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State of the Hookah Union Address

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  #1  
Old October 16th, 2008, 08:34 PM
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Default State of the Hookah Union Address

Hi Guys, I wanted to share some happenings in the hookah world today as I see it as a vendor and consumer. With that said I am not posting this to promote my business in anyway (HP is kind enough to have a vendor section where we vendors can promote freely,within reason and within laid out guidelines.
Here goes and this may come across as rambling so bear with me.

The import market is crap, plain and simple. I have been to so many wholesalers over the week and they are flooded with cheap Chinese hookahs, coals that will make you choke and shisha that is imo (and I smoke at least twice a day) unsmokeable. Not only that there are knock offs of everything, including knockoff knockoffs. I am not going to name names but it seems like 95% of the hookahs in the US are Chinese, some OK quality at best but mostly junk. That may be ok if you stock your store hoping for the next sucker to walk in so you can tell him how this great abc pos hookah is, take his money and never look back. The ones most of here at HP like are KM's and MZ's, right? Well guess what? KM's have been dry in the market for a few weeks and a lot of MZ's have been gone a long time ago. What does that leave for our respectable vendors here on HP, including myself? No stock....oh when are they getting more you ask, some vendors (and not naming names) will tell you oh yeah we are getting a ton very soon, next week most likely The truth is the vendors are being to led on by the importers and the consumer is being led on by the vendor. I have been asked when the next shipment is coming in so I ask my supplier. It's been about a month since he has been telling me no problem any day now. I came to find out, the container hasn't left Egypt yet!!!!
Most of you who have been on HP for a few months remember when this happened a while back. The importers told us the same thing, don't worry, next week....every week for about 3 months!
Again not to promote me or any other vendor but you will need to dig around to get a KM or MZ today, email/pm or even call your respectable vendors and ask what they have and take what you can. The good thing about HP is that they don't let jsut any vendors drop in and post promotions and leave. You'll see that most of the vendors here are a part of the HP community and participate and contribute.
On the other hand if you want a worthless overpriced attempt at a hookah, made in china, copying someone else' copy, then SKYS THE LIMIT folks. Have at it

There is no limit on shisha these days, you can get what you want almost anywhere you want and at good prices. The only issue I have is that I haven't been "wowed" by any new brand of shisha in a long time. I can't wait until there is a new shisha that tases better than SB and is half the price of AF, wishful thinking, right?

Coals, there is so much I could say but I am too biased to give a fair opinion and will not use this post for self benefit. The good thing is coals are not running out anywhere soon.

Where am I going with all this? Who the heck knows but for those of you who have quality hookahs, really really take care of them as I am afraid good quality will not be around much longer. Maybe I'm nuts but I appreciate quality products. Prices are going up on everything and that includes this industry as well. I do have some hope though, some of the vendors you know (will not name names) are taking the initiative to import their own hookahs. I wish them luck and can't wait for that outcome.
Sorry for the negativity but it has been tough figuring out what this market has to offer. On the other hand, there are always people in any market who have cards up their sleeves. Hopefully there is something on the way and will be announced upon arrival and happy smoking days will be here again.

OK, rant over, time to smoke
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  #2  
Old October 16th, 2008, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

nice post,

i think part of the issue is going to be that people want the same price, want the item now, and want it the same quality as it has been, issue being that we have higher demand, lower supply, and less skilled people making them.

i still want to get a high quality hookah (my rotator isnt quality but it works well), but honestly i am about to just start making my own since i am learning glass blowing and i know how to braze/silver solder and have access to full studios for both and plan to for a long time.

i would love to get a brand out there that is what you said but ya it is a little wishful thinking, but it can be done seeing as nakhla is 7-8 bucks and tangiers is 13 bucks just not the crazy flavors of SB

nice to see a vendors view on the industry
-matt
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  #3  
Old October 16th, 2008, 08:45 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

wow...we are hitting rough times nowadays huh? everyone knows that there are a TON of cheap chinese garbage hookahs, but it's scary to think that that market could be COMPLETELY dry of authentic hookahs in the future, and i'm glad i got my two precious babies, and i'll definitely make sure to take care of them.

