Charlie’s Club

If I knew more about Gilla I feel as though I could say much more about Charlie’s Club. The website for Gilla appears to be as new as Charlie’s Club (owned by Gilla), however, and reveals little except the fact that whoever is behind this publicly floated company makes e cigs and cartridges. They call these “caps” and descriptions of their monthly subscription plans revolve around these “caps.” Here is what I can tell you so far.

CharliesClub.comCharlie’s Club Review

For one thing, the company is new: they launched in the summer of 2014. Their focus is surprising: a club for vapers who use cigalikes; batteries that attach to cartomizers.

These are the most basic e cigs; the least interesting, flexible, technically advanced, or economic of all electronic cigarettes. Yet at Charlie’s Club they insist things will be different.

Customers have access to excellent quality: great hardware that is supplied for free when a customer signs up to receive monthly shipments of cartomizers. What that hardware is and how much they supply is not immediately apparent.

Monthly Plans

These plans come in three formats: the Silver, Gold, and Platinum. A Silver plan costs $34.99. The Gold is $49.99. Pay $69.99 for the Platinum. In each, a customer is given a set number of cartomizers. The client chooses a flavor or flavors; nicotine-free, light, or strong nicotine.

While the many e liquid subscription services supply dozens of flavor options, Charlie’s Club is restricted to just three flavors so far. Those are pretty slim pickings. At one time I thought offerings at Green Smoke were paltry, but this makes Green Smoke’s cartridge menu look like an Asian buffet.

But Charlie’s Club only got started a couple of months ago. One has to hope there will be new flavors added regularly until customers can choose from a beautifully varied menu of caps.

Extra Costs

Add shipping to the price of a Silver plan ($5), but with the other two subscriptions shipping is free. There are supposedly no extra fees for hardware: it just comes automatically every month. If you need something else or a piece they supplied with the last shipment breaks, contact Charlie’s Club and they will sort it out. Customers should not have to purchase any additional pieces.

Signing Up

Join the Club in three possible ways. First is the old-fashioned method: go to their website. Second is joining Facebook and using this method. Third is the option of signing up on Google+.

The Caps

A Silver program supplies 15 caps: that is more than $2 per cap, so your hardware is not actually free. I hope consumers realize that the terms are misleading. A Gold subscription supplies 25 caps.

The best value is a Platinum subscription: 50 caps costing just over $1 each. In general, when buying cartomizers from a company like V2 or Green Smoke, the price is $2 or more per cartomizer.

For the plan at Charlie’s Club to be economical, their batteries will have to hold a charge for several hours, produce excellent vapor, and chargers should last a long time. The company must always send out just the right number of everything. If not, you would save yourself hassle by shopping with a brand you know well and simply buying what you want when you want it.

Besides, the three flavors are just Blue (sun-cured tobacco), Green (mint), and Charlie’s Choice (energy drink) in 0, 12, or 18-mg nicotine volumes. There is no vanilla, chocolate, or fruit.

They do not provide alternative tobacco styles (yet). The company is not even telling you who Charlie is (Charles T. Smith, which is all this Florida company is willing to reveal thus far).

The Verdict

I am not sure about Charlie’s Club. I wish I could be more decisive here. The idea looks like it has room to grow: there certainly couldn’t be less choice as things stand.

They run a rewards program. The website is nicely done. If they start selling more flavors and hardware proves to be good value, then the company might be alright. No-obligation contracts will make signing up an irresistible temptation for many vapers addicted to the notion of trying everything.

But I do not like secretive companies that choose not to come out with all the facts as though, by their secrecy, they are making the product more desirable and interesting. I will happily trade “interesting” for “transparent.” If this was a Joss Whedon (Avengers) movie and these were teasers, then fine; but they’re e cigs you have to buy before you really find out the pertinent details about the destination of your hard-earned cash.

There is a good chance that customers of Charlie’s Club will stay for a few months, and that’s it. Afterwards, many clients give up cigalikes. They either quit vaping entirely or they upgrade to personal vaporizers, at which time any clubs they join will be selling bottled e liquid.

Charlie’s Club is not in direct competition with ZampleBox or Craft Vapery. These firms shouldn’t feel threatened. Charlie’s Club offers the auto-shipment arrangement of V2 Cigs, South Beach Smoke, VaporFi and others, but in reverse.