Making Hookah da Business

  • 08 July 2019
  • Written by Al Fakher Team
  • Stories

A business born from hookah

Ever heard the expression, Do what you love? Who wouldn’t love the idea of making hookah your business? We caught up with one woman who did. Meet Amani Salma, who is changing the hookah scene one lounge at a time, and absolutely loving it.

Amani Salma is the Founder and CEO of Chichamaps, a local, social and collaborative search engine to find shisha lounges all over the world. The idea was born out of her own need to find a hookah hotspot - when Amani was on vacation with her friends and they spent a ton of time looking in a new country.

Amani realized that she had to do something to change this, helping people to save time while connecting shisha users to lounges on a global scale. Thus, the idea for Chichamaps was born.

Over two years ago, Amani put together a team with the goal of revitalizing the shisha market by launching a web and mobile platform linking shisha lounges to hookah lovers. Based in France, Amani decided on the name, Chichamaps because chicha is French for shisha.

hookah business

The challenges

The development process for creating Chichamaps was straightforward to start with. It meant had a huge focus on tech and app development, and Amani expected that. However it wasn’t all easy. Hurdles came in all shapes and forms but the biggest one was from tech giant, Apple.

Apple’s application policy doesn’t allow any apps that are tobacco related to be in their app store. This was a huge set back for Amani because she soon realized that her users who had an iPhone or Apple products, were not going to be able to download and use the app.

Luckily, Android users are able to download it and use it on their devices. A huge number of hookah fans have access to the app. But Amani thought bigger - she soon realised that having an app wasn’t the only means of reaching her audience. Simply put, the website had to be the main point of traffic for Chichamaps.

making hookah da business

These hiccups didn’t deter Amani and Chichamaps is continuing to grow successfully around the world. Hookah lounges are only one step away, wherever you are.

As a female CEO/Entrepreneur in the hookah industry, Amani constantly challenges herself on a daily basis. She wants to question the  stereotypes that exist around women hookah enthusiasts as well. 

Amani is surrounded by good people who constantly support her and keep her motivated every single day. Her drive and dedication to shisha mean that she is able to run a successful business around one of her favorite pastimes. 

As Amani says, “Women entrepreneurs (especially ones in controversial industries) will always face obstacles, but it’s all part of the game and if the outcome is positive, in the end, it will all be perfect.”  

We asked Amani about her favorite shisha flavors, her response was, “Al Fakher Mint is a favorite of mine. I also love Grape with Mint and Double Apple. When it comes to mixing, I tend to go for more classic flavors. But if I have a sweet tooth, Gum with Mint is a top choice!”

Get the app! To find out more visit Chichamaps.

Check out Amani’s favorite flavors here!