24 May 2006
Hats & Caps(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 06,2006)
|This selection of bold baseball caps with eye-catching embroidery is a taster of the high quality range available from Inetol Headwear Co|
These astute buyers know they can trust companies such as Inetol Headwear Co, which specialises in baseball caps and produces some 650,000-700,000 headwear items per month at its 300-worker, 2,000-square-metre factory in Guangzhou, and 19,000-square-metre sister plant in Zhuhai, on the Chinese mainland.
The ISO 9001-certified company also produces souvenir and stonewash hats, visors, bucket hats, fashion and casual hats, according to director of customer service William Leong.
"OEM orders account for 60%-70% of our business, with our own Inetol brand - which is mostly baseball hats - making up the remainder," he says. "About 60% of our exports go to the US and Canada, 35% to Europe and 5% to Asia."
The four-year-old company has its own embroidery facilities and Leong says that while the most popular fabric is 100% cotton, Inetol also produces some polyester hats and caps. "Business is stable and growing, with more expanding and repeat orders," he adds.
Inetol has its own in-house designers, and is also a regular exhibitor at the Asia Expo in London, the Summer Sourcing Show for Gifts, Houseware and Toys in Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair.
Unit prices for minimum orders of 500 pieces per style per colour vary according to the item and the amount of detail required, with delivery dependent on the quantity and availability of fabric.
The US is also the biggest market for 20-year-old manufacturer Global Headwear Ltd, which produces baseball caps, bucket hats, trucker caps and visors at its 2,000-worker, seven-floor factory in Dongguan on the mainland.
In total, Global Headwear employs about 10,000 workers in factories on the mainland and in Cambodia and Bangladesh, says general manager Jacky Ngan. "Some 60% of our work is OEM, while the rest consists of our own blank caps," he explains.
The company produces its own Nu-Fit collection of internationally patented caps that feature the durability and stability of spandex to maintain a consistent, comfortable fit.
"The Nu-Fit range comes in six styles with six or eight panels, using different fabrics such as wool, cotton, micro-suede and mesh. The most popular model is an eight-panel, black, micro-suede cap," he says.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices for Nu-Fit blank caps start at approximately US$2.50 - whereas the company's regular six-panel cotton twill blank baseball caps cost approximately US$1 each - for minimum orders of 120 dozen per style per colour delivered 35-45 days after sample approval.
"The US accounts for 90% of our exports, while we are now looking to expand our business in Europe," says Ngan.
Baseball caps are equally popular products for caps and bags manufacturer Rise Vigor Ltd, which manufactures 50,000-60,000 dozen caps per month at its 600-worker mainland factory in Nanhai.
"Our five- or six-panelled baseball caps are in strong demand, while we also produce other models - such as sun visors, fishermen's hats, bandanas, beanies and a fleecy winter collection," says assistant sales manager Flora Hung. "The majority of our business is OEM, but we started to introduce our own designs last year. Meanwhile, we also plan to introduce our own brand later this year."
Hung says that cotton is the main fabric in demand, but that 21-year-old Rise Vigor also works with microfibre, corduroy, polar fleece and knit hats and caps.
"We keep stock of some of the most popular colours such as grey, black, yellow, green, royal blue, navy blue and red," she says. "The US opts for more colourful caps, while Europe favours a more traditional look in navy and black." Hung says Rise Vigor can also custom-dye headwear to exactly match corporate branding and colours.
Lead time is 4-6 weeks depending on the order quantity. "We also run a 'TT' workshop where we can produce order quantities of 1,000 pieces and less for delivery two weeks after approval of sample," she adds.
Product prices for a six-panelled baseball cap without logo or embroidery range from US$0.35-0.60 FOB the Chinese mainland or Hong Kong for minimum orders of 200 pieces delivered 3-4 weeks after sample approval.
Another company focusing on OEM orders is ISO 9000-certified Goldway Mfy Co Ltd, which produces all types of hats, caps and visors for the sports, fashion and corporate sectors.
Goldway's headgear carries various leading brand names, including Quiksilver, Roxy, Champion, Rip Curl and Rusty. "Our entire production is OEM, and our most popular models are the trucker cap and the fedora," says sales manager Sandy Ng. "The most popular material is nylon followed by cotton, with canvas and wool viscose also in demand."
Ng says that the hat business is "fairly basic" and changes in trend mainly depend on logos, foil prints and fabric appliquˆm. "Business is stable, and we have a number of customers of more than 10 years standing," she adds.
Goldway's main export market is Australia, which takes 45% of output, followed by Europe (30%). "We began exporting to Eastern Europe in 2005, and will be attending a gifts and premiums fair in Poland this year to expand sales in that market," Ng says.
The 13-year-old company manufactures 30,000 dozen hats per month at its 350-worker, 100,000-square-metre factory in the mainland's Guangdong Province. FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from US$1-2 per piece for minimum orders of 1,000 pieces per colour per item and 3,000 pieces per shipment, delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation.
To get ahead, whether buyers require big orders or small, Hong Kong manufacturers have the hats and caps to fit all sizes.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Latton (HK) Co Ltd
Unit 8, 15/F, Blk B
Goldway Ind Centre
16-20 Wing Kin Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Rise Vigor Ltd
39 Lung Sum Ave
Sheung Shui, New Territories
Wah Keung Hats & Bags Fty Ltd
No.1, 10/F, Blk A
Profit Ind Bldg
1-15 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories