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“Treating people fairly is at the very heart of our business”

Is it possible for a vape company to operate sustainably, with high standards for how both staff and customers are treated? Sheffield company Mirage is aiming high. 

Mirage head office

Mirage head office on Broadfield Road.

The vape industry has exploded in recent years and there are concerns about its sustainability. At Mirage, a local company that has been around since 2008, there has therefore been a concerted effort to minimise plastic and electronic waste. An accredited member of the Made in Sheffield brand, the company’s ethos goes far beyond taking pride in the quality of their products.

Disposable vape devices have grown in popularity. In response, Mirage developed a range of e-liquids, known as Juicebar, for their reusable devices. Juicebar e-liquids mimic the flavours of the popular brands, encouraging customers to move away from disposables.

Mirage stores also take in electronic waste and reuse as much as possible, with recycling bins in every office and plastic boxes repurposed in their warehouse. If they create waste that they cannot repurpose, they do everything they can to get it to someone who can. If you make a purchase at their stores, you will go away with a paper bag, not a plastic one, and Mirage keeps longevity in mind, thoroughly testing all products to ensure reliability so that they don’t contribute to the landfill problem.

As well as reducing waste, Mirage works to reduce its carbon footprint, especially where product sourcing is concerned. This can be challenging “when the majority of products in our industry are not manufactured within the UK,” the company tells us.

All of Mirage's e-liquids are manufactured on their Broadfield Road site in Sheffield and the product packaging they use is all made in the UK too.

Mirage Logo Black White

But, of course, ethics must go beyond the products a company manufactures. So looking at how it treats its staff and customers, how does Mirage measure up?

Clearly, the principle of only selling great products is not just an environmental concern. Products being sold “at fair prices, with all third-party sourced products tested extensively for quality and safety” has clear benefits for customers too.

There is full traceability throughout the manufacturing process, from ingredients to bottle, independent lab testing and compliance monitoring, and the site operates to ISO:90001 standards to ensure the highest quality at every stage.

Mirage's employee handbook outlines sales methods that can or cannot be used to secure sales, with the “hard sell” not being permitted. After all, nobody likes dealing with pushy sales staff.

Recommendations can only be made if they are appropriate for a customer’s needs and staff are instructed to never sell nicotine products to anyone not a current or former smoker.

In addition, it's made clear to employees that the company’s expectations for how customers are treated are high and that there is a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, whether towards customers or colleagues. This includes prohibiting online bullying or the sharing of discriminatory social media content for staff who display their employment at Mirage publicly.

Mirage aims to nurture staff development, offering relevant NVQ training and promoting people internally as much as possible. The company is encouraged by the fact that staff frequently start working for Mirage at a young age and stay for many years. They pay above the National Living Wage and refuse to penalise young staff by paying them less. Mirage never uses zero-hours contracts.

“Our culture is very much one of inclusion and respect, our leaders are trained to manage staff with understanding and compassion, treating people fairly is at the very core of our business.”

Learn more

There are Mirage vape stores across Sheffield and the company’s products, including the Juicebar e-liquids, can also be bought online.

Content from our allies

Now Then is funded by our allies - independent traders, community groups, charities and local government - who share our values. This content was produced with them, but we had editorial control. Ally mentioned in this article:

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