November 03, 2013

Spinfuel Talks To ZampleBox Founder Tony Mandarano

The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine
Spinfuel Talks To ZampleBox Founder Tony Mandarano

ZampleBox could very well turn out to be the biggest thing to hit the vape community since the first clearomizer. Imagine ‘vapemail’ arriving each and every month with an assortment of premium eJuice inside, eJuice you’ve never experienced before, but wanted to. That, in the briefest terms, is ZampleBox, and it’s about to launch with the very first shipment to Vapers over the next few days.

We’ve known about ZampleBox for a while now, and we’ve watched this very cool idea go from a concept to fruition. On the eve of the first ZampleBox shipment, Spinfuel Publisher John Manzione recently met with Tony Mandarano, the founder of ZampleBox, to talk about this incredibly cool idea.

Spinfuel:  ZampleBox, it seems like such a natural evolution for the eCigarette industry. Tell me, how did this idea come to you and when did you decide to go for it?

Tony M: Well, it really starts with the explosive exponential growth of the vaping community. It’s been amazing to see vaping develop into a lifestyle and really transform people’s lives in such a meaningful way. However, with all of this growth has come an overwhelming amount of products and juices to choose from. As you know, it creates a big problem… How do you try all of these different products and discover your next favorite products without spending a fortune? It’s really difficult.

The “ah-ha” moment for ZampleBox came on a Sunday when I was driving down Interstate 5 in my Volkswagen. Boom! Out of nowhere came the thought, “Why isn’t there a monthly sample box for Vapers to easily and affordably discover new juices and vaping products?” When I got home, I began building. Twelve hours later I had an initial version of the website. The next day I went into countless vaping groups on Facebook and asked for feedback. Listening to the feedback it became clear people would love a monthly sample box for juices! The following day I made changes to the website to reflect the feedback I had received from about one hundred different Vapers. Then, I picked up the phone and started calling vendors starting first with Johnson Creek. They loved the idea. I called Totally Wicked E-Liquid. They loved the idea. I called Thunderhead Vapor. They loved the idea. Okay, at this point I knew there was something here that Vapers and vendors loved and it became a question of successfully building it for them.

The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine
The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine

Over the next few weeks I: created a full website, formed a company, reached an agreement with an amazing payment processor, designed the product and have gained support from some of the best vendors in the industry. Here are just a few of our great partners: Johnson Creek, Totally Wicked, Rocket Fuel Vapes, Potion Vape, Thunderhead Vapor, 503 e-liquid, Clever Vape, G2 Vapor, Roar Vapor, Blue Magic Juice, Golden Drops, Mt Baker Vapor, and Alpha Vape.

We’re just excited to be helping the community. Just a couple of weeks ago we created a Facebook community (facebook.com/ZampleBox), which has grown organically because of the amazing individuals that make up the ZampleBox community, we call them Zamplers. Zamplers are truly some of the most supportive people I have ever met and I am so thankful to them for their continued support. In the last couple of weeks the ZampleBox community has exploded to over 1,500 members and continues to grow daily. In the first three days we began accepting invitation requests, we received over 1,000 requests.

It may be hard to believe but that initial “ah-ha” moment was only a few weeks ago on September 29th.

Spinfuel:   What is your background? What is it about Tony Mandarano that makes you, and your company, so sure that ZampleBox is going to be a success?

Tony M: Great question John. I am a serial entrepreneur with a passion for creating innovative new solutions. Prior to ZampleBox I created multiple innovative solutions including most recently a technology startup. I also serve as a consultant assisting companies such as Microsoft with building their teams in divisions such as Skype, Azure, Windows and other prominent teams. I believe ZampleBox is an innovative new solution that helps vendors and Vapers, which will result in the forward progress of the entire industry. We’ll continue to focus on our customers (vendors and Vapers) and I am confident that if we do that, we’ll be successful.

Spinfuel:   Can you tell our readers what ZampleBox is all about? What is it exactly, for our readers who have never heard about it, and what is the biggest benefit of becoming a ZampleBox customer?

Tony M:ZampleBox is a box of delicious e-juice samples delivered to your doorstep monthly. We work with industry-leading companies that set the bar in quality such as Johnson Creek.
The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine
The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine
There are many advantages to being a ZampleBox member. You get to experience many new juices every month from industry leading brands at a price that cannot be beat. ZampleBox members also get exclusive coupons and deals that make the membership nearly pay for itself.

