Re: State of the Hookah Union Address
I see some things in this thread that make all sorts of sense...
I believe that the influx of cheap chinese hookah is due to the faddish nature of the hobby. Not many young people that are attracted to hookah are ready to commit to the price tag of a $79 or better priced rig...so they opt out for cheaper made $29 jobs that break and rust easily...or are just poor designs. This can lead to the new smoker to think that hookah is isnt worth the effort or cost due to the poor performance. Results well below expectation.
This leads to abandonment.
The downside of selling quality traditional hookahs is that once you have one.... theres not much need to replace it. Unless it befalls an untimely breakage due to accident......the only way a person would need another one is YEARS down the road when something finally does wear out it out.
So you are forced to try and reach the new buyer market with tradtional rigs...but how can you do it with the price points the way they are? How are vendors gonna keep the store open by just giving them away (basically)?
Personally I think its somewhat of a good thing to let the KM and MZ market rest a while. Let the demand for them build up once again while offering some of the things we dont see everyday , like some of the more obscure Syrian and even Turk models. I personally loathe online shopping for hookah, to me, everyone basically has the same stuff these days..... So many sites are Sahara and HH affiliated and carry all the same stuff. Others that carried traditionals have sluffed them off for the Chinese offerings.There are a few braver souls out there (like *******) that go out and pick up some cast Syrians and sell em. The pool is stagnant...and I do look forward to vendors having to tough it out and go to market for something to stock.
I personally think the shift is due to the price point...and that the new Chinese stuff has a modern look that appeals to "head shop" clientele.... and when you can sell that stuff en masse to retailers... your gonna jump on the train to make that buck... no blame...its just business.
I think we all will be able to find a good traditional hookah 10 years from now...when the "kids" have moved on to whatever it is.... Im not sure it will be as easy to find what we are looking for then with the usual suspects shifting to the latest low cost offerings.
If theres not much to be found...I'll just hit the ME online gift shops and find it there...pick out another good hookah that will last me the next 5-10 years and not bitch too much about the $25 shipping.
I heard rumblings about three years ago when a distributor told me that he was pretty much "getting out of Egypt".
What can you do? You gotta go where the money is right? Cant run a business on simply "what you would like to do".