Hello again, and welcome to another B2 Hookah blog post. This week, I've brought you a special treat. HookahJohn
- one of the biggest names in the industry, has agreed to do an interview with me. Who is HookahJohn? "HookahJohn is an online vendor of the biggest and best in the Hookah industry. He is the creator of great products like the Harmony hookah bowl, 80 feet bowl, Titanium coals, and many others. This year, John is working to bring the Hookah industry to the consumers with Hookah Expo Worldwide in Las Vegas this July.
You can also check out John's YouTube presence at youtube.com/chronichookah
, where he brings you all the latest and greatest, as well as discussions on the current state of the market."
Needless to say, John is a man that rarely needs introduction, and is one of the paragons of the hookah community. What better way to gain some insight into the hookah industry, than to talk with one of the leaders themselves?
John is joined today by Alex, his customer service representative and envoy for the interview.
1: When and how did you get into the hookah industry?
About 2008 when the real estate market crashed. Everyone's income decreased steadily and mine went down 100% within a few months. As I was stressing out over it, I was smoking hookah and worrying about how to make money. Lo and behold, it was in my hands the whole time.
2: What is your proudest achievement thus far in the hookah community?
The trust and love I have for my followers that I've built over the past nine years.
3: What's your go-to flavor?
I don't have a go-to per brand, but I like my citrus mints. Tangiers Mimon, AF Citrus Mint, stuff like that.
4: What are some of your goals for the future?
Working on the Hookah Expo to bring the entire hookah industry to the hookah consumer community.
5: What do you think the biggest innovation in the hookah industry has been in the last ten years?
Coconut charcoal as a whole.
6. Which company in the industry do you have the most respect for?
7. What do you think the "next big thing" in hookah will be?
Hopefully not another bowl that will do exactly the same thing as everything else out there.
8. Which hookah in your personal collection is your favorite at the moment?
It's not fair to pick a favorite! Right now I'm using a Starbuzz MIA, a Sahara Smoke Executive, and a Prometheus Demi. Always with HJ bohos and narbs, of course.
9. What mistakes do you think that you've made in the past?
Too many things at once.
10a. You've often been said to not listen to community feedback, do you think this is true?
I don't think that's true at all. Most of what I do has come from community feedback. When I started out, I thought I knew more than everybody about hookah and boy, was I wrong. I focused on the community without selling anything for months, and then sold them what they wanted. With that said, at this point and size of the community, I can't please everyone.
10b. Has the success of the Alien Flashback changed how your perceive community feedback thus far?
No, I still feel the same as I said above.
11. What would you say to anyone that aspires to get into the hookah industry? Are there any good starting points? Would you advise against it?
I think it's too saturated right now. At this point all anyone new is seeming to be is another "me too" vendor. With that said, this is America and people are free to, and should do, whatever they want.
12. What do you think helps make HookahJohn products successful, or what made them successful in the first place?
Quality, and the fact that I use them every day.
13. Who packs the better bowl - you or Alex?
John - Me. (Alex - Me, 100%)
14. You often say that hookah is made over complicated, what are your top three tips for new smokers?
Watch videos from different YouTubers on how to pack. Go in to lounges and ask them how they do it. It will become easy in no time.
15. Your upcoming expo - Hookah Expo Worldwide. What are a few reasons to attend for those not in the industry (normal consumers)?
They get face-to-face time with brands that make products they love. They get to ask about what's going on and what's new. People have been smoking these brands for years and years and love them, but they don't always have a face to put to them. This will give them an opportunity.
16. You've said that TPE seemed to be very lackluster in terms of hookah attendance, do you attribute this to the recent FDA regulations? Or is it just a gradual decline that has occurred over the years?
Several reasons. The FDA is part of it. It has to do with there being no crowd that shows up for TPE. TPE is, and I emphasis this, a business to business thing first. Hookah was never the main reason for TPE, we just started showing up. Its started declining over the years, it's not for us. Last year, all there was were Chinese copycat companies, Russian companies, and Germans. This year, not even the copycats showed up. Between the aisles, it was empty this year.
17. Titanium coals are the collaboration of you and Cocobrico, what makes them better/different from Cocobrico coals?
I'm under contract not to discuss what the Cocobrico company does, so I don't have much to say on the matter. With that said, I use both personally, but I stick with Titaniums.
I'd like to give a big personal thank you to John and Alex for helping collaborate for this interview. John is one of the industry leaders without a doubt, and I'm very excited to see what 2017 holds for him, as well as what Hookah Expo Worldwide has in store. What do you think? Are there any questions that you'd like to ask John? Let us know in the comments below! As always, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!