Today I went to the South Austin Social Media, Marketing, Ecommerce Lunch that’s put on my buddy Robert. I’d missed the first few lunches because of work conflicts and nowadays I need to engage in as many networking opportunities as I possibly can.
There was no agenda or presentation for today’s luncheon; just a get-together for like-minded folks. I found myself sitting with and really enjoying the company of two guys, Ronnie and Kyle. They run a company that sells hookas. Yes, hookahs. Robert, Ronnie and I were the first ones who arrived at Opal Devines for the luncheon. When Ronnie told me what he did for a living, I instinctively made a drug dealer joke. In hindsight, that was probably a stupid joke. He didn’t seem bothered by it though.
I know absolutely nothing about hookahs, so I was very inquisitive. It was really cool to hear how Ronnie and his brother started the business 10 years ago and today he employs 30 people in his south Austin fulfillment center. Ronnie started out by traveling to Palestine to visit family and returning to the states with hookahs for his friends. From there, the rest is history. Without getting ALL the details, it seems like a relatively simple story. He focused on something that he knew and enjoyed and built a successful business around it.
It wasn’t exactly the interaction I was expecting but, then again, I didn’t know what to expect going into the luncheon. And although it wasn’t expected, it was a great conversation and an opportunity for me to learn about a very successful, niche business, and meet a couple really nice guys to boot.