It is safe to say that anyone who has searched for hookah online has come across Hookah-Shisha.com. I’ll even venture so far as to guess that everyone who is reading this blog has ordered something from them or will do so soon. They are that ubiquitous in the online hookah community and for good reason as they have one of the widest selections of products with new items popping up all the time, amazing customer service and one of the most passionate teams of hookah lovers I’ve ever come across. I am quite happy that Adam Querbach has taken the time out of his busy day to talk with me and let us know a bit about his life in the hookah world.
Can you tell me a little bit about your history with the hookah industry and where would you like to see yourself in the future?
I started working with Hookah-Shisha.com in the fall of 2006. I had been selling cars (Hondas) for years in San Antonio, but I was so burnt out I quit one day without knowing what I was going to do. Within 2 weeks I had moved to Austin, and was selling hookah products through Hookah Wholesalers, the wholesale wing of H-S. After a couple years, my brother and I opened our own hookah lounge in Austin, TX. Redline Hookah was open for 4 years 2008 – 2012. It was a modern style hookah lounge in the middle of one of Austin’s “wierdest” neighborhoods. We had different themed nights that ranged from Hookah Karaoke to live Techno DJ’s. You never knew what to expect when you walked in, other than it was going to be an awesome time. I ended up meeting my wife at Redline. I had no idea how much hookah was going to impact my future, but I have loved the industry from day 1. I used to be a radio DJ, so I feel comfortable with public speaking and being on camera. I like do product videos and hope to do more of that in the future.
Well, you do have access to more products at H-S then just about anywhere else I can think of. I assume there is a lot of inspiration for new videos just laying around. What was the start of your love for hookah?
My older brother introduced me to hookah in his apartment. It was a 3 hose Lunar Rotating hookah. I hated cigarettes and tobacco up to that point, so I was very reluctant to give it a try. I was so blown away with the flavor that I think we loaded 3 or 4 bowls that night. We smoked a lot of Romman and Al Fakher that night.
Not a bad way to start. What made you realize you wanted to turn this into a career rather than just a hobby?
After helping so many hookah lounges get started, my brother and I decided to start our own. At that point, I could see where the trend was heading and how popular this industry was going to be. I saw an opportunity to get in with Hookah-Shisha in the early days of the Hookah boom and never looked back. I can’t image what I would be doing if I wasn’t in the hookah business, probably selling cars again.
Excluding your own, what is your favorite hookah product on the market today?
I am old school, so I do not get into the trendier gadgets of the industry like Hookaflips, Kaloud Lotus, Apple on Top bowls, or Phunnel bowls for my own personal use. I would say Fumari Shisha for consistently producing a high quality product. The don’t fall into the gimmicky flavor names and they deliver what the packaging says. But if I could include our own product lines, it would have to be the Nammor hoses and hookahs.
I’ve just recently fallen in love with Fumari and I have to agree with you there. If you had to choose just one, what is your favorite product that you make/offer? which are you most proud of?
When we brought the Nammor hose to market in 2007, there was nothing like on the market. There were mostly really low quality, dusty, hoses that were clogged, stained with old flavors, or fell apart. The Nammor hose exploded with popularity right away and within a year, there were imitations springing up everywhere and other sites were calling their imitations “Nammor” hoses. So if imitation is a form of flattery, we are pretty proud of that one. Now there is a whole line of Nammor hoses and Nammor hookahs for that matter.
I remember when the Nammor first hit these shores and I still have two of them from that first batch. A washable hose was a big change and definitely save a few sessions with all the different flavors I was exploring. Three flavors to smoke for the rest of your life; what are they?
Romman Turkish Coffee Fumari Mint Chocolate Chill Al Fakher Golden Grape I have to mention these runners up: Romman Summer Crisp, Fantasia Wild Mango, Fumari Island Papaya.
What do you bring to the market as a vendor that makes you unique?
This is a 2 part answer. We have the most available and willing to help customer service online. We are available for live chat, phone, email, or even skype from 9 am to midnight Monday-Friday. We have customer service from 12-8 Sat. and 12-Midnight Sunday. We love to help customers, answer questions, offer suggestions. Our selection is so vast, we understand it can be intimidating if you aren’t sure what to get. How can a hookah newbie know what Queen of Sex tastes like? We love those questions as well as hearing about how our customers found hookah, what they like, etc. We bring the widest selection of almost everything hookah. We carry more brands of tobacco and hookahs than any other store in the world. The same is true of hookah charcoals and accessories. I try not to say that in a way that every business says they “the largest selection ever” when they often don’t. We are always expanding as well.
Do you have any projects or new products on the horizon you can tell us about?
We always have new projects on the horizon, and I am sure you are used to being told they are top secret….well…they are! One of these days someone will give me a straight answer on that last question, but I look forward to what Adam and the rest of the team at Hookah-Shisha have up their sleeves for 2014. Please join me in thanking them for the contributions they have made to our most beloved of hobbies an those yet to come. As always, we appreciate the willingness to participate in this project and put the spotlight on the folks who are really responsible for the great service we as consumers can take for granted.