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Maybe I'm Wrong....

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  #1  
Old June 25th, 2009, 02:36 AM
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Default Maybe I'm Wrong....

But does anyone think the hookah market has been slow as of late? On a straight plateau, not going anywhere in particular?

There was the new Lucid flavors, a couple Starbuzz flavors, 2 new Fantasia flavors, an E-Coal, and the flood of Al Fakher Syrians (which in my opinion was the best part).

Other than that, I have seen nothing of interest: KM styles that are the exact same as previous ones, new rip-offs of KM's that are just basically Khalil Mamoon with a different brand-name, no new Mya's that are good looking or worth a damn, vendor's offering the same "exclusive" product as other vendors, vendors offering Sahara-Smoke/Hookah-Hookah products (this one is the ultimate over-kill), and the new Lucid flavors were hardly as amazing as everyone thought they would be.

Tons of vendors offer Hookah-Hookah brand tobacco, but Sahara-Smoke offers me an unbelievable discount that drops the price considerably so I have absolutely no reason to purchase from anyone else. Sahara-smoke rigs are definitely not my favorite, yet more and more vendors seem to be popping up with the exact same models at the exact same prices.

Why can't we get some good stuff in here? I know there has to be a way to get Al Fakher to run in some Soft Black, or some Nakhla Zag Light in a glass jar? Or maybe some new brass Syrians that aren't the same run-of-the-mill Khalil mamoon/Nour rigs? Or even a new brand/style from a different country? Something that has never been seen before in the states!

As a customer, I want something new and fantastic. None of this same-old Starbuzz or Fantasia or lifeless Khalil Mamoons! I want something original, something unique, something quality, ANYTHING! Maybe there is nothing left?
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  #2  
Old June 25th, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

Are you drunk? j/k

You are right, nothing is really intresting in the market. Maybe because it is summer and most college students travel at this time !! even when I go to local hookah lounges, business is really slow and sometimes you don't see any cutomers during weekends which is strange.
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  #3  
Old June 25th, 2009, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

[FONT=Verdana]Hey Zensilk,[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Your evaluation isn't far off. It's not that as vendors we don't want to pick up new, unique lines of products, but more so that the supply chain has been so inconsistent, that the capital expenditure which is required up front a lot of the times isn't worth the risk of not getting the product in a timely manner.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]It becomes an opportunity cost issue, where we would rather spend the money on products and features, like website improvements, that are reliable and provide better value to our customers. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Khalil Mamoon has become very unreliable in the shipment times, and when they do come in, as vendors we end up cherry picking the loads to pick up the few that are welded properly and are up to standard...which a lot of times ends up being 1/3 of the shipment or less.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Mya Saray in my opinion has become very expensive on our end to purchase, and for no true market reason. The price of commodities has not risen enough to support the relatively large increase in $/unit and the demand hasn't increased at any significant level. Mya Saray has always made good quality hookahs, but when prices are so high, and margins are significantly lower than other brands, we lose the desire to want to carry the product.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Al Fakher is another issue onto itself. This is one product, I feel, has seen an increase in domestic demand, however this has not translated into an increase in supply causing the market to constantly be dry. With new laws, tariffs, and restrictions on importation of tobacco, we're seeing these products being held up in customs warehouses for extended periods of times; once again keeping money tied up and product unavailable.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]The reason a lot of vendors are carrying Sahara Smoke products, including ourselves, is because the supply chain is relatively consistent, and the quality is good. If, for instance you're looking to pick up Sahara products alone, you'll probably not find a better deal than what they can offer, and rightfully so...they make the products, but if you, like many customers are looking to purchase sahara products and other products, you would normally have to purchase from 2 separate sites, this is where having a vendor like ourselves carry the line pays off. It allows you as a customer to avoid doubling up on shipping costs and allowing you to rack up savings which come with higher order totals. [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]As a hookah enthusiast myself, I would like to see some great new products put out there, but with a volatile market and a plateau in market demand, it's hard to justify it. I hope it changes.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Hope this helps bring some light to a few things.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]-Eugene[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Hookah Life[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri][/FONT]
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  #4  
Old June 25th, 2009, 03:08 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

hey [FONT=&quot]Eugene that was very well put, and I get it and really appreciate the hassle and hoops you guys go through for us so thanks[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana][/FONT]
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  #5  
Old June 25th, 2009, 03:57 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

well since i cant order baja , Ive been REALLY cutting back on smoking, which means cutting back on buying too. SO my hookah life has been on a plateu.
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  #6  
Old June 25th, 2009, 05:00 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

