The Innovative Women of Vape in honor of Women’s History Month - Kari Hess

Kari Hess- Owner of Nor Cal Vape and Modest Elixirs

 Kari Hess likes to work and play hard. The mother of two co-owns the Nor Cal Vape shop in Redding California with her husband and has been able to find a flexible work-life balance in the vaping industry.

 The couple took a risk when they opened their shop nearly six years ago because there were no vape shops in the area. Keri quit her part-time job in order to focus on growing the business, which officially launched her into the industry.

The opportunity to become an advocate presented itself about a year and a half into their business, when the city of Redding implemented an indoor vaping ban.

“They would not allow an exemption for vape shops. And we weren't allowed to vape in our shop, so we had to do testing outside. It was a real pain because it gets 110 in the summer,” said Keri.

 If it is not extreme summer, it is brutal winters. It recently snowed, and the entire town shut down. Once again, it became difficult for Keri to conduct outdoor product tests.

“I decided I could either sit around and complain about the problem or I can be a part of the solution. And that's when I got involved in advocacy,” she said.

She started off by joining SFATA and later became the secretary for the Northern California chapter. She then moved into the position of Coach and Chapter Leader. When a change in SFATA took the focus away from supporting states, Keri and two other Chapter Leaders from California formed the Californians for Tobacco Harm Reduction, a coalition of consumers and business owners that joined to promote the tobacco harm reduction benefits of vapor products.

When Keri is not busy running her business or advocating for vaping rights, she spends time with her family.

 “The whole industry takes up a lot of time in travel. But I don't want my daughters to feel like work is more important than them. Both of my daughters do sports, and so I make sure that I'm always at their events and I'm just really happy that we have quality time together. But I really try to have that balance between work and family. That's really important to me. So, work hard, play hard.”

 To learn more about these vital players, keep up to date with our weekly articles throughout the month of March. The Fifteen part of VR Labs LLC series on The Innovative Women of Vape in the U.S. In the meantime, customers can visit our website at Businesses can get in touch via our online contact form or by emailing us at


March 29, 2019 — Beverley Harris-Alvarez

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