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Opening up a Lounge

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  #26  
Old December 23rd, 2009, 08:56 PM
foibled
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nakura18 View Post
Roughly we have about 28-30KG of shisha all together for start up.
28-30 kilos? I might have that much in my own personal stash if I bothered to measure it all. Maybe I should open a own lounge just for myself...

You've definitely got me beat in the hookahs though.

edit: Oh and Hookah Company wholesales also so you might want to give them a look too (http://www.wholesale-hookah.com/). Their Temsaah hookahs can offer the same build and performance as KMs but for cheaper if that's something you'd be interested in.

Last edited by foibled; December 23rd, 2009 at 09:01 PM.
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  #27  
Old December 24th, 2009, 02:15 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

So have you done a business plan yet? I had started one, as I have also been thinking about doing the same thing as you (although not in VA), but I didn't finish it. It seems I have similar strategies and plans as you do. Roughly same startup costs and such. The only thing I hadn't figured out was the licensing, LLC, EIN and such. If you did finish a plan, is it really a feasible business? Does it have the potential to make money and possibly even make a decent living? I am not really looking to get rich, this just seems like something I would love doing and would like to give it a shot. and if I DID get rich, that would be awesome.

So to sum up this late night rant, is a hookah lounge a good investment for a small business?
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  #28  
Old December 24th, 2009, 02:46 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Want to something similar here in SA but the prices of getting Good Quality Hookahs here is crazy
Good luck
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  #29  
Old December 24th, 2009, 02:47 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassem View Post
Or of course, it may allow someone to 'partner in' with you, when that wouldn't necessarily be required. You take the lions share of the risk, for the opportunity to share the profits. I would beg someone to open another 'high end' hookah lounge next to ours. The profit from buying their goods when they close in six months is quite extraordinary.
Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting 'high-end'. Simply being willing to consider the options available with a little more capital. A customer's experience may vary greatly between a $12k investment vs a $20k investment. It may simply be the difference between really nice, clean bathrooms and dingy ones--something that leaves more customers with a bad impression than anything else.

And, since any business' success is ultimately based the customer's sustained satisfaction with the perceived value of the product he receives, carefully directed capital can be a major deciding factor. Sometimes that means spending a little more. The very reason Apple computers has some of the highest customer loyalty in the business, regardless of their high price tags.
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Last edited by bpetruzzo; December 24th, 2009 at 02:48 AM. Reason: Forgot to quote.
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  #30  
Old December 24th, 2009, 03:15 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

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Originally Posted by Nakura18 View Post
(30 hookahs at about $120 a piece)
If you're buying 30 hookahs, there's no way you should be spending $120 a piece on them. That's just crazy. I probably wouldn't spend $120 on a single hookah, let alone buying in bulk.
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  #31  
Old December 24th, 2009, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

As to what blacklit has said, we took the average price of the hookahs we were looking at such as a 26inch Hookahs to 32 inch Hookahs. Although we will definitely have to look back into that section. Especially with the MYA referral you gave me, thank you so much. I will have to look into working with MYA one on one as well as the shisha brands to work on prices and see how things go from there!

As for $1.50 for 250g is crazy, we're in Iraq currently but due to safety issues we're not allowed going into normal Iraqi shops such as hookah lounges. We are restricted to Bazaars and lounges that have opened up on some camps. We've payed maybe $4 for 250g of Al Fakher, $1 for 50g. Bazaars have caught on that us Americans pay more back at home for shisha so they have adjusted their prices to reflect that. I am sure that off of camp and in a original Iraqi town the prices are much cheaper.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpetruzzo View Post
Sounds like a good idea. I'm currently a part of a small circle of entrepreneurs who are researching the hookah-lounge business. We're far from being ready to launch and we're considering the set up in a very different area, serving a very different demographic. However, it seems wise to keep in mind that, depending where in Virginia you're looking, there are a lot of lounges there already. The vast majority of those are mediocre at best.

I would bet that most of those aren't turning much of a profit. I suspect that if you approach the endeavor looking to cut all the corners you can, you're going to end up with another mediocre lounge, instead of a great one, which it might be with a little extra TLC and capital.

Just about every time I visit a lounge in the VA area, I'm constantly noticing tiny little things that could be adjusted to better the customer's experience. But instead, they're little things that add up to me not wanting to return to that lounge. In my opinion, the hookah lounge is an excellent idea and a great market, but it needs a kind of renaissance to really be profitable.

