Hello again, and welcome to another B2 Hookah blog post. Over the last month or two, we've seen a recent craze in the online communities, with the craze being over international hookah brands. Thanks to a specific individual in particular (and this is by no means a disparity to him), there has been an abundance of interest in international hookahs, with brands in particular like MIG (Made In Germany) and Hoob (a Russian brand). While this is by no means a disparity towards those brands, or that individual, it has been an interesting situation to watch. As someone with a decent sized hookah collection, I'll be the first to admit that international brands have caught my interest. However, this has been such a widespread interest that people have actually ordered these hookahs - going through (in some cases) international sites, paying the exorbitant shipping fees, and waiting a long period of time for these pipes. However, that's not my point with this blog. The question that I pose to you, as a reader, is - why is this occurring? It seems like there is all this excitement for these foreign brands, and it's almost to the point where I don't see any American brands garnering any interest. While I am aware that these groups are but a small portion of the overall hookah community, I feel that these groups are also a concentrated group of true enthusiast smokers, and many people (like myself) who are very hardcore about the hobby. So, why is it that these American groups are just now garnering such interest in foreign pipes? I'm going to talk a little bit about it, and why I think it's important to remember the domestic brands as well. As always, we're going to jump right into it!
So the biggest point of interest here - where's the interest coming from? Roughly a year and a half ago, when I actively joined these groups and forums, it seems that no one was terribly interested in these hookahs at all. Why is this? Was it because there wasn't anyone (in English) providing the info? For those of you not in the loop, there's one guy, who has the means to buy all of these foreign pipes, and he's generous enough to share this info about these pipes that formerly hasn't been out there in English. While I think that it's awesome that he's sharing this info, and I would like to sincerely thank him for doing so, I can't help but wonder if this interest is exclusively because of him. Has the interest always been there? Part of me thinks not, because it's not something that I've seen until this individual started sharing this content. However, has the interest been there, and just never come to surface? This is an interesting point, because as I said, these are some pipes that I myself have salivated over, either on Instagram or through foreign groups. But I've never bothered expressing interest, because these pipes are very difficult and expensive to obtain in the U.S. due to foreign import stipulations (FDA and all of that good stuff). So my question to you (yes you) is this: is the interest coming from the new found info regarding the pipes? Or is it interest that's always been around, and is just currently surfacing?
While I'm all about bringing new pipes to market, and all about spreading info for new pipes, there's something important that I feel is being almost neglected because of all of this foreign interest. American pipes. Here in the US, we have many quality pipes - ranging from Shika, B2, Starbuzz, and Regal. Obviously I'm not including every American pipe here, but you get my point. US pipes aren't being supported as much because of this trend. American pipes are fantastic on their own, and when you support them, you're not only supporting the pipes on their own, but also the brands that back them. And again, I have nothing against these foreign brands in the slightest, I think it's important that we remember to support the brands that support us. If American brands lose interest, we lost the very thing that makes them great. Take Sahara Smoke for example. One of the oldest US brands around, and one that hasn't always been known for their quality. Because of the Enthusiast interest, SS has seriously revamped their product lines in the last year and a half or so, starting with the SS Executive, going as far as the Stone Vortex bowl. It's because Enthusiasts have shown interest in these products, and bought and supported them, that they've been able to continue making these products, and in doing so, supporting the community.
But because of this trend, it also sets a responsibility to the manufacturers - American brands should set the standard for what hookah should be. We have these fantastic brands like Trifecta, Mason Hookah Bowls, and Shika, that all really do set the standard for what brands should be like. They exemplify quality, and they truly show what American hookah can do. So other brands need to step up to the plate as well - American hookah needs to show the community and the consumers that it is listening, and it does care.
This is more of a disclaimer than anything, but there's something that I want to point out, in regards to both American and foreign pipes alike. Remember that hookahs are a relatively simple thing, and that many brands (foreign and domestic alike) create gimmicks to garner interest. The biggest and most important thing when it comes to a pipe is the quality. Make sure that what you're buying is a well made pipe that will last. I've seen many people fall for the gimmicks, and it's just something that I want people to be aware of. Do some research, don't fall for the little things, and remember what's important.
So I think it's important for me to say, after I've said all of this, that I'm not disparaging anyone here. I think it's great that the community has such an interest for new products, that's not a bad thing at all. I just want Americans to not lose their love for American pipes, and I want the American hookah scene to grow. That's not to say that I don't want the foreign brands to grow either, but I think there's still a lot of room for improvement here. And while it may seem that I'm all about the American market, what I really want is for the community to grow, and I want Americans to produce better products. The American market is stagnant right now, in part due to FDA regulations, but also in part to the industry itself. My main point here is that we should support the companies that are doing things right, and making quality products. And companies that aren't? Don't waste your time or money. Blind support is never a good thing. If the community needs to focus on foreign pipes to spur growth in the American hookah industry, then by all means, go for it. As always guys, I want to thank you all for reading, and I would really like your input on this as well. Drop a comment below, and let me know what you think about this topic. Is the American hookah scene not getting enough love? Do we have a lot of room to grow? What do we need to do to better ourselves? Let me know in the comments below! As always guys, have some happy smokes!