1 Sept 2001
A Wealth of Accessories(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 02,2001)
Vol 2 2001
A Wealth of Accessories
Tailor -Made For Success
DELICATE hand-made ribbon accessories from Beta Wealth Co Ltd add a special touch to garments, gift wrap, bridal attire and Christmas decorations, among many other items.
Flowers and bows are the most popular motifs for the company's creations, which are made of 100% polyester and, if requested, nylon. "Nylon is better for dyeing, but polyester is very strong and keeps its shape when washed," says Jobia Keung, marketing officer for the company, which has been in business since 1980.
Pastel shades, cream and white are the colours most in demand during the spring, the company's busiest season. "In the summer, people want white and lemon. Leaf colours are big for autumn and blue for winter," Keung adds.
Hot this year are ribbons combined with other materials such as tiny plastic pearls, lace fringing, rhinestones, sequins and sheer polyester.
"We don't want to use just ribbon. We want to make our products unique and special, so we try to incorporate more materials," she says.
Custom designs are welcome, but the firm is reluctant to customize colours unless the order is for a large quantity. "We have 5-6 shades of each colour and we focus on that," says Keung.
Lingerie is Beta Wealth's biggest market segment, although the most intricate designs are reserved for bridal decorations. White roses festooned with trailing ribbons and pearls are wedding favourites.
Prices for ribbon accessories start at US$1 per gross and rise to US$30 per gross FOB Hong Kong, depending on the degree of complexity. Minimum order is 50 gross per colour per style, with delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation. "For certain customers and certain kinds of orders, we may accept 20-30 gross for a minimum order," says Keung.
Beta Wealth produces about one million ribbon accessories each month at its 20,000-square-foot factory in Guangzhou, on the Chinese mainland. It imports raw materials from the US or Taiwan, but for orders where customers specify low-priced goods, it can source materials from the Chinese mainland.
The US accounts for 70% of sales, with Europe (particularly the UK, Italy and France) following at 15%. Canada and South Africa round out the remainder.
Crafts hobbyists make up half of the US market. "Women in the US are very familiar with arts and crafts. Normally we sell to manufacturers, but in the US we also sell our ribbon accessories in packets in department stores," says Keung.
Last year, sales were up 30%; the target this year is for a 40% increase. The company plans a two-pronged approach this year to increase sales and further develop its US and European markets. "We want to expand the clothing segment in the US, because our crafts sales are strong enough. We would also like to double our percentage in Europe," she says.
Another area the company is keen to promote is Christmas tree decorations, such as ornaments made of ribbons. It is also experimenting with different materials, such as plastic ribbons, as gift wrapping accessories.
Larger decorations to accent a dress or a hat are the latest fashion trend. "Designers want to add ribbons at the waist or at the neck," Keung says. "We have more and more clients who are requesting elaborate things."
GARMENT accessories manufacturer Sun Tak Knitting Fty, a world leader in the manufacture of elastics, is looking ahead to another strong year for sales.
The 21-year-old firm produces in excess of one million metres of elastics per day for use in lingerie, sportswear and other items. "Elastics represent about 80% of our production," says Richard Cheung, manager for market development. Ribbons, drawstrings, labels, hangers, velvet tape, straps, ring-and-slider and hook-and-eye tape fasteners round out the company's product range.
Over the past five years, Sun Tak's sales have grown by 100%. "We make high-end products from good materials. Even though our prices are a little higher than our competitors, our buyers feel that we make high-quality products," Cheung adds.
The company, an important force in elastics sales in Hong Kong, has focused on developing its overseas markets in recent years. "The US and Europe are our largest markets ?they represent about 40-50% of our overseas revenue. Next is Southeast Asia," he says. Sun Tak will continue to target these markets, as well as Japan.
The firm offers a choice of nylon, polyester, cotton, microfibre or Tactel materials, combined with DuPont Lycra Soft or rubber elastics. Prices range from HK$30 to HK$800 per 100 metres FOB Hong Kong, depending on the style, customer requirements and materials.
Sun Tak products are made without using harmful substances, such as azo dyes, a practice that has earned the company Switzerland's Oko-Tex and Germany's Eco-tex quality certifications. They also meet colour-fastness, dimensional stability and shrinkage standards.
Although the firm has an inventory of more than 10,000 styles and designs, most orders are tailor-made. "We can manufacture any pattern that a customer wants," Cheung declares.
A subsidiary of Sun Hing Industries Holding Ltd, Sun Tak has expanded beyond elastics. Fastest-growing among the firm's minor lines are its hook-and-eye tape fasteners. "The customers who buy our elastics also need hook-and-eye tapes. Some of them also need ribbons and bows. If we get an order, we can dye the colour so everything matches," he says.
Last year, the firm opened a new 13,000-square-metre factory on the Chinese mainland, its production base, to manufacture printed and woven labels.
One of the newest lines is colourful velvet tape for trimming. "We just started making this last year. The idea is to put it on lingerie items. We've had a lot of inquiries about it," Cheung says.
No fixed minimum order applies, and delivery takes 2-4 weeks after order confirmation. Urgent orders can be shipped in 3-5 days.
Cheung says the trend among garment manufacturers is toward softer materials. "People want clothes to be comfortable to wear," he says. "Tactel is a good material that is very soft and very fine to the touch, but it is also among our most expensive products."
The vagaries of fashion have had an impact on ordering habits as well. "Some are classic items, of course, but where we used to receive a full year's worth of orders, now the styles can change every season," says Cheung.
Whatever the style or season, with its versatile line-up of products, Sun Tak is poised for a profitable and productive year.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|