Understanding Smoke shops and Their Business
Smoke shops in the US are becoming a more and more common sight. They were once part of a fringe culture, an alternate culture that not many were part of and it was, for a lack of a better word, quite taboo. All that has changed over the years and head shops are a proud American institution. Contrary to popular notion, however, smoke shops and head shops in the US are not part of shops that sell drugs and drug related paraphernalia. While there are a few shops that do indulge in such illegal activities, it is, for the most part, a shop where you can pick up a few interesting items related to smoking, and items that go with it.
There are a number of misconceptions about the concept of a head shop and the rest of this write up is designed to clarify some of these popular ones.
Head shops are run like any other business
People often misinterpret laid back as being equal to lazy. When you enter a head shop, you are likely to meet and be greeted with an environment that is more or less relaxed and chilled out. It is, however, a business center, so it will be run with all the principles that govern a business enterprise. There are taxes to be paid and standards to be met. The shop you visit is likely to abide by all of them.
A head shop in the US is not a center of magic or occult
A few shops might be affiliated around mysticism and may have such leanings, but it is not the norm. The shops are, in this day and age more or less mainstream, so expect an experience that closer to walking into a convenience store rather than a soothsayer’s saloon. It is not to say that the business owners might have strong beliefs, rather, it is unlikely to be the front and center of the shop.
Marijuana is the main product
Unless it is unlawful to sell or distribute marijuana, head shops are normally built for the sale of items that are related to its consumption. Head shops are known to sell items like bongs, pipes, another things that can help you best smoke it. Now that vaping is mainstream and a lot more infused into society than cigars and cigarettes, they make up most of what is sold in these stores. Expect CBD oils, vaping cigars, e cigarettes, and other such products on sale. It has been found that these make a majority in what is sold and bought. That is simply because they are modern, hassle free, and easy to use.
Make sure you are aware of the local laws
The thing about head shops and smoke shops in the US is that a lot of them tend to operate in a gray area. While you might not be strictly breaking any laws by buying the items on sale, it would do you good to be sure. Also, do not be questioning everything you see out there as it might come of as being suspicious and disrespectful.
Supporting local businesses
Many head shops and smoke shops are known to purchase their wares from local producers and manufacturers. By buying and selling in a local community head shop, you might be supporting multiple small businesses. You’d be surprised to know how such micro-economies really work and how they are all part of a thriving, yet fragile system. Just ask a business owner in your next visit, and they will be glad to explain it. Local artisans, glass blowers, craftsmen, and others are all part of a head shop’s web. Head shops are also normally family owned and operated, few of them operate like chains and are parts of a mega corporation.
Prices will vary
Since the wares sold in these shops are not part of some global conglomerate, prices will vary from store to store. Do not expect standardized prices and flat rates in every place, even if they sell similar products. Shops are often known to each have their own pricing structure and people who buy in such places are usually regulars, so they know their way around a head shop. You will be surprised as to how easy it may be to talk to people in such shops.
Try new and different things
Whether you are a buyer or a seller, do not be afraid to explore the head shop. You will learn a few things from each of them. If you are selling, make sure all of the paperwork is in order and the person you are selling to has all the required licenses to sell. If you are a buyer, talk to the person behind the counter and get their opinion they know their way around the shop and will have a response to your queries.
Do your research
Visit as many smoke shops as you need to. There will be listings available in case you are confused. If it is CBD and its oils you are after, they are likely sold in places that are not strictly smoke shops, so be aware. If you are not sure if the listings for the locality you are trying to buy from are complete or not, you can get more information from shop keepers or their customers.
Get your product into smoke shops
After you are sure about the shops you have visited and gotten a fair idea and feel for the place, the next step is to form a business partnership with it. In most cases, smoke shops will have a regular seller with which they do business. So unless your product is spectacularly good or is completely new, you actually have to make a pitch and capture your smoke shop. Be earnest, honest, and make sure your product really makes the cut.
Simply getting your products into a shop will not guarantee success in selling it. Make sure you market it, and keep your product visible to any buyer that might happen to be in the store.