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[quote name='HookahJohn' date='23 February 2010 - 03:00 PM' timestamp='1266958852' post='453170']
no, but if you are claiming as you do on your website 100% American made, then I would assume the tobacco is at least grown in the US. You will get your apology if you can get 10 long standing hookahforum members to say that I am in the wrong on this issue. It's not word games, 100% American has a meaning and it's misleading when the product is imported.
[/quote]


You are by no means an authority on what constitutes "American made". Requiring the tobacco to be grown in the United States is absolutely ludicrous. You think manufacturing shisha tobacco is just getting dry leaf and sticking it in a can?! You wrote a long and rambling message full of allegations. The source of our DRY leaf was not even in question. You attacked our tobacco without trying it, you attacked the use of the can without knowing why, you even attacked whether our product was original. In the end the only thing you can say is whether our leaf is grown in the US or not?! Come on. The meeting with the hookah forum owners/main moderators will be amazing and will end this conversation for ever. It is fine if you don't live up to your challenge, but the public record is there for all to see.

Addressing the price, every product has different price levels. What makes pricing our own items on retail tricky is that we have to be careful of how we officially price products so as not to cut out retail stores and hookah lounges. As many Hookah Forum members know there is a 15% off discount code since 2004 called "hookahforum". In addition, we offer rewards points for repeat customers, we offer exclusive specials for members of our mailing list, and on top of that we also offer free shipping for orders over $50?

HookahJohn, It appears that you will do anything to weasel out of your apology and the $1,000 you so freely offered up before your morning coffee. The invited moderators will make their post when the time comes and until then, as far as I'm concerned, I'm done with this conversation. We have tobacco to make, customers to serve, and boxes to ship out.

If anyone has any questions or comments please contact me directly. Good Day.

Respectfully,
Abrahim

P.S. For the local hookah forum members, we have always allowed local pick up of your orders so stop on by. If you haven't placed an order and still want to stop by, please do, we just ask that you give us a call so that we can be free.

P.S.S. Mushrat just replied and has accepted our invitation. All three forum owners/main moderators have accepted.

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I have to say that I didn't think the original post by John was necessarily disparaging of Social Smoke as a retailer - but rather of anyone that is trying to steal the Starbuzz thunder. The conversation has certainly gotten disparaging though as tempers are heating. And honestly I'm not certain I see any reason for the heat. It's absolutely true that any "designer" competitor to Starbuzz has an uphill battle especially if in the same price range. It's also true that any product made here in a privately owned factory is going to be more expensive to produce. It's entirely possible that Social Smoke may need to be in that price range in order to be profitable. And like any business they certainly are in it to make a profit and continue to grow.

I personally have very mixed feelings about designer tobacco like Starbuzz. First of all, I don't like washed tobacco. For reasons only a manufacturer might be able to explain I find that unwashed tobacco is more consistent flavor wise throughout the smoke. I don't get buzzed anymore from anything so you can discount I'm looking for the buzz factor.

Secondly, I don't like dye in the product if I can possibly avoid it. I just don't see the point of coloring tobacco that's going to be burnt in a bowl to the consistency of a hockey puck. You don't even see the stuff when you cover the bowl with foil, and dyes are some of the most dangerous things we inject on a daily basis.

Thirdly, while the tin cans are visually attractive, whether round or square (Fusion, Layalina Golden) I've never found them to be all that great in actual use. The size limits the about you can stir the tobacco. What would I like to see? A resealable bag inside a plastic resealable bowl. So you could pick up the entire bag in your hangs and knead or mix the juices that have settled back into the tobacco, and also be able to drop the whole thing into the plastic bowl for stacking and storage.

And lastly, while there are exceptions, I'm just that much of a designer mix kind of girl. I like my Tequila Sunrise in an actual glass thank you very much. That's a personal matter of taste for me. And I want natural flavors to be as close to the actual element as possible. Pineapple should taste like real pineapple, not synthetic pineapple flavoring, etc.

I would love to see Starbuzz get some serious competition. I'm not in favor of anything that corners the market in the way they have. Competition is the soul of American innovation and business. So if Social Smoke can do that, fellas, more power to you. But you do have an uphill battle.