Spinfuel:   Can you tell us what a typical ZampleBox will contain, for each level of membership?

Tony M:  Absolutely. There are currently two ZampleBoxes: (1) the Standard ZampleBox and (2) the Gold Edition ZampleBox. The Standard ZampleBox is an affordable $19.99 and contains 5+ bottles of high quality juice totaling at least 50mL. The Gold Edition includes 10+ bottles and 100mL of juice for just $39.99.

Spinfuel:   Will all ZampleBoxes ship at the same time or are they staggered throughout the month depending on when the customer signs up for the service?

Tony M: Great question John. We are making a very strong effort to ship the ZampleBoxes all at once, but due to the demand we understand that ZampleBox community members may prefer to have theirs shipped mid-month instead of waiting until the following month. What this means is that some of the shipments will be staggered.

Spinfuel:   What are some of the options your customers will have? Say for instance that a ZampleBox member doesn’t like menthol eJuice; can they be assured that there won’t be menthol eJuice in their ZampleBox? Or, is ‘discovering’ new products about receiving the unexpected?

Tony M: The fun of ZampleBox is the mystery of not knowing what is inside the box. There will certainly be juices you love, some you do not care for, some that you thought you wouldn’t like and now love.

Spinfuel:   Will all ZampleBox members receive identical packages?

Tony M: We believe the element of surprise and mystery makes for a fun experience. To ensure there is a surprise we make sure that there is some variety in flavors and juices amongst each ZampleBox.

Spinfuel:   When do you think the first ZampleBox will ship to members?

Tony M: ZampleBoxes will begin shipping November 4th. Make sure that you request an invitation at signup.zamplebox.com.

Spinfuel:  Let’s talk a minute about vendors that might want to get involved. How can they become a part of ZampleBox?

Tony M: We take pride in working with the best vendors in the industry. If you are, or know of, a vendor that has very high quality products and are interested in having your products spotlighted and in front of Vapers throughout the community, get in touch with us: hello@zamplebox.com or 650-539-ZBOX (9269).

The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine
The ZampleBox Interview with Tony Mandarano - Spinfuel eMagazine

Spinfuel:   Why will vendors want to become a part of this new enterprise?

Tony M: As vendors know, when Vapers TRY, Vapers BUY. Assuming the vendor has high quality products, Zamplers will try their products, fall in love and become life-long customers.

Spinfuel:   What kind of standards do you have in place to make sure only the best companies can play a part in ZampleBox? How will you keep out those companies that are in for a fast buck?

Tony M: Ensuring quality is very important to us. One of the big problems in the industry right now is that there is very little regulation and standards being enforced. We aim to lead the industry in raising standards. This is a community effort and requires participation from vendors, Vapers, and community service providers such as ourselves. We are working on several initiatives, which will ensure we continue to only place the best products in ZampleBox.

Spinfuel:   We think ZampleBox could become the biggest thing to happen to the eCigarette industry in a very long time. Are you ready to scale up quickly should you need to?

Tony M: Thank you for the kind words John. Judging by the rapid growth of the ZampleBox community, it looks like you may be right. We are very excited about rapidly growing and scaling ZampleBox and making the service available to all Vapers and the best vendors. All things good take time and we are ready to scale to meet demand.

Spinfuel:   Switching back to the customer/member, how can they become a member now?

Tony M: To make sure we are able to handle the incredible amount of demand in an orderly fashion, we have decided to make ZampleBox invitation-only. You can request an invitation at signup.zamplebox.com. We received 1000+ invitations within the first 3 days of accepting invitations and the number continues to grow rapidly so we recommend reserving your place in line as soon as you can.

Spinfuel:   Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about ZampleBox?

Tony M: I want to thank the community of Vapers and the amazing partners that have played such a huge role in getting ZampleBox to where it is today. We are incredibly excited about growing the ZampleBox community and creating a voice for the industry that everyone can rally behind. Cheers to all of the current and soon-to-be ZampleBox members! Have a wonderful day and thank you for reading! See you at the ZampleBox community: www.facebook.com/zamplebox

Follow Tony Mandarano on Twitter @ZampleBox


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