anyway i think this should be stickied!
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  #4  
Old October 16th, 2008, 10:02 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by ByronSA View Post
wow...we are hitting rough times nowadays huh? everyone knows that there are a TON of cheap chinese garbage hookahs, but it's scary to think that that market could be COMPLETELY dry of authentic hookahs in the future, and i'm glad i got my two precious babies, and i'll definitely make sure to take care of them.

anyway i think this should be stickied!
yea thats true cuz newbies down here head to the flea market and buy cheap chinese hookahs for a very very low price and they think their getting a bargain when their not.Also the demands for KM's are as high for the demands for jordans and trust me i know ive heard more people talk about hookahs than anything else in the streets.As for the suppliers or wholesalers as John was describing and talking about it last night their irresponsible because if the shipment isn't half way down the Nile River why are they saying its getting down here next week...INCREDIBLE....John for president
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  #5  
Old October 17th, 2008, 12:09 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

It occurs to me that the shortage of decent rigs in the states is a result the demand being very high which strikes me as an excellent thing. Also, I don't it realistic to expect that well built narghiles from Egypt & Syria (and I suppose Turkey) can be turned out as quickly as the stuff built in massive slave factories in China.

As to bad quality crap from China I suppose that since narghile stuff is super trendy right now the Chinese are turning out mountains of rubbish to capitalize on the trend knowing full well that in 3-5 years the demand will drop to nothing if the economic collapse of the US doesn't kill the market first.

The real problem with having tons of crap flooding the market is that legions of naive kids looking to be in on the latest fad will conclude that the pastime is unpleasant after acquiring Chinese rigs and coals.

What bothers me a lot is that so much of the moassel on the market is fake, candy like stuff that lacks any semblence to what has been smoked up until 20 the last 20 years or so.
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  #6  
Old October 17th, 2008, 12:22 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by Hajo Flettner View Post
It occurs to me that the shortage of decent rigs in the states is a result the demand being very high which strikes me as an excellent thing. Also, I don't it realistic to expect that well built narghiles from Egypt & Syria (and I suppose Turkey) can be turned out as quickly as the stuff built in massive slave factories in China.

As to bad quality crap from China I suppose that since narghile stuff is super trendy right now the Chinese are turning out mountains of rubbish to capitalize on the trend knowing full well that in 3-5 years the demand will drop to nothing if the economic collapse of the US doesn't kill the market first.

The real problem with having tons of crap flooding the market is that legions of naive kids looking to be in on the latest fad will conclude that the pastime is unpleasant after acquiring Chinese rigs and coals.

What bothers me a lot is that so much of the moassel on the market is fake, candy like stuff that lacks any semblence to what has been smoked up until 20 the last 20 years or so.
Don't get me wrong man, I love a rich unflavored cigar. I also love a pipe on a cold winters day. however, i love the "candy" hookah flavorings, it's what i smoke when i'm not nec. in the mood for that strong tobacco flavor =).

When it comes right down to it, people like what they like man =). I do, however, believe we need more widespread unflavored tobacco than just Zaghoul, Salloum (temp only?) and this new Ayam Zaman stuff Sahara's putting out there.
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  #7  
Old October 17th, 2008, 12:27 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by ************* View Post
...some of the vendors you know (will not name names) are taking the initiative to import their own hookahs. I wish them luck and can't wait for that outcome.
Does that mean we'll see some pipes stamped النرجيلة المزمنة in the future?
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  #8  
Old October 17th, 2008, 12:28 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

I totally agree with what you're saying.

I know of ONE shop that still has KM hookahs in stock, and they are 30% above where they should be priced. MZ's have vanished, and most of the other hookahs on the market are cheap knockoffs, even if they have nice looking designs.

There is a TON of awful shisha out there right now. The best brand most smoke shops sell is regular Layalina, with tons of crap brands priced cheaper.

I went to a shop the other day hoping to find foil and their best coals were Rolland naturals. Are you kidding me??

