Today we’d like to introduce you to Kai Nelson.
Hi Kai, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
My cigar journey started in 2018 after my posts on @cigargodkai went viral and I started to build an audience. I had no idea how extensive the cigar culture was. I started ASR Group to cultivate and curate events for like-minded individuals, partnerships, and brands in the cigar industry.
In 2021, I was a brand ambassador and host at Philly Cigar Week which was my first time ever attending cigar week. I had the most amazing time meeting cigar enthusiasts from all over the world and started planning my own cigar week in DC.
DMV (DC) Cigar Week launched officially in August of 2021 and seven days worth of events celebrating cigar culture, partnerships, and cigar businesses with cigar family from all over the world. It was extremely successful and brought together hundreds of people.
I’ve done many regional and local events in every city including partnerships with cigar brands, a successful summer rooftop cigar series at Eaton Hotel in DC, and now regularly host cigar happy hour at The Republic Garden in Silver Spring.
I am now gearing up for DMV Cigar Week August 15-21, 2022 in DC and I am so excited! I’ve also launched my own cigar brand as well and have a lot of different events rolling out this summer with various partnerships.
I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road at all. Creating content for different cigar brands and partnerships is one thing but being the face and curator of events is another….especially when you are doing something as big as launching DC’s first cigar week. Not many people thought I would pull it off but that one group (Family, Friends, MadFlavorTV, Smoking Mirrors) that pushed and believed in me helped me push it to execution.
The cigar industry has notoriously been a man’s world and its not easy being a woman and making a name and space for yourself. It’s a harder climb but I refuse to give up. I see the value in ASR Group and what I am creating. Luckily we have several women working hard to make more space for us in the cigar industry like Susie Mooney (owner and creator of Lit Torch cigar app), Heraficionado (Octavia Toliver co-founded one ATL’s first cigar week), Sandra Sizzle (who’s making waves with her Ms. Novelty experience and tour).
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
ASR Group was founded in 2019 and curates the hottest and most exclusive event in every major city. We specialize in brand launches, marketing content, and exclusive events with our partners.
What sets us apart is ASR’s reach is undeniable. Our partnerships are solid and it has taken our brand to new heights in the last two years. I am most proud of the resilience and ability to take a risk to push the brand further.
I am most proud of our successful DC brand launch of Eighty5 cigars (Ochocinco’s cigar line) and being the founder of DC’s first cigar week “DMV Cigar Week”. I took a huge risking doing both and it paid off tremendously.
I want your readers to keep up to date with us by following us on IG at @Asrcigar and @DMVCigarWeek.
You can also follow us on Facebook on ASR Group and DMV Cigar Week.
What was your favorite childhood memory?
My favorite childhood memory is playing outside with my brother and just being a child and carefree. I’m older now of course, but I still have that same child-like spirit. I try not to let things get to me, stay carefree as much as possible, and explore and take risks in business.
Mike Ware (M&M Photography)
Norman Walker (Light Walker Photography)