Barak Rigbi brings the Vie vaporizer up to his lips, draws in a breath and, in his deep Israeli accent, explains: “This is my world. For the past two and a half years, my world has been around this. We want one thing: for this to be enjoyable and satisfying."
The Vie was developed in Denver, where for almost three years Rigbi has worked on a vaporizer that smokes flower and concentrates, and can be sold for a reasonable price. "Let's start a revolution," promises the company's website.
“We are fair," Rigbi says. "Everything we are doing from the business model, through the development of features and especially what we give to the user, we want to be fair. Because I believe if you’re fair and if you’re doing something that is satisfying to the user, the user will reward you.”
Rigbi started out developing toys in China, and for this project pulled together a team of people he knows to develop a toy for adults. In just over a year, he had a working product. But when he shared it with cannabis-industry insiders in Colorado, people who ranged from owners of dispensaries to YouTube reviewers, the feedback included some critical suggestions.
“It was usable feedback,” says Mark Clay, Vie's director of marketing. Some said the vapor was too hot or that they got a funny aftertaste when smoking. So instead of moving ahead with the prototype, Rigbi went to his investors and said he needed more time.
“He didn’t get discouraged, he didn’t get angry, he didn’t say that we’d go to market and fix it along the way," Clark recalls. "He said that we wouldn’t go to market until we were ready and until the product is everything we want it to be.”
The feedback led to fourteen more months of development, seventy prototypes and multiple trips between Denver and China to get the product just right. The company even named innovations after the people who suggested the changes — there’s a maze the smoke travels through to get to the Vie mouthpiece that's called the “Lindsey Maze,” in honor of the user who offered the idea.
Unlike other vaporizer companies that routinely release new upgrades to their products, essentially fixing issues after they're discovered in the previous model, this is it: There won’t be another Vie model, because this one has all the upgrades it needs. “There is nothing to fix," Clay says. "There might be a new model with extra features, but that model is done, and it’s perfect.”
It's also inexpensive, which can lead people to expect a lesser product; customers can purchase the Vie vaporizer online for $49.89. “When they try it, it blows their mind," Rigbi says. "They say they’ve never experienced this kind of vaporizer. I feel so good when I hear this...I have so much pride.”
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One of the testers they worked with is a veteran with PTSD and Tourette's syndrome who'd been dabbing about every half-hour to keep his symptoms at bay. Rigbi says he watched him use the Vie, and the vet didn’t need any other medicine for two hours. “I was so emotional,” Rigbi says.
Rigbi, who served in Israel's military, was inspired by this veteran to start developing a “Buy one, give one” program: A spot on the Vie website will allow customers to not only buy a vaporizer, but opt to have one gifted to someone in need.
"It's not because we're altruistic hippies," Rigbi notes. "It's because this is our community. This is where we live. This product is for us. So I will not compromise, and I want to do good."
Find out more about the Vie on the Vierevolution website.