The Last Time
When it comes to promoting the All Saints Cigars’ brands, Pegg is taking advantage of modern-day platforms and tools like Instagram and podcasts in order to connect with customers. He also doesn’t discount the value of face-to-face interactions, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pegg tries to spend as much time as he can in stores where he can tell both his own story as well as that of his brand.
“You’re only as good as your last visit, your last story or the last time somebody smoked your cigar,” he says. “The competition out there is so strong, and a lot of people are coming up with innovative ideas and innovative things.”
Innovation and how to differentiate All Saints Cigars from other brands on the market are something Pegg spends a lot of time thinking about. He knows that brand fatigue is a real issue among consumers today, and it’s something he doesn’t want them to experience with his own brand. All Saints Cigars is different from other brands on the market in that Pegg is building the brand and its portfolio to be reliable, stable and basic—something that’s readily available and will have a built-in audience that continues to buy it because consumers know what to expect from the smoking experience. Innovation, as defined by Pegg, is listening to consumers and reacting appropriately.
Another important part of building a brand today is accessibility. Pegg looks at other brand owners and professionals in the cigar industry and sees the good that comes from those that engage directly with consumers.
“I mean, if you look at somebody that does a lot—like Boofy [Matt Booth]—you know, here’s a guy that’s doing jewelry, he’s doing cigars. He’s like the most colorful guy on social media with the way he posts things and will react. I think that’s important,” says Pegg.
Pegg has learned a lot about marketing, branding and promotion from watching others in the industry. From La Palina’s Sammy Phillips he’s seen how one can cross-promote with brands and products outside of cigars to build brand awareness. From Crowned Heads’ Jon Huber and Drew Estate’s Jonathan Drew, Pegg has learned how turning every person within a company into their own celebrity can help expand a company’s reach and customer base.
“Other people in the organization can be just as effective and good for the consumer as well,” Pegg says. “Not every consumer is going to connect with a brand owner, but they might connect with somebody else that’s part of that team.”
According to Pegg, every company he has worked for has had an awesome support team. As a sales rep, Pegg was well aware of how many people were involved in getting a product to a retailer. Even when Pegg was selling mutual funds, there was somebody on staff for every task from marketing to mailing to customer support. Now at All Saints Cigars, Pegg is forced to wear many hats because of the size of the company, although he shares many responsibilities with his business partners. Even though having his own brand requires him to put in a lot of time for managing the brand, Pegg gets a thrill out of having a brand to call his own.
“It’s exciting for me to be out here engaging with my old friends and meeting new friends,” he says. “This is what I love. It’s what I’ve always loved. I love people, and I love telling the story. I love listening to a story as well. It’s just wonderful to be back out here.”
Pegg, who is a self-professed numbers guy, is already looking at the trajectory ahead of All Saints Cigars and sees big things for the brand going forward. According to Pegg, All Saints Cigars is growing every month and is also finding a home among the right retailers. Despite a few hiccups he’s had to work around, such as the global COVID-19 pandemic, Pegg and his business partners are excited about what they’ve accomplished so far and whatever is ahead for the brand.
“When we made this commitment, one of the things that I said was that if we were going to do this thing full time that we had to be prepared for these hiccups,” he says. “We want to bring things on to market when they’re ready and when the consumer wants them, so it’s a juggling act right now.”
Pegg is well aware of the many challenges that come with owning a business and building a brand in a competitive market such as the cigar industry, but he’s ready to face whatever comes his way. Pegg’s peers had commented on his big return to the industry, with many asking why he decided to come back after having made a clean exit. For Pegg, All Saints Cigars is his future and his family’s future—he wouldn’t take a risk on a business if he didn’t believe in it. Pegg expects to grind 12-14 hours a day, and he expects headaches and bumpy roads, but he also expects All Saints Cigars to be here for a long time to come. Pegg is going all in on All Saints Cigars—and fully expects to win big.
This story first appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Tobacco Business magazine. Members of the tobacco industry are eligible for a complimentary subscription to our magazine. Click here for details.
– Story by Antoine Reid, senior editor and digital director for Tobacco Business Magazine. You can follow him on Instagram @editor.reid.