So, all I'm suggesting is that perhaps looking for the lowest possible entry cost isn't the best idea. Raising capital and looking for private investors could potentially offer you the opportunity to be just that much better than rest of the guys out there giving you the chance to suck away their business.
Like Bassem has said before, it really isn't how much money you put into it but rather what you make of it. You can easily shell out 50K+ into a lounge but do it all wrong. It's not all about luxury and I understand what you're saying because VA is a competitive place for Hookah lounges because of the amount of them. However, location is a big aspect and we have accounted for that as well as done our own research on where to open up. Our goal isn't just to be just a hookah lounge, but THE hookah lounge. We know what we're striving for and knowing that makes it a lot easier to work for. A majority of hookah lounges open up just to be able to supply an area to clients who wish to smoke hookah, but it isn't just about that. It's more about giving that area and making it worthwhile to come back. The location of the place, the feel of the atmosphere, how we interact with the customers like they are people/friends rather than just profit. They are so many aspects to account for! But thank you for all the replies! Especially the referral from Blacklit!
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  #32  
Old December 24th, 2009, 08:32 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Quote:
Originally Posted by thefaded View Post
If you're buying 30 hookahs, there's no way you should be spending $120 a piece on them. That's just crazy. I probably wouldn't spend $120 on a single hookah, let alone buying in bulk.
That was just the average prices, all my personal hookah's have been $100 haha. But of course buying in bulk especially at a wholesale company would drop the prices tremendously. Don't worry not dishing $120 a hookah when the time comes to buy, it was just to give us a price range.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bpetruzzo View Post
Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting 'high-end'. Simply being willing to consider the options available with a little more capital. A customer's experience may vary greatly between a $12k investment vs a $20k investment. It may simply be the difference between really nice, clean bathrooms and dingy ones--something that leaves more customers with a bad impression than anything else.

And, since any business' success is ultimately based the customer's sustained satisfaction with the perceived value of the product he receives, carefully directed capital can be a major deciding factor. Sometimes that means spending a little more. The very reason Apple computers has some of the highest customer loyalty in the business, regardless of their high price tags.
I agree that 12K to 20K can make all the difference from bathrooms, the feel of the place and such. However, my partner and I plan on doing the start up work ourselves with some friends of ours. Such as painting and setting/building up the inside of the place. So that cuts costs off already since we're not paying others to do it. We agree that appearance is a major thing, it is all about the first impressions of the place. If it looks sloppy/messy, people will mark it as that and walk away.

Quote:
Originally Posted by glostersa View Post
Want to something similar here in SA but the prices of getting Good Quality Hookahs here is crazy
Good luck
Have you tried looking into ordering bulk from wholesalers? Also depends on the type/brand of hookahs you are looking at. We've based out plan on 30 hookahs at 120 a piece, that is just a rough estimate as we have not accounted the fact of a wholesaler or bulk.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Black_Mamba View Post
So have you done a business plan yet? I had started one, as I have also been thinking about doing the same thing as you (although not in VA), but I didn't finish it. It seems I have similar strategies and plans as you do. Roughly same startup costs and such. The only thing I hadn't figured out was the licensing, LLC, EIN and such. If you did finish a plan, is it really a feasible business? Does it have the potential to make money and possibly even make a decent living? I am not really looking to get rich, this just seems like something I would love doing and would like to give it a shot. and if I DID get rich, that would be awesome.

So to sum up this late night rant, is a hookah lounge a good investment for a small business?
We are still fine tuning out business plan although we do have a base for it already down. We are still working on the licensing and EIN, we have to wait until Monday to do anything about that because of the holidays. My partner and I do believe it is a great business given the right time and dedication to make it happen. It is all about how committed you are to making it happen as well as your plan! I'd be willing to help if you needed as I am sure many others would as well!
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  #33  
Old December 25th, 2009, 04:09 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Merry Christmas from Iraq! Hope everyone had a great one. -- Thanks again for all the help, it has helped out greatly.
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  #34  
Old December 25th, 2009, 04:19 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Nakhla should be included in your lineup. I know it may be cheap, but i smoke it almost exclusively. Price does not denote quality, and trust me i have enough to smoke whatever i want, out of all the shisha i have tried nakhla stays the most consistant. Plus Nakhla Double Apple can not be substituted by any other brand. Not to mention that their Mizo line will give good clouds for those customers who are looking for it.
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  #35  
Old December 25th, 2009, 04:29 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

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Originally Posted by D-Szlos View Post
Nakhla should be included in your lineup. I know it may be cheap, but i smoke it almost exclusively. Price does not denote quality, and trust me i have enough to smoke whatever i want, out of all the shisha i have tried nakhla stays the most consistant. Plus Nakhla Double Apple can not be substituted by any other brand. Not to mention that their Mizo line will give good clouds for those customers who are looking for it.
Awesome, we have added Nakhla to our Shisha list. We decided to keep out original list and just add one. We want to have a wide selection of brands, although we are worried if we have too many brands that customers will tend to forget about other brands and we are left with dead shisha. We are working on a plan against that but as of right now we have 7 brands on our list. However, we are deciding how many flavors to go with. The more popular brands we'll have more flavors as opposed to the smaller brands.
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  #36  
Old December 25th, 2009, 04:57 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Personal opinion on selection - I think most will be looking for selection in flavor more than brand + flavor. If you carry the same flavor in 5 different brands, you'll probably end up with 1-2 selling and the others not at all.

