2017 has started fast and heavy for us at Social Smoke. In 2016, we focused most of our energy and resources on streamlining our processes to make Social Smoke ltd. a competitive and strong force both domestically and in the international market.
Our hard work and determination has paid off, and today, Social Smoke is a powerhouse manufacturer of fine hookah tobacco within the U.S. In 2017, with our company stabilizing and growing in the international market, Social Smoke is committed to continue enhancing our reputation as a company of high quality shisha blends abroad.
We plan to further streamline our US operations to re-allocate time and resources to new market development. We will continue to build on our new leaner structure and are developing our marketing and advertising budget and campaigns to target customers and business partners at all future international tradeshows. We have set a strong foundation for our products in twenty-one countries, and are committed to doubling that in 2017.
Here is a glimpse of what Social Smoke plans to accomplish in 2017!
Goals for 2017
A primary goal for 2017 is the release of 10 new flavors to our line. Most of 2016 was spent testing and sampling these blends at various tradeshows to very positive reviews. We are in the final stages of production and plan to release most of them in the middle of 2017. Our research and development will also begin the testing phases on a darker blend of Social Smoke Tobacco.
Goals that carry over from year to year at Social Smoke, are just as relevant in 2017. We plan to continue improving our structure, team and manufacturing to speed up new product development while maintaining our high levels of quality and manufacturing. We will also continue our yearly goal of re-vamping a few classic flavors from our tobacco line. Our Social media presence and interaction will be attended to daily, to both keep us current with the times and continue to be a fan favorite with our customers.
We talked a lot in previous blog posts about the new FDA regulations and how they might affect Social Smoke’s distribution in the US. We still don’t know a lot about what will happen. Originally all manufactures and importers were required to register with the FDA by December 31, 2016, but just recently that deadline was extended to June 2017.
Registering is just the first step. It doesn’t provide any benefits other than being compliant and allowing a company to keep selling until the next deadline is met.
With that said, there is still no hard evidence that a company that goes through the registration process will be approved to sell once the final deadline in 2018 comes around. The extension has allowed us more time in deciding whether to attempt becoming FDA approved or exiting the US market. It also allows more time for potential changes to the FDA ruling by congress and the new administration.
We want to use trade shows to both market our products and touch base with our customers and distributors. With that in mind, our trade show calendar is pretty full for 2017. We are exhibiting at some of the largest international trade shows, and have developed a larger budget plan to use our space and time to most effectively cement our presence in those markets.
Sadly, it will be the first time since 2004 that Social Smoke will not participate in a US trade show. Until more is known about what will happen and what steps the FDA and the new administration will take regarding these regulations, Social Smoke is taking the conservative ‘wait and see’ route. This was not a decision we made lightly. Being one of the only true American made hookah tobaccos started and produced in Texas, we have always prided ourselves on our distribution within the States and sincerely hope the FDA and the new administration will make changes to protect US businesses and jobs.
Until that happens our focus had shifted to the international trade show market. We plan to make our presence known through a more comprehensive advertising campaign, making use of bigger more interactive exhibit booths to reach and inform customers and business partners.
The four main International Shows we plan to attend this year are:
- Hookah Club Show (Russia)
- Hookah Fair (Frankfurt)
- Intertabac (Germany)
- Hookah Fair (Berlin)
Our number one objective at each trade show we attend is to have bigger and better customer and business interactions. With that in mind, this year, we plan to build booths that include larger meeting spaces in the back where fans, distributors, and customers could sit down and have questions answered, discuss business and smoke our awesome blends.
Each show we do increases our connection with our fans and customers. We hear valuable feedback, ideas, and create long lasting friendships. Some shows have their own contests, prizes, and giveaways, and we will sponsor more of those in 2017.
Social Smoke Staff
We will add a few key associates in 2017 in the areas of accounting, operations and R&D. Social Smoke’s motto of excellence and quality is always at the forefront of every new hire search. Those within our organization are some the brightest, best, and most loyal in the market. We are proud of our diverse team and can’t wait to add new people and new ideas to the company.
Throughout 2016, we worked at opening a Social Smoke branch in Germany. Germany is one of the largest consumers of Social Smoke products in Europe. Our products are quite popular with the German Hookah smoker and we see that love and loyalty at every German trade show we exhibit at. So it just made sense to open our first international branch in this amazing country. Social Smoke has already established its own subsidiary in Germany, Social Smoke GmbH, and has began importing and distributing small orders for existing distributors. All tobacco destined for Germany will now be imported through this system so that we will better be able to support the market with consistent supply and prices.