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Vol 2 2000


Cotton Fabrics


Buckles & Buttons

Labels & Badges

Cotton Fabrics

HONG Kong supplies a wide variety of finished cottons to clients across the globe. Cotton fabrics are imported, exported, woven, spun and dyed with a huge variety of other natural and synthetic fibres.

Four interesting pure cottons from mainland China represent the line-up from Kingsway Textiles Fty Co Ltd: a 46/47-inch-wide dyed twill, weighing 175g/m2, in colour stone; a 47/48-inch-wide square-woven brushed canvas in the same colourway; a 57/58-inch-wide yarn-dyed fabric in a black, grey and blue check; and a 43/ 44-inch-wide turquoise-on-blue print twill, weighing 280g/m2.

The 11-year-old company specialises in cotton wovens, producing 2.5 million yards per month at its 320-worker, 6,500-square-metre factory in Jiangsu, on the mainland. Grey-state fabric comes from Pakistan, the mainland, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and yarn from the mainland.

Kingsway delivers dyed and stretch fabrics in 30 days, prints in 40-45 days and yarn-dyed fabrics in 55-60 days. Its major markets are in Europe and North, South and Central America.

Export director Raymond Young has both observations and complaints: "The cost and availability of quotas for the European and North American markets are definitely negative factors when it comes to sales. Non-quota countries therefore become the markets of choice. Having said that, our sales are growing steadily, everywhere, and we notice a particular growing interest in 2-4% warp-stretch Lycra cottons. It's a real growth area, and we have the flexibility to produce what the market wants."

Splendid Int'l Co Ltd has an extensive range of yarn-dyed cotton dobbies. FOB Hong Kong prices across some representative fabric groups -- including a variety of plains, checks, sheetings, a melange herringbone check and end-on-end poplin -- average US$2.10 per running yard. Dyes also vary, from "soft" pigments such as indigo to pure chemical dyes.

This eight-year-old company has a clutch of well-known customers for its range of casual fabrics, including the UK's Burton and Next groups, and the Australian Coles-Myer Group's casual wear chain Country Road. Specialising in yarn-dyed wovens, Splendid has a monthly production run of 80,000 yards, a minimum order of 2,000 yards per colour combination/pattern, and a delivery lead time of 45-50 days.

Exporting to Europe, Japan, the US and Australia, the company's production unit in Guangdong, on the mainland, can source cotton, linen, ramie, rayon and polyester within China.

Director Au Yiu Shing explains his priorities: "Deliveries are very important, because we are aware that receiving fabric supplies on time is extremely critical to a manufacturer's cash flow. This is uniquely important to this business, but my next priority is quality, because again, if a poor fabric is used, it costs the manufacturer time and money. Price is an important element as well, but perhaps not so extremely critical for our customers as the other two points. Nevertheless we work hard on our prices."

A wide variety of casual fabrics comes from Tongtex Ltd, such as a yarn-dyed cotton/spandex mix in purple/lime, weighing 120g/m2 and selling for US$2.20 per running yard FOB Hong Kong. A yarn-dyed cotton/Lycra (3%) plaid in peach/sky blue weighs 135g/m2 and sells for US$2.10.

A yarn-dyed cotton crinkle in a red check weighs 130g/m2 and costs US$1.75, while a 100% cotton printed 21-wale corduroy weighs 150g/m2 and is priced at US$2.10.

The company sells its extensive range in the US to customers ranging from Disney to Wal-Mart, and also in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Europe, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates. Founded in 1987, Tongtex supplies six million yards a month of woven fabrics from the mainland, with all yarn and fibre sourced locally.

Delivery takes 35-60 days, depending on whether the fabrics are yarn-dyed, solid-dyed or printed. The company's production facility, which employs 1,500 workers in Jiangsu, on the mainland, has achieved ISO 9001 certification.

"We think the most important things for a fabric supplier are to be able to deliver a good and consistent quality of product, at a competitive price, and on time," says assistant merchandising manager Virginia Tam. "We also demonstrate commitment to our customers by having a responsible attitude in case quality or shipment problems arise, and by providing samples and developing new samples for them."