It would be great if a vendor would get some Jurak. I know we have Desi Murli which is as close to Jurak as you can get in the US, but surely some vendor could get some other Jurak to sell. If I can find it online, they can find it online as well.
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  #7  
Old June 25th, 2009, 05:18 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

was thinking something similar to this. my obsession has been dieing off rather quick as of late.

not that i have money to waste anymore, but theres nothing to spend it on.

however i will say, lucid cactus fruit is god damn good.
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  #8  
Old June 25th, 2009, 09:40 AM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

I knew it had something to do the economy. There are less and less products that I feel I want to spend money on, and if there were brand new high quality products, they would be available at a serious wallet gouging premium on our side.

Eugene, it looks like you guys at HL have taken a lot of steps forward - offering a huge variety of products, great shipping price, and to be honest my next orders will be to you.

I love getting a vendors point of view, and that's exactly what I was hoping I would get with this post.
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  #9  
Old June 25th, 2009, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

There have been an influx of new flavors recently. Half of which you mentioned yourself. There are a couple entirely new brands on the market as of late as well. JMs tobacco is new and has been causing some serious waves. Just off the top of my head there have been over 15 new flavors released on the market since the start of 2009. and that is not including those that have been done a thousand times before. I am talking new and original flavors (or new versions of flavors that have never been done well).

Frankly I am not too sure what else you want. You mention a lack of interesting hookahs. Frankly I would prefer to see new flavors and new advancements rather than just new styles of hookahs that will perform the same function. I have my KM, my Nour, my generic egyptian and a Mya. I have hookahs pretty well covered. More hookahs are just supurfluous at this point and new experiences regarding hookah are going to come from higher quality products and better/new flavors.
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  #10  
Old June 25th, 2009, 12:37 PM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunkel View Post
It would be great if a vendor would get some Jurak. I know we have Desi Murli which is as close to Jurak as you can get in the US, but surely some vendor could get some other Jurak to sell. If I can find it online, they can find it online as well.
I entirely agree.
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  #11  
Old June 25th, 2009, 01:21 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

Basically the problem is that vendors don't want to carry anything unless it already has a big market which means that no one wants to be first to offer anything because they know that most hookah types are perfectly content with super sugary/fake tasting stuff.

When I look at the brands that Chark du Tobac carries and see how little hassle it is to order from them or from Prince I am really amazed that no vendor is willing to offer something that a hundred other mail order shops carry.

As to jurak it seems like a ton of places should carry it since it's far and a way the most popular thing to smoke after tombac in KSA, Turkey, Iran & India and the stuff is very cheap. When I look at the Ahmad jurak site and I see all the wonderful stuff they carry and note how much generic, boring crap is selling for $10 per 250g I am simply amazed at how llow the standards are of so many.

As to narghiles well the truth is that a lot of firm were based on making products for local markets and since they can't afford to buy machine tools and foundry equipment build quality suffers when production raises dramtically to meet foriegn demand.

At this point the only narghile I am particularly iterested in are the very heavy, simple drawn brass rigs which seemly are not exported by anyone.
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  #12  
Old June 25th, 2009, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

Yeap, i agree, it seems to not be going anywhere right now. I almost want to open a hookah lounge just to see other people enjoy hookah as much as i did my first time. As of right now, that seems like the only way to keep hookah interesting is to show more people it and spread the word. Not that any of this involves vendors or their supplies, but im bored with hookah stuff. Perhaps its time to buy a new hookah? I found a KM a while ago that i loved, but now it seems that they are all gone, its not even listed on the website anymore.
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  #13  
Old June 25th, 2009, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

