Rebel Sticks! The Smokers Revenge.

It was a long time ago that I was addicted to tobacco. Yes, it's been about fifteen years since I had a cigarette. Quitting was extremely hard for me, but I knew I was hurting myself, my wife and potentially my four boys. My wife and kids say I was really grumpy and hard to get along with, but it was worth it.

Before I quit the Ontario government had tobacco companies print offensive ads on their cigarette packages. Pictures of old people with yellow teeth falling out, sickly looking babies being born with a jaundice colouring added for effect. 

In around that time, my business was slow, I was running out of money and having the only income at home I had to find a solution. My business education taught me that from problems arise opportunities. Being pissed about the new laws regarding packaging for cigarettes I looked at it as an opportunity. As a result I came up with a product called Rebel Sticks. Basically, they were stickers that would cover the offensive part of my cigarette pack with funny or provocative quotes.

With my last $600.00 I approached a printing company, struck a deal, and Rebel Sticks were born.

I brained stormed night and day, trying to come up with cute and funny sayings or graphics that would attract buyers to my product.
Here are some examples.
Graphic of skull and bones followed by " HANDS OFF!"

"First Hand Smoke... It's the Best!"

"I'll quit after I finish this pack"

Graphic of a grizzly bear followed with, " Don't mess with me"
"Smoking is like sex... the second one is better"
"Keep a farmer working... light another"

"I like mine long and warm, with a red end"


"After sex... take two"

I can quit smoking, but you'll always be ugly!"

Graphic of Sherlock Holmes,  "Taxes?... Smuggling?... Hmmm!

"I can smoke ten an hour all it takes is willpower"

Graphic of a bucking donkey,  " I can't kick the habit"


Graphic of a turkey,  "I get no respect"

"Life's a drag and so are non smokers"

"So fully packed!

I went from store to store around Ottawa selling my stickers and made a profit. From the profit I improved my product and printed off a second batch. To sell the second batch I had to travel further away from home. This continued into a final printing that had me travelling 500 hundred miles from home and making a reasonable profit. In two months I made about $7,000.00 mostly cash, kept my household afloat. It was a real learning experience as I travelled through different parts of the province. 

There is a rhythm to life and the behaviour of people and it becomes so obvious if you travel from place to place trying to observe and understand human interactions. As I went from town to town this understanding became multifaceted but simplified at the same time.  Quite beautiful and powerful if you can take the time to figure it out.

Eventually, the magazine companies saw what I was doing and made their own versions of my product and froze me out. I developed neon coloured plastic sleeves to cover the packs, the magazine companies did the same and again froze me out. 

My construction business grew thanks to a large  city contract and I dropped Rebel Sticks.  Profit is not reserved just to money, it can be anything that improves your understanding or life.

Uploaded 03/02/2012
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