17 June 2004
Hats & Caps(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2004)
Beauty & Bathroom Products
Hats & Caps
Staying On Top
New from Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd is this series of head-turning feminine hats and caps in pink polyester and gold polyester
Apart from general headwear, a wide variety of hats and caps will also be found in the wardrobes of sports enthusiasts ranging from the professional to the part-time player, the youngster or the veteran. Hong Kong supplies this immense market with every imaginable type and colour of hat, cap and visor.
A typical manufacturer is 33-year-old Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd. "Apart from regular hats and caps, such as those you see every day on the street, we also produce innovative styles and some truly exceptional designs," says sales and marketing executive Sanny Mok.
"We produce hats in all kinds of fabrics, from the usual cotton and cotton twill to polyester. We also have acrylic fur for use in winter styles," she adds. "Designs generally depend on customers providing us with pictures or samples for us to reproduce exactly to order."
Mok says a perennial best-selling line is a pink, polyester sports cap targeted at women. "This line is a sporty-fashionable mix that is highly attractive."
A minimum order is 600 caps per stock-available colour or 1,200 caps per style and 2,400 caps per shipment. Delivery time is 45 days and major markets include Europe, the US, Japan and Norway.
Well-known Mainland Headwear Holdings Ltd, established in 1986, offers a great line of hip-hop caps for the young dance fraternity within a wider selection of headwear styles. The company's best-selling line, however, remains baseball-style caps, and it caters to 80 different brand names including NBA, Reebok, Fila and Warner Bros.
Director of corporate communications Linda Oei says, "Most caps are made from cotton, while we can also supply whatever other materials the customer wants."
Oei notes that there are some customers who request Spandex. "We continuously recommend new fabrics to give customers greater choice. For winter lines, for example, wool fleece and acrylics are more popular. The cotton we use also comes in thick and thin weights to cater for summer-winter variations."
She says the US is the world's largest market for this kind of headwear, and that buyers there almost always demand cotton. "The US is also our major market, accounting for 90% of our exports," Oei adds.
Mainland Headwear's licensed casual headwear and own designs amount to some 200,000 dozen pieces a month, produced at a 55,000-square-metre, 3,000-worker factory in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
The minimum order size is flexible and delivery time depends on the order quantity and customer requirements. Raw materials are sourced on the mainland to keep costs down, and elsewhere as and when necessary.
A company producing as many as one million hats and caps a month, Sino Scheme Industrial Ltd has its own Sinocaps brand name.
Managing director Fanny Lo says, "We do different designs for numerous well known brands.
Typical examples are Umbro, New York Yankees, LA Lakers, McDonald's, Beverly Hills Polo Club, Warner Bros, Bacardi and CAT."
Even those firms with an established brand are making design demands that highlight their names with additional decorative features. "From our point of view, hats and caps bearing simple, printed company names or embroidered logos cannot satisfy our present high-profile customers. They prefer adding something special such as sequins or metal objects."
Lo mentions that high crown caps and trucker mesh caps are also back in fashion. "We source cotton and polyester from Taiwan, Korea and the mainland for processing at our 40,000-square-foot, 500-worker mainland factory in Guangzhou."
A minimum order size is 500 pieces per style per colour and delivery time is 30 days. Main markets are the US, Germany, the UK, Australia, the UAE, Argentina and Mexico.
Another large-scale manufacturer is Mei Fai Hats Int'l Mfg Co Ltd, which produces hats and caps for a variety of brand name buyers.
"Our production includes baseball caps, Gatsby caps, buckle caps and visors mainly for sports use but also as trendy fashion wear," says senior sales and merchandising manager Grace Chan.
"On the fashion front we produce headwear for fashion houses such as Benetton and Esprit. Usually, the design comes from the client, as we do not have our own fashion line designers."
Popular styles at present include those using cotton twill. Mei Fai also brings out seasonal products for winter and summer.
"Sometimes we get an order for a promotional event, say for 10,000 hats. This affects the price and the price range lies between US$1.00-2.50 FOB Hong Kong per piece," says Chan.
Business is going well despite increased competition from Hong Kong and the mainland. "We stay on top by paying attention to details such as ultraviolet-proof and rainproof fabrics," she reveals.
Mei Fai, established in 1968, owns an 800-worker, 85,000-square-metre factory on the mainland in Guangdong Province.
The company's main markets are the US and Europe, and a minimum order is 100 dozen hats and caps for delivery 30-35 days following confirmation of order.
Hong Kong headwear clearly sets new standards for both fashion and sporting activities.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Golden Crown Head-wears Fty Ltd
4/F, Blks C & D
36 Man Yue St
Hung Hom, Kowloon
Hop Hing Hat Fty Ltd
Flat B1, 10/F, Blk 2
Golden Dragon Ind Centre
162-170 Tai Lin Pai Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Keen Unison (China) Ltd
Flat 12, 19/F, Blk A
New Trade Plaza
On Ping St
Sha Tin, New Territories
Mainland Headwear Holdings Ltd
Rms 1001-1005, Tower 2
Enterprise Square I
9 Sheung Yuet Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Mei Fai Hats Int'l Mfg Co Ltd
10/F, Blk 2
62 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Sino Scheme Industrial Ltd
3 Salisbury Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon