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Becoming a distributor?

Discussion in 'General Vaping Discussion' started by Nayetopps, Feb 7, 2009.

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  1. Nayetopps

    Nayetopps Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Or creating my own site?

    I'm curious as to the steps suppliers took to start their internet business with E-Cigs. I've been researching on the net, but it's really hard to judge who is legit or not.

    I've also been researching about how to go about starting my own internet business for quite sometime now. All that I lacked was an idea of what I would sell. Now that I've begun vaping and spreading the word about my own e-cig experience, I feel that I've found my idea. I've already gotten many close friends and relatives to switch over, and that was without really trying. It made me realize that there is a rather large market available for these e-cigs.

    I want to do this right, and I want to make sure that I am a great representative for the product. I also know that starting my own business is a large (and scary!) step. That's why I'm so hesitatant!

    I was just wondering if there is anyone out there that would be willing to give me some advice as to where on earth to start? Did you set your sites up first? Or did you buy your product first? How the heck did you pick where to buy the product?

    I'm excited, and ready to work my hands to the bone for this, I just don't know where to direct my energy.

    On another note, I was considering talking to some of the current folks out there that already have their businesses going, to see if maybe they'd be interested in branching out to San Diego. Maybe set something up so that I was kind of a co-distributor? I don't know if that would even make sense.

    I guess right now, you can consider me curious. :) I see the potential, I just don't know how to go about harvesting it into something good.

    Am I crazy? Is there anyone out there willing to "take me under their wing" so to speak?

    thanks in advance.

    Alicia
     
  2. TribbleTrouble

    TribbleTrouble Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    Rio Rancho, NM
    As far as the info you are looking for, you came to the right place! There are tons of threads in this forum that will point you in the right direction. I am a consumer, so take my advice for what it is worth. Do your best to keep a modest profile and don't sell your gear/liquid as anything else but a "Smoking Alternative". Do your best to provide quality gear without going crazy on profit margin. CaSHMeRe (a supplier on this forum) is a good model for what the consumer is looking for. We are always in need of a quality source, so I wish you luck in your endevor!:)
     
  3. Liberate_Yourself

    Liberate_Yourself Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2008
    Location:
    U.S.
    I could go into great detail about manufacturers that you can trust, and those that you can't.. I can also give you some great tips about the business in general. Shoot me an email if you are interested. greg@smokeliberation.com
     
  4. Fedor

    Fedor Ultra Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    There were some members who PMed me when they wanted to start selling ecigs. Not because i sell them myself but because of my experience working in china and also the research i've done on ecig manufacturers.

    i'm a fan of smoore products so no surprise where i directed them to. If puresmoker carries their products, nuff said. You can contact absolutelyecigs@gmail.com to get people who speak good english to assist you. I already know that some members have placed bulk orders with them and I am waiting for my freebies from them :D
     
  5. NathanS

    NathanS Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 1, 2008
    Location:
    Portland, OR USA
    I got a website before i bought inventory. This is in part because i already had websites and a virtual dedicated server. I was lucky and found a good supplier quickly.

    You have to reamember if your seriouse you will need to get your articles of organization from the secratary of state. You will also probably need to set up an LLC and get a tax id number. Reamember you are going to have to deal with customs at some point.

    Your first step should be a business plan. Also you are going to need to figure out where your going to get money to start.

    Feel free to e-mailme if you want, i dont want to post my email here due to "spam bots". just go to my website and click contact. Hope this helps.

    PS. You could also start by joinning affiliate programs of good suppliers then make a simple information website with your affiliate link's to make commision of the sale. I run several poker related sites and make money buy selling other peoples products, and one of my own.
     
  6. Lika

    Lika Super Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2009
    Location:
    Dallas - USA
    I just want to take a moment to thank the suppliers that are willing to help others with a similar interest. A good business person knows that competition is key in building strength in their chosen industry. You've got my respect.
     
  7. wingsofeagle

    wingsofeagle Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Location:
    Orange County,CA
    They definitely got my respect , I admire people who are big help for others to stand on their feet , You guys add a new customer to your list, I am sure we will see that day some of these guys make a chain helping each other and keep their inventory low and help each other when is needed and cover more areas.
     
  8. Nayetopps

    Nayetopps Full Member

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, Ca
    Thank you everyone! SO MUCH! I've got so many people to email now! Thank you!!

    I may not get back to you VERY soon, but I will eventually. I'm doing some research right now, and figuring out what I need to do as far as licensing and such goes, but I'll definately be getting advise from everyone who offers it!!!

    Thanks again!!
     
  9. xflip227x

    xflip227x Full Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2009
    Has anyone had any luck with customs? Does anyone know the process for receiving orders from China?
     
  10. smokum

    smokum Canadian Moderator Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario -CANADA-
    My biggest pitfall in setting one up myself is the damn software to create my own e-commerce site, and to do one clean and proper.

    Its tough not being techi enough to figure this stuff out, even the WYSIWYG software is not without its shortcomings.

    Anyone succesfully using a wywiwyg program with zero html experience out there ??

    I've got supplier contacts who are interested.
    I've got a huge virgin country market zone.
    I have tons of data and able to market these without resorting to making false claims.
    I also have the integrity to only sell what I've personally tested, use, and enjoy using.
    And, I certainly have the desire and time to do it.

    But I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $2500 to $15000++ to someone for creating a website for me..... thats for sure !!!

    So if I can't do it right, impressive, and legit in the first place, I'd rather not do it all !

