3 May 2006
Fashion & Flair(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 05,2006)
Blue Dolphin Int'l Ltd
Blue Dolphin Int'l Ltd, established in 1972, demonstrates that intimate knowledge of one's markets can lead to perennial success and thousands of satisfied customers.
The firm is a manufacturer of fashion jewellery products and has a range that comprises more than 10,000 designs in the form of necklaces, bracelets, rings, earrings, pendants, brooches, hair ornaments, cufflinks, tiepins, watches and crystal ornaments using materials such as white gold, brass, silver, high quality plastic, Swarovski crystals, cubic zirconia and other semiprecious stones.
"Our gold-plate department uses the most updated technology, machinery and equipment to plate any metal with 0.1-10 microns of plain gold or two-tone and three-tone gold, while some clients ask for matt gold finishes," says operations and finance manager Kelvin Chung.
The gold plating is usually 18K or 14K, while prices of individual items range from US$0.50-25.00 each. "It is the complexity of the design and the amount of gold that most affects the price," says Chung.
"All products are nickel-free, and we also supply items in rhodium or anti-tarnish silver plating," he adds. "We do everything in-house, are self-sufficient in all procedures from design to production and from electroplating to final finishing and complete the task with fine packaging techniques."
Chung also stresses the firm's commitment to high-speed, efficient materials handling. "Furthermore," he adds, "everything we do is within a streamlined work-flow system that enables us to maintain the level of quality our clients expect. Our in-house control means we can keep careful and consistent control over all steps, and we feel this is reflected in all of our designs."
According to Chung, the firm's most popular lines today feature strong colours, especially yellow, green and magenta. "Fashion jewellery in these colours sells well, as does our line of more elaborate designs featuring natural stones," he stresses. "Our new collections will especially highlight the Spring and Summer fashion collections for 2006 - we can bring out 50-100 new designs a week."
The market is also hot for the changeable tastes of the younger buyer, and in response the Blue Dolphin design team visits international fashion and jewellery shows.
"Colourful designs seem to be the in-thing for 2006," says Chung. "Yet, everything changes fast in the fashion industry and so we rely on a strong design team to stay in touch with trends. Specialised fairs are also important, and we talk with lots of people."
The company uses the Blue Dolphin brand name for its collections, in addition to OEM. About 20% of production goes to the domestic Hong Kong market, where its designs are found in department stores such as Sogo and Wing On. Another 30% is OEM/ODM, mainly to buyers in the US, while a further 30% is for the UK and Europe. About 20% goes to the Middle East, Southeast Asia and Japan.
Blue Dolphin also supplies the fashion jewellery end of the market with an additional range: complete jewellery packages. "This is something that very few jewellery manufacturers offer," says Chung. "We can supply an entire range to a single buyer to set up a specialised outlet. Most other factories simply supply individual pieces."
Neither is Blue Dolphin a company likely to miss a fashion niche, and the firm offers a ladies' heart-shaped watch with an alloy case set with white Swarovski crystals that are also used on the crown and lugs.
"This item incorporates a Swiss movement and comes with a black, genuine leather strap," says Chung. "We also do hair clips in white gold set with stones or coloured Swarovski crystals. Meanwhile, for men, we have cufflinks in metal alloy or rhodium with a satin matt finish."
Production takes place at Blue Dolphin's ISO 9001-certified, 450,000-square-foot, 3,500-worker factory in Zhuhai on the Chinese mainland. "We supply quality, value-for-money fashion jewellery at very competitive prices," assures Chung.
Looking ahead, Chung sees the entry of silver jewellery as a main segment of the popular market for costume jewellery and says Blue Dolphin is developing a suitable line.
"We also welcome ideas from clients as we see the silver jewellery market developing rapidly," says Chung. "We have many orders coming in from the UK, especially, and prices [for silver jewellery] are rising."
Overall, it appears that Blue Dolphin has a bright and shiny future to look forward to.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Blue Dolphin Int'l Ltd
Unit M, 11/F, Phase 3,