New Recruit, And How To Start Them Out.

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petes03

Lifer
Jun 23, 2013
6,229
10,635
The Hills of Tennessee
Over the years, I’ve had the chance to introduce half a dozen or so to our world of briar and tobacco. Recently, I’ve had three new recruits. A former cigar guy, a vape guy, and a cig smoker. The cigar guy had previously dabbled in pipes, but had only tried one or two blends (aromatics). He also had a couple of pipes. But I figured the best way to get these guys going was to fully immerse them into the vast array of tobacco genres available to pipe smokers. I gave them each 60-70 single bowl and two bowl samples of tobacco from all the major genres, as well as a good pipe, pipe cleaners and tampers. The pipes were a Lorenzo, a Savinelli and an Ehrlich. The response has been excellent from all three. They are each finding their preferences and starting to build a good rotation of pipes and tobacco. The cig guy in particular, has amassed quite the collection in a very short amount of time. He now has quite a few Caminettos, Petersons and Savinellis, including several pipes that he bought from me. So far, they all seem to lean towards English and Balkans, and a few Virginias.
This has been the most successful recruiting effort I’ve had so far. So what are some of your methods and success rates for new recruits?
 
Dec 6, 2019
4,296
19,346
32
AL/GA
I took your approach with my step son, gave him a sample of every blend I had on hand.. plus a couple of pipes to go with the one he had. He was looking into pipes after seeing how much cigars can really cost.. for a couple of years in college he worked at a cigar store, and they let him smoke what he wanted. When that job was over he picked up a pipe.
 

wolflarsen

Part of the Furniture Now
Jul 29, 2018
772
2,135
I started when someone gave me a Missouri Meerschaum Legend cob and a tin of My Mixture 965. The rest is history.
 
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mortonbriar

Lifer
Oct 25, 2013
2,205
4,053
New Zealand
If someone already has a toe in the pool, a foot in the door, a little assistance is a good idea. But I sure wouldn't want to recruit anyone who doesn't smoke. It's too fraught. Their spouse, their parents, their teenagers. It's all my fault.
There was a 16 year old apprentice I was working with last year, and he was rolling cigs, and vaping...and buying $300 sunglasses with tiny headphones inserted in the arms, paying off a brand new motorbike etc etc. Every time he tried to get me to help him buy a pipe I would change the subject, it was just too cringe the thought of adding another unnecessary expense to this young mans financial diet! And even if the pipe replaced the cigs and vaping I just still do not like the responsibility for starting someone on a vice when they are young. The people I have given pipes and tobacco have all been dads already, and at least NEARLY middle aged.
 

Gecko

Can't Leave
Dec 6, 2019
363
713
Sweden
I thought the consensus was to give them a tin of the goopiest aromatic available? ?

Gave my brother a Nörding Compass that I no longer smoke, half a jar of Peterson Old Dublin, some pipe cleaners, a czech tool and some basic instructions just yesterday. We'll see if it sticks.

I gave another friend a Rattray's pipe and some accessories for his birthday last fall.

I figure someone's first real pipe should be like their first real car. Well functioning and cheap enough that it's no big deal when it's mishandled during the learning curve.
 

petes03

Lifer
Jun 23, 2013
6,229
10,635
The Hills of Tennessee
There was a 16 year old apprentice I was working with last year, and he was rolling cigs, and vaping...and buying $300 sunglasses with tiny headphones inserted in the arms, paying off a brand new motorbike etc etc. Every time he tried to get me to help him buy a pipe I would change the subject, it was just too cringe the thought of adding another unnecessary expense to this young mans financial diet! And even if the pipe replaced the cigs and vaping I just still do not like the responsibility for starting someone on a vice when they are young. The people I have given pipes and tobacco have all been dads already, and at least NEARLY middle aged.
These guys are all middle aged. Neither them, nor me have been teenagers for a long time now.
 

mso489

Lifer
Feb 21, 2013
39,457
52,314
This is not the same as starting someone on pipe smoking, but my local pipe shop was cited in a letter to the editor for alienation of affection by the wife of a customer who spent all his time at the shop and had two hundred pipes. I believe I encountered this guy, but the problem was clearly all his own, and he was struggling and had it down to under one hundred pipes, but it shows how blame is sometimes deflected. You have to give people the room to make their own decisions, and make sure they, and their inner circle, know that is true, whether it is taking a job, dating someone, buying a car, or whatever. Otherwise, if it doesn't work out, you know who gets blamed.
 

warren

Lifer
Sep 13, 2013
10,462
11,398
I'm simply not an enabler and could take no joy in assisting others in wasting money by burning it up. I do it, happily but, I draw the line at assisting others. It's my wee vice and not for sharing. I see no personal satisfaction in such. If an established smoker asks an opinion on a blend, brand or such, I'll provide an answer but, that's as far as I'll go.
 
