Cigar & Spirits: What was your inspiration for creating the Stogie Stein, and what gave you the idea to do it?
Jason Katz: About 400 B.C., Plato profoundly said, “Necessity is the mother of invention.” I thought it was necessary to have an ashtray to meet the needs of today’s cigar smokers. I could not find any ashtrays on the market that solved all of the problems that cigar smokers have, so I took it upon myself to invent one! The Stogie Stein Cigar ashtray solves many of the issues people have when smoking a cigar.
- The wind—a little wind can blow your cigar and cigar ashes away. I made The Stogie Stein wind resistant.
- The ashtray filling up too quickly—Smaller ashtrays fill up too quickly and larger ashtrays take up too much space and are awkward to empty out. With The Stogie Stein, you can smoke 5 or 6 cigars without having to empty it, and when you do empty it, it is cleaner and easier than traditional ashtrays.
- Having a cutter and a lighter—One time I heard someone say “if I had a nickel for every time I forgot where my lighter and cutter where I would be a Rockefeller.” I designed a way to integrate a cutter and lighter into the ashtray so you always know where they are.
I thought to myself, what if I could make an ashtray that solved all of these problems? It sounded like a fun challenge to me. After many attempts, The Stogie Stein was born.
Cigar & Spirits: Who are the people behind the Stogie Stein?
Jason Katz: That would be me—I invented The Stogie Stein about a year ago. Everyone who saw it said they wanted one and asked where I got it, when I told them I invented it they did not believe me. I would say “no really, I made this myself.” The next question was always the same. They would ask how much it would cost to buy one from me. That’s when I knew this could be big.
Cigar & Spirits: How long did it take from the point of having the idea, to actually having a product?
Jason Katz: I worked on this for about a year. When it all started to come together I realized that I had something quite unique, so I applied for a patent and a trademark and formed an LLC. After I filed all the necessary paperwork, I started to show it to local cigar shops, and cigar clubs in my area. They all wanted to buy it the day I showed it to them. This is when I first started, so I had to tell them that it was not even in production yet. I was just gauging the interest level for the product. They would say, “Well now you know the interest level is high, so get them in production and get me one.” I smiled and said “will do.” That is how it all started.
Cigar & Spirits: What has been the response to the product so far, now that it’s in production?
Jason Katz: Absolutely amazing!! I introduced The Stogie Stein nationally at this year’s International Premium Cigar & Pipe Retailers Stogie Stein (IPCPR) convention in Las Vegas. By the end of the first day of the show, we had already taken orders for selling out our entire initial inventory! By the end of the last day of the show, I had more orders than we had projected for the first six months of sales. The biggest compliment that I received at the show, were cigar stores and cigar brands asking me if I could customize The Stogie Stein with their logo and name on it. I thought to myself, wow, people like this so much they want their cigar brand or cigar store’s name on it. I think I have a winner here.
Cigar & Spirits: That’s great. So where can people purchase the Stogie Stein? Is if in stores right now?
Jason Katz: You can buy The Stogie Stein at www.stogiestein.com. We will be in several cigar stores around the country starting in mid-November 2011, in time for the holiday season. We are also in talks with distributors to get an even bigger presence domestically as well as internationally by the end of the year.
Cigar & Spirits: What are you most looking forward to with the launch of The Stogies Stein?
Jason Katz: I would say two things. One, I hope people enjoy using my product and get a kick out of how unique it is. I love how people cannot help but smile when I show them The Stogie Stein and how it works. It is almost like I am showing them a magic trick. So first and foremost, I want people to use and enjoy my invention. Second, I look forward to saying on my website that we have sold over 1,000,000 Stogie Steins!! This might take a few years, but looking at how things are going so far, it might be sooner than I think.
Cigar & Spirits: What else would you like to share with people about your new product?
Jason Katz: For retailers, the Stogie Stein Cigar ashtray is great to sell by itself or sell bundled with cigars as well. Cigar shops love putting 6 to 12 cigars in The Stogie Stein and selling it as a packaged deal. I’ve also received positive feedback from home game poker players, they love using it. You can play cards all night and never have to empty out your ashtray. Any order of 12 or more Stogie Steins can be customized with a logo or name. The Stogie Stein makes a great gift for any cigar smoker.
Jason, thank you for sharing your brand new invention for cigar smokers.