From Land's Co Ltd comes a soft green cotton, with a width of 54/55 inches, priced at US$1.40 per running yard FOB Hong Kong. A 100% cotton reactive-dyed sheeting, with a 43/44-inch width, also sells for US$1.40. A yellow canvas fabric, peach-finished on one side, comes in at US$1.55, while a 57/58-inch-wide grey pigment-dyed cotton ripstop sells for US$2.05.

Founded in 1981, the company produces around one million yards of cotton, linen and rayon wovens, both mixed and pure, every month at its factory in Guangxi, on the mainland. It sources yarn and grey-state cloth on the mainland, Pakistan and India.

Land's Co has a minimum order of 3,000 yards, for delivery in 30-35 days. Markets are East Asia, the Middle East, the US and Europe.

Manager Mimi Chan can see a trend: "We find linen mixes are very popular now. For price reasons these fabrics sell well on the middle market, but our 400 workers in China can dye, print and perform a number of finishing treatments to the grey-state cloth.

"Most of our supply comes from [mainland] China, of course, and perhaps the largest volume of our production goes into the Hong Kong market as well as further afield."



MOTIFS come in a wide range of eye-catching shapes and designs. They sparkle and shine, giving a garment splashes of texture, colour and fun. Hong Kong manufacturers are using a variety of materials to produce some of the brightest, most stylish and competitively priced motifs on the market.

The Best Collection Trading Co Ltd makes textured flowers from polyester, cotton, wool, beads and silk. SP775 is a fluffy flower made from 100% wool. SP765 is a more discreet design made from 100% polyester. The models can be produced in a wide range of colours according to customers' specifications. Both models sell for US$0.05 FOB Hong Kong per piece based on a minimum order of 100 dozen.

All the motifs are handmade at the company's factory in mainland China. Sales manager Estella Lee says the company specialises in making motifs according to customers' designs. "We need one week to create a pre-production sample," she says.

Minimum order depends on the style. Delivery takes about three weeks for a standard quality design. More complex designs or higher-quality models may take one month.

An organza-beaded embroidered motif, produced by Celesway Int'l Ltd, displays a delicate array of white embroidery and beaded motifs. The motif is stitched onto a 100% polyester background and is also available in black, pink and silver-grey. The organza beads and fabric are imported from Japan. This item sells for US$5 FOB Hong Kong.

The company has its own in-house designers, but sales manager Heidi Cheuk says tailor-made designs to customers' specifications can be done. "Normally we take about 20 days to provide a sample after receiving a sketch from the customer. We can also make piece goods. In this case the fabric is normally provided by the customer and we do beading modification," she says.

Production is carried out at the company's 120-worker factory on the mainland. Most of the motifs are hand-embroidered and hand-beaded and the company uses semi-automatic sewing machines for some processes.

Main markets are the US and Europe, where the company has built up a regular pool of clients. "In the US our customers want a competitive price above anything else, whereas in Europe design always comes first and the price is a secondary consideration," says Cheuk.

The company makes a wide range of beaded products, including handbags, evening gowns and scarves. Minimum order is 200 pieces per style and delivery takes 30-60 days.

A & K Co Ltd is run by the husband and wife team of Ken and Alice Li. The couple has been making motifs for nearly 10 years and has established a network of regular clients in Hong Kong and overseas.

The motifs -- such as beaded and sequinned butterflies -- are all made by hand, and many are designed by Alice Li. "We mainly use plastic and glass beads, and plastic sequins on a nylon or polyester background," says director Ken Li. He says prices are negotiable, depending on the quantity ordered, but insists the company is very competitive, because labour costs are kept low by having all design and production done in-house.

"We can usually make a pre-production sample within two weeks, but in special cases it may be done within seven days," says Li.

The company is always on the look-out for new design ideas and Li says experience has shown the need for responding quickly to market demand. "For this year, the spring collection features high-contrast colours, like red, green and yellow. Next year we will be using more natural fabrics like linen and more natural colours," he says.

The handiwork is carried out at the firm's 200-worker factory on the mainland. Trimming, lace motifs and PVC motifs are available. There is no minimum order and delivery takes 3-4 weeks.

Wa Tai Garment & Jewellery Accessories Co Ltd uses a wide range of materials to produce stylised fashion motifs suitable for both casual and evening wear. Model B8-1 uses brightly coloured mohair wool and a mirror centrepiece to create a striking 3D effect. The motif is crocheted and also contains cotton. Model B8-3 is a purple/pink sequin strip and B8-2 is a delicate, beaded flower.

