Every once in a while we interview the founders of cigar-related projects, products or initiatives. The creativity behind some products is something that should be shared more often with the world not only as a marketing vehicle but to provide value to all the community. This interview with Mark Weissman — co-founder of Select Draw Cigar Cutters — revels some details of the history and concept behind this product.
All Things Cigars (ATC): Your product is very much unique. Can you tell us about the concept behind it and how you came up with the idea?
Mark Weissman (MW): We share a passion for fine cigars, so we set out to create a product that would enhance all our smoking sessions. The result of our labor was the creation of the Select Draw Cigar Cutter — SDCC — created for cigar enthusiasts by cigar enthusiasts. The SDCC allows you to enjoy the true taste of your cigar while optimizing the flavor, smoothness, and intensity. Now, finding the right cigar cutter to do this was our real challenge, with many different cutters in the market. We wanted consumers to understand the true value of a high-quality cigar cutter, which is why we have created the Select Draw Cigar Cutter. With the SDCC, you can get a slow, medium, or full draw that is smoother and more enjoyable than you ever imagined. We wanted consumers worldwide to kick back, relax, and enjoy their favorite cigar in style with a Select Draw Cigar Cutter because every cigar is a cigar worth savoring. We created the Select Draw Cigar Cutter for a few specific reasons. One reason was because of the 1-cap integrity of a cigar. The SDCC doesn’t tear your cap. It also prevents particles of the cigar from entering into your mouth while smoking it. You can also increase the draw with cap/side draw cut/punch. We wanted a cigar cutter with multiple functions and that’s why the SDCC can be used as a cigar pick and is able to get down to the end of the cigar. The SDCC was created when we turned our wants into an invention and then made it into a reality.
ATC: Are you the founder of Select Draw Cigar Cutter? Tell us more about your background.
MW: I am the co-founder of SDCC. Our inventor, Marc Alston, and a businessman, Mark Weissman, came together to form this dynamic partnership. Marc wanted to create a new or different way of punching/piercing your cigar. He was looking for ways to improve on existing cigar cutters present at a smoker’s table, lounge, or personal collection. The partnership was advanced to enhance the look, feel, and functionality of the SDCC. Working with an engineer, we were able to further develop it by enhancing the diameter and size of the prongs. Furthermore, the feel of the material in your hand of this highly polished tool. Lastly, and most importantly the functionality of this revolutionary cigar tool.
ATC: There’s a story behind the search for the perfect material, isn’t there?
MW: We have tried several different materials. The first started with a plastic prototype version, which was selling at first. Then it was enhanced and produced as the “original”, in highly polished aluminum. This was launched after looking at several different materials to make sure the consumer had a beautiful product in his/her collection, with the complete functionality our tool was meant to have. The SDCC is made out of 770 aircraft aluminum and the prongs are produced with steel. We feel that the aluminum gives it a lightweight feel when in your hand, while the steel prongs are stable and proving not to dull.
ATC: We feel that the cutter is much more suitable to stand still over a table than for everyday carrying. Are you planning on doing a smaller and more pocket-sized product?
MW: We have been talking about a mini version of the Select Draw Cigar Cutter, but for now, the table size is what we have produced. While we have been selling an abundance of it since our launch last year, we do have an all-black Select Draw Cigar Cutter coming out in mid-April 2019.
ATC: How are sales going worldwide? What are your biggest markets?
MW: Sales have been very steady since our launch. We have had many customers that are beginning to order for their shops or lounges. We are in talks with a few distributors on how they can get the SDCC out to their customers. To date, we have shipped all over the world, which has been amazing! For example, when I see a customer from Australia who wants four, and another customer from New Zealand who wants 50, it tells us that things are going well. We are just happy to see the product being introduced in so many different countries. I ask them, “How did you hear about us?” Their responses are always priceless and include online, Instagram, or a cigar shop/lounge owner. European and U.S. exposure has been great so far for us. To date, our distribution center has shipped to 12 different countries.
ATC: How’s the general acceptance of your product so far?
MW: The acceptance of the Select Draw Cigar Cutter has been great so far. We’ve had many reviews, including many shop/lounge owners giving us feedback from their customers that are connoisseurs of the cigar smoking world. We always look for feedback about our product, including the experience a smoker has. We encourage our customers to share their experience and testimonials on our website. While we enjoy reading customers’ feedback after purchasing and using our product for a short period of time, we especially enjoy feedback that includes how they used the SDCC and their thoughts on the look and functionality.
