Stephen Knight is the president and founder of Vapejoose, Inc. a Michigan-based corporation who specializes in the manufacturing and distribution of e-liquid and vaping accessories. Built out of a passion for helping his wife quit smoking, Vapejoose.com has grown from a one-man operation to one of the most heavily trafficked direct-to-consumer vaping websites in the United States as well as one of the most successful vape shops and distribution warehouses in Michigan. His other feats include founding a multi-million user online gaming platform at age 15, founding the first hybrid-only chauffeur service in Michigan at age 19, and biking across the country at age 24 only to be stopped by a tornado. Knight currently resides in Grand Rapids, MI with his wife, Linsey Knight, and his 2-year-old son, Owen.
How did you become to get involved in this industry?
The answer is short and simple – to help my wife quit smoking. I started making my own e-liquid to help her get away from cigarettes in 2014.
Can you explain how you then evolved your business into Vapejoose?
While I started just making it for my wife, the e-liquid eventually turned into a business and website that included about 15 or 20 different flavors. Not too long after, everything began to really take off and we grew to about 60 flavors. So after about 2 years of only selling online, we opened up our retail store.
Vapejoose is now sold in 24 countries and has been purchased online in 91 countries by over 50,000 happy customers. It is truly unbelievable to go from a one-man operation to a global brand in just over two years.
What makes Vapejoose unique?
Vapejoose strives to lead vaping forward with our quality, affordability, service, transparency and advocacy.
Starting with the best ingredients on the market, our lab will handcraft your Joose in a sterile and air-filtered environment. Our ISO 6 Certified Clean Room uses top-of-the-line air filtration to ensure that your e-liquid is as pure as possible. When you purchase from Vapejoose, you can rest assured that your made-to-order products will give you the vaping experience you deserve.
With today’s powerful equipment, it can be difficult to justify vaping as a “cheaper alternative”. Our prices reflect a new way to buy e-liquid, where you don’t have to sacrifice quality for price.
If you have any questions, comments or issues, Vapejoose customer service is here for you. Call, email, or Live Chat with a member of our friendly and knowledgeable staff who is ready to answer all of your questions and resolve any issues you may have.
Our staff is always more than happy to answer questions about suppliers, product safety, and the cleanliness of our facilities. We’ve worked hard to ensure our quality and consistency and would love to share our passion with you!
Nothing is more important to us than the industry and community vaping has created. We constantly strive to provide the best image to the outside world, and are proud to support and help fund CASAA, SFATA, and The Vaping Militia.
Please come visit our 8,000 square foot facility at 1021 28th St SW, Wyoming, MI 49509 – Home of the Vapejoose Vape Bar and Lounge — the largest vape bar in Michigan! This is currently our only location and is our international base of operations for manufacturing, distribution, and sales.
After your success with Vapejoose, how did you come to start a distribution company as well?
In 2015, Vapejoose began its second year of business.
Having finally found a location that could house all of our needs, we turned their attention to growing their product lines. It was at this time that we ran into a number of opportunities. As a direct-to-consumer retailer, Vapejoose was used to providing prompt and accurate order fulfillment to thousands of customers. Why, then, couldn’t distributors offer the same service? It was with this question in mind that the idea for Damn Good Distributions began to form.
After trying a few different options, we still couldn’t find a distributor that fit our needs and we decided to take matters into our own hands. In 2016, Vapejoose opened Damn Good Distributions (DGD). As a distributor, we wanted to provide for other businesses what we felt was lacking when we were working with distributors. The goal was to take the same expectations customers had of Vapejoose — prompt, accurate and friendly service — and apply them to DGD. The result was the distributor we had always deserved.
Vapejoose was founded on the idea that premium products shouldn’t carry a premium price tag, and budget doesn’t mean poor service. Those ideas also carry over to Damn Good Distributions’ competitive prices. Business owners know that lower prices mean wider selections and bigger profits, but many are learning that poor service carries a cost of its own.
Although DGD’s roots are in selling our own e-liquids, we have expanded over the last year to carry 30 select e-liquid brands, a wide selection of modern vaping hardware, smoke shop accessories and impulse gadgets. With new products added weekly to keep up with emerging technology and special requests, DGD is working to become the only supplier smoke and vape shops will ever need.
What is your favorite part about working in this industry?
Knowing how much I am helping people improve their lives by getting off of cigarettes. This industry can be tough to survive in, but it’s also one of the most rewarding.
What would you say is the most challenging aspect of your career?
The hardest part for me is keeping up with the rapid growth of this industry. As I have grown from a one man operation to 26 employees who are almost all full time, there have been a lot of changes. We have grown tremendously in the past three years and there are always going to be growing pains with that, but nothing we haven’t been able to handle so far.
What do you feel has been the most important factor in your success so far?
Our overall success comes from how dedicated we are to this industry as a whole. In addition to taking care of our customers and any issues they have, we are a part of advocacy groups as well.
What are you most proud of so far in your career?
I’m most proud of the growth of the company. I love that I can provide all of my employees with good paying jobs that includes benefits like 401 Ks and health insurance. Knowing they are taking care of is what I am most proud of and thankful for.
Looking forward to the future, what are you most excited about? What concerns you?
I’m excited to see where we are able to take this distribution company. We are adding new product groups every week and the growth is so exciting, I can’t wait to see what our customer base is like in a few years. As far as concerns, the regulations in this industry are always a little worrying for us, but that is why we take advocacy so seriously and why we make sure we are involved with how things are unfolding. Some of the regulations would really drive up our prices and send our customers elsewhere or online and that’s why we stay so involved, you have to fight for what you want and believe in.
Do you have any advice for other business owners that might be struggling in today’s industry?
Keep hustling. Nothing comes fast, it takes time and hard work, and you have to be patient – results don’t happen overnight. SVBS