Crystal Means. What can we say about her that you may not know already?! She is a wonderfully bright woman with all the pizzaz of a spiritual warrior! Crystal and I (Gabriel) sat down recently for a Q&A session. Enjoy our quirky and deep conversation!
Gabriel - What is your official title @ VapeWild?
Crystal - I am the Social Media and Digital Content Manager
Gabriel - What is your favorite part about working for VW?
Crystal - I love the sense of camaraderie and community we have here. And that I get to be on the frontlines of helping so many people day in and day out. We have a unique family of colorful characters that make coming to work a joy every day!
G - Who sits on the Iron Throne at the end of Game of Thrones?
C - Hell if I know, never watched one episode lol!
G - OMG! If only there was enough time in the day to tell you all about the plots! Ok, back to the questions!
G - Who are some of your favorite members of the E-juice group? Who do you look forward to seeing posts from?
C - Oh man! That group is a source of much entertainment for me but I love seeing Bri Wiersema because her makeup is always flawless. Her husband is a trucker and she rides with him and they still manage to order from us, even on the road. I absolutely love Lolly Weaver! I got to meet her when we opened our Florida locations and she is just as sweet in person as she is online.
G - What did/do you want to be when you grew/grow up?
C - I honestly wanted to be an international corporate lawyer. I love fact-finding and debating and it involves critical thinking and problem solving on complex issues. The law has always appealed to me. Interestingly, I wound up with an English degree lol!
G - So what are you most proud of? It can be anything.
C - Most people would say their kids or accomplishments they've made but I am honestly most proud of my resilience. I have been through hell and beyond and somehow, I always manage to bounce back and maintain my sunny disposition through it all. From homelessness to giving up on school, being a young mom; I have never lost sight of my goals and I'm so proud of myself for getting this far.
G - I love that. #deep
C - Thanks, Gabe!
G - Tell me, what are the challenges you have overcome? Sort of ties in, but I really feel that the peeps would love to hear more.
C - Hmm, I would say single-handedly raising two kids while attending school and working, being homeless but still showing up to work every single day with a smile on my face and managing to graduate with my degree in the midst of all that. I tear up when I think of the sacrifices I had to make to get to that point.
G - I'm sure they were obstacles, and you ought to be proud, dude. Respect.
G - For some lighter thoughts; Tell us your beauty secrets!
C - Lol! People ask me about my skin all the time and I gotta say, I was just blessed with good genes. I don't have a regular routine but if I have to say any ONE thing that helps? WATER! I drink a ton of it every day.
G - More lighthearted, if MySpace were still a thing, what would your profile look like?
C - Dude, my Myspace was POPPIN’ back in the day! Ughh I miss all the glittery GIFs and my playlist was FIYA!! Now though, it would probably just be pics of my utterly adorable grandson and my playlist would still be dope!
G - For the vapers, how long did you smoke and what helped you quit for good?
C - Mannnn I used to steal my daddy's Kool Menthol Kings from the age of 13. I smoked until about 3 months after I started working here. I was completely fascinated with the clouds, then the taste, and the fact that it helped my nic cravings. I tried everything up to that point. Gum, lozenges, pills, hypnosis, everything. What finally sealed it for me was my first RDA, which was the Atty Cube. It was a gift from a vendor when I started doing wholesale eons ago. They built my coils, showed me how to wick it and it's been on ever since. I haven't gone back to a tank since 2015.
G - The student has become the teacher #WiseHands. So, have your dreams come true?
C - By the end of June, I can say they will. My 2nd and final child will graduate high school and head to college. Still working on my other ones though. Stay tuned!
G - Final question: Tell me about a normal day at VapeWild for you?
C - Haha, what even is normal? I get in early to plan out my day, shoot the shit with a few early birds over coffee and then commence to not following anything on my to-do list because that's just the nature of our business. Things change on a dime around here so I have to pivot quickly and adapt. And then I usually wander around with my camera phone to catch crazy social media worthy moments to share. We have plenty lol! A meeting here, an email there, tons of content creation and scheduling, stealing snacks from people randomly and harassing Dave on the regular. As a matter of fact, I'm gonna go bug him right now!
