On May 1st of 2014 two friends and now business partners, Ryan Wagner and Jerret Kirouac, foolishly decided to start an e-liquid company out of a basement in Warren, Michigan. Without real ambitions for monumental growth they launched a single line of five flavors with the idea of making some extra income but in no way was this their golden goose and expectations were low. Upon launch the first offering to the market was met with a lukewarm response, yet they landed both vape shops in their area (there were only two at the time) and hit the road to acquire more business. Ryan successfully signed up six accounts while on the road for a two week span located in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Little did they know that this single sales trip selling liquid out of the trunk of their car would springboard their brand and lead to unsubstantiated growth in the years to come.
Fast forward three months and the duo managed to keep the company afloat as shops started to spring up all over Southeastern Michigan, but the true trajectory of Independent Vapor Company was still far from reach. While on his legendary road trip Ryan made a proclamation in a local Michigan Facebook Group. After seeing the lay of the land in the still very new vaping scene throughout the Midwest he noticed many customers asking shop owners for thicker liquids specifically designed for a practice called "dripping." This is where an e-cigarette user, typically an enthusiast, actually "builds" the coils to their own specifications and delivers the liquid directly onto the coil and wicking assembly. Astounded by the possibility of tapping into this very new yet very profitable niche in vaping Ryan stated "we will be launching a new ten flavor line of liquids that will be specifically designed for dripping atomizers." The group responded with a resounding "yes!" and the two entrepreneurs knew this was their chance to deliver a cutting edge product and really separate themselves from current competitors in the market. For the next month the pair painstakingly scraped together enough cash to order in new supplies, testing equipment, mixing strategies, and labels. Each flavor was made in forty different combinations and left to steep, the process of aging e-liquids, as to provide a true end user experience upon time of their purchase. After consolidating down to ten exceptional flavor profiles they launched IVC Max VG on September 14th of 2014. The whole line did incredibly well within their now 20 store network of authorized retailers. Slowly but surely sales increased and the basement started to fill up with gallons of premixed liquids and thousands of bottles, labels, droppers, shipping boxes, filling equipment, and storage racks. A trend was forming in sales and one peculiar flavor in the line became the obvious front runner outselling all the others by a margin of at least double. It would sell out the second they uploaded the new stock to the website. They oversold supplies three separate times creating a feeding frenzy in the now explosive vaping scene in Michigan.
That flavor was the now notorious Nillionaire. Described as a rainbow sherbet with fruits and crisp citrus this was the ultimate all day vape. Wholesale requests began pouring in from all over the Midwest and the team now knew it was time to get legitimate. They signed a lease on a facility in Madison Heights, Michigan and began the journey into becoming the premier source for great tasting and selling e-liquids in Southeastern Michigan.
Today Independent Vapor Company operates within the industry out of a sparkling new 5,000 square foot facility located at 27251 Gratiot Avenue in Roseville, Michigan. They employ 14 awesome dedicated folks, and have grown an e-liquid selection that would be considered a true one stop shop for both retail and wholesale customers alike. Manufacturing 12 brands and carrying 50+ more from outside sources, it is hard to believe these two middle class, hard working Midwesterners started the company three short years ago in a 900 square foot ranch. Customer service, clean quality products, and a family atmosphere have propelled them into a nationally recognized force within the industry. Nillionaire Series, the five flavor offshoot of the singular flavor, still makes up for nearly 30% of there sales as a whole and has garnered attention not just throughout the United States but abroad as well. A final footnote for Nillionaire is that it was complete mistake! Three days prior to launch it was the only flavor not finalized as it tasted of lemon furniture cleaner. In that moment the team discovered a proprietary sweetener blend that will smooth out citrus and sharp fruit notes in any e-liquid when applied correctly. There are many valuable lessons to be learned from their story, but most of all persistence will prevail when all else fails.