Case Study: Black Note | Disrupting Tobacco Market with Healthy Alternative

31 October 2017 1478

The vaping phenomenon gathered a whole movement of like-minded people and has already took its special place in our lives. Increasing popularity of e-cigarettes, vaporizers and e-liquids paved the way for a brand new niche for business.


Ethan Parsa - co-founder of Black Note, along with his business partners, took an opportunity and decided to try and bring something of his own onto the vaping market. Black Note is an e-liquid manufacturer with a conception inspired by the richness and complexity of saxophone which produces naturally extracted authentic tobacco e-liquid.


Ethan’s as well as the company’s main goal was to create vaping liquid with an actual taste of tobacco. Project’s development took almost four years, a lot of effort was made and not in vain. Currently, Black Note is a successful e-liquid store with unique products.


The starting point

Black Note online-store was launched on January 19th, 2015. Initial developments and preparations took almost four years, but here we are.


“Exactly one year ago our store was redesigned to look as it does today.” - says Ethan. “It was kind of a year of changes. We wanted to maintain the professionalism and that's how we ended up with our site’s appearance which has not been altered until this day.”

“It is important to pay attention to every working detail in order for your business to work like a clock.”

Ethan and his partners were and still are a team of entrepreneurs who constantly think of new ideas and ways to transform the industry for better by bringing their own benefits.


“We have background in this niche since, in essence, we were a small, family-owned tobacco company.” - our hero notes. “Such experience helped a lot on our path to success.”

Current state of things

Currently, the company has 15 employees, a small but sufficient, self sustained team that is not afraid of difficulties. According to Ethan, his team considers their most prominent competitive advantage the fact that their product is naturally extracted while the entire industry uses artificial flavors and additives to make the product more enticing.


“Also, we had a goal to fill a void in the hearts of tobacco smokers who had to quit and create a vaping liquid that actually tastes like tobacco.” - Mr. Parsa notices.

Mr. Parsa’s current main responsibilities as a business owner include maintenance of the workflow and making sure that all of the company’s departments are synchronized and well informed.


“It is important to pay attention to every working detail in order for your business to work like a clock.”


Being a successful, experienced eCommerce business owner and entrepreneur, Mr. Parsa gladly shares his experience and gives pieces of advice to those just starting out.

“My piece of advice is to start slowly with baby steps and not lose your focus.” 

“Also, do not lose motivation since business has lots of ups and downs and it is rarely a simple path to success.”


Our hero also shared the way his company handles certain business objectives such as:


  • Influencer marketing

“We have been working with many of the influencers in the cigarette industry and they greatly helped us in our venture.” - Ethan notes. “For example, we worked with: pbusardo (Youtube channel) and Grimgreen (Youtube channel and website).”


  • Customer reviews

“We have over 3000 positive reviews on our website that are genuine and posted by our customers.” - our hero notices. “They often make our day by writing their stories of how they quit smoking after 40+ years using our products. Those are indeed very pleasant things to hear from customers."

“...always remember why your company was established in the first place.”

Another important technical question is on what particular eCommerce platform Ethan’s store runs. According to the owner it runs on Magento and WordPress, however, currently, his team is switching to WooCommerce. Our hero presented a list of reasons for that as follows:


  1. “It’s cheaper to maintain and it couples with our Wordpress CSM because from the inception these two online giants integrate well with each other.”
  2. “Cost of development is 1/3 of any other platform.”
  3. “Cost of buying plugins is 40-50% cheaper.”
  4. “Skilled developers are a lot easier to find since it’s more straightforward platform.”
  5. “If you do not run a mega online-store with thousands of SKU’s, then WooCommerce is your best choice.”

“We are happy with the open source platforms which enable us to make any change as required at anytime we wish.” - our hero notes. “That makes internal interaction with the website accessible and sufficient.”


New trends are established quite often nowadays. Each new trendy movement has a potential to expand and become a phenomenon. If you happened to notice a development of the “next big thing”, do not waste your time and seize the moment to make your committment.


This interview along with Ethan Parsa’s experience of success can be an ultimate inspiration for you. It is also a reminder that the opportunity must never be lost.

Petro Borysov

Digital marketer, content writer. Living the life, writing articles, getting things done.

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