Smoking is dead, vaping is the future, and the future is now. Recently, Vaping has taken their place into public debate from witnessing a major upgrade in the number of annual users across the world. Newer laws are being revised over what some claim to be the greatest medical invention designed to save lives in this decade. Others are claiming vaping to encourage kids from consuming nicotine. Regardless of which of the debate you’re in, there is no scope of doubt that vaping is by far, significantly safer than smoking. Even the Indian Medical Association recently acknowledged that although vaping is completely safe, it is significantly safer than smoking because it has ridiculously less number of carcinogen chemicals than traditional cigarettes and zero tar. However, Indian media being skeptical completely mistuned the facts and cherry-picked the news to write only what they found worthy, enraging vapers across the nation. Read more about the controversy by clicking here.
Since vaping industry is currently unregulated, lots of startups are using small scale home studios and virtual networks to sell vaping equipment, ejuices, batteries, accessories and different devices. This means the growth of vapes still has a lot of growth pending, even though a few bars are now offering vaping as much safer and satisfying alternative to hookahs. Dampf company is trying to change that by introducing adults looking to try a safer alternative to vape and work on harm reduction in their lives by launching a large scale vaping and ejuice distribution network. We recently had an exclusive chat with Angad Kandhari, the CEO of Dampf company on his journey so far. Here are some excerpts:
Please provide your answers as comprehensive as possible.
How did your entrepreneurship journey begin?
I graduated from Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Management Research. While studying, I always had this gnawing thought at the back of my head that whether am I going in the right direction or not. It was only when I looked at my father toiling it hard to make our family business a success that the thought was at rest. It was how I realized that being an entrepreneur is all I wanted to do.
After I completed my graduation, I joined my father’s organization just like a moth is drawn to a flame and boy did it consume me. I got to learn tricks of the trade and gain valuable insight into entrepreneurship, while working there. This is the only payment I took away from my first work experience and dived straight into my own venture.
How did the idea of having your startup revolve around vaping conceptualized? What is the need you are addressing in the market?
I wanted to give back to society as much as I take from it. There are countless NGOs as well as organizations that are already working towards giving back to societies. This is when I thought why not address and work towards eliminating a larger evil in the country. Slapping on a statutory warning on packs and showing a dead guy dying before movies would not solve anything. You would have to offer a substitute, a better one at that, only then will addicts switch. This was the underlying motive behind our startup and the need we intend to address. Having seen people vape abroad without any harm that are caused by cigarettes, is what motivated me to bring it to our country and promote as an alternative to smoking.
What does DAMPF mean?
Our company name is DAMPF company, DAMPF means vapors. It is as simple as that
What is your business model?
Our business model is much like any other retail business in India with more focus on social media marketing to spread awareness. Our company has amassed more than 1000 customers in last 2 years and we are still growing. Our company provides complete solutions for ecigs, have all international brands, deals only with international brands liquids which ensure best quality measures, with all international certifications.
Have you raised any funding so far? What are your plans to use this funding for?
While we are not actively seeking for funding, if someone would like to be part of this revolution and help the cause then they are most welcome. It will only benefit society in turn. Funding will help us bring more international standard products to India and make it a standard.
Once we have created enough awareness on vaping in the country and the revolution gains momentum in the country, we will bring the manufacturing process to India to make it more profitable and ensure cost cutting. It is then that we would actively start looking for funding but right now we are in a happy space.
What's your work culture like?
Since we are working from ground up, we do not have a large team as of now. It’s just me and a team of 2 people handling the e-commerce aspect of the business on websites like Flipkart and others. We have a very enthusiastic work culture at the premises with a common cause to believe in. All of us are ex smokers who have quit and started vaping. It is only when you believe in your own product that you can sell it well and that is why we just keep calm and vape on.
What has been your biggest challenge since its conception?
The biggest challenge faced by Dampf company has been the lack of awareness about vaping and hesitation of smokers to quit something they are habitual to and switch to something extremely new. Also, as compared to a pack of cigarettes, Vape kits and liquids are quite expensive, which is another challenge.
I have been addressing the issue by marketing the goods and pros of vaping over conventional smoking through social media. My customers who came for the first time, get to sample and experience vaping first hand, which then help in making up their mind. After all, until you test drive the Lamborghini; you would not realize the beast it is.
How do you see the growth scenario is this business? What do predict for the future of your business?
I believe that there is a huge scope of growth for vaping in the country as I have personally met some senior customers, who have been smoking from at least 25-30 years and once they started vaping they never looked back. People in our country are getting more and more health conscious with each passing day and smoking has become a passé now. Earlier, it was some sort of cool trend to be standing outside and sucking on a cancer stick. Vape kits are far much cooler; give much more fulfilling experience and all that without 4,000 chemicals including so many cacogenics present in a cigarette.
So yes, I am confident that Vaping will replace smoking in India very soon but it needs to be advertised accordingly and that is what I am working towards.
What changes have you experienced in your own self since the day you started the business till now?
For starters, I have given up smoking in favor of vape for a while now and I have never felt better and more energized. Secondly, it gives a soul satisfying experience when you see someone kick a butt after a long time and stick to vaping. It motivates me and pushes me to save the world one vape kit and one smoker at a time. Say no to smoking and switch to vape today, you owe it to those around you.
Have you heard about vaping before? What're your views on it? Let us know on our official Facebook page Entrepreneur India