G - Haha! I wish we could go all day long, but that’s all that I have for you!
C - I had fun! We have to do this again sometime.
G - Let's!
C - Next time, I'll ask the questions!
G - Ooh, some potential foreshadowing… Like Game of Thrones!
Batsu is the colorful personality who is also the brainchild behind some of your favorite videos! His creativity is the reason behind the Baked Jamaican, Wrong Wick, and nearly all of the quirky videos you love on VapeWild’s YouTube! We sat down together and enjoyed a bit of lighthearted conversing. Enjoy!
Gabriel: What is it that you do for VapeWild?
Batsu: I write the bulk of the scripts for our comedy-style videos, take care of the audio and also I'm the go-to punching bag in videos (Emily I'm looking at you)
Gabriel: What is your favorite part of working for VapeWild?
Batsu: Honestly, working with the team that I do. They understand my creative and often insane ideas. They really have a knack of helping you realize your potential and being uber supportive.
G: I love that, you're right. Realizing potential is huge here! Without spoiling it, how many feels did you feel watching Avengers Endgame?
B: ALL OF THE FEELS. I'm still recovering.
G: Let's dig a little deeper. Who was your hero growing up?
B: well I have a handful of heroes. As most people know I'm a singer/songwriter and in that regard Michael Jackson was one of my heroes growing up. His music and dancing inspired me to become a singer myself. Another is Batman. He taught me that you don't have to have powers to be super. Then there was Bruce Lee, he taught me that great power comes in all forms. But my biggest hero was and still is my mom; she inspires me every day.
G: Word up. Dig that, homie. You're active on the Facebook group. Who do you look forward to seeing posts from?
B: Ha! Putting me on the spot! Ok, well let me preface this with I LOVE YOU ALL. Having said that let's list off those go-to group members for me: Cynthia Massi, Patty Cline, Terry-Lynn Robinson-Traina, Kat & Steve Johnson, Brian Hopkins, Amy Powers...ok there's a lot more but we would be there all day.
G: Tell me about your proudest moment? It can be anything.
B: I think that would be going back to school to further my education. I never thought I'd have my bachelor's degree but here we are!
G: If MySpace were still a thing, what would be your profile's theme song? How would the world know you by your musical choice, how ‘bout that?
B: HA. That's an even more complicated question. My musical choices span from Brahms and Bach to Bad Rabbits and Bruno Mars. Currently, though I've been really into Future Bass, specifically Kawaii Future Bass. It's a bit out there and I love it because of that.
G: Tell us about your experience transitioning from smoking to vaping?
B: I started smoking around 2007 which was about when my dad passed away. It stressed me out and my buddy was like "try this" and boom; I was a smoker. I've been a part of the vaping world for a long time but I always relapsed back into smoking. So around March of 2018 I had a bit of a depressive spell and my chest felt like a softball was in it (at this point I had graduated from cigarettes to cigars - not a good move) and I told myself it was time to stop. I picked up vaping again and completely swore off smoking. From then on I worked on slowly lowering my nic level and I am proud to say I've been nic free for the last 3 months. The only way I was able to make it as far as I have was due to the support of the VapeWild ejuice group continuously pushing me forward.
G: Tell us about a day in the life of VapeWild? How does your day start, what do you love to do the most, and what is the greatest challenge you face each day?
B: Well my day starts off with saying good morning to my teammates then having a morning pow-wow about the weekly tasks. This also usually involves large amounts of caffeine and toaster pastries, because I cannot function otherwise. About what I love the most, honestly, how much of my ideas make the final product. You would think that a company would reign in their creative minds but here they let us shine so I really appreciate that; plus I get to work with some of the coolest people on the planet. The greatest challenge I face each day...hmmm...that would have to be that initial idea. Once the ball is rolling I can write up a storm but it's that initial spark that can often be troublesome. Thankfully I share a brain with my supervisor J.P. and our director Dave, So if I'm ever stuck I consult those two and then it's off to the races!