ATC: Any special editions coming soon?
MW: As I mentioned, we have an all black Select Draw Cigar Cutter coming out in mid-April. It has been in production for the last few months. We have had many requests for an all-black Select Draw Cigar Cutter and, of course, the mini version that I mentioned earlier. We’re also working on a custom cigar holder.
ATC: Why would you recommend your product over a standard cutter?
MW: The Select Draw Cigar Cutter does many things. With our cutter, you are certain that the cigar will not unravel. You also won’t get loose tobacco in your mouth, since the holes you punch are very smart. You can punch as many holes as you like and where were you like. For the draw or side drawer, we suggest three in the cap or multiple punches, to get more holes in the cap. It is also very versatile compared to a regular punch, straight cut, or V-cut. Our tool can also be used as a very cool looking cigar pick.
ATC: Are there any funny/entertaining stories that you want to share while developing the product?
MW: One of our reviews earlier on, came from a cigar smoker who requested to review our product. Instead of the typical cigar review, he decided to review our brand new cutter. He mentioned he had seen this cutter all over his Instagram. Every time he saw the cutter in the photos, it made him want to give it a try and review. This review indicated its color looked like a beautiful machine-made chess piece. Then once you unscrew the cap on the bottom, it looks as though it can be used as a self-defense weapon. The review then went on to discuss the precision engineered metal pins that can be used to adjust the draw of the cigar quite extensively and works incredibly well. He also mentioned he had an issue with the cigar prior to using a V-Cut cutter and he could not fix his draw until he used a Select Draw Cigar Cutter, which opened the airflow of his cigar to enjoy the cigar itself.
ATC: Would you say that your cutter enhances the overall taste of the cigar?
MW: Using the Select Draw Cigar Cutter properly when cutting, allows you to enjoy the true taste of your cigar, optimizing the flavor, smoothness, and intensity with extreme precision. When using the SDCC, you can get a slow, medium, or full draw while smoking your favorite label. As mentioned, you can pierce/punch your cigar in the cap or you can punch 2–4 times on the side of the cigar, under the cap. Lastly, you can also use our cutter as a cigar stick or poker.
ATC: How can our readers order your product?
MW: Readers can go to our website at www.Selectdrawcigarcutters.com and order from our website. At times, we have run promotions, in partnership with other companies, to give new buyers a discount code so they can enjoy the latest cigar cutter as well. As mentioned earlier, we ship all over the world.
ATC: It seems that it is kind of a trend to customize everything in cigar items. Is your product customizable?
MW: At this point, we do not customize an individual cigar cutter. We have customized large orders for cigar shops/lounges through an engraving company. The cutter can be engraved on the side of our threaded cap or the bottom with no problem.
ATC: Do you have any advice for all the cigar smoking beginners out there?
MW: There are many factors that go into selecting a cigar for a beginner. I would suggest trying something mild at first. Take the advice of a cigar shop/lounge tobacconist and stay away from your local gas station, convenient stores, or tourist shops. When lighting your cigar, use wooden matches or a butane lighter. Paper matches or gas lighters produce chemicals which can negatively affect the flavor of your cigar. Let’s talk accessories, cutters are used to create openings in the end/cap of your cigar to allow airflow and smoke to pass-through. There are many cuts you can use to cut your cigar as a beginner or as an experienced smoker. They include the guillotine cut, V-cut, punch, scissors, and, of course, the Select Draw Cigar Cutter. Smoking your cigar is supposed to be leisurely and relaxing. At times, it can take hours to burn through a cigar. As you smoke, take the time to enjoy the taste and the aroma, take note of what you like about the cigar and what you don’t, it’s a work in progress. Also, take note of the region where the tobacco in your favorite cigars is grown. Sunlight plays a major role in how tobacco is developed, especially in regards to the flavor. Less sun means a weaker flavor, while more sun means a fuller and bolder flavor. Try to notice if it has woody or savory aromas or coffee spice flavors. Each cigar entices your pallet to an intriguing range of tastes and entirely new experiences.
ATC: How did you come to the cigar world?
MW: I have been smoking all sizes, types, and blends of cigars for over 25 years. I started off in the mild-medium stage and have moved to bold at times.
ATC: What are your top three cigars at the moment?
MW: Cohiba Siglo VI, 1926 Padron Anniversary, and Ashton VSG
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