With an iconic celebrity spokesman and a globally minded brain trust, the company wants to take its success across the globe.
Question: What do you get when a vaping entrepreneur partners with consumer electronics experts and Mike Tyson?
By Matt Weeks
The parent corporation of companies such as bluumlab, Juicy, and Snoop Dogg’s Dogg Lbs, JBrands has built an impressive roster of charismatic and high-quality products. But it’s ambition that really sets them apart.
With a solid foothold in the American marketplace, JBrands is looking to expand. A single country isn’t enough, nor is a continent. The founders aim to establish a global empire, drawing on their diverse expertise from past careers.
“The background that we come from is what makes us unique,” says Masoud Wardak, one of three partners who run JBrands. “One of our partners is from the vape industry, and he brings the knowledge and expertise in that sector. Our other partner and I are from the consumer electronics world. We understand trading products globally, which gives us a nice advantage in moving into new markets around the world.”
Multiply and Conquer
To accomplish their goal of world domination, JBrands has adopted a work-hard, play-hard culture.
“We have large distributors that are distributing the products to small mom-and-pop retail shops, convenience stores, gas stations, smoke shops—a little a bit of everything,” Wardak said. “We have our own sales team that handles the smaller accounts. We have 16 sales guys that are pounding the phones nonstop every day. And then we have two massive distributors that are doing the distribution sales to other distributors across the U.S. and we’re expanding to the international market right now. We are doing business everywhere, from South America to Europe to the Middle East and Africa to Central Asia.”
This area—the international arena—is where Wardak shines. With expertise in international markets, he is particularly thrilled to head the massive global push that JBrands is making this year.
“We work hard just to be able to understand the logistics, the financial aspect of how different countries operate. And we pay attention to the customer bases in those countries as well. Different customers have different mentalities across the globe. It changes a lot from region to region,” he said. “If you’re dealing with somebody in Germany, they’re very law-abiding. They want everything above board and on the books, in terms of compliance aspects. They want to make sure products are registered fully and that there are no issues. And we want to get that right because, in their markets, if they catch you with a small detail wrong on the packaging—or the warning sign is not as big as it should be, it’s a $50,000 fine per product, per incident. And that adds up very quickly.”
The Mike Tyson Thing
For any company with big goals, it helps to have a certified A-list celebrity in the corner. And if there’s one thing JBrands is known for, it’s their association with Mike Tyson.
But the partnership with the former Heavy Weight Champion of the World almost didn’t happen at all.
“To be honest, it was a little bit of dumb luck,” Wardak said. “We got an introduction from somebody, and we basically ran with it and sold ourselves and our abilities . . . he liked what he heard and saw. He was really thrilled and amazed at what we’ve done with the product in such a short period. You know how they say you should under promise, and over deliver? Well, we kind of over promised—but then delivered beyond their wildest imagination. So, it was kind of a win-win-win for everybody in that regard.”
Of course, JBrands didn’t pioneer the concept of a celebrity-sponsored vaping product. It’s been tried many times before. But few other products have risen to the level of recognition the Tyson Vape enjoys.
When asked how JBrands finds the success that eluded similar products, he doesn’t chalk it up to luck. The success, he said, was purely the result of hard work.
“When these kinds of products fail, it’s a combination of things. It could be that the company hasn’t picked the right partners, maybe they don’t have the right device. Maybe they haven’t put the time and effort into building a product that the consumer actually wants. And that’s where the difference kind of comes in on our end,” he said. “We built [the Tyson Vape] from the ground up, then we got the celebrity to back it, after we already had an amazing product. So, it was the overall experience of an amazing device combined with the marketing plan. The celebrity side of things really was the last thing. It helped us to really catapult the product last year.”
As JBrands expands, it plans to bring Iron Mike along for the ride. With his appearances in movies and on television, his best-selling books, and his increasing internet fame, he’s become a known quantity in all parts of the world.
But he’s not the whole of their strategy. The more immediate focus is on creating high-quality vapes that will appeal to users from Beirut to Seoul to Rio de Janeiro.
“You know, it’s easy to put a product out into the marketplace. But to actually have the consumer pick up the product and enjoy it, to actually build a customer base, that’s difficult,” Wardak said. “There are plenty of brands that pop up and just put products out there. But to really become a major brand and to push the product into a marketplace, you need to have a lot of things aligned, like marketing strategies. But at the end of the day, if a consumer picks up a device and they don’t enjoy it, that’s the last time you interact with that consumer. So we’re very focused on having a quality device and making sure the quality is good, that the flavor profiles are good, and that the customer experience is good.”
“We spend a lot of time on the small details, so that it plays well across all the senses, from sight to smell to taste to touch,” he added. “Then we start to look at the marketing and the logistics people we can partner with in the region who have the proper reach and pull with the audience.”