Many years ago when I first entered the tobacco industry, a rolling connoisseur named Chandler showed me his pride and joy. It was a 1970’s era CLUB® brand large metal rolling tray. He showed me how it was from Italy and the edges had been designed with extra height and rounded corners to ensure no tobacco got stuck anywhere. It was a rare tray indeed. In the early 1990’s a company called Music City Marketing sold a melamine version of the CLUB® tray, but it was shorter and would get scratched during use (leading to small amounts of melamine perhaps mixing with tobacco, according to Chandler).
A couple years ago I went out for drinks with an old friend (Ted from HQ). He was sharing ideas with me and brought up “Hey Josh, you really should make a new version of the original Club® rolling tray”.
I commented about the various trays that I already sell but he insisted that there was simply nothing else in existence that was as perfect for rolling as the original CLUB® metal rolling tray. I knew Ted was right and I knew what had to be done. I searched online and was able to find an antique store in North Carolina that was selling an original CLUB® tray. They wanted $500 for it! I was only able to talk them down to $440 – they knew the value of that tray. I then sent the tray to an associate in Shanghai; these are the same people who make the metal round ashtrays that we’ve been selling for years with great fanfare.
I insisted that the tray be made of very high quality and thickness metal with perfectly curved corners (no creases!). They tried to talk me out of it because this was clearly going to be an expensive item.
If I would just lower the thickness it could reduce the cost almost in half. I held firm- this tray had to be strong and perfect. My goal was to be able to impress rolling connoisseurs like Chandler and Ted, plus bring this awesome style of tray to a whole new generation of smokers.
The RAW® trays finally arrived in our warehouse and the first thing I did was make Joe Rojo send one to Ted. Ted’s review was ”Tell Josh he really did it- these trays are F-ing perfect”. I only hope that 40 years from now rolling connoisseurs are still cherishing and collecting my new trays.