• Philly
    243
    Did anyone else see that email from Ryan this morning? Sounded like he is shutting down.
  • Baron23
    4.1k
    Nope, can you cut and paste it in here.

    I do not know Ryan, but remote observations of his website and posts over the last year or so always made me nervous about what appeared to be his....well, idiosyncrasies. I didn't buy a Milaana until they were offered by 420EDC who is business like in his customer interactions.
  • Cl4ud3
    1.7k


    Hey all you RBT peeps!

    Wow, the last four months are a blur... working 24/7 some nights catching 4 hours of sleep in the car, some nights just working through. Decided to move home and set-up shop in my best friend Bruce's Pizza shop basement who died a week after I moved up. His brother John took over and let me stay. In the coming days the walls where created and the electrical run and with a new coat of paint RBT was alive again.

    Custom glass designs where created and sourced to a sub-par manufacture in China... plan B landed on expensive German glass that required added labor to cut and polish. In the mix the XL8R was created to add a cooling mouthpiece and a vaporizer to the RBT line-up. After struggling to make them myself do to less than professional set-up a local glass blower was hired who made more bad than good... back to RBT making them by hand. A woodworker was unable to produce the wood in a timely manner (if you don't have the volume, you will not get the attention) so wood working was completed on the first 100 Splinters by RBT in a very wasteful and inefficient manner. This was good enough to get the first 50 Splinters out to the US waitlist. Wood is now being produced by an Ace shop but it cost 5X the Chinese quote... just like the glass. But, it was the only way to make to make it happen. So, the wait list for Splinter was a painful ordeal but it is now complete. Similar added work and cost was required to get the heavy wall German glass into Mi2 but it got done and units are shipping this week.

    Other work of notable mention was the new custom 510 fitting, upgrading the mouthpiece to thick glass to aid cooling and make it more robust, and the making of a proper manual and warranty card. In the end, the cost of the Splinter is way out of line with with what was planned. This gives way to a situation that selling units to retailers for 50% off of MSRP (standard deal with any retailer) RBT would loose money. So, if you make a handmade product in the US, you have to sell direct in order to keep the 50% or MSRP required by Most retailers (80% of profit margin) or you cannot survive. However, selling only direct in a niche somewhat illegal 'drug paraphernalia' market there is no sales volume. Thus, RBT is caught between a rock and a hard place.

    With retailers there is volume, but no profit. With selling direct there is no volume but there is potential for profit. This is assuming that you are making something in America for 5X the cost of China goods as my quotes suggest. Basically it is a loose / loose situation as direct sales are currently in the single digits per week. So, there are two possible outcomes for RBT. One is that all of you passionate supporters help spread the word from now until 8/12 that there is a 10% sale on everything in the RBT store using the code RBTCHINA and sufficient sales happen to stay full time on RBT allowing me to have the time to work with the great China company (who made the current 510 fitting) to produce and authorized reproduction (heater installed and tested US)... or Two which is I sell the last 100 Mi2 and 100 Splinter while I exit RBT and get a real job again lol.

    This has been a great learning experience of the realities of the business world from starting out with the Z-Team in 2014 on FC, through selling direct and getting kicked off of PayPal, to designing several www's and linking them to high risk banks that keep 10% of my money, to realizing that VapeFiend could sell some Splinters but that I am loosing money and creating more work for RBT with every one they sold, to now coming to the reality that even with Splinter, Mi2 and the XL8R there still is 1/25 the volume required to stay in the black. If I can survive to make one more step into cost effective manufacturing to RBT specifications I believe RBT could reach sustainability but with near zero sales this is seeming to be the end of the road.

    When I started this I thought if I spend my life savings and can't make it work I have a degree from RIT and 20 year career working for the best alternative energy companies in the world... I can always go back and get a job. I have worked hard and did the best that one man could do and I left it all on the track... but the rubber is burnt, and the tires are slipping, and it looks like this is the last pit stop. Thanks to all that helped support this crazy dream and providing me the support to go all out on a crazy mid-life crisis expedition. For as much as it is a colossal failure... man that was a ripping good time.

