Whether you are a retail, online, or hybrid cigar shop, there comes a time when you might decide that you want to develop a private label brand so you can have unique products and be more competitive with other shops. To be clear, we are discussing products manufactured by one company for sale under another company’s brand name. We are not talking about “special occasion” cigars personalized for events such as weddings, birth announcements, or corporate gifts.

Private labels, or “white-labeling”, is a common practice in the cigar industry. In fact, some of the most well-known brands, such as Ashton, Gurkha, Cornelius &  Anthony, and Tatuaje, are white-labeled. Despite what you may think, these brands don’t own farms, nor do they manufacture their products. For example, My Father Cigars, founded by Jose Pepin Garcia, by makes the La Aroma de Cuba/Del Caribe, San Cristobal/Paradiso, and Benchmade for Ashton Cigars. By purchasing cigars from manufacturers known for the quality of their products, then selling them under their own brand label, companies have the advantage of offering retailers and consumers a large bandwidth in the smoothness, flavor, aroma, and size of exclusive cigars from a variety of different countries, creating brand loyalty.

Certainly, not everyone has the funds, the knowledge, or the connections to own a farm or operate a manufacturing facility. If you have done your homework and believe creating a high-end private label brand will significantly add to your bottom line and your status in the cigar industry, then do what some of the major cigar brands do: find a factory that will manufacture your cigars for you. Develop your custom tobacco blend on your own, with help from master blenders, or have it blended for you. Trademark a great name, design packaging, and you will have your own proprietary cigar line.

Every manufacturer has different service offerings. Some offer hand-rolled, others offer machine-rolled, and some offer both options. Many manufacturers have minimum orders in place. If you have limited resources and a minimum order is concerning, there are still options of which you can consider. Lopez-Tabac and Cigar Conexion will provide quality private label cigars in small quantities of only 50 boxes. However, in this scaled-down process, your ability to customize your private label cigars will be limited. You may be required to use one of the manufacturer’s pre-blended tobacco options rather than developing a custom-blend. Antillian Cigar Corporation in Miami, Florida, sells cigars under their own labels and offers private labels of their own Nicaraguan blends. Companies like this offer advantages to smaller shops, such as no minimum orders and customizable labels.

When you’re ready to launch your white-label cigar(s), use these four easy steps to develop your private label brand:

  1. Determine your tobacco preferences: Choose whether you want a custom blend or a pre-selected blend. Being the tobacco blend is a determinating factor when selecting the size and style of a cigar, it’s important to consider these factors at this stage in the process as well.
  2. Choose a  manufacturer: Your order size and your tobacco preference will be a determining factor as you research and select a manufacturer. It’s also important that you decide if your private label will be hand or machine rolled. Knowing your priorities ahead of time will make researching and selecting a manufacturer easier.
  3. Develop your white-label brand. Many manufacturers offer a catalog of cigar bands, wrappers, and packaging styles to select from. Most manufacturers provide a selection of styles and sizes of labels, cigar bands, and packaging you can select from and customize with your white-label brand.

    1. Determine the name of your private label cigar(s).
    2. Develop your logo.
    3. Select a cigar band.
    4. Design your labels & packaging.
    5. Pick your wrapper(s) from your available options.
  4. Place the order.

Launching your private label brand can be so simple you can do it online. Just choose a white label company that has cigar blends you’d love to call your own, find out minimum quantities, then, if they have an online Private Label Form, fill it out, and soon you’ll have a competitive edge along with some mighty fine bragging rights.

Once you start promoting your exclusive brand, you’ll find that not only are your regular customers enthusiastic, but you can also expect to attract new cigar aficionados as well. As your sales increase, so will your need to accept a variety of payment options. Anytime you are selling cigars online, it’s important to know that online cigar sales are considered high-risk. If your brick-and-mortar business has a traditional merchant account and the processor becomes aware you’re selling on your website, you are at risk of being shut down without notice. If you’re an online cigar business, you may be finding it difficult to get a reliable payment processor. While a white-label cigar line can enhance your brand, being unable to accept payments because your merchant processing account is shutdown can be far more damaging to your brand. Not only does it inconvenience customers, but it causes distrust of your brand and e-commerce website as the customer can’t complete their order.

While some processors accept high-risk accounts, not all high-risk processors specialize in the cigar and tobacco industry. An example of one that does is Premium Tobacco Payment Processing (PTP). Their solutions easily integrate with e-commerce platforms and provide a reliable payment processing solution to keep your business running efficiently.  As a Premium Cigar Association(PCA) partner, PTP is proud to offer PCA members the lowest processing rates for the industry, with rates and fees guaranteed never to increase. And they never require a contract or charge a cancellation fee. If you are or plan to become a PCA member, PTP will cover your first-year MasterCard registration fee for card-not-present sales.

PTP is powered by Nuvo Merchant Services, a leading credit card processing company with over 30 years of experience in several business verticals, now bringing their expertise and stability to the cigar and tobacco industry. If you are adding e-commerce to your website or searching for an online retail cigar merchant processor, call Premium Tobacco Payment Processing at (321) 972-9838.