Style of Mojo’s Chi You is a beautiful and hard-hitting mechanical mod. Its popularity is completely deserved. Its also no surprise that the Chi You has been cloned by several Chinese manufacturers. Recently, there has been some Facebook drama surrounding Chi You clones. While I believe that Style of Mojo has every right to be upset about the situation, I also believe that the company is handling things poorly. Before I get to that, let’s talk about clones in a general sense.
“China clones” are a double-edged sword. On one hand, many clones mimic every element of the original, right down to the logos, engravings, and fonts. Many mod makers feel that these clones rip off the considerable work that went into designing the originals and many also believe that clones devalue the original’s worth. Clones have also been used to fool customers; some dishonest vape-shop owners try to pass off clones as the real deal. Buyers that think they’re buying an authentic item and unwittingly purchase a clone can unfairly get a negative impression of the originator. Lastly, most clones are inferior to the original in terms of workmanship and performance.
On the other hand, clones are more accessible, both in terms of price and availability. High-end mechanical mods can cost upwards of $200, while many clones cost $15 to $50. Many high-end mods are released with limited availability, making them difficult to purchase. Chinese manufacturers have immense capacity and can crank out clones at a far greater pace than the original mod makers can. In rare cases, like the EHPro EA Mod, a clone can outperform the original. While it’s fantastic that vaping has created financial opportunities for many mod makers, at the end of the day it’s all about staying off of cigarettes; because of their lower price and superior availability, clones potentially help more people stay with vaping and away from smoking.
Personally, I don’t mind basic clones. After all, there’s only so much you can do with a metal cylinder. That said, copying logos, engravings, and fonts is just garbage. I’m particularly amused by the Chinese clones of Filipino mods that use the sun from the Filipino flag; depending on your point of view, it’s either funny or sad that Chinese companies are copying that too. Whether it’s videogames, comics, or movies, I’m almost always biased for the creator. It’s one reason I’m a big fan of Janty, the creator of the original eGo e-cigarette and RY4 e-liquid. For the most part, I feel that Chinese manufacturers are unfairly exploiting the creations of mod makers and they should absolutely be pissed off about it. Having said that, I believe that Style of Mojo has taken things too far.
In a Facebook post dated August 20, 2013, Style of Mojo’s CEO posted a list of people that have purchased Chi You clones through a group buy. While I understand his (completely justifiable) frustration with cloners, taking it out on consumers is simply misguided. In most cases, the people on the list have used their real names. They are now open to ridicule from Mojo’s 299 followers and anyone else that reads the post. Why do that? In some cases, these people were never going to buy a real Chi You because of cost. In other cases, Style of Mojo has lost potential customers because of the public outing. If anything the company should be going after the companies that clone its products, like EHPro, Hcigar, and Tobeco. It would have been far more meaningful if the company went through each clone and posted the aspects that are inferior to the original. Antagonizing consumers is…not the smartest thing do.
While many proud Chi You owners are backing Style of Mojo, there are many people that are not. Some believe that the CEO is being a bully, a brat, or a whiner. Some people that were interested in buying a Chi You no longer want one because of the CEO’s actions. The worst part is that some people only know about the Chi You and Style of Mojo because of an ill-advised Facebook post. While there’s no denying that the Chi You is a fantastic vaping device, Style of Mojo is now, to some people, “the company that’s run by that guy that made that dickish Facebook post.” That’s an unfortunate thing.