Interview With Eric Buss, the founder of Squid Industries
We stopped by the Squid Industries booth while we were at ECC Ontario. In this video Eric Buss, the founder of squid industries, talks to us about how he started the company and where they are going in the future.
DeucesJack: What’s up everybody? DeucesJack at Vapinginsider.com and I am here in sunny California in Ontario at ECC, and I got the man, the King Squid, the legend; Eric Buss here with me. Eric is going to talk to us; we’re going to talk about basically how Eric became Eric. You want to fill us in a little bit Eric and tell us your story and how things came about? Because it really is a good story, right? You’re a veteran, right?
Eric: Navy veteran. I served from 2000-2003. We were deployed in Operation Iraqi freedom for about 8 months. As far as some of the hardships, I ran into some of that when I was in the service. I was drinking too much, partying too much, getting into too many fights, you know? That kind of continued after I got out of the service, and I guess what it is; is I didn’t have any real coping strategies for dealing with life, and substance was kind of just filling that void, like making me feel different than I felt at the time.
DeucesJack: And you kind of hit like a low point?
Eric: Major, major. And the fighting continued, and just the chaos and I was getting arrested. I was arrested 15 times for drunk in public and DUI’s and all the chaos. So yeah, it got to a point where I burned every bridge in my life, with my family, my daughter’s mom, you know just kind of everything and ended up on the street. And so I was in Long Beach trying to get into a program, a treatment program, staying at the Mission.
DeucesJack: So on the street; you mean that you were homeless basically?
Eric: Yeah. I’m not really built for homelessness, so it was not a month, month and a half before I was like, “Oh shit, I need to get into a program.” And so I stayed at the Mission, did what I had to do, got into a program, graduated it, was hired at the program, started working with Veterans, found a lot of peace in working with other people. I would sit up, I would work the graveyard shift and sit up with the vets and just listen to their stories, the guys that couldn’t sleep, the guys that were really going through it, and just kind of being there for them.
DeucesJack: And you were transitioning into getting back to like fully functioning, I’m sure that was a big wake-up call for you to hear that stuff and know that you’ve been there with them too, right?
Eric: It was huge, and I was still sleeping on somebody’s couch, and working my minimum wage job and whatever, but I felt rich at the time because I got to be there for people, you know what I mean?
Eric: So that was real cool. During that time I got my bachelors in psychology, I became a case manager so I was an actual counsellor for Veterans, and did that for about 5 years, and ran into vaping. And that was a real opportunity for me to quit smoking and I just was absorbed by it. I was absorbed by the community and just how connected everybody was and I started tinkering with box mods just to kind of do something with my time.
DeucesJack: Now is that how you started with mod making, you just started tinkering with box mods?
Eric: Yeah it’s sort of a funny story because somewhere during that time my wife became pregnant, she had twins, and somebody had to take care of the kids.
DeucesJack: And that’ll make you start taking things seriously, right? More mouths to feed.
Eric: And the service industry, you’re not getting paid very well. Your payment is different, and so my wife made significantly more money than me, so I had to stay home with the kids and I just can’t sit at home and do nothing; my mind is going too fast.
DeucesJack: You get to be Mr. Mom.
Eric: So I started tinkering with mods, and sold a couple on EBay and before I knew it I had a little following and I wanted to carry that service portion of what I was doing with Veterans into the business that I was creating, and so a major part of our mission statement is not only that we provide really great products, but that we give back. And so that’s a huge part of what Squid Industries is; is just giving back.
DeucesJack: And that’s what you guys do right? A certain percentage of everything goes to help Veterans out, right?
Eric: So a portion of the proceeds on the Double Barrel is donated, however 100% of wholesale proceeds on Shots E-liquid is donated, we’re not keeping a dime on this.
DeucesJack: That’s phenomenal.
Eric: Yeah, so that’s what we do.
DeucesJack: Now the name Squid; where did the name Squid come from?
Eric: The Navy.
DeucesJack: Just the Navy?
Eric: Yeah, if you’re a Navy Veteran you’re a squid.
DeucesJack: Oh, cool. Now getting back into the juices here; I just reviewed these on Vapinginsider.com.
Eric: Right, sick review too.