And I do kinda get where John is coming from. As a retailer, he's expected to stock the next new "thing" to please his customers. Do that with every new practically doomed from the get-go because they're going against Starbuzz tobacco and you severely impact his business in a negative way as his shelves become overrun with new brands that didn't sell. So I do understand that the "not another one" viewpoint. Yet there's still that "what if" they can dent the Starbuzz monopoly on the market? I think the art of hookah would definitely be better for the fact if they can. The one caution I'd suggest to Social Smoke is that you keep the manufacturing and retail businesses very separate. If you become the only retailer of your own product then the general public is going to assume you're keeping it to yourself in order to price gouge and corner the market for your own benefit. That makes the consumer start to wonder if your profit is unreasonably over the top.

Give it a little time, see what's happening with the product overall, how people feel about it, and the pricing, and who knows? Apologies might have to be offered all around by all parties. God knows we all face enough opposition from the anti-smoking Nazis, so I think retailers or customers fighting among themselves is kinda counterproductive. And potentially endangers the entire industry if it gives the Nazis more of a foot in the door.

'Rani

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Before people continue to spout about things they don't really know, It looks like I may be going to texas to see for myself. Please keep your posts FACTUAL and not merely spout bs. Thanks.

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Mushrat in Texas... OH MY!

P.S. All my posts have been factual

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I feel both sides went over the edge.
I don't side with either.

John, as a retailer, I don't feel it was appropriate to post what was posted, however I see where you were coming from.

This post from you doesn't seem like it was a retailer trying to steal business or hurt the business of others. It seems like you(John) were just acting as a hookah forum member with knowledge spewing his opinions and knowledge as well as venting.

I don't see this as a business war as it comes off as. I see this as someone voicing an opinion and trying to inform the public, even when all the facts weren't in place.


I will continue to shop from HJ and I will not have any negative opinions of either company. If SS has something I want, I will give them my business as well.

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i think everyone got a little out of hand and besides the fact, we should be excited there's a new shisha to try. When I can afford an order, I'll probably try it out.

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I looks like there is a LOT more going on behind the scenes than meets the eye here.

Honestly, most of what you all say (the retailers/manufacturers) is taken with a grain of salt (at least by me).

Shame on all of you guys for using grudges and or alliances to form your opinions and airing them out on a public forum.

We as consumers just want a good product that is reasonably priced.

We can (and have) figured it out for ourselves before, and I'm sure we will do the same with this particular brand.

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yep. i'm definitely interested and will give it a shot.

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[quote name='r1v3th3ad' date='23 February 2010 - 05:05 PM' timestamp='1266966351' post='453245']
I feel both sides went over the edge.
I don't side with either.

John, as a retailer, I don't feel it was appropriate to post what was posted, however I see where you were coming from.

This post from you doesn't seem like it was a retailer trying to steal business or hurt the business of others. It seems like you(John) were just acting as a hookah forum member with knowledge spewing his opinions and knowledge as well as venting.

I don't see this as a business war as it comes off as. I see this as someone voicing an opinion and trying to inform the public, even when all the facts weren't in place.


I will continue to shop from HJ and I will not have any negative opinions of either company. If SS has something I want, I will give them my business as well.
[/quote]

Spoken well and I totally agree. I will continue to order from both vendors. I think everything did get out of hand.

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I tried the Baja Blue Social Smoke Tobacco....it was very good shisha albeit similar to Blue Mist with the exception of some Grape and Chocolate which added a nice touch to the blend.

Here is the video review I have made of this flavor: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeS6cVd0SxQ

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http://www.hookahforum.com/topic/36609-social-smoke-tobacco-review/page__pid__453253__st__0&#entry453253

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alright i spoke with ali in chat along with a few other ppl and i have decided to order a few of the 100g tins and give them a shot see what comes from it. so tomorrow when they open i will be calling and placing an order for about 13-16 100g tins and i will smoke them all and give my reviews. although the reviews will be a little delayed seeing as how i have 17 days of training starting thursday lol

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also talked with SS in chat for a little and they seemed very receptive to answer any and all questions concerning their product and shipping if you cant qualify for the free shipping due to where ever you live (looks like if you cant get free shipping but buy more product they are looking for a way to accommodate you). I look forward to seeing your reviews Amn. Edited by PSU Smoker

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Running with scissors!