The problem is that Hookah has blown up so fast here in the US, I don't think there are enough importers, nor enough stock being produced by the established companies to meet the demand. Plus, the average hookah smoker thinks a bowl of Layalina with Rolland instant lights on a 18" chinese hookah is the best smoke they can get. They don't have access to authentic, quality products- so they don't know better. I've seen this even in your own store John, with people coming in and buying crappy products just becase they know their friends use them- instead of buying the quality items you sell for nearly the same price.

Bottom line: the US is not a good place to be a hookah fanatic. I imagine it's like enjoying American indie music in Europe. The good stuff trickles in, but it's not demanded enough to really be provided in quantity.
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  #9  
Old October 17th, 2008, 12:36 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by Liszt View Post
Don't get me wrong man, I love a rich unflavored cigar. I also love a pipe on a cold winters day. however, i love the "candy" hookah flavorings, it's what i smoke when i'm not nec. in the mood for that strong tobacco flavor =).

When it comes right down to it, people like what they like man =). I do, however, believe we need more widespread unflavored tobacco than just Zaghoul, Salloum (temp only?) and this new Ayam Zaman stuff Sahara's putting out there.
I see what you are saying. I don't knock anyone for what they smoke (even if it's SB) but I do wish that the more robust stuff would be given a chance. As to the black style stuff I'd suggest Hookah-Hookah Cavendish for those of you that don't want to mess with re-hydrating Zghloul or Salloum. It mixes really well with any good vanilla or winterberry type product as well. Great stuff.

Oh, good post OC. I wish you were wrong but you're not.

Last edited by Hajo Flettner; October 17th, 2008 at 12:39 AM.
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  #10  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:02 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

[FONT=Verdana]The market economy at its finest. Itís only the educated that can prevent themselves from being arbitraged by those looking to capitalize on the ignorant (which is usually the overwhelming majority). The bad thing is that the demographic driving the hookah fad here wants what's convenient instead of something that is an actual reliable product (that goes for goes for hookahs, coals, et al...). Hence, when they vote with their dollars, they make what we know is the wrong choice and the crap hookah industry is perpetuated. Ultimately, people do what people want, but I am very thankful for resources like Hookah Pro and stand up vendors like ******* Hookah that are sincerely interested in making sure people get the best smoke they can get while still maintaining a very communal feeling with the hookah community.[/FONT]
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  #11  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:08 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

I have something more to add...

Almost ALL of us have friends who own crappy Chinese hookahs with cheap shisha and awful quicklight coals.

It's our job to tell them what they're missing.

You can get a nice MZ or Mya plus a good 250g pack of shisha and a box or good quicklights for <$100. If you just ONCE let someone try your legit setup, they will realize what they are missing out on.

When people realize that KM, Mya, and MZ are the only good brands, that there are maybe 3 good brands of quicklights, and that Layalina is entry-level shisha, the demand will increase enough that they start importing more to the US.
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  #12  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:11 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

Agreed OCMJ. I don't try and patronize, but when I do see people/friends smoking little retarded pumpkins with "CuZZINZZZZ" shisha, I step in and tell them what up.
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  #13  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:21 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

true dat ch john king im glad i got a km chiller now i can do smoke rings like a mofo 4tw cheap shisha means smoke me if you want chinese trash
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  #14  
Old October 17th, 2008, 03:01 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

John, you and the rest of our vendors here are the reason I buy only from HP active and supporting vendors. Thankfully we have access to the best in the business here. I have yet to worry about anything I order being sub standard quality. And Hajo, I couldn't agree with you more in regards to moassels'. But then I can say I have sampled some fantastic tobaccos from the Middle East and while plain Salloum is a good tobacco it doesn't come close to what is out there. Thank you for what you have brought to this community.
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  #15  
Old October 17th, 2008, 05:47 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by uglybiker View Post
Does that mean we'll see some pipes stamped النرجيلة المزمنة in the future?
LMAO ROFL

******* Hookah in Arabic sounds very corny and funny LOLLLLLL

btw, you speak Arabic, uglybiker?
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  #16  
Old October 17th, 2008, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

+1 for the information.