"We can provide many different colours according to the customers' needs. We do have our designers but usually we follow designs provided by our customers," says managing director Maggie Ng. It usually takes one week to produce a pre-production sample.

The company, established 10 years ago, also makes other fashion accessories, such as handbags and purses. Production is carried out at the firm's 50-worker factory on the mainland. Ng says prices are negotiable, depending on the amount ordered. There is no minimum order and delivery takes 20 days after receipt of a confirmed order.


Buckles & Buttons

FROM natural shell to plastic and metal, Hong Kong's button and buckle manufacturers offer a wide variety of materials and designs to satisfy any buyer's needs.

At Eastex Int'l Ltd, buttons and buckles run the gamut from plastic, wood and metal (brass, alloy) to shell and mother-of-pearl. "We make a broad range, but our best sellers are plastic, including imitation shell and imitation horn," says Raphael Au Yeung, a director of the 25-year-old firm, which also manufactures zippers, trimming and other garment accessories.

Au Yeung says the company takes its design cues from trends in Europe and the US. About 30% of the six million buttons and buckles -- buttons make up 80% of the total -- that Eastex produces monthly are in-house designs, with the remainder made according to customer specifications.

"We do mostly plain designs, but about 5% are intricate. We might add on the logo of the company with laser engraving or dye the button," Au Yeung says.

Button sizes range from 14L to 40L, priced at HK$3-200 per gross FOB Hong Kong, while buckles sell for HK$0.50-5 per piece. The US, Middle East, UK, Italy, Germany, Australia and Southeast Asia are the company's main export markets.

No minimum order is required if stock is available. Goods are shipped within 12 days of order confirmation.

Magnetic buttons are selling briskly at Hing Ngai Co Ltd, which makes 30 styles of both waterproof and non-waterproof models for handbags and garments.

The buttons are made of brass and iron, and the waterproof models are covered with PVC. The company manufactures five million magnetic buttons per month. It also has a patent for the design of one magnetic model that features flat sides, rather than indentations. "This is good for children and the elderly because the buttons are easier to open and close," says Carol Wong, manager at the firm, which has been in business since 1982.

The brand name A.O. appears on Hing Ngai's magnetic buttons used on handbags sold worldwide, but otherwise the firm does OEM work. FOB Hong Kong prices for all button styles range from US$0.10-0.40 per set. All buttons are produced to custom-made sizes, at Hing Ngai's 80,000-square-foot, 360-worker factory in Shenzhen, mainland China.

Minimum order is 1,000 pieces and the company delivers within one week of order confirmation.

Mei Bond Int'l Co specialises in natural shell buttons made from green abalone; black lip, brown lip and white lip mother-of-pearl; and other types of shell. "The market for shell buttons is quite good and there aren't that many competitors," says Cecilia Wong, spokesperson for the 15-year-old firm, which imports the shells from Indonesia.

The company produces 100,000 gross of buttons per month at its 5,000-square-metre, 200-worker factory in Dongguan, on the mainland. "We make round, oval, square, triangle, star and flower shapes in natural and dyed colours," Wong adds. Sizes 14L to 40L are available, although smaller buttons are more popular at the moment.

Mei Bond maintains an inventory of about 20 basic styles. "Buttons of our own design are more than half of our business. The rest is OEM," Wong says. The buttons sell for HK$6 to HK$400 per gross FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 30 gross, with delivery two weeks after order confirmation.

Shell buckles for women's garments, priced at HK$10-200 per buckle, account for less than 10% of Mei Bond's overall production.

The range of buttons from C & K Metal Mfy Ltd includes items made of brass, zinc alloy, steel and stainless steel, in sizes 14L to 48L. The manufacturer is known for complicated, unusual designs and its selection of finishes. "Our shiny gold, copper oxide, antique silver and nickel-free pewter finishes have been popular," says marketing manager Kathy Lai. "Over 80% of our designs come from our customers. We give them suggestions if we can."

The company, which has been in business since 1987, also makes buckles for garments and swimsuits. "Most are just for decoration and some are very colourful, with up to three colours," Lai adds.

Button and buckle production at C & K has see-sawed over the past year. "In the past few years, the ratio of buttons to buckles was 80:20. But last year, buttons were down to 50-60%, and buckles were up 30-40%," she says.