I think whether they use imported or domestically grown tobacco is irrelevant as to whether its made in the United States or not. The chemical company doesn't tell me where the glycerine comes from...its a surprise when it comes...its really irrelevant. Sometimes its American, sometimes its Indian, sometimes Malaysian. Tangiers is certainly made in the United States though. Virginian Tobacco is a type of tobacco and can be grown domestically or imported...like Cuban-seed tobacco or Kentucky Fried Chicken.

What John is saying is that a number of American Manufacturers of Hookah Tobacco use an imported foundation and add flavoring and glycerine to it...although they claim its made in the US, it is more properly put that it's assembled and packaged in the United States. False claims used to be rampant...and still are in some corners of the Hookah Industry and John's a little leery of the same claims he's heard in the past. I say to the guys at Social Smoke...doing it right! Starting with base tobacco is superior. Its a great choice.

Good luck to you and congratulations on your new product release! Its really a trip to go from playing around with tobacco to making it, isn't it? It took me a long time too, I know what an exciting time this must be for you guys. Welcome to the club...best wishes from Tangiers.

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[quote name='Social Smoke' date='23 February 2010 - 02:34 PM' timestamp='1266964491' post='453233']
[quote name='HookahJohn' date='23 February 2010 - 03:00 PM' timestamp='1266958852' post='453170']
no, but if you are claiming as you do on your website 100% American made, then I would assume the tobacco is at least grown in the US. You will get your apology if you can get 10 long standing hookahforum members to say that I am in the wrong on this issue. It's not word games, 100% American has a meaning and it's misleading when the product is imported.
[/quote]


You are by no means an authority on what constitutes "American made". Requiring the tobacco to be grown in the United States is absolutely ludicrous. You think manufacturing shisha tobacco is just getting dry leaf and sticking it in a can?! You wrote a long and rambling message full of allegations. The source of our DRY leaf was not even in question. You attacked our tobacco without trying it, you attacked the use of the can without knowing why, you even attacked whether our product was original. In the end the only thing you can say is whether our leaf is grown in the US or not?! Come on. The meeting with the hookah forum owners/main moderators will be amazing and will end this conversation for ever. It is fine if you don't live up to your challenge, but the public record is there for all to see.

Addressing the price, every product has different price levels. What makes pricing our own items on retail tricky is that we have to be careful of how we officially price products so as not to cut out retail stores and hookah lounges. As many Hookah Forum members know there is a 15% off discount code since 2004 called "hookahforum". In addition, we offer rewards points for repeat customers, we offer exclusive specials for members of our mailing list, and on top of that we also offer free shipping for orders over $50?

HookahJohn, It appears that you will do anything to weasel out of your apology and the $1,000 you so freely offered up before your morning coffee. The invited moderators will make their post when the time comes and until then, as far as I'm concerned, I'm done with this conversation. We have tobacco to make, customers to serve, and boxes to ship out.

If anyone has any questions or comments please contact me directly. Good Day.

Respectfully,
Abrahim

P.S. For the local hookah forum members, we have always allowed local pick up of your orders so stop on by. If you haven't placed an order and still want to stop by, please do, we just ask that you give us a call so that we can be free.

