The electronic cigarette – or vaping – business is a rising space in the anti-smoking UK, one that usually calls for a double take when you see people having a puff inside public places before realising it’s an e-cigarette.
Observing the trend, Sadia and Almas quit their roles in immigration law to open a “vaping bar” in London, described as “the first in the country to feature mixologists who allow customers to choose the exact combination of flavours for their vaping device.”
The decision to change their professions came after Sadia’s husband Yousuf started developing his own e-liquids and used friends and family as guinea pigs, thus the idea for a new business was created.
Sadia said: “There is nowhere else in the UK where you can walk into a vape bar, tell a mixologist what kind of flavours you like and have it made right in front of you to try. Our mixologists can combine up to three flavours with your choice of base mix and nicotine strength, and create something totally unique to the individual vaper.
“This is why we decided to start Avant Garde, as the luxurious option of vaping where you can have gourmet e-liquids made especially for your taste in a relaxed social setting.”
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The bar is situated near Oxford Street and houses flavours including vanilla custard and lemon meringue pie, while Sadia assured that all products are alcohol and chemical-free as well as vegan and halal-friendly.
“We wanted to create flavours that are associated with indulgence and luxury and these sweet blends really feel like you are enjoying a dessert, without the calories,” she added.
The sister act hopes to convince more women to take up vaping in favour of smoking traditional cigarettes. A special Wonder Woman-inspired “Lasso of Truth” e-liquid will be launched on International Woman’s Day on 8 March to encourage the uptake.
Sadia explained: “We will be donating a portion of the profits from all sales of this blend directly to womensaid.org.uk for the whole month of March.”
“It seems fitting to support the female community since I am running Avant Garde with my sister. We work incredibly well together and are both similar and know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. I couldn’t ask for a better partner.”
The idea is to prevent the new activity from being considered a male-only pastime, thus a ladies night will be introduced in March to build a female community and give women workshops and demonstrations of new products.