social smoke timeline
SocialSmoke.com was launched in 2003 as an online retail outlet from an underfunded but over-confident college student’s bedroom. From this humble start, Ali Nadimi laid the foundation of Social Smoke through hard work, determination, and a passion for smoking hookah.
Shortly after SocialSmoke.com was launched, Ali’s brother, Abrahim Nadimi, started helping Social Smoke during any free time he had from his regular 9 to 5. First via email and phone sales but then as an investor, Abrahim would shortly become the second unofficial member of Social Smoke Team and a driving force behind Social Smoke’s B2B growth.
With an expanded inventory made possible by Abrahim’s additional capital and handling of day to day sales, Social Smoke grew at an incredible pace. With online sales growing and a desire to increase market share and distribution, Social Smoke exhibited at RTDA(now known as IPCPR) in Las Vegas marking its first major trade show exhibition. Over 11 years later, Social Smoke is proud to still service customers met at RTDA in 2004.
A FAMILY UNITED
Operation of the warehouse, website, and fulfillment was more than a full-time job for Ali. Other family members, namely Ali’s mother, Iman Enciso, and father, Dr. Sayyid Nadimi, started helping Ali in the afternoons and on weekends and also contributed to the company as investors. Sayyid Nadimi found a niche in the company as a buyer and continued to push Social Smoke’s capacity with larger inventory purchases. Abrahim Nadimi resigned from his position at Bell Helicopters and was the first family member to officially join Social Smoke in 2005 as Vice President of Sales.
Shortly thereafter, Iman Enciso became the full-time Office Manager, resigning from her career as a public school teacher. Approximately three months later, Dr. Sayyid Nadimi joined the team also leaving Bell Helicopters. This partnership of effort, capital, self-reliance, and most of all family, would continue to grow over the years with the addition of Mohammad Nadimi and Fatimeh Nadimi. It has enabled Social Smoke to survive bad times, market changes, and turmoil as well as provided a solid foundation to differentiate and innovate from the crowd.
In 2005, Ali started development on Social Smoke Tobacco as a top-secret project in a secretive lab called the “Blue Area”. The catalyst for this project was inconsistent supply and poor business practices by the established hookah tobacco importers and brands. True then and now, most American hookah brands are simply private labeled tobacco from manufacturers in Jordan, UAE, or Egypt or unflavored tobacco and flavored in the United States.
Despite the higher costs, Social Smoke made the difficult decision not to work with other manufacturers and take the road less traveled to create its own blend. Therefore, the primary goals of this project were to gain an expert understanding of hookah tobacco, its ingredients and their functions, and develop various hookah tobacco recipes from scratch independent of outside influence. With no prior experience or information on the production of hookah tobacco, the initial research and development was slow and tiresome.
However, over time and through experimentation and analysis the Blue Area started making significant progress. Two years into the project, Mohammad Nadimi joined the team and quickly became project lead. His fresh interest and energy provided the extra push necessary to complete the project and finalize the recipe that would eventually become Social Smoke Tobacco.
By mid-2005, strong growth in business to business sales was putting a huge pressure on Social Smoke’s inventory and supply chain. After exhausting efforts to work with other American importers and distributors, Social Smoke made the strategic decision to either manufacture or work directly with manufacturers whenever possible.
In 2006, Social Smoke received its first container order from the Egyptian Hookah manufacturer Magdy Zidan. With over, 3000 hookahs in stock Social Smoke was finally able to supply its customers with the quantity of quality hookahs they demanded. Between 2006 and 2010 Social Smoke imported over 80000 hookahs making it one of the largest importers of hookahs in USA.
Due to the combination of a tireless team, a large inventory of quality products, and the growing popularity of hookah in America, Social Smoke was developing at an astonishing pace. In its first year of eligibility, Social Smoke was ranked #422 on the 2008 Inc 500 list of fastest growing small companies in America with sales growth of 738% between the years of 2004 and 2007.
Social Smoke also ranked #18 in the Top 100 Business in Dallas-Fort Worth and #20 in the Top 100 Consumer Product Companies in America.
cnn money& fortune small business magazine
This recognition caught the attention of national media outlets. In 2009, Social Smoke was covered by both an article published in Fortune Small Business Magazine and a video that aired on CNN Money. It was the first time in the USA that hookah products and a hookah company were given a national audience and were depicted in a positive light. Years later this recognition still earns Social Smoke respect around the world as an industry leader and innovator.
the era of social smoke tobacco
In December 2009, after nearly 5 years of research and development, Social Smoke Tobacco was test marketed around Dallas-Fort Worth to positive reviews and interest. Two months later in February 2010, Social Smoke Tobacco was officially released on SocialSmoke.com along with a PR release and email marketing campaign. Introducing a new hookah tobacco in 2010 was an uphill battle. But over the next few years, Social Smoke Tobacco’s sales and popularity grew significantly through consistent efforts to ensure and enhance quality, the introduction of new unique flavors, and by delivering exceptional products day after day.
a company reborn
Thanks to the loyal customers and distribution partners, today Social Smoke is the largest manufacturer of Hookah Tobacco in the USA. In 2015, Nadimi LLC, Social Smoke’s parent company, made the strategic decision to reorganize Social Smoke to focus all efforts on further development and growth Social Smoke Tobacco. This decision resulted in Social Smoke closing its wholesale division on July 15, 2015. By allowing importers and distributors to handle local and regional sales, Social Smoke is able to reduce structural inefficiencies and produce more tobacco while providing superior service for all customers.
Almost exactly 12 years from receiving its first online order on October 23, 2003, SocialSmoke.com accepted its final retail order on 10/31/2015. This bittersweet event marks the commencement of a reborn Social Smoke. Focused, lean, and ambitious, Social Smoke is positioned for sustainable growth and innovation now and in the future.