    VapeOn,
    Greg
     
  11. KatyS

    KatyS Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2008
    Location:
    White Lake, Michigan USA
    Smokumchevy, although I have not converted yet. A fellow member steered me to hostmonster.com, extremely cheap and walk you thru if you need it. You don't need to know HTML. Looks like a good program to me. A couple of the suppliers here use the hostmonster. Hope that helps you out.
     
  12. igetcha

    igetcha Ultra Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 9, 2008
    Location:
    UK
    if you google "free e commerce" then you can find tons of pre built sites all ready for you to customise and add your products. im sure that there are other ones that are more pro looking that you can get by paying a monthly fee.

    have you tried sitespinner from virtual mechanics? its a wysiwyg but i find it fairly easy to use.........no need to worry about nasty html! ive made one site for my business using it www.protrowel.com but that is very basic and i done it without even looking at the tutorials! im currently doing another site at the moment for my reviews and its far more better now ive actually bothered to learn how to use it!

    or how about an ebay shop? ive not got one myself but id imagine it would be fairly easy to do and you wouldnt need to worry too much about setting it up to take payments etc

    the only thing i think you really need to have is a fairly good knowledge of using photoshop to make a site look really good!

    i know the above are not exactly what you had in mind but they are just suggestions.

    from tiny acorns, mighty oak trees grow...........start small, think big!
     
  13. smokum

    smokum Canadian Moderator Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario -CANADA-
    Thanks for the suggestions......

    And GAWD !!! Google..... holy crap... I've been pulling all those search term results and reading, and trying, and reading, and trying for 3 weeks already, lol.

    I think I'd like to "purchase" a software package for the sake of having it in my hands, well, once I find one I'm comfortable with.

    I already have a host lined up, and I'm going to start off with integrating PayPal for simplicity sakes for a gateway.

    It really boils down to me being not so computer savvy in the first place, so trying to learn it all at once from creation to enabling an interactive database to manage the financial end for taxes and inventory is just a lil overwhelming at the moment is all.

    I'll get it in the end....... aside from being a control freak, my stubborn side won't let a little gray box on a desk beat me, lol.

    Thanks again for the suggestions..... there's no such thing as TOO much information.

    VapeOn,
    Greg
     
  14. booboo

    booboo Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    On another note, I was considering talking to some of the current folks out there that already have their businesses going, to see if maybe they'd be interested in branching out to San Diego.

    Alicia[/quote]

    I though of doing this also, but was worried about getting sued....or having enough product to replace faulty ones, or the closed-minded people who take one drag and don't like it and want a refund. Anyway, if you need a partner in San Diego, let me know!
     
  15. Lithium1330

    Lithium1330 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    Mexico
    I can set up a site like this: PureSmoker.com - Your #1 Source For ECigs, Parts, & Accessories! or like this: Johnson Creek Original Smoke Juice - The Best E-Liquid in the World - Made Right Here in America if you pay the hosting, domain, software costs, they are using Volusion (not free): Ecommerce Hosting – Ecommerce Web Hosting

    Or A site like this: www.eastmall.net - East Mall International, Ltd. they are using osCommerce (free sotware).

    Just $500 if you don't like the final result you don't have to pay me anything or if you need assistans set it up yourself I can help you for free, maybe just a little disccount on your products? :p PM if you are interested :)
     
  16. njdude

    njdude Full Member Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2009
    Location:
    TX
    Here are some free good shopping cart software that are available, these are pretty easy to setup, usually most of the hosting companies provide some free one click install shopping cart software (osCommerce is popular) which you can customize pretty easily.

    prestashop.com

    opencart.com

    magentocommerce.com

    storesprite.com

    Let me know if you need some help.
     
  17. smokum

    smokum Canadian Moderator Verified Member ECF Veteran

    Supporting member
    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2008
    Location:
    Ottawa, Ontario -CANADA-
    Ok, thanks very much for all the kind offers and suggestions. I'd like to take a stab myself at this and not let my impatience overtake my goals, so I'll play at it a bit more before looking towards others wonderful support.

    Although now I'm feeling like I've thread-jacked poor Alicia's post and I'm sorry for that. Lets let this lie as it is people & thanks once again.

    VapeOn,
    Greg
     
  18. Lithium1330

    Lithium1330 Super Member ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 22, 2008
    Location:
    Mexico
    Don't feel that way, this info can help her too, prestashop.com looks pretty good!
     
  19. Happy Jack

    Happy Jack Forum Supplier ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2009
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario Canada
    Sorry to keep this going Alicia, but I also was looking to start something up here in Canada and have been inquiring with different wholesalers. The scary thing is, the response I got from CentralTrade/RoyalSmokers today was:

    Canada we do not supplier.. it's on blacklist from your customs.
    Good luck,

    Peter W.

    :shock:

    Haven't heard anything like that from any other wholesaler yet but it was enough to ruin my day!
     
  20. Pepper

    Pepper Unregistered Supplier ECF Veteran

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2008
    Location:
    Scotland
    I set up my site using zencart (which was a one click install from my hosts, Web Hosting by DreamHost Web Hosting: Web Sites, Domain Registration, WordPress, Ruby on Rails, all on Debian Linux!). My hosting costs about $15/month and I run about 6 sites from it (you get unlimited sites).

    The actual shop took me around 3 days to get going. I still keep meaning to go back and make things look better and overhaul my front page completely, but never quite get round to it!

    Anyway, if you are interested in dreamhost PM me, I think I probably have referral codes lying around for discounts....

    [​IMG]
     
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