If you carry full lines of say 2 brands (ie. AF and Nakhla or SB and Nakhla, etc...), you could offer a regular menu (with Nakhla) and a premium menu (with Starbuzz or whatever your "upscale"/pricier option is). Both offer large flavor selections but appeal to the two ends of the spectrum in terms of tobacco types. Unless you'll have an online store, I think carrying more than 2-3 brands will not prove beneficial.
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  #37  
Old December 25th, 2009, 05:44 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

That makes a lot of sense. We tried not to cross flavors over with other brands, so each brand has it's own flavors with it. However, have 2-3 brands with a lot of flavors rather than 6-7 brands with a few flavors seems like the way to go because then it would offer a lot more of a variety in flavors.

However, each brand has it's own reason. Hydro Herbal for those who want to relax without the buzz or tobacco, Starbuzz and Tangiers as the two popular upscale brands followed with Nakhla and Al Fakher as the general lower priced popular brands. We have Romman as well, although, I do not think that will stay on the list. We'll have to work more on our shisha list and come down to a final decision as to go with flavors over brands or brands over flavors. But I completely agree with your reasoning.
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  #38  
Old December 26th, 2009, 02:48 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

in VA huh? where in Richmond city? cuz theres alot of new lounges popping up but they only carry AF, Nakhla, and SB. if you can get a large renting space and lots of brands to choose from, you would smoke the competition. also good food ;d NOM NOM NOM NOMS
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  #39  
Old December 26th, 2009, 05:09 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Haha can't tell you the location However as for flavors and brands, we are trying to keep a wide selection of brands such as Starbuzz, Tangiers, Al Fakha, Hydro Herbal and Nakhla. Although, having a wide selection will also limit on how much we sell per brand. Some people will tend to be pulled more to the higher/premier ones such as Starbuzz or Tangiers while others will stick with Al Fakher and Nakhla.

It is tough deciding on which way to go, we both want to provide a vast selection but we can't decide on what brands to go with such as Al Fakha and Nakhla.

Menu so far:
Starbuzz
Tangiers
Hydro Herbal
Al Fakha
Nakhla

---Has anyone tried Romman before, supposedly it is THE premier shisha on the market? We've had it on our list although we took it off because we haven't heard anything about it nor have we met anyone who has tried it.

-------- We are trying to find wholesalers for Hookahs as well as Shisha. We checked some out but the ones we have found do not offer a wide Shisha selection for what we are looking for. Any advice on this? Also we are looking for KM hookahs as our base supply, we are thinking that a 30" hookah is good for a lounge..any personal thoughts on this?

Last edited by Nakura18; December 26th, 2009 at 08:25 AM.
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  #40  
Old December 26th, 2009, 02:55 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Hey Nak-

My KM wholesaler is based out of Chicago, and you're probably not in his territory. I'll call him Monday and if he can't help directly, he'll tell me who's the rep down there, and I'll get you that info.

Stay safe.
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  #41  
Old December 26th, 2009, 03:03 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

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Originally Posted by Bassem View Post
Hey Nak-

My KM wholesaler is based out of Chicago, and you're probably not in his territory. I'll call him Monday and if he can't help directly, he'll tell me who's the rep down there, and I'll get you that info.

Stay safe.
Thank you so much, I would really appreciate that! I hope things are going well, take care!
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  #42  
Old December 27th, 2009, 12:59 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

One thing that is not mentioned in your startup costs are your living expenses. If you plan on this being a full time job for yourself (and anyone else) you will have to build in your personal living expenses into your plan. Some business models call for 6 months to 1 year of personal living expenses to be set aside, so that all profits actually generated by the business are put back into it. Some plans also set aside operating costs for 6 months or more.

Mkultra99
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  #43  
Old December 27th, 2009, 03:04 PM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

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Originally Posted by Mkultra99 View Post
One thing that is not mentioned in your startup costs are your living expenses. If you plan on this being a full time job for yourself (and anyone else) you will have to build in your personal living expenses into your plan. Some business models call for 6 months to 1 year of personal living expenses to be set aside, so that all profits actually generated by the business are put back into it. Some plans also set aside operating costs for 6 months or more.

Mkultra99
We have accounted for as if we were living off of profits. However, this business will be run as like a family. Our profits are what is left over after rent and re-suply, we are both Military Guard so we earn benefits on the side, such as school full-time and so on. Thank you for bringing it up though!
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  #44  
Old December 28th, 2009, 07:26 AM
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VBhookah ..... is gonna be *******!!! woot woot!
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  #45  
Old December 28th, 2009, 09:55 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Im sure you have mouth tips on your list of thing for your bar, but may i suggest the multi colored contoured coco tips. They work really really well
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  #46  
Old December 28th, 2009, 10:37 AM
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Default Re: Opening up a Lounge

Yes! I will definitely look into those. I don't really like the plastic ones myself so a change would be nice as I am any other local hookah lounge will probably have the plastic ones. Thank you for the idea!
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