Administrators FRP Advisory had been placed in charge of trying to salvage something from the Essex-based EOS Group’s financial problems pushing them into receivership. The decline of the e-liquid manufacturer (Vapemate) placed 21 jobs at risk.
AQL International Ltd, the company behind the AquaVape brand, stepped in to rescue the company and secure continued employment for EOS’ staff.
Mubaraq Patel, managing director of AquaVape, told Bolton News: “Vapemate has long been recognised as one of the market leaders in British-made e-liquid and vaping products, which will enable us to broaden our product range significantly. Moreover, the group behind it has a strong e-commerce platform that will complement our existing sales platforms as we look to build out our presence in the UK market.”
Aquavape’s Ebrahim Kathrada commented: “Integration has begun almost immediately, and our customers now have access to these exciting brands and, vice versa, Vapemate customers will also have access to new and exciting products from Aquavape. This is mutually beneficial to the two brands and to the vape community as a whole. It is about giving access to a broader portfolio of products, especially important at times like these where online shopping is at its peak.”
Success looked to roll on into a new partnership with Swansea City Football Club posting on its website: “Swansea City has secured another winning partnership, this time with Aquavape.”
The club added: “Vaping is now recognised by Public Health England, NHS, Cancer Research UK, The Royal College of Physicians, and numerous other public health bodies, not only as being 95% less harmful than smoking, but as being the number one stop smoking tool used in the UK.”
Rebecca Edwards-Symmons, Head of Commercial at Swansea City AFC added: “We are really pleased to have another partner join the Swansea City AFC business community this season. We look forward to working with Aquavape in forthcoming seasons.”
But things were short-lived. Within a couple of hours of the club posting the news to its Twitter feed, the tweet was swamped by accounts attacking the club for promoting vaping. Comments being made ranged from “it’s dangerous” to “it’s marketed at children”.
Advocates were swift to counter their negativity with links to evidence from research and quotes from pro-vaping health bodies, but Swansea took the decision to pull the tweet and the web page.
Many advocates felt the attack on Swansea was coordinated and the comments weren’t coming from football fans at all, let alone Swansea supporters.
A couple of hours later, despite its web comments, Swansea reneged on the sponsorship deal. Its decision is odd considering this isn’t the first partnership between a football club and a vape company.
In 2015, Derby County partnered E-Lites [link], vape company VPZ has had sponsorship deals with Livingston FC [link] and Hibs [link], and Rangers allowed vaping in Ibrox in the 2018-19 season after linking with Vaporized [link]. Last year, Blackburn Rovers extended their partnership with Totally Wicked [link].
On top of that, the English Football League is currently in its second partnership with Innokin, promoting vaping to football supporting smokers and encouraging them to make the switch [link] – a league that Swansea City currently play in.
Planet of the Vapes hopes the football club sees sense and helps to promote something “95% less harmful than smoking” to its fans - especially when that partner has demonstrated a laudible sense of duty and honour. Swansea should consider itself fortunate Aquavape wants to partner it.