About Zee Shawn
Before we travel down the road of Zee Cigs and it's creator Shawn K. we should explain how this website came to be.
Back in 2009 Shawn's biggest vise has always been smoking with a personal belief of never stopping, a vise picked up at a very early age Shawn knew nicotine gum and nicotine patches would never cut it. When a childhood friend Mikey sent Shawn a persuasive email to embrace this new product called Electronic Cigarettes as Mikey himself had made the switch.
Since Mikey and Shawn shared smokes back in the high school bathroom days he took the advice dearly as Mikey has been a Chicago Firefighter for many years and firefighters are usually heavy smokers, if he could do it so could Shawn who had now been smoking over twenty years and at two packs a day.
If not for this trusted friendship this website would not exist. This prompted Shawn to really look into the eCig, after a week of research Shawn was left mystified at the lack of simple yes and no answers regarding eCigs and the lack of honest reviews and advice for smokers looking to try e-Cigarettes. Shawn then built the ZeeCigs website with the intent of educating fellow smokers and the average Joe's like himself regarding eCigs.
Shawn decided to make YouTube video's logging his experience. To his surprise tens of thousands of viewers became highly interested in his progress. At episode five Shawn received so many "help me buy the right e-cig" emails he decided to open the Smokeless Shop section so fellow smokers could purchase well made product that actually worked, a simple and trustworthy avenue for Ecig users.
This decision did not come without YouTube viewer criticism, a few contacts voiced their skepticism due to the website's Smokeless Shop section. With so many long term smokers at 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years of tobacco use were taking the eCig leap because of the video's and Shawn's Shop the criticism was well worth it.
Making a living and helping others is a dream come true, it's not just a shop and website, it's an actual person to talk to about using an ecig as Shawn has been through the transition and can help newcomers by providing helpful advice. The balance of true advice has been kept intact.
When Shawn Started ZeeCigs it was under a different name and do to one keyword in the logo he found himself fighting a legal battle with a tobacco giant, yes David and Goliath does come to mind. Also during this time the FDA was banning all importation, a hard start for anyone but Shawn as a eCig user himself believed in them.
The waters calmed as the FDA lost the fight in Federal Court and Shawn settled with the Tobacco Company and agreed to change the logo to Zee Cigs which has now been federally trademarked and registered.
Shawn started ZeeCigs in the suburbs of Chicago ILL but in 2011 moved his wife, his buddy Jaco (125 pound Chocolate Lab) and ZeeCigs to Austin Texas. There were several reasons for the move with shipping being a primary reason. Chicago's bitter winters did at times cause shipping delays which is not an issue in Austin Texas.
Shawn is originally from Chicago Illinois. With regards to a work ethic Shawn started working at age 12 as a bicycle mechanic and by age 16 he was working on some of the top bicycles of the day traveling from his home near Montrose and Western in Chicago's inner city to Oak Park Cyclery in Oak Park IL a daily bicycle ride over over 20 miles.
During this time he also worked his way up the ranks of Boy Scouts landing him a summer job as a staff member at Fort Dearborn Cub Scout Camp in Des Plaines ILL. He was also the leader of a Order of the Arrow Indian Dance Team that traveled around the greater Chicago area area performing weekdays and and almost every weekend. This was Shawn's first exposure to public speaking and entertainment, yes in a loin cloth and all!
In later years Shawn also worked as a full time carpet layer, valet parker, waiter and yes even a sandwich artist at Subway. Shawn could not afford college but did not let that stop him from experiencing college life. He moved to Morgantown West Virginia near WVU and worked several odd jobs to support himself. Shawn later moved back to Chicago and worked his way up in the company/corporate way of life nearing a career for life.
In the 1990’s Shawn took what some would consider a irresponsible risk, and transitioned from a solid company position into an entry level entertainment position as Cruise Staff on the world's largest cruise line with a whopping weekly pay of $175 which required him to work 70-90 hours a week, working non stop 7 days a week without a day off for a minimum of 8 months (Ship's Contract). His personal record of working without a single day off turned out to be 15 months and 17 days.