G: That is so rad, dude! Thank you so much for your time!
As one of VapeWild’s most eccentric on-camera personalities, Gabriel is a constant source of positivity around the office. Off-camera, he’s a chill person who likes to think outside the box and send dank memes over Slack. I sat down with him and we discussed his job, vaping habits, and his preferred weapon in the case of fighting an animal. Things got deep; things got weird, but we had a lot of fun.
[The interview below was conducted over Slack and was edited and formatted to fit this medium]
Alejandro: So, Gabe, you’ve been at VapeWild a few years now, how has that been?
Gabriel: It has been one of the best experiences of my life. They gave me a chance when I thought that I wouldn't have the opportunity to have a purpose again. I was in a dark place for a long time in my life, and VapeWild gave me the platform to rebuild and be a better man.
A: You’ve held other positions at the company, but what do you do now?
G: I'm currently one of the talented content writers at VapeWild. I write a lot of the product descriptions the community reads, as well as blogs.
A: How did you transition into this role? Was writing something that you always wanted to do?
G: Actually, I enjoy being thoughtful more than anything. I enjoy being able to use my brain to write creatively. As far as the transition, I was working for Customer Service before this work. I love to help people too, and coming here to content creation was one of the most difficult decisions of my time here. I'll say THE most difficult decision. I saw that the company I love had a need, so I thought, "why not me?"
A: As a copywriter, you write about most of the mods, tanks, coils and other products that come through the office. What products are you excited about right now, and what new trends should our readers look out for?
G: Oh man, that is a great question! I gotta say that the one thing I'm the most excited about is the way we write the content. I'm most excited about being able to create a new voice for those product descriptions, blogs, and even emails! I can't wait for us to change how we do it!
A: Having vaped for a few years, you've got quite the collection of mods and tanks, which combination is your current favorite?
G: No doubt, the GeekVape Nova with the DigiFlavor Drop RDA. Hands down the best I've used.
A: You’re a big proponent of RDAs and one of the main reasons why I use one, what tips do have for aspiring drippers?
G: Patience. Building anything requires patience. Building on a deck leads you to a rewarding vaping experience, so just be patient.
A: People who know you from our YouTube channel might have a very different perspective of you. In the office, you like to joke around, but you’re also quiet and keep to yourself, especially when you’re busy. How are you able to be so comfortable on camera and make people laugh?
G: Oh man, getting deep. Thank you for the question; I appreciate you for that. The one thing that seems to be challenging is putting myself out there. Being on camera is a vulnerable place to be, but also exciting and challenging. I love to think, but I love to be spontaneous. I just do what comes to my mind and roll with it. I might be super introverted, but I think being able to just be, is important for anyone.
A: You're welcome, and I think it's amazing that you can switch between the two so effortlessly. I haven't heard you say no to a video idea yet, and I admire that. Speaking of VapeWild videos, which character that you’ve portrayed is your favorite?
G: Lol! I have to say that March Wildness was the best thing ever! I love to ad-lib, and just flow. March Wildness was rad
A: Can you tell us a bit about your journey with nicotine? How did you end up vaping?
G: Oh ya, I started smoking when I was 12 and did so until I was 29. I was a two pack a day smoker back then. I started vaping because a friend of mine suggested that I try it. So I got a little Aspire Pen and the rest is history. That's how I started vaping and it was a process to transition from smoking. It took about 6 months for me to completely quit smoking, but it was certainly worth it.
A: That's so weird because I also started with an Aspire pen.
A: Last question and this is super serious, so please think hard on it before you answer: Would you rather fight 100 cat-sized hippos or one hippo-sized cat?
G: 100 cat-sized Hippos. One [big] cat is a bastard and should never be fought. End of story.
A: Weapon of choice?
G: Eesh... Light Saber. The force is real.
A: Haha, your midichlorian levels are off the charts!
G: You don't even know.
A: Gabe, thanks for going on the record!
Stay WILD, vape fam!
Posted by Gabriel Pimentel on May 20th 2019