Olivia Lee, Hermes Orchids, on the benefits of the pandemic

Taiwan: “We now have a stronger connection to our customers, thanks to the pandemic”

Not only does Hermes Orchids, a Taiwanese cut flower orchid grower, have a stronger connection in every segment, from producers to customers, they have also been introduced to a new, younger generation of customers. Accordingly, despite the challenges that the pandemic brought to their orchid company, Olivia Lee explains the benefits that COVID-19 has had for their business as well.

Olivia Lee and Lance Chang of Hermes Orchids at IFTF 2019

Demand and transportation issues
The start of the pandemic was a tough time for Hermes Orchids, as the demand for their flowers severely decreased. Lee says: “At the start of last year, because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, the demand for our orchids plummeted. Fortunately, by now it has come back to the normal level that we used to see in 2019 and before.” While the demand has gone back to normal, they are faced with a new issue, namely the unpredictability of the flights that deliver their products. “Flights are being cancelled at the last minute. This gives us no other choice than to change the flights at the last minute, which we have to pay for ourselves, so it’s been quite a tough task for our company. But we are doing everything that is necessary to keep the shipments of our almost global deliveries successful.”

The importance of cooperation and connection

Despite the challenges Lee says that they have learned a lot from the pandemic, such as risk management. “We have been able to confront these challenges with our own experience, but we have also been focusing on close cooperation in every segment, from producers to customers. When there is a close cooperation, it is easier to come up with solutions together when things are challenging. Through teamwork we are able to conquer problems and be more successful. We also talk to our customers more closely now and always tell them to “stay healthy” whenever we talk on the phone or through emails. We only have one world and these times have shown us how important it is to care for each other.”

Connecting with a younger generation
Recently, Hermes Orchids has seen a different trend, as the younger generation is becoming more interested in cut flowers. “We think this is because of the pandemic, as we have entered a period where it has become important to care more for each other and spend more time with loved ones. Therefore, more young people are buying cut flowers for others, as well as to decorate their own homes, in which we all spend much more time than we are used to.” Lee says that they want to strengthen this connection with this new generation of customers in the future. “As they are more familiar with social media and e-commerce we plan to utilize these aspects more. We want to change our business model and focus more on this direction, which is new for us. We want to start doing research on this type of marketing, so we can use platforms such as Instagram and Clubhouse to connect the younger generation with our flowers.”

Future plans
Lee also discussed some of their future plans, based on a recent interest under their customers. “At the IFTF 2019 we gained many new contacts who are especially interested in the dyed  Phalaenopsis cut flower, and the demand is getting more as this kind is being discovered by more people. Resources have revealed a steady growth in wedding designers doing the customized work for end users, which is a good chance for us to be a part of the eco-system by supplying materials and recommendations. In our opinion, there are new favorites – not only the dyed Phalaenopsis, but also the dyed Oncidium and Lisianthus. These will be put on our production schedule in the future.”

For more information:
Hermes Orchids
Olivia Lee


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