Entrepreneur Rikin Patel is celebrating the birth of the Canary Wharf Vapour Company – an accomplishment that arose following a near-death experience in a horrific motorbike accident five years ago.
The venture, in One Canada Square, offers one-to-one appointments to put the right vaping tools with the right person – but Rikin admits it has grown from tortuous roots.
Despite his love for speed, Rik was only doing around 20mph when he was hit from behind by another vehicle and flung from his bike, colliding with a post.
With shattered ribs, a broken knee and ankle, collapsed lungs and a smashed liver, Rik almost died and had to spend five months in hospital.
Speaking from his office on the 29th floor of One Canada Square, the 38-year-old said: “They had to cut into me on the side of the road, take the blood out, inflate my lungs then airlift me to A&E.
“It was a horrible experience, for my parents mostly as I was knocked out for most of it.”
At the time, had been working for his father’s luggage manufacturing company but his responsibilities were taken over by his brother while Rik was recovering.
Once he was better, Rik, refusing to push his brother out of his job, set to work on his new project, deciding to “dive in” to the growing e-cig industry , concentrating in high-quality boutique vaping tools and flavours.
He said: “I was very concerned with the quality as at the time people were importing products, sticking their labels on it, the stuff didn’t taste nice and it was probably worse for you than cigarettes.
“I was happy that I was using my instinct and on the right tracks to make good quality product. Even if people do vape, they want to minimise harm and people would like to pay for a good quality product.”
Five years later, Rik has set up the Docklands arm of the business.
He offers one-to-one appointments to find the right product for his clients as well as click and collect and delivery services.
“Canary Wharf is different to anywhere else in the country,” Rik said, “and it’s going to take a fresh look and a firm approach to get people what they need.
“I do see people here as clients and not customers. That is the key difference in my approach and is different to any other retail model that might currently exist.
“People said they didn’t have time to go out and about, but what if there was an office where you could come up to with an appointment?
“You’ve already told me what flavours you like and we have a selection of flavours ready for you. It’s a very bespoke approach.”
To find out more about the Canary Wharf Vapour Company, go to the company's website .
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