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Perfect Shells(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories, Vol 02,2004)

Vol 2, 2004

Company Profiles

Perfect Shells
Mei Bond Int'l Co

Belting Ahead
Yue Fung Thai Co

Perfect Shells

Mei Bond Int'l Co

Mei Bond Int'l Co makes a wide variety of buckles and buttons in shell and natural materials for worldwide markets

The story of Mei Bond Int'l Co could be the story of any resilient Hong Kong SME (small to medium-sized enterprise). Responding to a changing economy in 1997, Mei Bond shifted from its trading business to the manufacture of shell and natural buttons a year later.

"Taking advantage of the slow economy at that time, we managed to buy a manufacturing plant and recruit workers at lower cost," recalls director Redy Kwok. This enabled the company to make significant savings on investment in machinery.

However, in hindsight, with the global economic slump, 1998 and 1999 turned out to be two of the most difficult years for a company to be starting a manufacturing business. "We put tremendous resources into publicity to establish our image as a manufacturer and to lure more customers," Kwok recalls.

It was a move that eventually brought dividends. When Mei Bond first started its trading business in 1986, Japan was its leading supplier for shell buttons. "However, as a result of our solid reputation for shell button manufacturing over the years, we have now become a major vendor for several Japanese companies," Kwok says.

Mei Bond even used a Japanese name - Daichi shell button - to cultivate a closer relationship with its Japanese counterparts.

Riding on its established relationship with Japanese companies, Kwok says Mei Bond is able to meet stringent Japanese standards by ensuring high product quality and attractive packaging. "Once, a Japanese customer liked our in-house designed packaging so much that he adopted the idea and applied it to his product," says Kwok.

Mei Bond's 60,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland produces a wide range of buttons made from shells (such as mother of pearl, mussel and abalone) and natural materials like coconut, bone and wood. Major markets include the US, Europe, Japan, South America, Turkey and Southeast Asia.

"We will start tapping the mainland market in view of the huge market potential there," Kwok reveals. "Apart from buttons, we will put more emphasis on the development of shell accessories and handicrafts because they perceive shell items as high-end products, while shell buttons in fancy designs are treated as fashion items rather than necessities."

Kwok says she is confident that the natural beauty and elegant image of such products will continue to draw enormous market demand.

Meanwhile, Mei Bond has dedicated much of its resources to upgrading product quality and boosting promotion. It believes that appealing catalogues and logo designs will help to reinforce its branding.

The company is also set to offer the market new designs every 3-6 months to speed up its ODM business, which already accounts for a dominant share of its sales worldwide.

"In all our products the accent is on quality and competitive pricing," says Kwok. "We ensure that all products are of high flexibility, fit for dry-cleaning and contain no harmful substances. Reports on such testing results are available for our customers' reference."

To facilitate business growth, Kwok claims that good management and a healthy financial position are other important elements - an attitude that has seen Hong Kong SMEs like Mei Bond overcome difficult times and build sound businesses.

WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES

Mei Bond Int'l Co

G/F, 125 Yee Kuk St,
Sham Shui Po, Kowloon,
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2398-0098
Fax: 852-2398-0133
Email: meibond@netvigator.com
Web: www.meibond.com

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