Right now as I look at it would be the best time for a US based start up to make great high quality hookahs for reasonable consumer prices. Think about it, you wouldn't have to pay for the high import cost, raw materials would cost less, and other benefits. It's time for the US to step up and take charge of the hookah market.
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  #17  
Old October 17th, 2008, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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+1 for the information.

Right now as I look at it would be the best time for a US based start up to make great high quality hookahs for reasonable consumer prices. Think about it, you wouldn't have to pay for the high import cost, raw materials would cost less, and other benefits. It's time for the US to step up and take charge of the hookah market.
that would be great, no more importing, quality control, but i do think the costs would be higher.
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  #18  
Old October 17th, 2008, 11:45 AM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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Originally Posted by speel View Post
+1 for the information.

Right now as I look at it would be the best time for a US based start up to make great high quality hookahs for reasonable consumer prices. Think about it, you wouldn't have to pay for the high import cost, raw materials would cost less, and other benefits. It's time for the US to step up and take charge of the hookah market.

I don't know about this. My bambino comes from China, but that's my little daily smoker and if it breaks, its not the end of the world. However, if I was to invest in a serious rig, I would want it to be from Egypt/Middle East. To me, buying an American made hookah is like buying a cheeseburger made in Thailand. It might be good, but it probably won't be as good.
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Old October 17th, 2008, 01:16 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

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-To me, buying an American made hookah is like buying a cheeseburger made in Thailand.
i've had cheeseburgers in thailand...not so great
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  #20  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:34 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

What about the generic Egyptians? I believe my wife got mine from that big dealer on Ebay. She said she was more than happy with the way it went and is really pleased with the extras that were thrown in. I mean I am sure as with anything the big names have their benefits but a lot of times you are just paying for a name. This one is hand crafted Egyptian, pretty standard parts and no leaks. Would an MZ really be a noticeable difference to me?
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  #21  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Fezzik View Post
What about the generic Egyptians? I believe my wife got mine from that big dealer on Ebay. She said she was more than happy with the way it went and is really pleased with the extras that were thrown in. I mean I am sure as with anything the big names have their benefits but a lot of times you are just paying for a name. This one is hand crafted Egyptian, pretty standard parts and no leaks. Would an MZ really be a noticeable difference to me?
Probably not. Same with KMs. I love my Amoura for the aesthetic value mainly. I've obtained "KM" sized clouds with a QT and a 22'' Egyptian, it's all about the packing style/hole patterns/hose/ bowl/ grommet tightness man.
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  #22  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:47 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

That is all I am saying. I love the look of mine but it probably isn't as nice or tricked out as some, but I am not so into pimped hookahs. But I gotta think barring a few differences possibly in stem width I can't imagine there is much difference. Now I can see why a mass produced Chinese hookah can be hit or miss. The nature of mass production. Just a thought.

Question. Are the big vendors and what not a fairly tight community. I mean it seems that some of you guys hang out and you have quite possibly the most civil competition I have ever seen. No bad mouthing and at times even going so far as to say oh yeah I have checked them out they are great for this. Incredible, that and I was with the guy from X company when this came in and that stuff is nice.
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  #23  
Old October 17th, 2008, 01:52 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

Some generic Egyptians are much better in quality and have a bigger collection than KMs or MZs. Afterall, when u crave a Pizza in Rome, u do not head to Pizza Hut ...
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  #24  
Old October 17th, 2008, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

as to price being cheaper if it was made here, haha no not going to happen.

glass alone costs at least a buck per pound for clear raw glass, then the cost to melt it, blow it, color it etc. the metals cost and all the forming of that.

you are going to be paying a good amount for hookahs made here in the states but quality would probably be better
-matt
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  #25  
Old October 17th, 2008, 03:40 PM
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Default Re: State of the Hookah Union Address

No doubt matt, i bought my wife a tiny glass vase from a glass studio near me, Art of Fire (Foster does beautiful work), but that tiny vase cost significantly more than my Km green pear.
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