    Grass Roots Forever,
    Ryan
  • VapeCritic
    6.2k
    Oh my goodness
  • Namekian
    240
    even with Splinter, Mi2 and the XL8R there still is 1/25 the volume required to stay in the black.Cl4ud3

    Wow...I could tell from his previous emails that things were bad but I had no idea it was this bad. Really a shame. :(
  • SouthboundPachyderm
    103
    I got this too. So sad! He makes such beautiful pieces.
  • Microvaper
    113
    Ah that's a massive bummer! This guy really deserves to be able to make a living from the awesome products he has produced! :sad:
  • grizzlybear
    35
    Damn its suck to see a genuine craft maker die while the Chinese reproductions stay afloat.
  • mrbiggiejones
    134
    Sad to hear this I love the Milaana and XL8R
  • Mtbowls
    131
    9doacpscg8lc2mou.jpg
    Gets me higher than a Billygoat, RsstaBuddspect.
  • Baron23
    4.1k
    Nice picture...CO?
  • metalmancpa
    90
    Why is it the true artists get stuck in a niche where it's too difficult to profit?
  • Baron23
    4.1k
    Why is it the true artists get stuck in a niche where it's too difficult to profit?metalmancpa

    Because often they are lousy businessmen/women?
  • Cl4ud3
    1.7k
    Because often they are lousy businessmen/women?Baron23

    Yes there is that with some.
    The other thing people need to know is artisan vapes sold from the other forum only sell 100-150 units maximum usually. Add in China vapes now that are hugely popular and around $150 the average consumer seems to go for that than something hand made. We do live in a throw away culture and it will be a shame if another one goes like Triihouse.
  • metalmancpa
    90



    True. There are some artists who just don't quite understand what it takes to run a business. As a CPA I have seen that plenty in my life. And our look for the cheapest don't care about quality throw away society does make it quite difficult for the true artist to excel in small batch and turn a profit, if survive at all.
  • Mtbowls
    131
    "@Baron23" Glacier Park, Montana. Ryan your work was appreciated.
  • BestBuds
    126
    Well I wanted one for a while. So I got one. I can either help him keep going or buy a unicorn. Either way I'm finally getting a RBT!
  • GhostMV1User
    187
    I own a Splinter. It's a really good vape, not my GoTo vape for every day use, but nonetheless a quality vape that works every time. However, Ryan stated in his blog that he avoids All forms of Media as much as possible.

    How exactly do you expect to have a successful business in this day and age if you don't embrace ALL forms of media for marketing purposes? That is a head scratcher for me and quite frankly, IMHO, mostly likely explains why he has one foot in the grave with this business.

    Not putting the guy down. Like I said, the Splinter is a quality vape and I imagine the Milana is also.
  • juxt
    792

    That's weird right?
  • BobCat
    394
    'Official' RBT Subreddit link. ductaperape from FC runs this sub. On Instagram, he is the_stoned_server. With Reddit mobile I cannot copy/paste the text so:
    1) the link is below, and
    2) I've included an Instagram post which is a screenshot of the reddit text.

    In the Subreddit, you will also notice special offers which didn't exist elsewhere.

    'Official' RBT Subreddit

    o03c3qzsk63fqqdb.png
  • Magicman
    843
    Trump will hit this with a tariff.
  • 420edc
    112
    I talked with Ryan this week. He's getting his supply line in order and said that 420EDC can expect to start seeing shipments of Milaana, Milaana 2 and Splinter. My guess is it will be a few weeks until they start rolling in.

    We have a Milaana email alert list which we'll send out a email blast update once a shipment arrives. Normally I do an inventory of what arrives and then get some photos up on the website. Once all that is done, we send out the email to the list. If anyone wants to be manually added to this list, drop me a message via DM/PM.

    Thank you all for your continued support VapeLiferz!

    Mark
  • Namekian
    240
    Did he say anything about the Splinter Z? I want a Splinter but knowing there is a better version that exists, I've been holding off. :/
  • 420edc
    112
    I'm not sure when they'll launch. I know he's ordered wood for the Z, so it is in the works.
  • welshman
    252
    so was the whole end of the road thing just an elaborate marketing ploy or did he just reach the threshold to continue working on it for now?
  • Other Side
    348
    This is not a marketing ploy. Ryan is trying to keep it going.
  • Aj85
    485
    Hi everyone,

    I just wanted to add the latest email update from Ryan @ RBT:


    Hey folks...first, thanks so much for the huge support over the past few weeks! It was a blast getting all of the Splinter and Milaana 2 finally built and shipped and I am exhausted and content. Currently working through the international wait list orders for Mi2 and going back through all the emails that I missed in the last few weeks. If I owe you missing items, or you have any issue at all please email me at and I will be sure to get back to you as I have made a commitment moving forward to keep up on it daily. It was really nice to get some of the notes of appreciation for both the Mi2 and the Splinter. After years of practice, I fell that the these two products, although still with artistic variation, have finally come into their own.

