When it comes to luxury accessories category, the market is saturated with all kinds of accessories that have been copied and reproduced with slight adjustments to differ from the original product. What I mean by this, is that someone at some point created a cigar ashtray or tube or even a carry case, and then 20,000 people after took the same idea, made minor changes and called the product their own. An original knockoff one might say. With the tobacco industry growing so rapidly currently populated by millennial’s pockets full with new money, it is only fitting that Son & Son would enter the market at this time. We sat down with the Co-Founders of the Son & Son company Scott and Steve.
Scott and Steve you’re both Engineers by trade. How did you transition from engineering into the luxury accessory lifestyle?
Scott: Hi Gene. Many thanks for having us here. Steve and I both have a strong passion for luxury items stemming predominantly from our passion for fast cars and swiss watches. I suppose you could say that passion is where it all started.
Scott: I was a civil engineer for thirteen years and that experience really helped me to develop both my creative skills and my technical expertise. As I became more experienced, I started to think about ways of combining my engineering background with my love of luxury products.
Steve: I am still heavily involved in the mechanical engineering industry. However, like Scott, I have always wanted to use my skills to create a luxury business of my own. Having known Scott personally for fifteen plus years we decided to join our passions with our engineering knowledge to create a business about which we both felt strongly.
When you first decided to get into the cigar accessory market, did you see a certain need for the products you are currently producing?
Scott: Absolutely. We saw a gap in the market for high end luxury cigar accessories. Cigar smokers are very discerning and appreciate the finer things in life. ‘The good life’ as its known. We feel the market is over-saturated with off the shelf, mass-produced products with no real creative ingenuity or design flair. As far as we know, we are the only luxury brand within this market that design, manufacture and retail all of our products in house. We intend to bring something completely new to the table and to reinvent what people expect of luxury products
That said, we don’t identify as just a ‘cigar accessory’ brand. We would identify as a luxury brand – we have big plans to diversify into several other luxury markets in the near future. Our initial launch of cigar accessories was a showcase and celebration of our engineering abilities. There is far more to come.
Tell me about Son and Son? What inspired the vision for this brand? How did it all come about?
Scott: Firstly, let’s talk about the brand’s name. This was an original concept using the last part of both of our surnames. Hobson and Johnson – Son & Son. We first had the idea early in 2017 when we were enjoying a cigar and a whiskey one evening. We started talking about the products that we were using – everything from the ashtrays to the whiskey tumblers – and we both agreed that the quality of the products was disappointing. When you are smoking a fine cigar and an aged Scotch, it isn’t just about the smoking and drinking. It’s about the whole experience. The products we were using did nothing to enhance the experience. Then and there, we decided to design and manufacture a small batch of cigar tubes and rests using state of the art engineering technology. We knew that we had the knowledge, skills and equipment to achieve this. During the design stages, what we realized is that what we actually wanted to create was a lifestyle for people who love luxury products as much as we do. In light of this, we made things more elegant and understated creating more of stream lined luxury feel.
What led you both to start your own business and take on the Entrepreneur road?
Scott: Both of us definitely have entrepreneurial traits in our blood. We are both always striving for more, whether mentally or physically. Consequently, setting up and running a business which incorporates our passion just made sense and gave us the creative outlet we needed. It also brings us great joy, which we find is the key to success. Running a business is challenging so if you don’t enjoy what you do, it’s very easy to quit. The path we chose was also very much influenced by several other famous entrepreneurs who were advocates for reading and self-education. We both started reading as many business, entrepreneurial and life coaching books as possible. That massively inspired us to pursue an escape from the ‘daily grind’.
With the cigar accessory industry being so saturated with so many products, what are you doing to stand out? How are your accessories different?
Scott: We like this question as it’s very easy for us to answer. We are one of a kind and we think that this is reflected in our products. We are certainly not in this game to import everything and make a fast buck. We design and prototype every single product which allows us to bend the rules from the norm. If we can imagine it, we can design and create it. Son & Son is more than just a luxury brand – our mission is to reinvent luxury products as people know them and bring quality and craftsmanship to another level. There is nothing mass produced or any corner cutting here.
Let’s get a bit personal. Do you both smoke cigars? If so, is there a certain profile or cigar you love above the others?
Scott: We certainly do. For us, it has to be Cuban. It’s probably the engineer in us but we feel that the construction and quality of Cuban cigars is second to none. Flavour wise, we are very much both a Romeo y Julieta fan. We favour the famous ‘stone fruit’ cherry-like characteristics which are present in both their Churchill and wide Churchill sticks. And of course, always paired with a neat, preferably Speyside, scotch.
Currently you are both in the cigar accessory side of things. Will you ever expand from cigars and perhaps move into spirits or other lifestyle luxury pieces? What about doing custom designs in the future, will that be possible?
Scott: Absolutely. We have big plans and vision for Son & Son. As mentioned above, our cigar accessory range wasn’t just created to fill a gap in the market but was to also showcase our engineering abilities. We intend to create more mainstream accessories with the potential for luxury lifestyle products and maybe even clothing. It will all be in keeping with the brands ethos of engineered luxury and quality.
What products are currently available for sale?
Scott: At present, we have four key products in two finishes: satin silver and 24k gold. We sell cigar tubes, rests and ashtrays in the cigar category and cufflinks in our accessories range. We have four different sizes of cigar tubes ranging from the ‘stubby’ to accommodate either a 4” nub or any other petite robusto to our 7” universal tube which will fit any cigar up to a Churchill. In total we have fourteen different products.
How are you engaging the broad spectrum of social media to grow your brand?
Scott: Social media is definitely key to growing our brand and reputation. Engaging with our followers is paramount for this. We are finding that Instagram has a good edge when it comes to showcasing luxury products with a great selection of key influencers available to enable great reach for Son & Son. We have a very specific social media strategy to bring in the right people. Right now we’re all about collecting the right data to allow us to push the brand forwards. Daily social media presence and the right type of photography are key here to keep people interested.
Has there been a particular social media platform that has launched your current growth?
Scott: We feel Instagram has been pivotal for our brand’s growth. There is a certain image that can be portrayed there and is easier to get noticed by a very specific demographic.
What 3 words would you use to describe your products?
Scott: Avant-garde / Engineered / Luxury
Entrepreneurs like you who decide to create a new business from the ground up intrigue me. What has been the hardest obstacle you’ve overcome in the process of starting your own cigar company?
Scott: The hardest problem for us was fulfilling our own expectations. For instance, going through a prototyping style of manufacturing is great as it creates an amazing product eventually. However, chasing perfection is extremely time consuming and we discarded numerous prototypes before achieving it. Another large obstacle, even as engineers, was selecting the right materials to enable the highest finish possible. As engineers, we work to exacting standards which reflect in our product quality. As with any luxury brand, we understand that our clients have very high expectations and appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into all of our products.
Where can people find more information on your company?
Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
Scott: It has been our pleasure taking part in this interview and would like to say a big thank you to all of our followers and influencers for their support and feedback. We would like to offer the readers of this interview £100 off our flagship 24K gold bullion ashtray using code: LAUNCH100″.