DeucesJack: Thank you, I appreciate that. And I’m a bartender, so I felt uber qualified to review these since these are all drink flavors. And if you guys read my review you’ll know he nailed the flavors on these. I mean, even the White Russian, which I’m not a fan of the regular drink White Russian; it was accurate, it tasted very accurate. The Old Fashioned was my favorite one, which one was that?
Eric: That’s the Brandy-Infused Old Fashioned, that’s my all-day vape.
DeucesJack: It was fantastic, it really was. So how does Squidshots do it? I know I’m active on your Facebook page, I see people are ordering them like crazy, right?
Eric: Yeah, I mean anyone that tries them orders, you know? SO we’re just getting the name out there, we’ve had the line out for about a year, however we re-branded; we kind of went dormant with it for quite a few months, re-branded, re-did the labels, we wanted to be able really ethical in how we did it, so it’s simple, clean labeling. 100ml bottles, so far I’m really happy with how it’s going.
DeucesJack: Yeah, they’re fantastic flavors guys, if you get a chance, definitely check them out. And not only that, by checking them out, you’re also helping a Veteran out, because you just heard it from the man himself; they don’t make a dime on these. Everything over the cost goes to help a Veteran out, which we really need to start doing in this country. We need to start recognizing our Veterans and thanking them for their service, because you gotta have respect for somebody who’s willing to do that.
Eric: And even in how we’re donating, we have two non-profits that we’re working with right now; Mindful Warrior Project who brings mindfulness practice, meditation practice to Veterans on Skid Row, and really struggling, and then the Fisher House, who is relay well known and they build housing for Veteran families whose Veteran loved one is in a Hospice or in the Hospital and whatever, and so they support housing for them, so it’s really cool programs. We’re not giving to the programs who are spending 90% of their money on advertising, and upper echelon, you know, whatever.
DeucesJack: Yeah, business trips to DC, staying at $600 a night hotels for lobbying and stuff like that, you’re making sure you weed those guys out.
Eric: Having been in non-profit, I know who is giving money to the Veterans, so that’s what we’re doing, yeah.
DeucesJack: That’s cool man, that’s cool. Now you guys have a tank coming out? This is the PMT?
Eric: Peace Maker Tank, yeah. I’m really excited about this. In fact, it’s either going to be next week or the week after that we’re going to release this Tank. We’re also going to release it in a kit with the Double Barrel.
DeucesJack: That’s awesome.
Eric: So it’s a sub ohm tank, fits the big baby coils, however we’re doing our own coils and they’re the flax material coils, so longer lasting, better flavor, these suckers are en pointe. Air flow is wide open, and if you look it’s shaped like a Peace Maker; you’ve got those notches, but in those notches are windows to see the juice.
DeucesJack: Sight glass.
Eric: But you can’t break that glass.
Eric: You know what I mean? You’d have to take an icepick to it to break it.
DeucesJack: That’s fantastic, so you’ve got all the coverage you want, but no vulnerability to the glass.
Eric: Exactly, 8 tendered tips so all of your custom whatever, you’re going to get that.
DeucesJack: And in a pinch, you can put baby beast coils in there if you want to, right?
Eric: Exactly, no you’ll never have to worry about getting a coil.
DeucesJack: They’re all over the place; you walk into any vape shop.
Eric: There’s another company that did a mesh one that fits in there, so lots of options, yeah.
DeucesJack: Right, right. It looks fantastic man, it really does. Now you guys, we probably neglected a little bit the actual mean product of this company which is the Double Barrel. I mean, check it out; that’s the Limited Edition one that I got in new York at New York Vapor Fair from the man here himself, and if you guys haven’t tried this yet you’re missing out because this is just a fantastic mod, it really is. I mean, it’s simple, but it works and it works really well.
Eric: That’s what you want.
Eric: That’s what I want; I don’t really do all the temperature control.
DeucesJack: You want it to vape!
Eric: I want to bang on a mod, you know? It’s a mod that bangs. This is our flagship, so we do have a Tac 21 coming out.
DeucesJack: And what happened Eric? You were supposed to have a Tac 21 here for me to show on camera, right? But I’m going to let you tell them what happened.
Eric: You know, Grim Green came by, I turned into a fanboy and just gave all my shit to him; here you go.
