6 March 2009
Spinning Fortunes(HKTDC Fashion - Fabrics & Accessories , Vol 02,2009)
Wai Hung Weaving Fty
Ms Hung Ka Wai set up the business with her husband in 1990 after inheriting a wealth of industry skills and know-how from her father, also a weaving factory owner.
The small husband-and-wife team has since grown into a fully fledged enterprise with a 3,000-square-metre factory in Zhongshan on the Chinese mainland, where some 30 technicians are based.
The company also runs a sales office-cum-showroom in Hong Kong where stacks upon stacks of samples are on display - rolled woven bands, cords, lace, string, ribbons and trimmings of countless types of woven patterns ranging from plain weaves, twill and satin to fancy weaves such as pile, Jacquard, ribbed and corded designs. These products use viscose, rayon, linen, cotton, nylon, polypropylene and polyester yarn.
"Superb quality, efficient service and prompt delivery are our core values," Ms Hung assures.
Wai Hung uses yarn that has only two joins every 100 yards, compared with the market norm of four. "This shows our commitment to product quality," Ms Hung claims, explaining that using yarn with more joins means lower costs but also a less desirable product.
"We're determined not to compromise on our product quality even if it incurs added expenses."
The enterprise also provides satisfactory follow-up service on every purchase order. "Upon the receipt of a request for a sample, for example, we would have it ready within a couple of days," Ms Hung ensures.
Steeped in the profession since childhood, Ms Hung has inherited a burning desire from her father to share and pass on weaving expertise to the younger generation.
"We try to keep our team of technicians small, because we believe in nurturing each and every staff member, providing them with opportunities and helping them grow," she imparts.
"Through on-the-job training, each employee learns the ropes of the trade very quickly, and if one shows potential he will become a technician very quickly.
"We believe in providing all-round training such that every technician is able to master the skills and be knowledgeable about different woven patterns."
The firm's customers include manufacturers of garments, shoes, handbags, toys, uniforms, hats, gifts and accessories that supply mainly the US and Europe.
Although Wai Hung's products typically account for a small part of the final item - such as the pull-string in a hooded sweatshirt - the company makes a point of keeping fully abreast of the latest fashion and market trends.
"We are constantly looking at what is fashionable and coming up with products to complement the latest trends. I like to look at what is in boutiques to derive ideas for, say, woven trimmings for clothes," Ms Hung says.
With a life that is inextricably intertwined with weaving, Ms Hung says that Wai Hung will continue to expand in this industry.
"We reinvest the returns from our business into machinery that we import from Japan. We will continue to focus on our core business of weaving, and continue to diversify our product range by, for example, developing more patterns in terms of the weaving technique and also the material," she advises.
Inevitably, sales of woven products are exposed to swings in demand for other commodities, such as garment and fashion accessories.
"Because our products are used as accessories in garments and shoes, our sales are naturally affected by conditions in other industries. To maintain cost competitiveness, every one in the industry has reduced prices, and so have we," she says.
As an industry veteran, Ms Hung has a strong conviction that every crisis brings opportunities. "Market conditions have resulted in a shake-up of the industry. For example, many small factories on the mainland have folded.
"We believe that this is an opportune time for us to demonstrate our commitment to this business and to make ourselves known to potential new customers," she remarks.
With its dedication to perfect quality and service, Wai Hung Weaving Fty looks certain to be able to spin fortunes even in the toughest of times.
Text By Chiara Wong