1 Sept 2002
Badges of Expertise(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 02,2002)
Vol 2 2002
Badges of Expertise
J & A Industrial Co
|J & A Industrial Co uses PVC, reflective material and other items to make badges for casual coordinates, outerwear, bags and caps.|
THE spacious showroom at J & A Industrial Co is a profusion of soft PVC badges, 3D rubber patches and embossed labels in all sizes and shapes, making a strong statement of the company's expertise in the fashion/design business.
"When our company was incorporated in 1990, we served as a buying office for all types of garment haberdashery. Three years later we decided to focus on rubber badges and silk-screen labels as we saw demand picking up strongly," recalls sales representative Pussy Lai.
Supported by two factories in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland, J & A produces up to three million badges monthly. Its 450-worker, 4,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan produces 3D rubber badges using a micro-injection process. The 5,000-square-metre factory in Panyu has 200 workers specializing in silk-screen production.
Using PVC, reflective material and additional processes such as embossing on woven labels and trimmings, J & A makes badges that are among the hottest trims and accents for casual coordinates, outerwear, bags and caps. Most materials used in production originate in Taiwan, South Korea, Japan and the Chinese mainland.
Although OEM makes up most of its business, J & A regularly sends samples to buyers to illustrate the company's creativity and technical capability.
"Our strategy is to create innovative products that stimulate market demand instead of simply competing on price. We experiment with new materials and production methods to achieve special visual effects. Our latest designs include plastic badges incorporating embroidery and hook-and-loop tape embossed with PVC," says Lai, who adds that buyers have responded enthusiastically to the latest designs.
J & A also believes that communicating with customers is essential for building long-term business relationships.
"For example, when our experience tells us that the design concepts suggested by a client are not workable in production, we will advise them promptly and work out alternative solutions. This value-added service is very much appreciated by our buyers," says Lai.
Seventy per cent of J & A's production is for export to manufacturers and buying offices in the US, EU, South America and Asia; the remainder is consumed by factories in Hong Kong.
Although the company does not compete on price, its price points are attractive, says Lai. "Our products are offered at low-to-middle price points depending on the production processes involved, choice of materials and badge size. Our existing merchandise is priced from US$0.04 to US$0.70 per piece FOB Hong Kong."
J & A is flexible with minimum quantities and accepts sample orders of 100-200 pieces. Potential customers are encouraged to contact the company for specifics because rubber badge production may require new moulds which affects pricing.
Delivery time is usually 10-14 days after order confirmation.
J & A Industrial Co
Practical Int'l Trading Co
|Accessories supplier Practical Int'l Trading Co has experienced an explosion of orders since discovering a flair for fur sourcing, treatment and styling.|
"You can't imagine how wild the market has been for fur trimmings. Our fur trim has been jazzing up all types of garments, shoes, hats and gloves. One of our UK buyers even uses fur to accessorize the handles and rims of umbrellas," says sales manager Dixon Chow.
Small fur accents highlight the material's versatility and make it an important element of fashion, says Chow. "Since fur is not being used to make up the whole garment but only as trimming to provide a stylish touch, it transcends all seasons, ages and genders. Fur has huge market potential."
Processing takes place in the company's three-year-old, 60,000-square-foot, 500-worker factory in Hebei on the Chinese mainland. Finished skin plates, skin pelts, pom-poms and other fur trimmings can be used by other manufacturers and sewn on to their end products.
Most raw skins of rabbit, sheep, fox, raccoon and mink processed at the factory come from the Chinese mainland while some finer-grade skins are imported from Europe.
"Our products sell very well worldwide because we employ innovative chemical treatments and cutting-edge techniques to make our fur trimmings both look and feel light, enabling them to be more versatile," says Chow.
Chow says Practical Int'l emphasizes product innovation by offering more than 30 new styles of fur trimmings for each spring/summer and fall/winter season.
"One of our most recent successes is our rabbit twill string, which has a unique feel and strength that is difficult to copy. We also experiment with new dyeing techniques to offer more fashionable design options," says Chow.
Practical Int'l has become the nominated vendor for several international brands, a result of its solid reputation for fur products. Europe absorbs 60% of the company's exports while the US and the Chinese mainland take the remainder.
Chow believes reasonable prices also contribute to the company's success. Emphasizing good value for money, Practical Int'l offers medium- to high-quality products at low-to-medium price points. Rabbit twill string, for instance, sells for US$0.80 per yard FOB Hong Kong, while mink pelts are between US$2.80 and US$5.20 per yard.
"Our factory collects raw skins from farms without going through dealers so our costs are much lower. Even conventional fur garment manufacturers source from us," Chow explains.
Minimum order is 300-500 yards for natural-colour fur trimming tape; 500 yards for natural fur twill; and more than 1,000 yards for dye-to-match orders.
More than 10 colours of rabbit twill and tape are always on hand for sample orders. Bulk orders normally take 3-5 weeks for delivery.
Practical Int'l has also expanded successfully into finished fur products including fur collars, scarves, stoles and hair accessories.
Anticipating a flourishing fur trend through 2004, Chow says, the company will keep developing new fur products for additional breakthroughs.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Practical Int'l Trading Co
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