This is from CIGAR COOP
“Lavida Habana (LH) Premium Cigars has recently announced their line of premium cigars will now be available to the United States market. The LH Premium Cigar line was developed by tobacconists Nick Syris and Omar Nasr. LH started as an offering for private clientele for Lavida Habana lounges. The cigars soon were distributed throughout the Middle East. After several years of being available in the Middle East, the LH Cigar line has come to American shores.
Syris and Nasr already had hardened Cuban cigar palettes, and the LH Cigar offerings and sought to capture the characteristics of a traditional Cuban cigar. The LH Premium Cigar line produced at the company’s factory in Costa Rica. The LH line is offered in three wrapper choices: Claro (Ecuadorian Connecticut Shade), Colorado (Ecuadorian Habano), and Maduro (Ecuadorian Criollo). The blends incorporate tobaccos from Nicaragua, Peru, and Brazil.”
Our peeps born in the 1970’s know the term ‘REPRESENT’. We often use it to show pride in something we are a part of or at least something we do well as an individual effort. It’s STRONG to REP something, it should be. Keeping in-line with the oddity of the cigar industry we realize this message hasn’t been sent down.
The cigar industry, like many others, has 3rd party (broker) REPs and Factory REPs. Their job is to keep the retailer up-to-date on new product and ensure the experience of purchasing and selling product and dealing with problems is a smooth as possible. Let’s look at the easy target, Broker Reps.
This guy/gal, in most cases, REPRESENTS several cigar lines simultaneously. Much to our surprise, many of them don’t have contractual agreements with their respective cigar lines. Therefore, at any time and for no particular reason one of these BROKER REPs may stop selling line A and pick up line B. They are, essentially, available to the highest bidder at any moment. Think of a professional athlete who can move in and out of team on a whim. For sure no winning team, looking at the future, is going to sign him (even though he would never sign a deal). Why? No skin in the game. Same scenario that we saw with the retailers.
A retailer decides to get behind a product and orders from a BROKER REP, this is no more than a purchase order for widgets.
This transaction has nothing to do with the cigar culture and engendering good will between retailers and manufactures. You are lucky if you get your order and even luckier if the order is correct and you have been billed properly. Furthermore, where the manufacture may be happy selling a retailer 5 boxes, a BROKER REP may decide this isn’t enough to provide service. He needs to make money and may impose a minimum order that is not in-line with the manufactures policies.
Yes, that’s right, the BROKER REP appears to have carte blanche related to filling orders and opening accounts. This has been hashed through many times but suffice it to say, the manufacture might be appalled by the behaviour of these BROKER REPs who are supposed to be REPRESENTING their product. Indeed, we look at the manufacture for allowing this to happen. A REP is a REP, he or she will take what he can.
There are a few examples of outstanding BROKER REPs in the industry. Sadly, most are nothing more than used car salesman who couldn’t get a job selling new cars for the factory.
Soon, we look at the FACTORY REP and ask, do we even need REPs at all?