October 09, 2015

Vape Club International – A Platform for the Vape Community

“Wtf are you smoking? Are you sure that’s safer than cigarettes? You’re just replacing one addiction with another.”

Those are the words that I started hearing constantly when I started vaping four years ago.

When I just first shifted from traditional cigarettes to vaping, people would throw me odd gawks that made me feel really uncomfortable. I was only trying to quit smoking effectively!

Thankfully, the vape scene in Malaysia has gone through a lot of change and growth (especially in the last two years, which I am super happy about).

Today, no one even bats an eye when you vape in public! However, the fact that this exploding trend in vaping also brought forth a lot of haters saddens me deeply. (Example here – Vape off, smokers!. The title itself is scientifically inaccurate because vape produces absolutely no smoke particles.)

Due to unnecessary hatred and fear-mongering by doubtful sources, I have personally seen parents purposefully avoiding vapers and sitting closer to cigarette smokers (in a mamak restaurant setting).

So back to why I started VapeClubMY, I was sitting in a cafe with a friend brainstorming startup ideas in a cafe near MaGIC some time in July 2015 and amidst the booming vape industry in Malaysia, I wondered if there was any way that Malaysians could have a guaranteed source of authentic vape juices that consistently helped them discover new flavours (you know, with all the cloning and dilution surrounding the industry). To my surprise, there was no such thing in the booming RM2.84 billion industry!


The first platform in Malaysia for vape juice discovery

As an avid vaper, I wanted to create a platform where brewers could list their vape juice blends. There, local and international vapers could discover and try their juices. After brainstorming on the product concept further with my co-founders. We thought that having a renewable membership where we sent four different flavours (curated by the team) to vapers’ doorsteps would be the best business model to approach the problem!

We spent days looking for brewers, creating the box design and contemplating the best avenues to market our product. The most challenging area was to decide on a business model where the interests of the vape community in Malaysia as a whole are protected.

Our final decision was to go with VapeClubMY for the following reasons:-

  • Overseas distributors have an alternative (other than exhibitions) to discover Malaysian juices for importing purposes
  • No commitment, cancel anytime method to discover the thousands of different vape juices
  • We help retailers discover the new juices in Malaysia (either by feedback from regular customers OR by subscribing to our box)

VapeClubMY’s vision is built on three key pillars:-

  • Make discovering new juices safe for everyone, just like how the brewers intended
  • Provide a cheaper and more impactful means for Malaysian brewers to reach out to local & international vapers
  • Educate cigarette smokers & non-vapers on the wonders of what vaping can do to a smoker’s health


Challenges in the industry

Another challenge worth mentioning is the shaky regulations on vaping in Malaysia, and we aim to assist activism bodies like MOVE and MEVTA by curating only the best Malaysian vape juices that uses food grade ingredients.

We also faced tons of challenges in terms of payment options, popular payment gateways like iPay88 do not support the vape industry, which really put a lot of pressure on the VapeClubMY team.

That being said, it really is an exciting moment for the Malaysian vape industry.


More value for VapeClubMY members

Moving forward from the launch of the juice subscription service, we are currently working on a free online vape magazine (really, it’s free!) and a YouTube channel to help educate newer vapers & cigarette smokers looking to make the switch on the best practices on how to vape safely.

These channels also aim to spread awareness of the growing Malaysian vape industry, change public perception on the vaping community in Malaysia and ultimately make vaping safer and more fun for every vaper out there.

We are doing this due to the lack of understanding on what vaping is about. The newer generation of vapers chase clouds in public even though it makes people around them uncomfortable (or even annoyed). Even though the vapor produced through vaping is essentially harmless, it is most definitely not a good sight in non-vapers’ perspective.

We aim to educate vapers in vape etiquette and best practices (coiling, cotton and hardware choices) so vapers are able to enjoy vaping safely.


Thankful for the rewarding experience

Lastly, I would like to thank NEXT Academy and MaGIC for giving me the knowledge needed to make this a reality.

It’s been almost three months since the team and I started working on VapeClubMY and we are very proud of our achievements. I would also like to thank my amazing team for making this happen in such a short amount of time.

We’ve already shipped a few boxes to our Australian subscribers, been approached by a couple of investors that really liked our concept, and we get to meet many, many awesome people in the vape industry.

All in all, this has been an extremely rewarding experience and is definitely an exciting industry to be a part of.

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