Below is our recent interview with Marshall Getto, Co-Founder at KMG Imports:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to KMG Imports?
A: Our company was born out of my personal journey to quit smoking. I smoked cigarettes for 22 years. My grandfather, who I was named after, died of emphysema complications from smoking cigarettes. Both my uncles smoked, my brother smoked, and even my mom would sneak a cigarette now and then. I would wake up coughing, wheezing, and couldn’t walk briskly without losing my breath. I decided I had enough and tried to quit several times using nicotine patches, gums, prescription drugs (Chantix), cold turkey, and even hypnotism, but nothing was effective. I soon found myself smoking cigarettes again a week to a month after I started quitting.
My co-worker was quitting using an electronic cigarette. He had a little pen and tank that he would take out on our smoke breaks with me and actively encouraged me to give it a try. He referred me to the retailer that sold him his vape pen. When I went there the owner at this little mall kiosk was extremely patient with me. He walked me through everything I needed to know to get started and I had my first vape setup. The flavor assortment was more limited then, but fruit and dessert flavors were extremely important to me, helping me to enjoy vaping while curbing my craving for combustible cigarettes.
A couple days later I had a chance meeting with the woman who I’d eventually marry. She didn’t smoke and was happy to see that I was in the process of quitting cigarettes. About nine months after meeting and falling madly in love, we decided to get married. We were determined to have a healthy and successful life together and wanted to start our own business. We only had $5,000 in savings and were debating what type of business we should start, or if it was even possible with so little money to begin with. While brainstorming what type of business to start, I was vaping on my little pen kit, and my wife said, “Let’s import and sell those e-cigarettes. We could help other people quit smoking just like you did.”
Five years later and we’ve moved through four office spaces (if you count the first in our apartment), have a great team of about 20 employees, and distribute product to retailers across the country and internationally.
Q: Can you give us insights into your products?
A: We work with best-of-brands for both hardware manufactured in China, as well as US-made e-liquid, to bring a full suite of solutions to market primarily for vape shop retailers. Our focus has always been on importing/distributing products that are primarily marketed to people trying to quit smoking. Whether that’s the soccer mom who just wants something simple to use, or the baby boomer who is tired of getting warnings from his physician, we want them to find safe reliable products when they turn to vape shops for help with their addiction to combustible tobacco products.
Q: What makes you stand out from your competition?
A: There are several other distributors in the US who are larger than we are, usually due to being able to start with a greater amount of capital, but we have grown organically with a singular focus: Service. We have live account managers who are all avid vapers that act as consultants to owners and purchasing managers to help them stay at the forefront of an industry where products are released at a breakneck pace. We staff a Service Center with technicians for B2B and B2C support via phone and email. We’re also one of the only companies in the industry that offers wholesale accounts virtually unlimited returns on defective products. Simply put, we believe that service helps us stand apart from the crowd and keeps our customer retention rating very healthy.
Q: What’s the best thing about your products that people might not know about?
A: There are several misconceptions about electronic cigarettes and vape products. For example, most people don’t know that these products have been found to be 95% safer than traditional cigarettes. It is generally not common knowledge that second-hand vapor contains such minuscule toxins that they are almost non-existent. Overall there are many misconceptions about our industry’s products and the venues they are sold in, including the fact that non-age restricted locations, (i.e. convenience stores, etc.) are the locations that are selling electronic cigarettes to underage users while age restricted locations, (i.e. vape shops) have helped millions of Americans transition away from deadly combustible tobacco products. So, to answer the question directly, the best thing that most people don’t know about our products is the overwhelming help they’ve been to millions of people looking for a safer alternative to using traditional tobacco products that cost thousands of lives, (and more than $300 billion dollars in direct medical and lost productivity costs) every year.
Q: What are your plans for the future?
A: KMG Imports business plan for 2019 is to continue sticking to our core mission of bringing safe, reliable products to market for distribution through responsible retailers. We are also moving into the CBD space, which we see as having great potential for harm reduction, especially for individuals suffering from pain, anxiety, insomnia, and a host of other health issues. We’ve spent the past few years building out a fantastic branding, logistics, & marketing infrastructure. We are excited to continue utilizing it to the benefit of our domestic/international partners, manufacturers, and consumers.