DeucesJack: So guys, I’m probably going to find Grim Green somewhere walking around here, and I’m going to have to mug him for a shot of the Tac 21, alright? I’m going to have to tell him, “Hey, I spoke to Eric and he says you have the only Tac 21, so you’re going to have to show it to me on camera,” so stay tuned for that video, because I’m going to hunt Grim Green down.
Eric: And we’re going to make sure that you have one to review and do the whole thing.
DeucesJack: Oh absolutely, definitely.
Eric: So there will be plenty of pictures. It’s not dissimilar to the design of the Double Barrel, it’s a little bit bigger, it’s going to fit a 28mm adding, so you’ve got a ton of options there, 200 watt, wattage only, just like the Double Barrel. We have added a feature to it which is bypass mode. That’s really exciting because now you can run series unregulated, but we’ve got still the safety features. So it’s unregulated, but safety chips are involved. So a plus, plus you know.
DeucesJack: And now I know why you gave it to Grim Green, because that’s probably right up his alley that part right there.
Eric: He’s been bugging me about it for like 6 months.
DeucesJack: I can imagine, I can imagine. Now you guys also came out with skins for these, right?
Eric: We’ve got skins, we’ve got silicone sleeves, in fact right here, here’s one of the silicone sleeves. We’ve got them on the website, Squidvape.com. They’re $6. They work, they protect your mod. What’s really cool about them is this is 24mm, right? 25mm there’s going to be a little bit of overhang. With this, there’s none, so it added that 1mm so it looks good with 25.
DeucesJack: And it protects your mod at the same time, right?
Eric: Yeah, win-win.
DeucesJack: That’s fantastic, that really is. Wow, I mean you guys got a lot going on. You also have another mod coming out way down the road that you kind of peeked at on Facebook, I know you don’t want to show it, you know what I mean?
Eric: I’m a little secretive about it, but I’m really, really excited about it though.
DeucesJack: You can’t give us any teasers about it?
Eric: We know the direction batteries are going, we’re going toward the 21-700, 20-700’s, so you’re going to get that, plenty of power, we’re actually taking a sharp left turn from the Double Barrel and adding all of the features, temperature control, you can set how hard it hits.
DeucesJack: Oh really, so it’s going to have like a breathe?
Eric: So like soft, medium or hard, like the ramp-up.
DeucesJack: Yeah, like a breathe.
Eric: Yeah, yeah. It’s an awesome mod, it’s an awesome mod.
DeucesJack: Alright, well…
Eric: This year for Squid, you know, we spend the last three years building to this year, you know what I mean? So I’m really excited to just kind of see us explode in the industry.
DeucesJack: Alright, and I know the answer to this question already because I am active in his Facebook group, but I’m going to ask it anyway on camera because I don’t want to hear anything that I didn’t ask you; chance for Squid squonker?
Eric: Yeah, chance.
DeucesJack: Just a chance, see?
Eric: We’re working on it, we’re working on it.
Eric: So that’s another thing, you know, hopefully this year you see 4 or 5 mods from us, you see a new addy, you see a new tank, a new RTA, we’re really trying to—
DeucesJack: Because that’s a little change of tune now Eric, because up until this point, I really haven’t gotten that vibe from you that there was a chance.
Eric: There’s a chance. We’re working on it.
DeucesJack: You know what it is man; squonking is getting so big it’s almost impossible to ignore that part of the market, it really is.
Eric: Well, and you know the minute I say yes, then I’m going to have 13,000 people hitting me, “When’s it out? When’s it coming out? What are you doing?”
DeucesJack: Alright, well Eric didn’t say yes guys alright, so don’t hit him up with any questions.
Eric: We’re working on it. If we do something, we want it to be perfect. Like that’s it; we want to deliver the best product we possibly can, and so that takes time, that takes battle testing, beating it up, everything kind of takes its time, you know?
DeucesJack: Because you have a legend to live up to.
Eric: Right. Yeah, this is the version. We’ve had to like even continue to even improve on what we’ve already done, and so having learned so much from doing this, we want to apply that knowledge to everything else that we do.
DeucesJack: That makes sense, and it sounds like a great business plan. Guys, I want to thank you, I want to thank you Eric for being on camera with me. You guys saw it here from the Squid King himself, and DeucesJack here in Ontario, California, I’m at ECC with Eric the man. Okay, make sure you check out the video; make sure you check out our new forum, Vapinginsider.com/forum. We’re out of here, deuces!