Gregory Grishayev once a young immigrant, now a successful entrepreneur reminds us that the American dream is still alive and that anything is possible. Facing religious persecution and poverty in politically war-torn eastern Europe; Grishayev was born September 25, 1986. He migrated with his family to the United States as refugees, in 1992 shortly after the collapse of the Soviet Union. After 7 years living in the United States, Gregory’s parents became US citizens and at the age of twelve, Grishayev became a naturalized citizen himself on August 31, 1999.
While in school Grishayev sacrificed his childhood and got his first job as a busboy in an Italian restaurant, and over a short span became assistant manager. Living with his parents at the time he is able to save a substantial amount for a teenager. After graduating New Utrecht high school, at the age of 18 years old Grishayev does not pursue college and leaves his restaurant gig to start his first online venture selling clothing on eBay with his best friend Michael Tolmach. Grishayev sources his first suppliers in the Garment District, NYC and then eventually increases profitability by sourcing a Chinese supplier through Alibaba – which was the pair’s first foray into product development.
After four years of success selling on eBay, the clothing market became saturated and difficult to compete in. Left without much choice, he decides to look for some new ideas. His mother being a long time smoker, and after witnessing a competing vaping brand during a trip to Miami Florida – the vaping industry piqued his interest. Pitching the idea of founding their own vaping brand to his clothing partner Tolmach, they decide that this industry is worth the gamble. Using the knowledge and money saved from their previous venture they find a vaping factory and proceed to develop their first branded vaping product. In the end 2010 the two friends incorporated and started their new company “Eonsmoke”.
Customers are fascinated by the product and by 2013 they end the year with a whopping $9.5 million in revenue. On top of the world; both entrepreneurs are oblivious to the technological shifts within the vaping industry. Since the vaping devices are in part electronic, the industry shifts into a different device and revenues start to decline dramatically month to month. Grishayev is still too young to understand why people are not as interested in his devices; he lets Eonsmoke operate as a zombie business. He retired from the brand and started other ventures like Hoverboards and light up shoes. A few years pass and he finally realizes that it was a technology shift that crushed sales. Eventually the market shifts again into sleek pod shaped devices and companies like Juul, Ziip, Sourin, Smok novo emerge. Grishayev and Tolmach decided to redesign Eonsmoke to capture this shift and market advancement.
Shortly after this strategy in differentiation; revenues increased. Vaping consumers were frustrated by the lack of choice in the pods marketplace. Now after exiting the vaping business, Grishayev and Tolmach moved on to an industry that is non regulated – sunglasses. Their new company Purpyle promises to deliver a premium pair of sunglasses for a fraction of the cost.