Personal vapes are taking over India as the freshest trend in adults looking for a drastically safer, cleaner and refreshing experience rather than coughing up their lungs with tar and chemically tasting toxic smoke at Hookah bar or compliment their favorite beverage. As the trend catches on Twitter with tags such as #IndiaAlsoVapes, vapers are struggling to make mainstream lawmakers listen to the facts and science behind vapes and not be clubbed as smokers. But behind the fancy moderated and non-moderated devices, coils, builds, cotton, wires, batteries and accessories, lies the heart of the community – the ejuice. Ejuices are a blend of edible USP grade vegetable glycerin (used in cakes and others edible preparations), propylene glycerol (used in cosmetics and some edible preparations) and edible flavor concentrates, which are indirectly heated through a heating coil wrapped in the finest organic cotton to exhale a smooth flavorful exhale of just water vapor – no tar, no carbon monoxide and none of the thousands of carcinogenic chemicals found in cigarettes or hookahs.
Click here to read how the Indian Medical Association finally acknowledged vaping a significantly safer than cigarettes, but the media cherry-picked only it’s negative points to make click-bait articles.
Until a few years ago, those looking for harm reduction to fuel their nic cravings or looking to recreate in a safer method had to import eliquids, popularly called eJuices from foreign countries, thus paying phenomenal prices along with custom duties, taxes and waiting a painfully long while. Then small scale juice manufacturers emerged in the scene which utilized makeshift kitchen and questionable quality ingredients, but serving by word of mouth or across the internet. However, few juice makers such as Sahib Ghai are trying to embide the ideology behind the Make in India movement to vapers and reach a mainstream large scale audience of ever curious and health conscious vape liquid in India. We had an exclusive chat with the flavorist and the upcoming launch of the ejuice collection at CandyManVapes. Here are some excerpts:
Was entrepreneurship something you always wanted to do?
I always wanted to become an entrepreneur, driven by my strong desire of having my own business. A mainstream job or working under someone else was never an option for me.
What was your first job, and how well did it pay?
I was associated with one of the biggest corporate real-estate company in Delhi NCR, working for all kinds of Banks, MNCs and embassies. Under the guidance of great mentors the work was rewarding financially, but I always felt I wanted to do something that makes me Independent and happy.
How was the idea of your startup conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
I was a heavy smoker for past 5 years. I had made a series of fruitless, maybe half-hearted attempts to quit over a 3 years period, none worked for me. A friend of mine recommended vaping as a healthier alternative. At that time I had no Idea what vaping was. I did a lot of research and was finally able to understand the concept. Further satisfying my speculation of its heath affects with the fact that vaping is indeed a healthier alternative by all means with the help of reading some detailed results from some of the largest medical institutes of the world. This then gave me the confidence to help my dad quit smoking too, who was a smoker for past 35 years. Shockingly it was not that tough for him to quit with the help of vaping. A non-smoker may not understand what this means, but a smoker can understand that quitting after 35 years would be nothing short of a miracle.
As my vaping journey moved on and my research did not stop because by now, vaping had become my obsession, I started learning more and more about e-liquids, mods, atomizers/tanks etc. This made me keen to know that how is an e-liquid is made? (in the end that is what we are consuming), and once i got to know that, I realised finding good e-liquids in India for my vaping device was nearly impossible. All the e-liquids available were made with undeclared sources and ingredients, or were nearly unaffordable. I ended up learning how to make an e-liquid and started making my own. The whole concept of vaping is to be a healthier alternative then why not keep it the same way ? This conceptualised my startup. Nearly after an year of R&D and a fight of finding the best quality raw materials coupled with USA imported top quality edible flavour concentrates gave our company the backbone we required for the stand. We wanted to do all this keeping in mind the second most important factor i.e. an affordable price that can help people easily switch to vaping as a healthier alternative.
Is there a story behind the name of your startup?
Portraying the nostalgia of a kid looking at the mouth watering candies in a candy shop. I am making candies for your vaporisers, that make me the Candy Man and our brand CandyManVapes
What was it that attracted investors/customers will attract to your business according to you?
We will work on attracting good investments when the time is right, but for now, a stable growth for our company is most important.
What is your team size? How do you keep your team in high spirits? What is your office culture like?
We are a team of 9 people comprising of an IT professional, logistic manager, graphic designer, mixologist, financial and legal advisor, quality control manager, marketing manager and 2 field executives. All are employees and associates are young, career driven and filled with new ideas. Creativity is always welcomed in our office, we arrange short meetings every now and then, to let our employees speak out their creative ideas and suggestions.
Who has been your mentor in your entrepreneurial journey? What has been your biggest learning from the mentor?
I have been lucky to have more than one mentor in my life. I feel no one can teach you business, but what one can be taught is business ethics, and that all what I have been taught.
What has been your biggest challenge since its conception? What is your personal style of addressing the challenges you faced?
My biggest challenge was to get the best quality raw materials. But from the start I was up for this because this is what I asked for.
How do you see the growth scenario is this business? What do predict for the future of your business?
This business has a lot of opportunities, and the possibilities of growth are tremendous. But, the future of this business lies in the hand of our government and its regulations.
What do you think of the regulation and how is it going to impact the vaping community in India?
Our government needs to understand the concept and regulate, this is what will make entrepreneurs take healthy measures of manufacturing and growth. There needs to be a strictly science based research behind the regulation and not moralist or Big Tobacco or Big Pharma’s financicing/lobbying.