11 Nov 2008
Top Gear(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 11,2008)
Hats & Caps
Global warming may be the topic on many minds but Global hats and caps are the headwear on lots of heads.
Global Headwear Ltd, with factories on the Chinese mainland and in Cambodia, has been in the headwear sector for some 30 years, and an entire display window of brand names could easily be put on show by the company. Almost every world market is supplied, and the range stretches from promotional caps to exceptional and patented high-end designs.
"We started out as a family business," says Senior Marketing Executive Joe Kwan. "At one time, to cater to the needs of different customers, we had three factories: two in China and one in Cambodia. We make high-end and branded items in China, and low-price and easy items in Cambodia."
The company's caps are available for private brand names, embroidered or silk- screen finished. "We supply a large distributor in the US with caps made in Cambodia. In turn, that buyer supplies a lot of brand name caps to the US market," says Mr Kwan.
"That client does all of its own logo and embroidery tasks, and so needs only plain caps. However, the business runs to at least one FEU a week for each factory," he adds.
"We also have customers in Europe who order about the same quantity on a regular basis, and are expanding our business into other countries and markets."
Confirming that most of the promotional headwear from the firm is made in Cambodia, he also reasserts that higher- quality goods are made on the Chinese mainland.
"About 90% of caps bearing the Polo brand name, for example, are made by us," Mr Kwan claims. "We also supply American Eagle and Abercrombie & Fitch in addition to NASCAR racing caps."
Manufacturing caps for such top names brings in factory audits, a procedure that also ensures the company maintains the highest standards.
"Some customers require regular audits, and we may have as many as three factory audits per month, which means we have to be consistently good. In turn, this means we have to maintain consistent quality and standards," Mr Kwan says.
"The result is that, while our prices may be a little bit higher than some others manufacturing in northern China, we deliver exactly what the clients want while remaining absolutely competitive."
Cut & sew
He explains that Global Headwear concentrates on cutting and sewing operations, in addition to embroidery and colour printing, but does not get involved in knitwear as it involves different types of machines.
"The most common material used is cotton twill, sometimes with polyester mesh and sometimes with canvas, but we can work with just about any material, including leather," he says.
According to Mr Kwan, the trucker's cap - a five-panel item with mesh or cotton twill at the back - is more popular in the Hong Kong market than in the US. "In the US, we sell a six-panel cap," he says.
The firm also has a range of patented caps. "For example, Nu-Fit is one of our registered brands and comes with a stretch-fit feature. It is patented in the US," says Mr Kwan.
To keep ahead in the hats and caps sector needs plenty of attention to individual needs, and Global Headwear certainly seems to be in top gear on that front.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON