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Meet Justin and Ray Kim of The Plug in Vernon

Today we’d like to introduce you to Justin and Ray Kim.

Justin and Ray, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Raised in an entrepreneurial household, we were inherently curious and always coming up with new business ventures. From a young age, we were always together and still do everything together, challenging and improving each other in sports or school. With a work hard, play hard mentality we both began to seek a healthier alternative to boost productivity to support our lifestyle choices. Three years ago, we saw that there was a growing demand for a hangover solution, but a limited supply of truly effective hangover recovery products available in the U.S. This imbalance was an opportunity to bring a proven alternative from Korea and share it with the U.S. consumers. Together, we created The Plug.

This is where the mission of creating the perfect recovery drink began, and how The Plug evolved from concept to reality. From interviewing manufacturers, to tasting 50+ different iterations of the drink, to partnering up with a marketing agency to create our brand identity and website build, to successfully launching our product on Indiegogo, to going live on our website. We are truly thankful for what we have accomplished in 2019, and are excited to see what we can accomplish in 2020 as a team and a company.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Definitely not. Starting an E-Commerce, Direct to Consumer Company is not as easy as it looks. Both being in different industries (Finance & Consulting), we had our strengths that provided a lot of value-add to the Company, but we also had a lot of learning to do on the E-Commerce side of our business especially within digital ads.

Some of the struggles we faced along the way were seeing which Marketing Agency to partner up with to help build our brand identity, website, tone of voice, logos, etc..

We also struggled with which platforms to allocate ad spend too, whether it was Instagram, Facebook, Google, etc. Other struggles we faced were, who to partner up with on the Influencer side and who to not partner up with. On the events side, we had to decide on which we should host brand activation events and others we should just sponsor. All in all, we realized as time went on, it really isn’t about who has the most followers, or how much money you spend toward Ad campaigns, or how many events you sponsor. It is mainly about the quality and the targeted audience you want to hit all the while with a budget-conscious mindset.

Please tell us about The Plug. What should we know?
The Plug is an all-natural recovery drink that helps detox your liver and boost your productivity the following day after a night of drinking. Our unique formula contains a superior mix with 13 natural herbal ingredients that help restore, recover, and recharge your body. We both specialize in different areas within the company.

Ray: I specialize in the Finance & Marketing Strategy of The Plug, looking at things on the bigger picture level and handle everything from legal documents to budget to strategizing on each month’s marketing strategy and sales. I create the roadmap and the vision of our monthly goals and where we should be at the given month.

Justin: I specialize in the Operations & Web Development of The Plug. I handle everything within operations. Whether it is payment towards the contractors, updating the website with the developer on a daily basis, handling the new plug-ins we add on to our website, working hand in hand with the warehouse and handling logistics.

As a company, we are most proud of turning an idea on a whiteboard into a company with 10 employees and we are continuing to grow each month. We are also very proud to have companies like Amazon, Alibaba, and Google personally reach out to have our product on their platform or to offer services to assist us better.

The Plug differentiates itself from all other anti-hangover drinks in two ways: our proprietary formula and our unbeatable taste. The Plug has 13 herbal plants and flowers that were carefully selected after years of research and development and millions of dollars invested not only in the proprietary formula but also in the proprietary state-of-the-art distillation process. For The Plug’s fantastic flavor, we honed down the taste for eight months going back and forth with Korea to make sure it would be the best in the market. With clinical research studies done by teams of Ph.D. Professors, this further reiterates that the proof is in The Plug.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If we had to start over, what we would have done differently is to A/B test more within our pre-launch stage on what worked and what didn’t work. We realized the more you A/B test the quicker you are able to find out the benefits of certain ads vs others. Also, one of us should have had a Computer Science degree that would have helped a lot as well.

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The Plug

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