P.S.S. Mushrat just replied and has accepted our invitation. All three forum owners/main moderators have accepted.
[/quote]you've attacked me from the beginning all because I stated my opinion and saying the following:
[b]"[/b][color="#5D5D5D"][font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="2"][b]Bottom line we are not new comers to this industry, and we do not need help, support, or well wishes from characters like HookahJohn."[/b][/size][/font][/color]
this is after you gave us a resume of some of your accomplishment for the last 8 years.
You've demanded an apology and an increase in my bet.
You've called me [b]"poor character"[/b]
You also said this about me: [color="#5D5D5D"][font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="2"][b]You are by no means an authority on what constitutes "American made"[/b][/size][/font][/color]
[font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="3"][color="#5D5D5D"][size="2"][font="Verdana"]You referred to me as a weasel here: [/font][b]HookahJohn, It appears that you will do anything to weasel out of your apology and the $1,000[/b][/size][/color][/size][/font]
[font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="3"][color="#5D5D5D"] [/color][/size][/font]
[font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="3"][color="#5D5D5D"][size="2"]If I respond it will make me look bad and if I don't it will make me look bad. How do I do this?[/size][/color][/size][/font]
[font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="3"][color="#5D5D5D"][size="2"]Which points that I made are making you that defensive and have made you feel that you are somehow superior to me? Is it that it looks like another SB copy, what's wrong with that, it does look like another Starbuzz copy. Was it that I stated that Starbuzz dominates in most if not all markets even when they get copied in other parts of the country, yet SB still dominates. Also, I am bringing up the point is it 100% American made, well is the tobacco grown on US soil, is that so hard to answer? Why so defensive? Oh wait, I'm not an authority on what constitutes American made, let me just crawl back in my hole for assuming that 100% American made means the tobacco, the core ingredient, that you claim to have so much control in manufacturing is grown in the US. Is it or is it not, where is the tobacco grown? Am I entitled to ask these questions or not? Remember people, everyone knows that I am a daily smoker, not just a retailer. In fact since you gave your resume let me tell you a bit about myself:[/size][/color][/size][/font]
[font="tahoma, arial, verdana, sans-serif"][size="3"][color="#5D5D5D"][size="2"]I too am a member of hookahforum, I have almost 1000 posts because I participate in this community and for that HF has rewarded me with my own vendor section to communicate with the other members here. i have a review section here just as SS does and it's quite comparable if not better. My point of all this is that I am a respected member of this community and am entitled to an opinion, it has nothing to do with attacking a fellow retailer, which I did not do. I brought up some legitimate points about the shisha tobacco in the market. At this point I will just ask 2 things from SS, stop insulting me personally, and answer the question on your tobacco, is it grown in the US?
[/size][/color][/size][/font]
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Deep down I would hope that everyone is entitled to an opinion, regardless of status or respectability. Unfortunately, status does factor in to the equation and for that reason I'm gonna throw my opinion out that both HJ and SS should have kept a better notion of who they project themselves to be as professionals when they posted in this thread. HJ should realize he cannot totally differentiate between himself as an individual and business owner (least not to everyone) in the realm in which he is acting; while SS should have been a bigger man and not gotten so irate nor been so eager to belittle what he perceived as a threat. If everything is nothing, then why can't we leave it at that? /mod

On topic: These types of tobaccos usually aren't my dig, but who know? Maybe I'll hop on I-35 when I get free and pick some of this stuff up and say hi to Stuie and Adam. Anyone who tries it be sure to review it. Edited by Dr. B

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What's important here is that everyone is entitled to their opinion. If a legitimate issue is raised, it should be addressed in a civil manner. In the realm of this forum, both John and SS are on level ground with the rest of us opinion-wise.

This is not the first nor the last time a product line will be questioned and/or receive criticism. As mentioned above, the consumers will decide the fate of this line, not a single person.

Business owners need to be able to take criticism, no matter how attached they are to their product. Let's just have the questions answered for the sake of those interested and leave the character references out of it. Edited by ih303

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I received 5 samples tried 2 of them, really liked them, did reviews for them, then ended up spending $56 on social smoke shisha from their website including purchasing 250g of Baja Blue and 250g of Double Apple (the two flavors I reviewed).

I have smoked hookah for 3.5 years now and I do my reviews without bias, I am straightforward with my review and I point out the good and the bad of the shisha I review. I have spent thousands on this hobby and John for one can attest to that, I am not one to look for handouts or give a biased opinion to receive freebies.

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[quote name='Social Smoke' date='23 February 2010 - 12:51 PM' timestamp='1266958310' post='453167']We import DRY flue cured Virgina leaf and manufacture it into a final product.[/quote]
If you are importing cured tobacco it is incorrect to say the product is 100% manufactured in the United States. You are not starting with raw material so you are not starting from scratch. You are picking up after the tobacco has already been processed for consumption. Are you manufacturing a tobacco product? Yes. Are you performing all the manufacturing required to make that tobacco? No. You are starting with a base product which was not made in the US.

