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I recently sat down with Michelle Wright and had a Q and A session for OTL. Michelle, in my opinion, is one of the best cigar reps in the business and is extremely well versed in the business and pleasure of cigars.
How did you get involved in the cigar business?
He had a trip planned to go to Nicaragua and asked me to run his shop for the 2 weeks as a favor. It was a great 2 weeks... The shop had record setting sales and I had the best 2 weeks working. After he came back he asked me to stay on and work...I ended up working my way up to managing the shop and then became a part owner. After 6 years there I moved back to Texas and worked retail at a Cigar shop on the North side of Houston, and ran the shop in the evenings.
I had gone to IPCPR in 2012 and was asked to work as a consultant for a brand new shop in Alpharetta, Georgia that was in need of some help getting started. It was a temporary assignment but the money was too good to pass up. I left Houston and went to Georgia for a few months. I handled all the Marketing for the shop, as well as worked in the shop. I trained the staff , ordered product and built a great events calendar through my contacts in the business. After my assignment ended, I came back to Texas without a job...so Repping cigars was the next move and a natural fit. I started representing one company and quickly discovered that Repping independently was not going to pay the bills unless I added more lines. My business as an Independent Cigar Broker has taken off and I haven't looked back since!
How many different brands are you a representative for?
I represent 5 Boutique Cigar brands and also rep a National accessories line, which I rep along side of my cigars as it goes hand in hand.
Does being a representative require you hold any type of certifications? If so,how long did ago you get certified and how important is your certification to what you do?
As a rep, when introducing your brand to a potential shop what are some of the things that you look for in that shop?
How long have you smoked cigars?
What is your favorite type of cigar and why?
How do you rate the Houston cigar scene and lounges versus other areas?
What tips or advice do you have for new smokers?
Are there any new or boutique cigars that you recommend?
How do you feel about cigar ratings and does the rating influence your choices in what you smoke?
What is your favorite drink and cigar pairing and why?
Are there any must have products that you recommend?
What is next for you in the cigar world?
If you could only smoke one cigar what would it be and why?