When I started Social Smoke over 12 years ago, the goal was pure and simple: To increase hookah enjoyment by offering the highest quality hookah products to businesses and consumers locally and online.
I quickly realized that although the goal sounded simple enough, achieving it would be a whole different story. To begin with, I started with very limited capital. Actually, no personal capital; the initial $10000 that started Social Smoke was the available credit on my personal credit cards. Secondly, I learned that while you can be legal to sell guns from your home, having a tobacco business requires commercial location. On a shoestring budget like mine, that news was certainly worrisome. Add to that, my workload as a full time senior in college and my limited (zero) experience in the following areas: website development, online sales, warehousing, and fulfillment and you have a general idea of what I was up against. Even so, I was determined to do whatever was necessary to get the company off the ground.
Aware that the idea of a broke college student trying to start a hookah company in 2003 was probably a little crazy, I kept the idea and plans top secret and only discussed it with my brother Abrahim. I started working after school, at night, and on the weekends researching, planning, and laying the foundation for Social Smoke. It took approximately three months from when work began until I had secured a commercial lease, tobacco distributor license, learned how to created a basic ecommerce website, and purchased the initial inventory. I decided to worry about warehousing, fulfillment, customer service, accounting, and taxes once it was up and running. On October 23, 2003, SocialSmoke.com was finally launched and things have never been the same.
Over the years, Social Smoke grew, changed, and became much more complex. Never again was its focus so targeted and its goals as simple as it was in the beginning. Our legacy inventory, systems, website, and culture all became delays or road blocks to progress, innovation, and growth as we put one foot forward while the other was stuck in the past.
This year we have worked around the clock to restructure, eliminate, and otherwise create the company that have been dreaming about for years. A new website in 2015 is not a big deal to most companies, but to us it symbolizes one of the final steps in the new foundation we’re building for the next 12 years and beyond.
Welcome to the new Social Smoke.