Many envision working on a cruise ship as a dream life when in fact it's very long hours and a workload that would leave anyone weary, but more importantly it was a great place to work for advancement as you were treated fairly and your hard work was rewarded with promotions and seniority. Shawn's personal record of working 15 months non stop resulted in propelling him from his entry level position of Social Host onboard to the position of Acting Cruise Director while only being with the company for 15 months.
Shawn used his skills to balance the need to sustain excellent levels of quality entertainment and maintain the satisfaction of guests, at a time when many other cruise lines were struggling with providing this same level of service causing many lines to go out of business, the job was far from secure. The cruise industry is known for its emphasis on guest satisfaction and is very critical of its employees to deliver this level 24/7 as you are never off duty
Cruise lines face constant competition for repeat business, and it takes an especially astute individual to balance the demands for revenue and the need to provide an unforgettable vacation experience for guests, in an environment where everything can change instantly due to unforeseen circumstances (like a hurricane, medical emergency or even a cruise ship fire. Shawn was aboard the M/S Ecstasy in the cruise ship fire of 1998 in Miami Florida. A disaster that lasted days for the crew and leaving any logical person walking away from cruise ship life, Shawn took safety seriously and understood he was not just an employee but a crew member of a vessel which meant protecting others no matter what the price.
With success in the field came new opportunities and extensive responsibilities. Shawn was called upon to fulfill positions with increased levels of responsibility and recognition including Emcee of Ceremonies, Event Coordinator, Group Coordinator, Assistant Entertainment Manager, Backstage Production Manager of Las Vegas style revue shows and ultimately Entertainment Director. Shawn created, hosted and coordinated hundred of small and large events involving hundreds to thousands of guests.
During Shawn's career at sea he took his onboard experience and success in the entertainment industries to take advantage of new opportunities presented to him by transitioning into other positions with independent companies onboard. The reason for this transition was that it allowed Shawn and his new bride Maggie to sail the sea's together and also work together. Prior to this they were in separate departments resulting in being apart for months at a time as a ship's transfer could happen and often did at a moment's notice. Shawn and Maggie sailed aboard 33 ships on several different cruise lines over the course of twelve years logging over one million miles at sea.
Shawn and Maggie later formed a cruise travel agency which gave crew members a future on land helping them establish a living by providing their experience to future and past cruise line guests which provides the option to book a cruise with seasoned professionals who provide service at a Concierge level.
In 2009 Shawn's was busy working on a concept RV tour promoting vacationing on a cruise ship which would have spanned across America and taken two years to complete. The tour featured "Deck Party" style entertainment with a theme of "Free Fun For All". The three massive RV's were to be equipped with SVO fuel systems (Straight Vegetable Oil) solar and wind power and would have even touted a mini blimp! During this time Shawn was made aware of Electronic Cigarettes and on his off hours made the YouTube videos which was the the birth of Zee Cigs.
Shawn decided to halt the RV Tour concept allowing him to apply himself to ZeeCigs, Shawn admits ZeeCigs is not nearly as exciting as cruise ship life or a RV tour across America but has found his presentation skills are a valued asset to individuals seeking advice and assistance regarding electronic cigarettes.
Shawn has been with his longtime sweetheart Maggie since 1996, through up's and down’s he understands that his success is directly attributed to Maggie who is his best friend. They met in Chicago ILL on a double date (both were with other dates) and the relationship took off from there. They both entered Cruise Ships near the same time with Shawn being employed first.
Maggie and Shawn work equally as hard at Zee Cigs. Shawn and Maggie's dog Jaco was always on standby for cleaning up of popcorn that may have fallen on the floor until his passing in July of 1012. If you do not understand how popcorn and eCigs go together than you have not received an order from ZeeCigs but you will understand once you get your first order.
Zee Cigs informal mascot and provider of free Zee dog treats offered on this website, Jaco Sr. passed away in July of 2012 after 10 wonderful years. Shawn and Maggie now have two new members added to the family, Jaco Jr. and Molly Marie who have assumed responsibility of overseeing popcorn clean up duties and providing free dog treats to our customers with four legged family members.