Jesse S. Gaddis: CEO of Bedford Slims

My NativeAdVantage: CEO, Bedford Slims


Bedford Slims CEO Jesse S. Gaddis, 33, came into entrepreneurship an advertising industry dropout. In late 2009, a combination of the recession and a string of less than favorable clients made Mr. Gaddis reconsider his career path (having just made it to the level of Creative Director). So, Jesse broke out of his creative comfort zone and took a job with the U.S. Census Bureau. Directing a staff of 156 employees, he oversaw field enumerations for all of North Brooklyn. It was at the Census that Jesse learned how operations work on a grand scale and inspired him to create his own product. While researching possible ventures, Jesse took note of both the high concentration of asthmatics and smokers in his neighborhood as well as the lack of smokeless nicotine options in his local bodegas.

Launched in early 2011, Bedford Slims is a boutique electronic cigarette brand based in Brooklyn, NY. Mr. Gaddis started the company with a personal 5k investment and worked out of a tiny apartment next to the Williamsburg Bridge. Bedford Slims has gone from 2 SKUs to over 80 different products and revenues have doubled sometimes tripled annually. While healthy business stats are cool, Jesse prefers measuring his success in counting the ever-growing list of now non-smokers who can proudly say, "Bedford Slims helped." You can learn more about Jesse's company at - All Social Networks: @bedfordslims And because a stranger is merely a friend Jesse hasn't made yet -

What do you do best?

Communicate. It is my main task to get through to a notably stubborn segment of humanity - lifetime smokers. We know this type of NRT (nicotine replacement therapy) can help smokers and my company has had the advantage of understanding the device's communication requirements.

What makes you the best?

A former smoker myself, I understand there is a complex matrix of needs that go far beyond the nicotine. As Mick Jagger bellows on Satisfaction, “Well he can’t be a man cause he doesn’t smoke the same cigarettes as me.” In keeping with that, we have constructed a brand identity that communicates that you can still be the person you want to be, without all the “smoke.”

How will you stay the best?

Maintaining a healthy perspective that Bedford Slims is here to help smokers, not take over their lives the way Big Tobacco has.

What are your aspirations: business & personal?

I am a bit of a workaholic, so, my personal and professional life blur quite often. I have had legitimate rock concerts in the yard behind my office (video evidence: And, much to my girlfriend Lisa’s displeasure I answer the phone/e-mails on vacation. Total blurred lines. That said, I aspire to keep creating products that help people. Bedford Slims tackles smoking, but there are many issues I have with humanity.

What fascinates you?

Watching people interact with products and brands. The psychology of group behavior and decision-making; why we buy what we buy. Oh, and Freakonomics! I love the science behind social economics.

Favorite Motto?

Whatever you think, think the opposite.” - Paul Arden

Favorite People?

Melba Sandberg – From a Depression-era upbringing in the Dust Bowl to becoming a highly accomplished concert violinist and teacher, Melba taught me all about politics, money, business, and how to cycle through a whole staff of waiters at any restaurant (before I could even drive, mind you). She was also my grandmother.

Favorite Places?

Prospect Park (BK) Williamsburg (BK) Baja, California Arenal, Costa Rica Upstate NY

Favorite Products?

So many to name, here’s my shortlist - Nintendo, NIKE, Spotify, ONLY NY (street wear) Cheap Mondays Jeans, Toy Machine Skateboards, Upstate NY Apples Organic handcrafted soaps (all of them).

Current Passions?

Creating, writing, laughing