Journalist: How did you start developing this concept of luxury and tobacco?
Nicholas Weil: I started with a 1.40 x 1.40 gondola in Belgrano in 2005 and have been a build to this day since then. We later moved to a larger venue, with a bar, a place to smoke cigars and it is still a success today. Later we opened a store in Recoleta. We had a year and a half of work, a very significant investment from 2012 to its inauguration in 2014. Then, with Sky Bar we started with a project that aimed at Epicurean, Bon Vivent, an idea that would unite luxury, gastronomy, private and social events with one of the most important cigar cellars in Latin America . That’s where the concept ended.
Q: Do you have references from abroad?
NW: There are no external references. This is a unique concept in the world. Similar things, but none as exploited or conceptually developed as Vuelta Abajo. We return to the concept of the gondola from the very beginning for atomization in some places. We start with small spaces and then see how it works. At Nordelta we have an interactive gondola, along with the machines we develop for selling products with 50-inch screens. It’s a minispace, the concept reduced to a minimalistic expression.
Q: What can be inferred about the new location in Vicente López?
NW: It would be of great importance, with three floors, with by far the most important cigar cellar in the region, with over a million cigars from around the world. It will be one of the largest cellars in the world. We also completed the concept polishing, adjustment and training. This is a concept we want to export. A luxury space that brings together the experiences of the palate, whiskey, caviar, cocktails, cigars with art and innovation, through a club of gourmets.
Question: Are you in talks to take it to other countries?
NW: Yes, for the Middle East, which is a growing market. Today we have many customers in Asia Pacific and the Middle East. We are looking at something closer in Uruguay as well.
Q: You were referring to art, how it merges into concept.
NW: My business is an antique restorer. I am an art collector and cabinet maker. Wood is covered in all the spaces, there are objects from my collection, luxury and art. Innovation is because we are always on the lookout for techniques and technologies. Like the Nordelta vending machine. It is even more possible to pay with cryptocurrencies and we are about to organize an event with the members club with NFT. It is bringing different worlds closer and also training.
Q: What has changed in that luxury market since 2005 when you opened the first location to date?
NW: It evolved a lot. Luckily we’re brimming with experiences, something that is fundamental in selling products today. Amidst the changes, until the pandemic made a cigar sold online, the public needed to smell, see the product. Necessity and imprisonment made it a blast to find and buy on the web. We have tripled sales since the pandemic. People couldn’t go out, or share spaces and it was introspection. We also deal with online activities, Zoom, virtual testing and support for our customers.
Q: How did these changes happen to customers?
NW: What we did was looking at consumer behavior. The cigar smoker is so diligent that a strong relationship is formed with the customer. So, when they smoked and asked us for a drink, they might say, “You must have such whiskey.” In that “must” we were putting the concept together. The gastronomy and bar in the Corrientes building called for other types of experiences, many with female audiences. We are putting together sensory experiences with Chanel, around creating perfume by pairing it with tobacco. There is a huge market with female audience.
Question: Is tobacco still associated with the masculine?
NW: Tobacco shops were anti-women places, where women were not allowed to enter. At the Sky Bar in the Komega Building, where it was another night, DJing and marketing work, we managed to enlist the women. Every 15 days we organize luxury experience events for 25 people, 50% of whom are women.
Question: What is involved in those experiences?
NW: Introduction of tobacco, chocolate etc. Complex pairings where these products interfere. Tobacco as a table product, as a party finish, which is what it was traditionally used for in Europe. Tobacco is the main business, but a lot of situations arise around it, be it networking, meetings; And when it’s not introspection, it exists in doing.