is a germaphobe), she tried it. She was so impressed that she decided at that very moment (with the former client still in her office) to order it. The package arrived around three weeks later, and she went from smoking nearly three dozen cigarettes a day to none. Spike never looked back.
The newly minted vape customer soon discovered that the quality of available products coming from China were terrible.
Spike turned frustration into solution by organizing vaping meet-ups with other e-cigarette users. There were hardly any users at the time in NY, much less the United States, so bringing people together once a month to talk about product improvements, share ideas, and network proved to be critical for growing the industry.
The first meet-ups took place —in what would be a fitting location for the founding of a quintessential NY success story — in the private room of a diner on Long Island. They called themselves the Long Island Vapor’s Club. Those monthly meetings soon spawned meetings in Manhattan, those were called New York Vapers Club in late 2009 and early 2010.
Babaian helped expand these meetings to a national audience that evolved into Vapefest. At this point, there was no vape shop where a consumer could try e-cigarettes, learn about new products, ask questions and explore the growing world of flavors. That is what made Vapefest so ground-breaking. Spike and the crew used the money they raised from these events to fund a study on the vaping industry.
“We used the money we raised from the Vapefest to pay for research on e-cigarettes. Because we wanted to know that if we are going to tell people hey, you should try this because it's better than smoking, we had to make sure it was better than smoking first,” shared Babaian.
What they discovered according to this study was that e-cigarettes were, so far, proven to be better than cigarettes. The research results inspired Spike to become a vaping advocate to educate the public. She also became a registered lobbyist in the state of NY to keep vaping from being banned.
From vapor, to advocate, to an entrepreneur, Spike co-opened Vape New York in 2011 to sell quality vaping products and “provide an education to smokers and new vapers that they couldn’t get anywhere else.” They train their employees on how to engage with customers and ensure they have the latest product knowledge.