It is hard to imagine that just yesterday, we've turned 2 years old and while we are truly humbled for all the support we've received for us to come this far, there is no public major celebration planned for our anniversary simply because there's still a lot of work to be done.
However, I would like to take the opportunity to reflect back and to share with you our little history of Kardinal probably for the first time ever.
Circa February 2017, Daniel of WBC came to me with 3 tobacco e-liquid flavour profiles which he had done himself and was extremely enthusiastic and passionate about. I was told that these tobacco flavours are what helped him to quit cigarettes and to be perfectly honest, they tasted surprisingly good. Mind you, I was never a fan of tobacco flavours back then and this was in 2017; a time when Malaysia was only known to produce the best fruity flavours and tobacco is unheard of.
He wanted me to give those 3 tobacco flavours a brand and I was assured to take my time with it with complete artistic freedom since it was his pet project. With a huge motivation of challenging the status quo, I assured him that I will come up with something truly unique in the Malaysian e-liquid industry.
In my opinion then and till today, vape or e-liquid has always been a product for the adults but there are just too many e-liquid brands which is loud, colourfully flamboyant, trendy and almost child appealing cartoony. So I have always wanted it to be different, mature and elegant. I started researching on luxurious cigars which then later expanded to fine wines and the cultivation of tobacco history itself.
I wanted a brand identity that evokes luxurious vibes and also looks mature, classy and elegant. The logo also needs to be a typeface which is clean, readable, long-lasting and versatile rather than a temporary typographic trend.
About 2 months later, I came up with the name Kardinal which is stylised as kardinal because I like how it visualise a good harmony of ascending character balance in the typeface design while the narrow kerning helps to lock individual characters together in a single unit, evoking professionalism and a sense of urgency. The 3 flavours were given Spanish names of Fragaria, Vainilla and Caramelo; a nod to the history of tobacco cultivars. The labels and packagings were designed with a classy and sophisticated presentation resembling of a fine wine and luxurious cigar. They were designed with a true vape connoisseur in mind rather than a pop culture fad or current trends.
However when it was presented to the local industry players as a tobacco focused e-liquid brand, a lot of them looked down or shown no interest in the brand. Some of them even said the brand will not last within a year.
Kardinal was then introduced and debuted in the UK instead with investments of advertising in the biggest vape focused magazine; Vapouround UK and also made a short stint in Indonesia before finally making its way back home to Malaysian retail outlets in early 2018 with the introduction of two new purely tobacco flavours; Black and Gold. This was after the end of 2017 where we setup a small Kardinal booth at Empire Damansara during the vape expo OMG Fest and gave away thousands of 10ml bottle samples for free.
This of course created a lot of buzz and interests from the local market and in April 2018, our engaged Malaysian distributor; Faz Vapor were bombarded with questions and interests when we secretly launched and debuted a collaboration "Borneo Series" with Indonesian colossal e-liquid brand; Hero57 and also our fourth flavoured tobacco; Java during the Kardinal booth showcase at IECIE, Shenzhen.
Borneo Series was Kardinal's first attempt at a creamy flavour which is non-tobacco received a lot of great feedback and success both in Malaysia and Indonesia and Java was our coffee infused tobacco which proven to be a big hit till today.
And in May 2018, we did yet another collaboration with HexOhm for a limited online exclusive which sold out within a week. This was not stock HexOhm mods which we purchased and laser engraved the brand logo ourselves. This was UV printed and made exclusively by Craving Vapor in Texas.
And just 2 months ago, in a time when pods system and smaller wattage devices are gaining popularity, we revolutionised the e-liquid industry with Kardinal Primera; our latest range of freebase nicotine e-liquid specially crafted for MTL RDA and RTA, open system pods and other similar low wattage devices.
Fast forward today, Kardinal has a line up of 9 tobacco flavours and 4 award trophies to its name. While we definitely won't be resting on our laurels and there's still a very long journey for the brand, I'm proud of how the manifestation of the brand came to be. I'm sure you've heard of kristal by now?
Happy 2 years anniversary, team.