Oliva’s International Distributor Event Held in Hong Kong

Oliva’s International Distributor Event Held in Hong Kong
Date: July 2024
Author: Inspector X

A few years ago, when the world was grappling with the Covid-19 pandemic, although travel within Europe was still allowed, Fred Vandermarliere, CEO of VCF (the parent company of J. Cortes and Oliva Cigars), decided to host an event for the European distributors of Oliva. The event was a huge success and has since become an annual gathering of the international Oliva family.

After hearing about the Oliva Distributor Event, other parts of the world want to join as well, and to be honest, for many distributors it does not make sense to make an investment in time and money to fly intercontinental to Europe for a single brand event weekend. VCF realized that and decided to move the distributor event of 2024 to Asia with plans to do an event in Central America in one of the upcoming years.

In the middle of May, several Oliva distributors from Asia, the Middle East, and even Europe flew to Hong Kong. There, Oliva, in collaboration with its local distributor COH Cigars, created an itinerary that included dinners, seminars, visits to cigar lounges and opportunities to network.

The event starts with a welcome dinner on Friday, in a beautiful restaurant located at an old prison in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong in Central Hong Kong. Lan Kwai Fong, or LFK as the locals call it, is the party district of the city. The old prison and the square in front of the building have a Mediterranean feel to it, and it was the perfect location for a small mixer and a great dinner. A lot of distributors met for the first time; a lot of connections were made during that evening. Even though Hong Kong has too many cigar lounges to wave a stick at, there are strict rules when it comes to smoking in restaurants so after the dinner everyone left for a nearby lounge, Puro Aficionado, where there was a free flow of Macallan whisky and Oliva cigars.

The Saturday was for seminars where new products were announced (details we are not allowed to share yet), how VCF is working to improve the communication between distributors and the company, how they working on helping distributors promote the brand and more. Thomas Gryson conducted a seminar on the Cigar Academy and guest speaker Mark Cho, co-founder of fashion brand The Armoury, held a seminar on business which was very insightful and interesting. Inside his retail location, Cho also runs a cigar lounge called The Study.

Saturday night was reserved for another dinner and a party, at a rooftop restaurant & bar so everybody could smoke as much as they liked. Networking continued and the party was open to more than just Oliva distributors. Distributors from other brands, such as Eric Piras from Cigraal and Bertie’s Cigar Lounge (a must visit when in Hong Kong) were there as well and even Oscar Valladares showed up as he was in Hong Kong for the launch of the Bond Roberts cigars anyway.

For Sunday, a breakfast was on the agenda, but not everybody was able to make it due to travel arrangements. But all in all, it was a successful event, a lot of new connections were made and the bond between Oliva and its distributors was tightened for years to come.

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