This NASA analyst left a $200,000 job to sell cigars
When I think of cigars, I think of endless tobacco fields and warehouses where the leaves are dry. I think of the outdoor plants where dozens of “rolls” are neat in the good spin of the air fans, while the “readers” – the readers – help workers pass the time by reading aloud Of newspapers and books.
I believe the tobacco workshops of wood panels, such as Nat Sherman of New York, Curtis W. Draper in the District lined boxes and Georgetown tobacco glass filled with stuffed boxes filled. I think of humidors that are rich flavors of tobacco.
What he did was a successful cigar brand. His Fratello Cigars, based in Springfield, Virginia, is on its way this year to sell 2 million Chicago to Amsterdam. This represents about 250,000 households and about $ 1 million in gross income.
The former NASA project analyst turned away a $ 200,000 (including benefits) job last fall to pursue a society whose assets are more his wisdom and perseverance.
Omar Frias retired a $ 200,000 (including benefits) job from NASA last fall to pursue a society whose assets are more his wisdom and perseverance. (Bill O’Leary / The Washington Post)
“I loved the culture,” said Frías, who was attracted by the nostalgic atmosphere of the tobacco trade.
The 38-year-old businessman grew up next to a tobacco shop in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, where he was excited by cigar smokers who déchaussaient in their big cars and hats with curly edges.
“I smoked cigars for 20 years and have always been fascinated by the industry,” he said. “I liked the way I was going to see my grandfather smoking a cigar. It was a thing to do.
“I’m a moved man,” said the former 6-foot-9 professional basketball player, who was heading for his ninth-quarter cigar when we discussed last week.
“The work ethic is … He takes our products, our business practices and customer relationships, I wish there were more hours in a day.”
The company’s three employees – including his wife’s office, Ivonne – are running out of his home and a small warehouse in Springfield where he stores his three premium cigar lines made by Nicaragua and Dominican. They earn between $ 8 and $ 10 each.
There is no secret to what is happening here. Just persistence. Folk. Endless tour of cigar shows and factories in Central America.
Weekends on the roads, cold tobacco retail stores. The same work that led to smaller companies. The same thing that took him from a payment of $ 41,000 NASA a year several times left the time.
“The more I wanted to work at NASA, I get higher direction,” he said.
“The more I work to sell my cigar, the more it generates the greater benefit to me.” It’s that simple, I get up in the morning trying to get ahead and move around the world. ”
Like most retailers, it is a difficult business. The key is to reduce manufacturing costs. The cost of making a cigar can range from 30 cents using poor quality tobacco for $ 5 with the best containers and the top rollers, highly skilled people who make them by hand.
Cigars are like wine. This is age, quality, wealth, alchemy. These fall in the profit margin of each cigar, as Frias refused to detail. The outer packaging of each cigar is a key ingredient – and more expensive – because that is what the customer sees.