Vendor Spotlight 64: East-West Trading Corp.

13
Jan

THE TRADE NEVER STOPS

East-West Trading Corp. tells us about some of the products it’s most excited about in 2018, including odor-neutralizers, coffee mug water pipes and much more.

If you can sell, you can sell — it doesn’t matter whether it’s toilet paper, cars or, in the case of East-West Trading Corp., smoking accessories.

That’s been the case for nearly 25 years for brothers Ray and Mack Patel, who run East-West Trading Corp. With their sales know-how, they took it from a small and steady shop to a national force in the smoke-shop world that houses brands such as Fujima, Lucienne and DipLite.

Their story is one of hard work, determination and belief — mainly the belief that their hard work and determination would pay off, which it has. Their story is proof that you need a keen business sense and on-the-job smarts to be successful. You can learn the rest as you go. As long you’re willing to work hard, that is.

Their story is coming, but first, as the calendar turns to 2018, Mack Patel has one guarantee for their customers across the country.

“If it is new in the market,” he says. “Most likely you will find it at East-West Trading.”

Because that’s an important part of succeeding in sales. If people want it, you better have it.

THE EARLY DAYS

The Patel brothers took over East-West Trading in 1994. It was a bootstrapping company in Chicago and they were a couple of hungry businessmen looking to build something of their own.

They’d been working at a catalog company that sold general merchandise. East-West Trading was one of their distributors. But when the owner wanted to sell, the Patel brothers were listening. They checked things out. The numbers looked good. The company had potential. If they worked hard and played their cards right, this deal could be good for them.

Turns out, it was.

The Patel brothers weren’t experts about the smoke-shop world. They just knew sales and distribution. That, they figured, could be applied to any type of products if they were smart about it.

So they learned the industry, put in long hours and worked hard. Over the years, the company took big strides — they graduated from a 2,000-square foot warehouse to 5,000 feet, then 15,000 feet and now 30,000 square feet.

They sell thousands of products and their catalogs go out to thousands of stores. They built the foundation of a strong company and just kept adding to it, year after year.

“We lifted the whole business to another level,” Ray Patel says.

 

GROWING IN 2018

The key to growth for East-West Trading over the years has been establishing its own brands. When the Patels took over in 1994, Fujima and Lucienne were already on the market, but they needed a jump start.

Fujima sells a number of products, from pipes and electronic cigarettes to incense and hookahs. It’s the most general of the East-West Trading brands. Lucienne is a premium brand for lighters and other accessories like cigar cutters and humidors.

One of the brands that’s grown the most in recent memory is DipLite, which includes smoke-eating candles, odor neutralizers and other lighters. East-West says DipLite is the brand it expects to grow the most in 2018 with a few specific highlights:

  • The Diplite Odor Neutralizer: They’re counting on these taking the market by storm, since they’re fast-acting and effective. They come in three fragrances: anti-tobacco, fresh linen and citrus splash, and retailers are excited about all three.
  • Diplite After Dark Scents: These are incense, dhoop cones, oil diffusers, oils and incense burners that have a very distinct look. They take inspiration from horror movies and gothic times, with fragrances like Dragon’s Blood, Run Away Vampire, Werewolf Poison and Zombie Repellent.
  • Coffee Mug Water Pipes: These combine the best of both worlds. You can drink your coffee in the morning then pack your mid-morning chill session in the same mug. What more could you want in life? They come in fun and whimsical designs to fit all sorts of personalities.

“This is another product that is going off the shelf like hot cakes this year,” Mack Patel says.

 

BUT THAT’S NOT ALL

You don’t succeed in business by being set in your ways and not pivoting when the moment beckons. So while those are a few items East-West Trading is excited about for 2018, it’s hardly an exhaustive list.

It’s, frankly, just the beginning.

“Maybe something else might come into play in Quarter Two,” Mack Patel hints.

Always have to keep them wanting more, right? It’s worked for years in businesses across the land and it’s worked for nearly 25 years at East-West Trading Corp.

Doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon.

FOR MORE INFO

East-West Trading Co.
(800) 621-3635

fujimausa.com

lucienne.com


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