Family-run manuka honey business tells how technology allowed them to beat the virus.
Covid-19 has been a killer and a damaging agent to the economy but, as Blanche Morrogh points out, it has also acted as an agent of change.
Morrogh, CEO of Kai Ora Honey and Hana Botanicals, says the companies have changed from something of a “hidden business” to being “more at the forefront” because of the effects of the virus – and the technology steps taken to recover and prosper.
The family were introduced to the love of beekeeping and the honey industry by their father, eventually moving into trading bulk honey after he passed away. It was about five years later, Morrogh says, that they realised the true value of the Manuka honey they were dealing in.
The company began to do more than just collect the honey, creating a successful business and branching out into Hana Botanicals, a natural skincare range.
It launched just four weeks before Covid-19 hit, and Morrogh admits there were some tears: “For the first few hours we just sat and cried, I don’t think we really knew what else to do”.
But with the business challenges of Covid19, they had to change, re-focusing on the domestic market when exporting to markets in Asia and Europe was compromised.
Since the virus hit New Zealand shores, both businesses have significantly boosted their technology, advancing their digital marketing and allowing them to connect with customers here and overseas.
That’s particularly true of Hana Botanicals which has been entirely reliant on technology since its inception to sell and process orders and connect with potential customers and markets.