Powerful Stories of Redemption in Each Cigar
I have been involved in the cigar culture for over a year. It has been an incredible journey. I have met many interesting people. Cigars are often called the great equalizer. The differences in political beliefs, economic circumstances, and social backgrounds fade in rooms filled with cigar smoke. I have also discovered the culture of different cigar lounges. There is a culture within the culture. There are lounges with dilapidated furniture desperately in need of an upgrade. There are lounges with private rooms for members that allow for 24-hour access. Additionally, I have learned about different cigar blends, how cigar tobacco is grown, and the care put into each rolled cigar. Finally, I have also learned more about the people and families behind certain cigars. All that I have learned is built into the cigar culture in the form of stories.
Stories are powerful! Seth Godin states, ‘Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.” Marketing is an essential business tool to garner interest as well as to encourage consumers to purchase the “stuff that you make.” Good marketers can move “stuff” quickly, but great marketers can move “stuff” well. Moving “stuff” quickly and moving “stuff” well are not the same thing. Moving “stuff” quickly often leads to the lack of care and poor quality of the product. There is a greater focus on the gains for the producer and the consumer is an afterthought. Moving “stuff” well is about trial and error to release a quality product. There is a sincere focus on offering the best to the consumer. Quality is encompassed in a powerful story.
A couple of months ago, I visited a cigar lounge in McKinney, Texas, and sat next to a gentleman visiting from Washington State. It was his first visit to Texas. I didn’t know anything about his political beliefs, economic circumstances, and social background. However, in the smoke of our cigars, we began to share our stories. In sharing our stories, we discovered a common interest. We shared an interest in the care of people struggling with alcohol and drug addiction. My interest stems from my involvement in prison ministry. For several years, I served with a couple of organizations supporting men and women who are in prison as well as jail or returning from incarceration. Alcohol and drugs are major stumbling blocks in the lives of these men and women. My friend, Scott Haugh’s interest emerged from his personal struggles with alcohol. He shared how alcohol ravaged his family and his friendships. However, Scott knows that he is blessed beyond measure that during his journey, his family, as well as many of his friends, supported him. He is grateful. That support helped him overcome this dark chapter in his life. This support helps Scott maintain his sobriety.
Scott serves as the Director of Cayman Cigars and has over ten years of clinical experience as a licensed Chemical Dependency Professional. The first thing that stood out to me when I went to the Cayman Cigar website is that it “believes strongly in giving back to our communities, our nation, and our world.” As I continued reading, I learned more about the story of Cayman Cigars in the importance of quality behind its product. I learned a lot about their cigar blends and cigar collections. Most importantly, I learned about Cayman Cigars. WHY? Behind each cigar blend and collection are stories of people with their own personal struggles with alcohol and drugs. Through Cayman Cigars’ “spirit of social-entrepreneurship,” its purpose is “helping others escape the grip of addiction and co-occurring mental illness.” Therefore, Cayman Cigars sincerely offers the best to its consumers, from the tobacco farms to the cigar lounges.
The cigar culture has truly been good to me. I don’t judge people on their politics, whether someone is rich or poor, and how a person was raised. I’m not too particular about the condition of the furniture. I’m happy there is always a place to sit. I can’t afford the membership. However, I am a member of a phenomenal culture with 24-hour access to that culture. I am ignorant about cigar blends, tobacco leaf, and the people as well as families in the cigar business. However, I continue to learn so much about the culture, and I am excited to learn much more. However, the greatest joy in this journey are the people I have met and listening to their powerful stories of redemption in each cigar.