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Jeremy started Vape Club in 2015. They detail the beginnings of their company in their Starter Story interview: 
Q: How did you get started on Vape Club?
I grew up in a traditional-minded middle class Asian family in Malaysia. I had tiger parents who always asked me to study hard, get good grades, get a good job and retire at 60. I’ve always been skeptical about this as my dad was not particularly happy and he was always worried about money.
That’s what I did anyways, I graduated as an Economics graduate and found a job as a brand marketer in an FMCG environment. I was working 9am - 9pm for a 600USD salary in Malaysia.
I had tiger parents who always asked me to study hard, get good grades, get a good job and retire at 60. I’ve always been skeptical about this as my dad was not particularly happy and he was always worried about money.
I thought that there must be more to life than this. I started reading and taking inspiration from books like Rich Dad Poor Dad, Millionaire Mindset, Millionaire Fastlane etc. I don’t have a lot of capital to start with so I’ve always experimented with online businesses as a way to build wealth. During my spell when I was working a full-time job, I built eCommerce stores on my downtime and made some money out of it. However, none of these really took off as I had a lack of focus.
One day, I decided slaving away on the desk isn’t the kind of life I wanted to leave. And I’ve saved up a runway burn fund of about 5,000 USD (so that I can continue eating). I enrolled in a programming bootcamp right after I quit my job because I thought that some coding knowledge would help me build a better online business.
To be honest, I did not know what I wanted to do after graduating from the bootcamp. I had been vaping for about 3 years (this was in 2015) and the vaping industry was just going through an explosive phase of growth. So I thought, why not?
I managed to validated the subscription box idea for about 50USD. All I did was build a two step landing page using a free tool like Unbounce that “sells” the subscription box product. When visitors click buy now, they get sent to an opt in page saying that we’ve “sold out” due to “overwhelming demand”. To get in front of the imaginary queue that I’ve created, they’d have to share the links with 5 friends. This campaign was a success as we’ve achieved more than 30% conversion rates. Here’s a screenshot of the 2-step landing page.
Here’s the landing page that “sells” the product.
Upon clicking on the “Sign Up” button, we lead them to this page to collect their contact information.
The reason behind this is because I didn’t have an ad budget for validating the service and I had to get creative. There were a few vape expos happening at that time and we got in touch with the organizers offering them a swap, where I provide web development services for their event in exchange for emails of the attendees. That’s how we got our initial leads. ;)
Contributors to this article:
- Pat Walls, Founder @ Starter Story
- Wiki Updater