    Once of my big realizations is that selling direct has limited volume. This is why you pay retailers a premium and VapeFiend as shown me that. If a retailer is good, he earns his money by generating sales for you with his brand. There are the 'big box' vape shops that get crazy margins to sell your product and then there are more mom and pop places that will work with you. The typical model is to by a vape from China for $20 and sell it to the retailers for $50 and then they sell it for $99. These numbers work for all concerned. In my model, I make a vape for $45, and still need to sell it for $50 for the average retailer to still sell it for $99 as that is what the market will bare. So, if you are pinned at market value and the retailer needs 50% margin, the american artisan vapor maker cannot survive unless it has a great collection of retailers that will work with you by reducing there margins because they believe in your products. There are not that many of these rare breeds in this business but I have found them. Because of these forward thinkers RBT will be bringing on the best in the business: 420 EDC, Planet Vape, Vaped.com, Herb Cafe, and VapeFiend and their EU partners like Weed Gadget... ah... yeh, no not VN, VW or N (aka big box). So, if you have a favorite online vaporizer retailer or large B&M specialty vape shop that you think can meet the MOQ send em a note and tell them to contact RBT.

    So, with limited direct sales after completing the wait list I was once again saved by VapeFiend. George has agreed to take a fair amount of Mi2's off of my hands to provide the necessary cash flow to continue. Mark at 420 EDC has also agreed to take some Mi2 as well as some Splinter. I will reach out to my Canadian Friends Robert (Planet Vape) and Sashin (Herb Cafe) and knowing them they will be happy to support RBT with some sale of RBT US in the coming months. This will pave the way for RBT CHINA. Now with sales secured... back to business.

    As you might know, I am a creative guy and looked for a creative solution to this problem in that all I want to do is build vapes for cool people like you. So, here is the grand plan. RBT will move to an RBT US / RBT CHINA model and it goes like this. RBT US will make a few more Splinters in the current design and will then upgrade to Splinter 2 which will feature choice of exotic woods and heavy wall German Schott glass and will be hand made in the US. This will allow for a small MSRP increase to $149 allowing it to be moved to our retailers along with Milaana 2. This move will put RBT into some sales volume quickly and pave the way for RBT CHINA. RBTC will start with the Splinter. It will obviously be made from China glass and will only be offered in one or two wood types. Initial assembly of the heaters will be done at RBT US to monitor initial quality and then RBTC will move to full on assembly. Once RBTC is in full production, RBT US made units will be sold primarily through RBT but any excess will move the retailers. RBTC will then move to be the primary supply for retailers around the world.

    In the short term the changes are that VapeFiend, 420 EDC and possibly Planet Vape and Herb Cafe (Canada) will be carrying RBT US product in limited quantities. RBT US will continue to produce US Splinter and Mi2 and manage the development of the China Splinter over the coming months. RBT US will also be taking on the glass production but has plans to move it to a shop in Jersey possibly by year end. Splinter Z is in sight and should be a fun showcase for the Zion refined heater, Exotic wood and heavy wall German glass. Mi2 will look to include a video of the actual unit that is being purchased and the boxes will now be numbered to allow for unique identification for sale. Mi2 will be sold in limited quantities direct and stock might gap as Splinter and Splinter Z production takes priority. There also rumors of a high flow Splinter but there is not telling if they are true.

    Over the coming weeks RBT will finally have a professional www store and will be stocked with Splinter and Milaana2 with time to attend to CS and repairs and things should be running smooth by the time Splinter China lands around holiday season. However, just now starting out direct sales are slow so look for special offers here soon that should help get things moving. As always, I will start here first with special deals and offers to the RBT Gold list as well as on the Sub Reddit so stop buy and hang out and ya just might get some good deals.

    Peace,
    Ryan

    PS - Thanks again for the support and kind emails ... it's a really good feeling to know that after Zion, TOD, Milaana, Mi-Log, PAM, XL8R, Splinter and Milaana 2 that things are finally starting to gain some traction in large part to all you cool peeps. Tell the wold RBT wants to medicate them organically :)


    All the best, guys n gals.

    Aj.
  • Magicman
    843
    50% model no longer works in the roofing industry. You are now lucky to start spiltting up 25% after your "totally legal" labor crews are paid.
  • BestBuds
    126
    It would be awesome if he would respond to my email.... :meh:
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