If you’re an entrepreneur with a desire to enter a profitable industry, the vaping industry has surely crossed your mind. Specifically, the e-liquid segment of the industry can be extremely profitable if you have your own brand. Even if you only sell your vape juice to other businesses on a wholesale basis and don’t bother with retail customers at all, the difference between the manufacturing cost of a bottle of e-liquid and its selling price is often quite large. If your brand is successful, you can earn a very good living running an e-liquid company.
Every e-liquid brand has to start somewhere. Even the industry’s biggest players such as V2 Cigs were once little more than ideas in their founders’ minds. Before you start having visions of grandeur, though, you need a solid business plan and should have a clear understanding of what makes your brand different from the many others that already exist. Ask yourself these questions before you launch an e-liquid brand.
Do You Have the Resources for Legal Compliance?
Before we begin, let’s get one very important fact out of the way: It is probably not possible to start a new e-liquid brand in the United States unless your budget is enormous. To market a new e-liquid in the U.S., you must first submit a Premarket Tobacco Product Application (PMTA) to the FDA. A typical PMTA is more than 100,000 pages long and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars to produce – and every e-liquid flavor and nicotine strength counts as a distinct product and requires its own PMTA. Every e-liquid currently on the market in the United States must have a PMTA on file with the FDA by May 2020, and since that’s quite impossible for most small business in the vaping industry, most e-liquids will be unavailable in the United States when that deadline passes.
The good news is that many other nations have much more reasonable regulations for the vaping industry. To launch a new e-liquid in the United Kingdom, for example, you need to register the product with the MHRA and run an emissions test to confirm that the e-liquid contains no known dangerous compounds. Those requirements are quite reasonable for most small businesses.
Who Is Your Ideal Customer?
Before you create a single e-liquid, you should determine your brand’s target customer base. Do you want to appeal to experienced vapers – the people who are always on the hunt for something new and interesting? Maybe you’d actually like to attract current smokers who haven’t switching to vaping. Perhaps you’d like to skip the consumer segment of the market entirely and market your e-liquids exclusively to retailers. As you might imagine, different types of customers are looking for very different things from an e-liquid brand. Knowing your target market from the outset is a good way to ensure that your other decisions when launching the brand will be the right ones.
Will You Sell Primarily to Local or Online Buyers?
Cities across the world are filled with small e-liquid brands that primarily sell their products to local vape shops, and if you have enough vape shops in your region, you can potentially earn a decent living without ever setting up a website by creating an e-liquid line and getting it added to the shelves at your local vape shops. For most new e-liquid brands, though, it’s better to sell online because the potential for growth is much greater. If you sell your e-liquid to customers anywhere in the world, there is virtually no limit to how big your brand can become. Starting any new e-commerce business has a major drawback, though, in that there are already plenty of other companies doing what you’re planning to do. It might be a while before your website begins to get a significant amount of attention. It may be wise, therefore, to combine the two business strategies. Getting your e-liquids sold in local vape shops can provide the vital initial cash flow that keeps your company afloat until your online sales begin to pick up.
What Types of Flavors Will You Sell?
There are two types of e-liquid brands in the world. The first type sells a broad mix of flavors designed to appeal to the most people possible. The second type chooses a specific theme and creates a series of e-liquids around that theme. You might create a themed e-liquid brand, for example, in which every product captures the flavor of a different type of doughnut, cereal or cookie. If you’re having trouble selecting a theme for your e-liquid brand, just think about your target customer base. A line of tobacco e-liquids might appeal to those who are new to vaping and trying to recapture the flavors of the cigarettes they used to smoke. Experienced vapers, meanwhile, are likely to gravitate toward e-liquid brands offering something creative and very different from what’s already out there.
What Is Your Desired Brand Image?
If you vape – and you’ve been vaping for a while – it’s likely that you’ve already tried quite a few e-liquids from various makers. You’ve probably also noticed that there often isn’t much of a difference in how two different e-liquids with the same type of flavor profile actually taste. Why is it, then, that some e-liquid brands thrive, and others falter? Branding is the thing that makes the difference. To thrive, an e-liquid line needs to speak to its desired customer base and stand out on store shelves. In addition, the brand needs to find a way to create an attractive image without using cartoon character mascots and other design elements that could potentially appeal to children.
If you’re not a graphic designer, it is absolutely worthwhile to find someone capable of handling that duty for you, even if it’s just on a contract basis. Image is everything in the vaping industry. If you don’t have a brand image that appeals to your desired customer base, your e-liquid brand will not be successful regardless of how good it tastes.