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Mar 29, 2016
1,003
5,506
I help with advice those interested in smoking a pipe. Not to start with an Aromatic and that the price of a pipe doesn't always reflect a better smoke. Advice about packing, lighting, tamping and smoking cadence, in short, the basics. I'd rather that a person smokes a pipe or cigars than cigarettes, it's healthier and cheaper in the long run. Of course I warn them about addiction and put the emphasis that pipes and cigars should be used for relaxation and should be approached as a hobby for better results.
 
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saltedplug

Lifer
Aug 20, 2013
5,195
5,066
I took your approach with my step son, gave him a sample of every blend I had on hand.. plus a couple of pipes to go with the one he had. He was looking into pipes after seeing how much cigars can really cost.. for a couple of years in college he worked at a cigar store, and they let him smoke what he wanted. When that job was over he picked up a pipe.
Good cigars are more or less at least $10 each while a modest pipe prorated over a lifetime and a bowl of tobacco is at most a dollar.

Certainly good cigars can be had for less than $10, but for me that was where the magic started. There's no doubt that they are a delicious alternative to the pipe, but I wouldn't consider smoking them full-time again unless I made $75K or more.
If someone already has a toe in the pool, a foot in the door, a little assistance is a good idea. But I sure wouldn't want to recruit anyone who doesn't smoke. It's too fraught. Their spouse, their parents, their teenagers. It's all my fault.
I had to quit given respiratory problems, and there are health consequences, which while I smoked, I ignored, until the day when I couldn't, and I quit. Over two years later I still have the disabling sneezes that started then.
 

petes03

Lifer
Jun 23, 2013
6,229
10,635
The Hills of Tennessee
If someone already has a toe in the pool, a foot in the door, a little assistance is a good idea. But I sure wouldn't want to recruit anyone who doesn't smoke. It's too fraught. Their spouse, their parents, their teenagers. It's all my fault.
These guys came to me with an interest in pipe smoking. I just gave them the tools they needed to get a good, educated start. Instead of bumbling around with cheap amazon pipes that don’t smoke worth a flip, and goopy, flavorless, garbage tobacco, I gave them something decent. That’s something I wish someone had done for me when I first started. I never had someone to show me the finer points. Like I said, these guys were already smokers, they were just looking for something different/better than what they were already doing. The cigar guy was frustrated by the expensive and comparatively limited variety of cigars, the vape guy also dabbled in cigars, but didn’t like the expense, the cig guy wanted to find something to get him off the nails and that would help him relax without relying on alcohol as much. These guys are all close friends of mine, and have always admired my pipe collection, and have always had an interest in it. They all just happened to decide to take the plunge at the same time.
 

canucklehead

Lifer
Aug 1, 2018
2,036
9,188
Alberta
The pastor of my church is a big LOTR and Tolkien fan, and other than special occasion cigars smokes almost exclusively churchwardens and aromatic English blends. I just gave him a baggie of Gawith Dark Scented Flake tonight, we'll see how that works out.

I have made several small homemade cob pipes for friends that have expressed interest, and gifted them with a few pipe cleaners, a carved stick tamper, and a baggie of whatever blend I have open that they like the smell of me smoking.
 
Jul 17, 2017
1,399
5,078
NV
pencilandpipe.home.blog
I always recommend an mm cob and an oz each of super Balkan and ps navy flake. So far the only person I've introduced to pipes who didn't fall in love with them is the one guy i gave a briar pipe to. He's an avid cigar smoker though.
 
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Ctbill

Starting to Get Obsessed
Sep 6, 2019
285
776
CT & VT
I’ve had a number of folks ask about pipe smoking, what & where to buy, etc. My personal rule is to never “start them” with a gifted pipe or tobacco. Gotta have skin in the game...Once they commit and buy their own starter set (whatever price point that may entail), I will THEN start giving or mailing tobacco samples & pipes!
 
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