Steve Barrett, MD of purplebox vapours talks to the Dublin City Gazette


Steve Barrett, purplebox vapours


Dublin City Gazette – Q&A

Steve Barrett, MD of purplebox vapours

9 Crow Street, Temple Bar, Dublin 2


Steve Barrett enjoyed a career in marketing and PR in London before venturing to Ireland 12 years ago. He then established a successful landscape design business in Dublin. A qualified PR and Digital Marketing specialist Steve has recently turned his attention and entrepreneurial spirit to the vaping market. A belief in being able to influence the growth and direction of the market has led Steve to open a popular electronic cigarette and vaping store in Dublin’s Temple Bar.

  1.  How long have you been in business?

We’re approaching 5 months in business and we’re going from strength to strength – building a loyal customer base, a knowledgeable voice in the vaping community and we’re seen as a great place to start or delve deeper into your vaping journey.

  1. What makes your business successful?

We’re successful because we’re customer focused – offering guidance to newbies, listening to feedback from seasoned vapers and adapting our range of products based on customer involvement. We offer the best brands available at competitive prices in an enjoyable shopping atmosphere. We’re passionate about vaping and our customers appreciate this.

  1. What do you offer your clients that differs from your competitors?

Shopping with purplebox vapours in store or online is a refreshing, open and enjoyable experience. The store offers a pleasant browsing atmosphere – a chance to see the vaping kits in action, opportunities to explore vaping facts and our café-style Vaporium is very popular with vapers who wish to relax, read the paper and try a few e-juice flavours. Our constant research into the vaping market ensures our clients can keep up to date with new products or industry developments – we’re vaping gurus.

  1. Has the recession impacted your business?

The recession alongside increased tobacco prices means more people are looking to make savings and therefore try vaping to cut down or stop smoking. The healthier electronic alternative is a cost effective way to help with the quitting process – you still need will power though.  The average smoker can save over €1500 per year by switching to vaping.

  1. What have you changed about your business to combat the effects of the recession?

We haven’t really had to change in any way – we’ve opened during a period of optimism, with people feeling the recession is behind us. People are generally more cautious about their spending and are looking for value. We are just going to continue to offer the best products at fair prices – this formula is working well for us.

  1. What law or regulation would you change overnight to help your business?

We only sell to over 18’s so this legislation would be welcomed. I’d also like to see a law that states that a shop can only sell either electronic cigarette kits or traditional tobacco cigarettes – not both. This would help eradicate the low quality products on the market place sold by stores looking to cash in on the e-cigarette trend, who have no knowledge of what they are selling. A business should be made to make the choice – are they in the electronic cigarette market for the right reasons – to help people quit smoking – if so, then don’t sell tobacco cigarettes.

  1. How do you use social media to help your business?

We use social media channels as effective communication tools – customers learn of new products, industry news and new blog posts through SM. Customers also send open questions to us that we can answer publicly to encourage knowledge sharing. The vaping community is extremely social by nature, teaching and encouraging each other through SM forums such as

  1. What is your ambition for your business?

Our ambition is to become a thought-leader in the vaping debate – demonstrating to the various authorities and legislators how beneficial it is, how safe it is and how it is changing millions of people’s lives for the better. Independent research on the benefits is available and we want to make sure this is allowed to reach the public – eradicating the scaremongering that is circulated by other vested interests.

We would also like to open up more stores in the future as we feel we offer a very unique experience to our customers.

  1. What is the best piece of business advice you ever received?

‘Control the controllables ‘ would spring to mind as a valuable lesson. Essentially worry about and plan for what you can influence –by planning for what you can control you can shift and adapt very easily, quickly and without panicking to suit every eventuality. Business is fluid and doesn’t always follow the defined plan you have in your head.

   10.   What is your favourite thing about doing business in your local area?

Temple Bar is an extremely chic and vibrant retail hub of the city centre. It offers a plethora of quirky independent businesses that provide a real community feel to the area. The cafés, markets and shops offer an adventure in every street. The place buzzes with excitement with the eclectic mix of Dubliners and tourists. Watching life in Temple Bar is a hobby in itself.

    11.   What living person do you most admire? 

I’d have to say Richard Branson. Not just for his success but also for his failures and how he overcame them to make his initial Virgin concept work. Your own business is a very personal belief – it’s part of you and you reflect each other – Branson understood this and didn’t stop believing that people would believe in him. His drive for new projects and his lust for life are also very admirable qualities. The purplebox vapours tone is set by me and I hope people will want to buy from us for the way we conduct business not just for the products we sell.