Ernesto Padilla Interview, Part III
Over the last few days we have been running our interview series on Ernesto Padilla and if you haven’t read them yet, you can read them here and here. During our time with Ernesto we had talked with him about his brand restructuring, his upcoming releases, and his rededication to the brick and mortar shops.Today’s third and final part looks at Ernesto’s thoughts on the political landscape, what he wants you to walk away with after smoking one of his cigars, and what you can do to be apart of his new movement.
Cigar Brief: Lets switch topics to the political landscape now. With the impending encroachment of the FDA and the rise of smoking bans is a growing concern for a lot of manufacturers. So I was curious about your take on this current political landscape and what your involvement with it is?
Ernesto Padilla: Well I’m a founding member with CRA. When Keith Parks started it. I’m a small company, so we do what we can. I’ve been to several of the meetings in Miami. What I try to do is speak to people about what I experience day to day.
Like the other day, I was telling you I put on Twitter, “Here are all these people outside smoking cigarettes, but I can’t light a cigar? That seems ridiculous.” That’s what we face every day.
So, I know the end consumer has a lot going on, and consumers got families. They’ve got businesses to run or jobs to go to, and they want to enjoy their product. The last thing they want to do deal with is fighting for their right to smoke a cigar.
It’s a real threat, and if we don’t support these things, we could find ourselves in situations like you have in Australia where all the packaging of cigars is gone, and they must all go in one plain looking box. No description or anything. I think it has to be a green box. Or Canada, where the taxes are so high it’s almost ridiculous.
There are states already, like New York State, that have shown that they don’t understand the cigar world and the cigar market. These things are happening, and these things are a constant battle. We’re a small family-oriented industry.
There are some large companies in this industry, but relatively speaking we’re small. We’re not big tobacco. We need to communicate that, and the end consumer needs to be aware of these things, and if possible, you know, support the CRA. Those things were made by manufacturers to get the end consumer involved.
I think there’s a very real threat. They’ve got the FDA now looking to regulate it, and we need to understand that people like Marvin at Drew Estate have put a lot of effort into getting people to go out to Washington D.C., and speak to our representatives, and let them know how much this affects our industry.
Cigar Brief: So turning back to cigars now, what do you want your customer to walk away with after smoking one of your cigars?
Ernesto Padilla: I want them to walk away with having had a great experience; that they’ve got a great value; that they’re smoking something that a lot of effort and hard work has been put into. But I want them to walk away with wanting to try the other lines, seeking them out, and to make room in their humidor for them, and have them in, what I call, the rotation of the avid cigar smoker.
So, keep an eye out for projects that we have going. I mean I’m not looking to make 20 million special editions of this, and 30 million of that. I think the key to being a great cigar maker is making a great blend consistently throughout the years.
I also want people to know that we aren’t about the flash or gimmicks. We put that effort into the cigars. Hats and shirts are cool, but sometimes $0.30 can make the difference between a good cigar and a great cigar when you’re dealing with tobacco. We’re dedicated to bringing you the best product
Cigar Brief: That’s really the end of my official question list, but once again this is a big year for you, so do you have any closing remarks or things that you want our readership to know?
Ernesto Padilla: Well, I’m looking at building a sales force. We’re doing that now. I’ve got two people in house. I think it’s important that I control the message and the people who represent the product out in the field.
So, that’s one of the main things were doing right now. So if somebody has an interest and some sales experience, then we would love to talk with them. But one of the main goals right now is to start building an in-house sales force that can go out there and start doing promotional events, and that can communicate the brand message in an effective way.
Cigar Brief: Once again, I really appreciate you taking your time to talk with us.
Ernesto Padilla: Thanks for having me and thanks for taking the time to interview me.