This would be similar to the German car manufacturer Ruf. They purchase unmarked chassis and body components from Porsche and then assemble from there. They do enough to be considered an automobile manufacturer but they certainly are not building from scratch. Another analogy would be someone buying prebaked sponge cake and then shaping, assembling, and decorating it. Is he making a cake? Sure. Is he starting from scratch? Nope.

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[quote name='foibled again' date='23 February 2010 - 09:11 PM' timestamp='1266995475' post='453361']
[quote name='Social Smoke' date='23 February 2010 - 12:51 PM' timestamp='1266958310' post='453167']We import DRY flue cured Virgina leaf and manufacture it into a final product.[/quote]
If you are importing cured tobacco it is incorrect to say the product is 100% manufactured in the United States. You are not starting with raw material so you are not starting from scratch. You are picking up after the tobacco has already been processed for consumption. Are you manufacturing a tobacco product? Yes. Are you performing all the manufacturing required to make that tobacco? No. You are starting with a base product which was not made in the US.

This would be similar to the German car manufacturer Ruf. They purchase unmarked chassis and body components from Porsche and then assemble from there. They do enough to be considered an automobile manufacturer but they certainly are not building from scratch. Another analogy would be someone buying prebaked sponge cake and then shaping, assembling, and decorating it. Is he making a cake? Sure. Is he starting from scratch? Nope.
[/quote]

that's a good analogy....i was trying to link it to girls and bikinis....just seems more interesting, y'know?

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Seriously, who cares. This is the kind of petty shit this forum used to pride itself on not having and now it's running rampant. I say both of you pay 50/50 on the bet and send it to mush's cause if nothing else than for the sheer fact you both look like fools on this thread.

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This is blown much too far out of proportion.

I like both HJ and SS. Both have treated me with utmost respect and I do the same for them. This is just a silly argument that needs to be settled NOW.

I understand where John comes from as a conscious consumer myself. Everyday when i buy even the smallest of things that claims to be US made, I ask myself, "is this REALLY made in the US?" If the manufacturer is going to advertise one thing that truly attracts me into buying their product, I want that one thing to be true. John has his skepticism in the right place but I think it is projected in the wrong way. Look at the US car industry. Foreign companies like Hyundai, Honda, and Toyota all own major factories in the US made by US workers and advertise that some of their cars are US made. But where do the individual parts come from? Some of the steel comes from Russia, the plastic for the dashboards are made in Mexico or China, the pedals are made in Mexico, the rubber from South America or Africa but it's all assembled in the US. Is it still American made? Sure! Is their integration in the value chain completely vertical? No! It's just the way things are made in this day and age. Was it really necessary to attack SS on some unfounded ideas?

SS, is rightfully defensive although the vibe wasn't right just like with John. SS has poured in over two years of capital and time into their tobacco manufacturing and the project is now coming to fruition as it is now producing their own product. It's become their baby! Too much time and money has been vested in the whole endeavor to have it be put under intense scrutiny. That's all understandable but is it really necessary to be so defensive if you can stand behind your product 100%?

HJ is relatively new to hookah retailing while SS is one of the larger wholesalers to the hookah industry. HJ sees things closer to the consumer (such as our concerns) and SS sees things from a more business perspective and venturing into production. Both offer valid points of view. I think everyone one in this argument has their valid points and invalid points.

I say just forget this whole thing. HJ was wrong for an accusation that was intended to question the integrity of the product while SS was wrong in becoming so defensive. Forget the bet, lets move on with our lives as there are orders to fulfill and tobacco to be made.

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[quote name='FSUReligionMan' date='24 February 2010 - 04:34 AM' timestamp='1267000499' post='453371']
Seriously, who cares. This is the kind of petty shit this forum used to pride itself on not having and now it's running rampant. I say both of you pay 50/50 on the bet and send it to mush's cause if nothing else than for the sheer fact you both look like fools on this thread.
[/quote]

Heh, I agree

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I hope to order some next month!

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