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Thailand Flower Export

While the US sales office was the head of our international operation, the processing facility in Thailand was its heart and soul.  My wife, Vara started that division, a new and separate company around 2 or 3 years after the US sales operation started – and a short time after I started managing the marketing and administration of the US sales office.

Vara Vail Training our First Staff in Thailand

Vara Vail training staff in our first facility

The processing facility started with a few hundred square feet of rented space, in part of another facility.  As our business grew, we found that we had to invest in developing a facility that we did not own.  For this reason, we began to look for a bigger and better facility.  Finding none suitable, we bought a 2 acre site and built a custom designed building, specifically suited for our operation.

The construction of the facility took almost one year, starting with bringing in 6 feet of fill on about half an acre of land.  Then, we had to install 30 pilings, 60 feet deep, in order to support the building on what was essentially soft mud.

Construction of the Flower Processing Factory

Our building was designed to be fully air conditioned – something unusual for a “factory” in Thailand.  Every other orchid processing facility was either open air, or un-air conditioned.  But, we went much further.  We installed air conditioners in the rear of the trucks we sent to pick up flowers.  NOBODY else did that.  Our trucks had our company logo, and where painted in our logo colors.  Soon, other orchid exporters copied that.

Our Trucks

But, what really made our product top quality was our processing procedures and quality control system.

Without going into all the technical details, we developed a system of cleaning and chemical treatment that made our flowers last 2 to 5 times longer than our competition.  This started with rejecting flowers which were substandard on arrival.  Later in the process, our staff inspected each bloom on every stem – between 4 and 12 blooms per stem.  And, if later in the process, ANYONE could reject a substandard flower.  EVERYONE was a part of the quality control process.

Inside Our Thailand Flower Processing Factory

Another MAJOR factor was the chemical treatments we used.  We had to treat every flower with several pesticides and fungicides, after which we would rinse off the residue.  Every flower was also treated with a chemical solution which radically slowed the dying process, and all were shipped with a nutrient solution to prolong quality during transit.

Some of the Flowers we Produced

One of the main reasons for our success was our high level of customer service.  Instead of telling customers the limits on what we could produce, we ALWAYS attempted to produce ANYTHING that customers asked for.

Early in the development of our business, we were asked to produce leis.  Since we controled both the sales operation in the US, as well as the productin and export in Thailand, we did not have minimum order requirements.  This allowed us the flexbility to produce unique products,  and provide customize assortments of products.

After developing a reputation for producing quality cut flower orchids, then high quality leis, customers began to  ask for “leis” that were not tied in a circle – a garland.  So, we began to make orchid garlands in an unlimited number of styles and lengths.

A Sampling of the Leis and Garlands we Produced

As Florists, Floral Designers and Event Planners discovered that we would create whatever they wanted, the types and styles of leis we produced became almost infinite.  Other Thai orchid processors/exporters only produced a few styles and a few colors.  We began experimenting with colors, styles and different flower varieties that other producers would not consider.

Demonstration of Assembling Orchid Leis and Garlands

Producing leis and garlands is essentially very simple: just stringing single blooms onto a string.  But, there are a number of technical issues that are not apparent to the causal observer/user.

First, to produce a final product of top long lasting quality,  it is necessary to select individual blooms that are flawless.  But, before that, the blooms on a stem must be given the treatment process that produces the longest life.  (Nobody did this better than us).  Also, earh variety of flower must be positioned so that the string holds the bloom securely without tearing the fragile bloom.

The pictures shown here are only a few of the lei and garland styles and colors that we produced.