11 Sept 2006
Aiming High(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 01,2007)
Sunrise Development Industrial Ltd
|Sunrise Development Industrial Ltd prides itself on the quality of its wide variety of handmade accessories|
Big ambitions look set to pay equally big dividends for Jessie Lee, whose company Sunrise Development Industrial Ltd has come a long way since it was established in 1997.
According to managing director Lee, the handmade accessories manufacturer has progressed enormously in terms of the complexity and intricacy of the craftsmanship its workforce is able to deliver.
So much so that it is her ambition that one day Sunrise will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the finest European suppliers to the garment industry - the companies with which it currently competes primarily on price.
"Our sales office is in Hong Kong and we have our design and marketing teams, and the dyeing factory here," she explains, adding that the firm's main factory is at Kaiping near Puying, about three hours from Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
"We have more than 1,000 workers at the factory, which occupies about 20,000 square metres of floor space, because 70% of the work is done by hand and only about 30% by machine," she says.
Sunrise started out in the bow business and they remain the company's signature product, but its range of apparel accessories and related products has expanded considerably over the years. "We started off with simple bows and then went on to shoulder straps before we started working with rhinestones," Lee recalls.
Today, the company specialises in a wide range of handmade accessories, including ribbons and bows, shoulder straps, trimming braid, rhinestones and studs, and diamond accessories.
"We train our workers to a high standard because we want to deliver an equally high standard of handmade quality," Lee claims. "We give them time to study our techniques, and their work becomes more sophisticated."
The bows are all handmade in a variety of materials and designs, including many incorporating fabric flowers - which is complex work requiring highly-skilled hands.
She notes that a trend in recent years towards more decoration of undergarments has created opportunities for the company in a field in which it has few competitors at its price point.
"We mainly supply underwear manufacturers," Lee admits. "We have some quite famous customers, including H & M, Triumph, Wal-Mart and Calvin Klein, but our products are quite versatile - we also make items suitable for packaging and children's wear."
Sunrise is happy to manufacture accessories to customers' designs, but its Hong Kong-based design team developed most of the products with which the company has enjoyed its greatest successes to date.
"Some customers already have an idea of what they want and then they contact us to prepare the design, while we have our own designs ready to offer others," she explains. "We are quite different from other suppliers in having our own design team, and in the quality of our handmade accessories."
Amongst the Sunrise product lines she singles out as distinctive are the diamond accessories, leather series and pleats collections. "The pleats technique is a unique approach of our company," Lee explains. "Our factory uses advanced machinery to convert a flat ribbon into a pleated pattern - a technique that can be used on different materials such as fabric, ribbon and paper."
The pleats collection is suitable for jewellery box packaging as well as decorating lingerie, while the handmade leather series adds an unusual touch to a variety of different garments. "Diamond accessories offer a high quality of design for a modest cost and are geared to current fashion," she adds.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices for Sunrise products start at around US$0.12 but vary according to the order sizes, level of workmanship required and raw material cost.
Lee says Sunrise sources about 50% of its raw materials on the mainland, but also buys from Korea and the Philippines. "We have no minimum orders," she adds. "But we keep some accessories permanently in stock to make sure we can keep our customers satisfied."
Orders can usually be delivered within a month, depending on the size and the speed with which the customer reverts with colour approval, while samples can be produced in a week.
"There are not many suppliers like us," Lee remarks. "The prices of our competitors in France are very high, but we put a lot of effort into our design because we aim to provide products of that standard."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Sunrise Development Industrial Ltd