3 July 2007
Demand for Detail(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2007)
Fashion Jewellery & Accessories
|Fashion jewellery from Hong Kong manufacturer Audrey features a silver bracelet and necklace set made with China Murano glass beads|
Fashion jewellery enjoys a huge market worldwide - one that is well-served by hong kong jewellery manufacturers at all levels from the cheap and cheerful to the prestigious and more pricy
Consumers are increasingly seeking mid- to high-end fashion jewellery and accessories to match the continual changes in clothing trends. In response, Hong Kong's innovative manufacturers are combining new techniques with fresh and established materials to produce fashion jewellery with worldwide appeal.
For example, Audrey, established 1999, is a firm that has embraced the niche market for popular glass beads and China Murano glass beads to create unique bracelets, necklaces, earrings and rings.
"All our beads are handcrafted, lampworked and fire-polished and no two beads are exactly the same," explains manager Eric Chiu. "We have a wide range of glass bead patterns using solids, twists and snow effects, which are available in matt or gloss finish and also with silver foil and gold leaf to create a dichroic effect. These beads are difficult to produce as they require three material layers including glass and sterling silver."
Audrey introduces new styles every few months and also designs to customer specifications. Half of the company's business is loose beads and beaded jewellery. "Our necklaces usually feature 6-8 centrally-featured beads in combination with silver charms, gemstones or cubic zirconia (CZ)," Chiu explains. The remainder is sterling silver jewellery and collections include plain silver, silver with CZ, gemstones.
The company operates two ISO 9000-certified factories that employ several hundred workers. These produce glass beads and blown-glass beads which are very competitive in terms of cost and delivery, with first orders of 500 loose beads of 30 pieces per style delivered 4-6 weeks after order confirmation.
Audrey's major market is the US, which takes 65%-70% of exports, with Europe also a key market. Other destinations include Southeast Asia, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.
Specialising in different materials is Shell Juli (HK) Co Ltd, which produces more than 20,000 styles of shell fashion jewellery along with hair accessories, belts, shell beads and tumbled shells.
The 17-year-old company manufactures some US$2m-worth of items a month and caters to OEM and ODM orders. "We specialise in paua and mother-of-pearl, and our most popular products are necklaces and jewellery sets," explains supervisor assistant Fion Chik. "Our shells can be polished and dyed in numerous colours, with pink, blue and green currently in strong demand."
FOB product prices range from US$2.20 for a simple shell pendant, to US$4 for a complex necklace with thong or chain, for orders delivered in 4-6 weeks.
The company has two ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified factories in Shenzhen and Qingdao on the Chinese mainland, which cover a total of 35,000 square metres and employ 1,500 workers.
"Some 30%-40% of our exports go to the US and 30% to Europe, and other important markets include Asia and the Chinese mainland," explains Chik.
Acknowledging design variety as a critical component of success, Hung Kay Jewelry Mfy Ltd produces up to 10,000 fashion jewellery styles in sterling silver, brass and base metals, as well as accessories, premium gifts and ornaments.
This 17-year-old company produces 100,000 pieces per month at its 4,000-square-metre, 400-worker factory in Shanwei, Guangdong Province.
"There are no discernible product trends, but charm bracelets and necklaces are popular again," says manager Vincent Lam, adding that the company introduces new items every month.
Half of Hung Kay's business is OEM and the remainder its own designs. Product prices average US$3 per piece FOB Hong Kong for brass jewellery and US$2-8 per piece for sterling silver, for minimum orders of 50 pieces per item and US$1,500 in value per shipment, delivered in 4-6 weeks.
"We rely on trade shows and advertising to increase our business, as well as online marketing, which is now a much faster way of promoting our products than printing catalogues," Lam maintains.
Some 60% of Hung Kay's products is exported to Europe, particularly France, Italy and Spain. "We also focus on the US, as well as Central and South America, Asia, Australasia, Africa and, most recently, Eastern Europe," Lam adds.
He notes that business has increased by more than 10% each year, but adds that labour and material costs continue to grow. "However, Hong Kong maintains its prime position by appealing to the high-end market and focusing on quality control."
Buyers are also spoilt for choice at veteran fashion jewellery producer Blue Dolphin Int'l Ltd. This company offers more than 10,000 designs covering the gamut of jewellery items. These are produced at the company's ISO 9001-certified factories in Guangdong Province that employ highly-skilled workers.
The 35-year-old company uses alloy, brass, 925 sterling silver, high quality plastic, Swarovski crystals, cubic CZ and semiprecious stones, which are mostly sourced from China, Japan and the US.
"Some 40% of our business is OEM and the remainder is our Blue Dolphin label," explains sales manager Keith Chow.
Currently in demand are detailed necklaces and rings using pavm settings to create a more ornate look. "Also, jewellery motifs of animals, flowers and insects such as butterflies are popular. Gold plate is in fashion this year, and Swarovski colours of light rose, topaz and peridot are in vogue for summer," Chow notes, adding that necklaces and earrings are in strongest demand.
Blue Dolphin's prices range from US$1 per piece FOB Hong Kong for a simple brass ring with cubic CZ to US$20-30 each for a silver-plated, detailed necklace with lots of stones, for a minimum order of 120 pieces of available items.
"We focus on quality and design for the mid- to high-end market and are confident that this approach will see us continue to prosper in the future," adds Chow.
Hong Kong manufacturers of fashion jewellery certainly paint a bright picture.
TEXT BY SANDRA JENNER
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