Alpaca - a name that's synonymous with quality clay bowls in the worldwide hookah scene. Alpaca is practically a household name-brand in the modern hookah smoker's world, and for good reason. Coming from OG bowls, Alpaca has been around for about two years or so. They've spent that time making themselves a well-known brand through making bowls that are consistent and perform well. Alpaca's 'Apache' style bowls have taken the market by storm, becoming the bowl of choice for many hookah smokers around. But who makes these bowls? Who's the man behind the action? Omar - the owner and CEO of Alpaca bowls.
Omar has been making bowls for roughly four years, as he was the man behind the action at OG, before founding Alpaca roughly a year and a half ago. At his core, Omar is just like you and I. He's someone who is crazy about hookah - someone who loves it, and wants to see it progress further. Omar took the leap and joined the hookah industry, to do just that. I recently had the opportunity to chat with Omar about Alpaca, and hookah as a whole. This time, we're going to be doing it a little different. Instead of just giving you the transcript for you to read, I'm going to be telling you about the interview, and how Alpaca is doing as a brand, and what kind of struggles they like. I'm still experimenting to find the perfect interview style for you guys, and I want your feedback - read this interview, and let me know what you think! Do you like this type of interview? Or do you prefer the plain transcript? Let me know what you think in the comments below! Without further ado, let's jump into it.
A New Work PlaceSierra Exif JPEG The biggest piece of information that Omar had to share with me is that Alpaca has recently moved into a new studio. Sure, that's great, but what does it mean for you? Well, it means more supply. Having more room to work means that Alpaca can now employ more bowl artisans, and they can consistently pump out more bowls with the same quality and consistency as before. It also means that there's room for new stuff to be made. While before, Alpaca was practically struggling to keep up with demand, now they have room to really express themselves, and see more artistic bowls come into play. This means you'll start seeing more bowl collaborations in the future, like the Fumari/Alpaca Rook collaboration that we saw earlier this year. In addition to this, you may also be seeing some totally new bowl designs come into play. While Omar is keeping the design under tight wraps, he has confirmed that they are in development. Regardless of what it is, I'm pretty excited to see what Alpaca puts out next, because they have yet to let me down.
Omar, like many in the industry, can't claim to be the creator of the funnel bowl, and while he has made a lot of forward-thinking bowl designs, he credits his inspiration to Tangiers - the creators of the original funnel bowl. Alpaca has taken the original design of the funnel bowl that Tangiers implemented years ago, and just improved upon it. Omar is someone who enjoys dark leaf tobaccos in general, but prefers Tangiers if he has a choice of what to smoke, and preferably Kashmir Peach (he's a smart man, if you couldn't tell). His go-to setup is his Regal with a tear drop boho, an Alpaca bowl (duh), and a dream hose. A tried and true setup to be sure. While Alpaca makes some beautiful bowls, Omar also has a lot of respect for the artisan bowls on the market as well, like Stone Hookah Bowls and Mason Hookah bowls.
The Alpaca DifferenceWhile anyone with eyes can see the difference between Alpaca bowls and other bowls, there's actually a lot more that goes into setting an Alpaca bowl apart from the rest. Like other great American made bowls, like HookahJohn bowls, Alpaca bowls are made entirely in the United States. Everything down to the water used in the clay mixture is completely American, and the people actually making the bowls are well-paid American workers. They've consistently stayed true to high-end ceramic, which makes a huge difference when you're smoking. It retains heat better, and makes for a longer lasting session. His artisans are all under exclusivity contracts too, which means that they won't be making bowls for any other brands, and it gives Alpaca a lot of quality control over what they're doing. Something else you may not be aware of - Alpaca is not only behind the Alpaca brand, but also makes high quality bowls like the Goodfella bowl, for 5StarHookah, and the Stone Vortex bowl, for Sahara Smoke. Omar feels that American labor is a large portion of what makes a difference between bowls like his, and others on the market. It's a tried and true method of getting fantastic and consistent quality, time and time again, and that much has certainly been proven through Alpaca's track record.
Alpaca's future is bright. With a new studio, new artisans, and new designs in the works, 2018 is shaping up to be a big year for Alpaca. They've certainly been a force to contend with in the past with their beautiful bowls, and I can only imagine what else that Omar and his team have in store for us. I know I'm excited, but what about you? Are there any new Alpaca bowls that you're looking at picking up? Any that you already love? Let me know in the comments below! As always guys, thank you so much for reading, and happy smokes!