Conversation with Spectrum
The Hookah Battle team spoke with tobacco manufacturer Spectrum.
Hi Semyon, how was the quarantine? How are sales during and before the pandemic?
Hi! Better than most. Noticed that people started smoking more at home due to the closing of hookah houses. Volume is the same on average. The industry was affected more by the introduction of the “fair sign” than the quarantine.
Tell us about yourself, how did you come into the hookah industry. What did you do before that, where did you work?
I’m a former ballet dancer and folk dance performer. I used to serve in APIP ZVO (military ensemble). At first hookah was like a part-time job, and then I became interested in this subject and began to actively develop it.
Where did the idea to create your brand come from?
We just wanted to make our own homemade tobacco. At that time it was just the fashion for them. We did not think it would be a big cool product. The cool thing was that Nikita, my future business partner, was interested in it. That’s probably why it worked out so well for us.
Why does the brand name Spectrum?
They thought Spectrum was a palette. A lot of different flavors. The main idea is to divide the huge number of flavors into a spectrum which you can mix in different ways and get something new.
Tell us about your brand – what makes it unique, what its mission is.
We are guided by people’s emotions, we associate each one with a particular flavor. This mission lives in us, we strive to create a great palette of tastes. They reveal themselves in a particularly interesting way when used in a mix. That’s why we target masters who like to create compositions of flavors. Buying Spectrum people can experiment, get new unexpected mixes, of which each person can find something personal.
What is the principle behind the creation and release of a new flavor?
We try to be original, to anticipate what people like. We look at what the top tastes are, we gather focus groups. We make sure we smoke new flavors. We rework and revise them over and over again. Many company employees participate in creating flavors.
What flavors do you use?
Something we like most of all. Something unique and exotic. Of course only certified flavors and mostly imported.
What flavors do you find the most interesting and cool?
Each one is special and interesting. I like Gazpacho, Caribbean Rum, Energy Storm, Jungle Mix, Granat, Russian Raspberry, Sweet Flower, Orange Mango, Morning Mango.
What is your top seller and what do your customers like?
The hits are Jungle mix, Ice Fruit Gum, Caribbean Rum, Grape Soda.
Tell us about the peculiarities of your production.
I do not know how others do it, so it’s hard to give specific features. We are constantly improving it. New equipment, professional specialists, we introduce original recipes.
How many tastes are there?
- 46 from the light line
- 26 of the hard line.
What were the first flavors?
Some of the first flavours were Brazilian tea, rum, gum and citrus.
How did you come up with the idea to create gastronomic flavours?
We just wanted to experiment and we found these great tastes. It really helped that both Nikita and I have a chef’s education.
How many gastronomic flavors are there?
Gastronomy is a matter of opinion. For example oatmeal with mango is not really gastronomic, but a lot of people do. The average is about 11.
Why tobacco is sticky, as many say it is like plasticine?
Tobacco for easy transportation and better storage in a vacuum bag, it does not have extra syrup and air, as some manufacturers do. Therefore, without any extra air it becomes dense. Before stuffing, the masters transfer it into containers, stir it and oxygenate it. This is how tobacco gets its true consistency.
And when using it at home, we also recommend that everyone acclimatize the tobacco
How are gastronomic flavors created?
Gastronomy is created by long elaboration, adjustment of all flavor components in case of complex flavor, like gazpacho. In general it is like a chef at the stove.
If an interesting mix with gastronomy?
What countries are you cooperating with?
The ambitious goal is to be represented all over the world. Already now Spectrum is supplied to the Czech Republic, Estonia, Cyprus, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Israel.
Is it difficult to launch your brand? How much time and effort did it take?
Now it has become much more difficult to release a quality product that will occupy the shelf. In 2015 it probably wasn’t as difficult as it is now. We first exhibited at HCS in 2017 and we’re still constantly working to improve our product.
Tell us about your plans to release new products? What will it be and when?
We introduce new flavors regularly throughout the year in time for landmark hookah events. The next one is going to be at HCS 2021. But what it will be will be a surprise.
Give your top 3 tobaccos
It’s hard to point out specific brands, as there are definitely more than 3 good manufacturers and all have their own unique characteristics. I think any hookah lover smokes more than their 3 favorite tobaccos. But Russian brands, of course, are ahead of the whole planet.
What do you smoke at home or in venues?
I like these 3 mixes exactly: Blueberry + Energy storm, Gazpacho + Leviathan Noir (tangiers), Granat + Maraschino Cherry (tangiers).
Do you have any Ambassador in your company? On what principle can you get on your team?
There were no official ambassadors before. There is a large army of fans of the brand that we know and love very much. This year we are launching a project for them to help them prove themselves.
What do you like and dislike about the hookah industry?
It’s a cool fast-paced industry, intense and full of excitement. Yes, there are challenges in the law that you have to work with. But that only makes it more interesting.
What’s the trend for manufacturers this year?
Collaborations. Since the beginning of the year we have already seen a huge number of them. Let’s see how this affects brand popularity and sales.
A wish or two for our readers
Smoke Spectrum ! Yes and other tobaccos. The most important thing is to choose a quality brand that you like, so you will have only good emotions.
Also at Spectrum, there is a very cool Monopoly, where you can find bloggers, accessories, stores and very funny cards.