[FONT=Verdana]Hajo is right; most brands of hookahs produced overseas are not as big of companies as they appear to be. What we've noticed over the last 2 years is similar to GM in the car market in the late 80's and 90's. Companies like KM, MZ, and even MS which are well respected brands known for quality have slowly been taking advantage of that reputation, and beginning to skimp out on quality to save a few bucks. Usually it'll involve just a little bit less thickness on a stem, or poorer quality welds, or hose ports, or cheaply produced glass. It's just poor business practice.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Jurak isn't carried in the States because it's not part of the States hookah culture. I've bought Jurak before and have offered it to friends (who are seasoned hookah smokers) and they couldn't stand the stuff, and that's how the US markets have reacted and will continue to react.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Until hookahs start getting manufactured in the states (and that's a little tough since material/labor/packaging will induce prohibitive retail prices), you won't see anything new and innovative in the 500 year old tradition.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]We had thought of starting a new line of hookahs 100% US Made, and have a prototype that was built for us, it [FONT=Verdana]is[/FONT] unique, innovative, and well built...but it cost us $300 for a 23" prototype, and the manufactured $/unit would be above $100 just for materials; like I said, prohibitive.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]At this point you'll see new designs coming out, but the fundamental structure will continue to be the same...the biggest things being developed and introduced as Kalutika mentioned are flavors & shisha tobacco brands, and personally a lot of brands that have come out recently are just copy-cats. Every brand has a great flavor, but as a vendor, I won't carry a brand just because one flavor is great and the rest suck, I want something that has consistency and a variety of good flavors. That being said, some flavors that have come out over the last year are just fantastic; most notably IMO is Tangiers Lucid Horchata, just an incredible flavor; it has substituted Nakhla Cherry as my most common smoke.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Guys stay patient, enjoy your sessions, keep experimenting with different flavor combinations, vase liquids, setups, etc; the new products will come out again, the industry just exploded real fast, and it's just stabilizing right now.[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana] [/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]-Eugene[/FONT]
[FONT=Verdana]Hookah Life[/FONT]
[FONT=Calibri][/FONT]
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  #14  
Old June 25th, 2009, 04:00 PM
Hajo Flettner
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Default Re: Maybe I'm Wrong....

With respect to build quality it never really occured to me that so many companies are pushing rubbish simply because they can get away with it for a while but that is clearly possible. While I don't know for sure I think that the poor quality of narghile production has more to do with exploding demand outstripping capacity and a desire to cut corners rather then not fullfill orders. Of course Chinese rigs are usually crap and to expect other wise is silly given that state owned/controlled slave labour factories can't do much else.

As an aside I think that the criticism of GM is unfair in that I've seen nothing objective to indicate that build quality has been an issue since the mid '80s and since I know people that do QA and production planning for numerous auto companies I tend to think that the problems the American industry have faced are numerous & complex.

As to jurak I beg to differ. In part because jurak is made by literally hundreds of companies with literally thousands of products it's natural that quality and style/flavours differ a lot. I've helped distribute literally a couple of hundred samples to several dozens of HPers and to say that the response was positive is as understated as saying that starvation isn't much fun.

Some jurak is indeed harsh and simply not suited to the Western palette. On the other hand brands like Ahmad jurak so rich and flavourful that even people that like gulf style moassel like AF usually love it. Like basically everything we smoke a lot of how well you like something has a lot to do with set up and how you smoke. If you smoke even the best jurak like it was SB you'll be sick and hating life.

Also worth mentioning is that a great many traditional black and spiced moassels are actually quite rich and relaxing and the flavours can't begin to be described as anything other then delightful by anyone that wants a change from washed, bland moassels from the U.S. or the gulf states.

Brands like Prince and Societe Chark du Tombac make a bunch of products that are mild, complex and radically different then all the big brands available in the West and while they won't appeal to SB/fantasia fans they do extremely well with people that like Nahkla, Fumari or similar brands.

To me the contrast between traditional products and the American style moassels is like the difference between "lite beer" and Mackeson Stout. The former is for people that want a drink with as little flavour as possible and zero texture while the later is for people that love strong, assertive flavours and think texture is a good thing. The difference is that the SB/Fantasia people are willing to pay Mackeson prices for budmilcoors quality.

As to innovation I've seen a good bit in terms of electric narghiles and the amazing shisha art narghile from France. Hoses have also been innovative in terms of quality of build and ease of cleaning.

What I do not find innovate is the ever growing range of heavily washed moassels that all lack any tobacco tastes at all but instead taste like fruits/drinks/candy/something fake. Given that washed and unwashed fruit/drink flavoured moassel of exceedingly high quality and realism are readily available I don't see much more happening with market segment.

What I do find to have potential is high quality traditional style products providing taste and smoke texture that sugary, glycerin laden products can never replicate. I also don't see that potential being met which is a pity because plenty of pipe and cigar smokers would take up narghiles if such products could be had.

Last edited by Hajo Flettner; June 25th, 2009 at 04:13 PM.
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