For Edward Chung, the future is anything but hazy.
The shipping and operations manager for The Dollar e-Juice Club, a Southern California-based startup that produces e-juice for electronic cigarettes, Chung has stayed plenty busy as his company has enjoyed rising popularity during the vaping boom with Easyship’s help.
We talked to Edward to discuss his thoughts about his company and the vaping industry.
Easyship: Hey Edward, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Edward: I handle all of the operations and shipping for The Dollar e-Juice Club. In a nutshell, it’s my job to make sure everything runs smoothly and without any hiccups!
I actually got my current position through a contact in the industry. An old manager of mine was working in the vaping industry and brought me on board as the shipping and operations manager, so I’ve really been here since we’ve built the company from the ground up, doing less than 100 orders a day at first to several thousand a day that we currently fulfill.
Easyship: How did you get the word out about your company prior to launching?
Edward: Well, like a lot of startup companies out there, we’ve relied pretty heavily on digital marketing since day one.
We’ve found that social media, especially channels like Facebook and Instagram, is a great way to reach out and connect with customers on a more personal level. We’ve tried to not only promote our brand there, but also build our business with giveaways and other promotions. Plus, we’ve used a lot of SEO and paid ads to help get the word out about us.
Working in a startup, you need to be agile and budget-conscious, so we’ve always found that strategies like SEO and social media are the best way to go. It’s pretty easy to reach a broad audience without breaking the bank.
Easyship: What challenges have you run into working in the vaping industry?
Edward: Oh, a lot!
First off, I think age restrictions are probably one of the biggest hurdles we’ve encountered since launching. It used to be that the vaping age in the U.S. was 18, same with smoking. But a lot of states and even private companies have started to raise the vaping age to 21 within the past few months, which admittedly caused our sales to dip for a bit.
A number of states and cities across the U.S. have also cracked down on vaping in general with new regulations and bans on indoor and sometimes even outdoor vaping, all of which makes things that much tougher for us. Plus, since we deal with products that contain nicotine, we still have to abide by all state and Federal laws that govern tobacco regulations.
To manage it effectively, we actually have a separate department that handles all legal issues and automatically block shipping to areas where vaping is banned on our website, which helps avoid a lot of complications in the first place.
So, yes, navigating all the rules and regulations has been a challenge. But in this industry, you have to be prepared for anything. It just comes with the territory.
Easyship: How do you develop your vaping flavors?
Edward: We have 54 flavors, all handmade in the U.S., which we develop through our in-house team.
The whole process involves a lot of experimenting and trial and error, but that’s the beauty of it. There’s always something new going on - we never stop the creative development process. Sometimes the flavors work, sometimes they don’t. But we’re always experimenting and trying one thing or another!
Easyship: The vaping industry has become increasingly crowded as of late. How do you distinguish yourself from the competition?
Edward: So, our business model is actually inspired a lot by the Dollar Shave Club’s. Our philosophy is to make premium e-juice but sell it at the most affordable price possible. To that end, we sell our e-juice for as low as $0.99 and also give out samples pretty frequently, which gets customers interested in our products and keeps them coming back.
Easyship: Interesting. Startups inspiring startups! Can you go into a little more detail about how they’ve inspired your business?
Edward: Absolutely. We think that when customers get a quality product for a cheap price, they can turn into loyal, repeat customers pretty fast. So by making our pricing accessible to everyone, our business model basically becomes a loyalty program and draws people back again.
You need the right mix of quality products and affordable pricing to pull it off without any hitches but, just like the Dollar Shave Club, we’ve found that it’s always a business model that’s served us pretty well.
Easyship: Last question! Do you have a personal favorite vaping flavor?
Edward: Blue raspberry, all the way!
Check out The Dollar e-Juice Club case study here!