With a family of four to take care of, Chen, who is the only person in the family working full-time to make umbrellas, said she can earn as much as NT$15,000 a month by sewing 3,000 umbrellas.
Starting next month, Fuyu will invest NT$10 million to transform its three-section compound into a museum for the local umbrella industry, the construction of which is set to be completed before the Lunar New Year holiday.
The company also plans to build a factory nearby to increase its handmade umbrella production capacity to 216,000 units a year.
“It would be a pity if such a specialized skill were to vanish in Taiwan, and my daughter and I will try to revive the industry to preserve the craft and give opportunities to young people,” Chou said.
“Although we face severe competition from companies in Hong Kong and China, we can still succeed because umbrellas of a similar caliber sell for twice as much as ours in China,” Chou’s daughter and Fuyu Umbrella vice president Lin Wan-ling (林琬玲) said.