The buttons are priced from US$1.30 FOB Hong Kong per gross for steel buttons, up to US$3 per gross for top-end brass models. Steel buckles sell for US$0.30 per dozen, going up to US$1.30 per dozen for zinc alloy models.

The US and Egypt are the firm's major export markets, followed by Bangladesh, Vietnam and the UK.

Minimum order is 5,000 pieces, for delivery 10-30 days after order confirmation. C & K produces two million to three million buttons and 600,000 buckles per month. It also makes rivets, metal labels and metal accessories at its 20,000-square-foot factory in Guangdong, on the mainland.


Labels & Badges

LABELS and badges fulfil many functions in the complex world of fashion, providing information about a product's origins and giving advice about product care. Increasingly they are also used to make fashion statements of their own, giving a garment a feeling of respectability and even street credibility.

La-Liz Industrial Ltd makes fashionable badges such as the water-filled PVC blue and yellow flower, selling for US$0.20 FOB Hong Kong apiece. For those who prefer a cool look, a PVC symbol on a wire mesh back sells for US$0.15 FOB Hong Kong, while a genuine leather patch is ideal for fixing to denim products.

"The water-filled PVC badges are very popular among young people," says director Edward Ng. "These badges look great on all types of clothing, including jeans and overalls. They can even be worn on shoes." The PVC models come in all combinations of colours and shapes.

La-Liz has two in-house designers and produces many original designs each year. It also makes badges according to customers' designs and takes two weeks to create a sample.

Cowhide comes from the US and Italy; PU from Japan; and PVC from Japan and Taiwan. The company's main markets are the US and Europe. Ng says he has built a good relationship with clients in these areas and understands their different needs. "In the US our customers prefer bright colours, and like to use PVC and 3D PVC, whereas in Europe they favour a more basic design but higher quality," he says.

The labels are manufactured at La-Liz's 200-worker factory in Guangzhou, mainland China. The factory has a monthly production capacity of 500,000 pieces and is on the brink of expansion. There is no minimum order and delivery takes two weeks after order confirmation.

The innovative designs produced by Indigo Industrial Ltd will also appeal to the young fashion market. Models 2382C and 2525 are both made from reflective PVC and priced at US$0.13 and US$0.49 each FOB Hong Kong, respectively. PU badge 2663 sells for US$0.22.

Indigo makes up to five million pieces each month at its 1,200-square-metre, 100-worker factory in Guangdong, on the mainland. "We use PU and PVC from Japan, as it's the best quality," says director Harris Wong. "For the European market, we are using transparent PU because of environmental concerns."

The company can provide original designs but usually works according to customers' requirements. "We can provide a pre-production sample within seven days," says Wong.

There is no minimum order and delivery takes 10-14 days, depending on the complexity of the design.

Trio Labels Co Ltd makes labels and badges for well-known brand names such as Levi's, Calvin Klein and Paul Harris. A selection of woven labels sells for US$0.30 to US$0.50 FOB Hong Kong per dozen. Woven die-cut labels are priced at US$0.10-0.20 per piece.

"We use polyester yarn from Taiwan and South Korea and also import pure chalk white yarn from the US," says assistant manager Grace Tang. Seventy percent of Trio's products are made from yarn, but the company also makes badges from PVC and leather. After artwork is received from a client, it takes about seven days to make a pre- production sample.

The company's 300-worker factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland, has a production capacity of 800,000 dozen pieces of woven labels. The minimum order is 1,000 dozen per item, for delivery in two weeks.

Many Ways Industrial Co makes a wide range of woven and printed labels. Prices vary according to the complexity of the design and quantity ordered. As a guide, sales manager Philip Wong says a 100% polyester woven label for Puma sells for US$0.90 per dozen FOB Hong Kong.

Aside from woven labels made from 100% polyester, Many Ways "... also prints labels on satin ribbon, does silk-screen printing and prints sticker labels," says Wong.

Most of the production work is carried out at the company's factory in Hong Kong. A pre-production sample can be provided within seven days. Its main market is Hong Kong but Many Ways is keen to expand overseas. It already has some clients in North America and has received promising feedback from a number of European buyers.

The minimum order is 100 dozen for woven labels and 1,000 yards for printed labels. Delivery takes 10-25 working days.


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