Today we’d like to introduce you to Lew Reaves.
Hi Lew, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I had my first Smoked Old Fashioned at The Ritz Carlton Amelia Island in 2018 and I was hooked! My engineering background had me immediately thinking of how to make a cocktail smoker for personal use. My first design was the glass cloche style. I played around with a few designs of it, making it “Extra” by adding the light show. Soon after perfecting the glass cloche smoker, I designed other styles including the cigar box style. At the time I was designing cocktail smokers my wife (Mara) was in the wedding rental industry. Mara had the initial idea to rent out my cocktail smoking services for weddings. COVID hit and the wedding industry was put on a halt. Bars closed temporarily and people were making cocktails at home. I had already had requests to sell my cocktail smokers and Mara and I decided it was a great time to rebrand Smokin’ Lew and focus on selling my unique smokers. Since 2020 I have been selling through Etsy and direct sales via social media and emails. I do “smoke shows” regularly at The Decantery in Amelia Island and have also been at The Mermaid Bar, Amelia Tavern, Manifest Distillery, and a few other local bars. I also still do the occasional wedding and event, the largest event I’ve done a smoke show for was the 2021 Cowford Ball. Mara has become the social media manager for Smokin’ Lew and answers the majority of emails. She also helped with the design of the newest smoker; The Top Off. We have both been amazed at how well Smokin’ Lew has done and are excited to see what the future holds for our business.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
We’ve been fortunate to have had a mostly smooth road for Smokin’ Lew. There have been some challenges, mostly with parts supply. I try and think what “will be the most popular smoker” and then determine the parts needed to support the expected number of orders.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I am a retired Navy veteran. I served 22 years in the Navy and retired in 2009. I am currently employed full time for Westinghouse as the Employee Concerns Manager. Smokin’Lew started as a hobby and grew into a small business.
Mara is a SAHM and social media manager for Smokin’ Lew.
If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
I grew up in Jacksonville. I was into music; played the guitar and violin. I also enjoyed surfing and working on cars.
Mara grew up in Amelia Island and spent as much time as possible at the beach!
- Website: Smokinlew.com
- Instagram: Smokinlew
- Facebook: Smokinlew