6 April 2005
Bathroom Accessories(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 02,2005)
Feeding demand for attractive bath accessories is B & C Industries Ltd, which produces more than 500 sets in addition to catering to OEM orders.
"Bathroom accessories account for half of our business, with other gift items, houseware and home decor items making up the rest," says assistant manager Alex She.
"Our four-piece bathroom sets - comprising liquid dispenser, soap dish, tumbler and toothbrush holder - are highly popular," says She, "and we offer additional items for our sets, such as a tissue holder and a waste basket."
The firm's in-house designs account for about 60% of business, with OEM the remainder, and She says the current trend is for simple, clean and elegant designs.
"Natural matt colours are fashionable, especially white and black, and there is a demand for new shapes and styles, especially irregular, to position the sets like works of art or museum pieces in the bathroom," he says. "Embossed, engraved and rough finishes are also very much in favour."
B & C produces more than one million items a month at its 300-500 worker, 100,000-square-foot factory in Chaozhou on the Chinese mainland. Minimum orders of 1,000 sets per style are delivered 45-60 days after order confirmation to markets including Europe (70%), the US and South Africa. Prices for four-piece bathroom sets range from US$2-4 each, FOB Shenzhen.
Also looking at new ways to cleanse the body is bathroom accessories, personal care and spa products specialist Cosmopack Ltd, which offers more than 1,000 items.
"Our most popular product is our US- and Europe-patented Bath Wand," claims business development manager Lucy Lee. "This item has a detachable sponge head, while the plastic wand can be supplied with or without soap gel."
Lee says the Bath Wand is available in rainbow colours or any Pantone colour, and can be supplied with a long or short refillable handle.
"We started the Bath Wand with a daisy-shaped sponge head, which is still our most popular design, but we now also offer animal shapes," she adds.
Other popular new items include the company's fruit sponges, which are mesh-covered fragrant soaps. "We have also introduced floral and tropical soaps to this range," Lee explains, noting the spa trend is also very popular. "Basic and natural materials are particularly in demand in white, earth tones or aqua blue."
The company has its own 300-worker, 50,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan on the mainland, which exports minimum orders of 10,000 assorted items 4-6 weeks after order confirmation. Europe is the biggest market, accounting for 70% of business, with other important outlets including the US, Australia and Japan.
Another firm servicing these markets is 30-year veteran Golden Peak Plastic Works Ltd, which produces bathroom accessories, houseware and decorative items.
"About 70% of our business is in bathroom accessories, offering 30-40 different styles utilising our popular Super Hook suction mechanism," says sales manager Timothy Kwok. These items include towel hangers and rails, shower holders, soap dishes and razor holders.
"We have been offering our suction Super Hook for 1-2 years, and the mechanism is very popular with buyers," claims Kwok. "Its super suction adhesion applies to any smooth or non-porous surface and needs no drilling or tape. Also, it can be easily removed, leaving no unsightly marks."
A particular feature of the Super Hook is its Redicator, which turns red if the suction power drops and alerts the user to press a button to reinstall perfect suction strength. It is patented in Hong Kong, the mainland, Japan and the US.
Prices range from US$0.25-2.80, which is the cost of a double towel hanger with suction hooks. Products are manufactured at the company's 100,000-square-foot mainland plant in Shenzhen, and minimum orders are 5,000 pieces per item delivered in 30-45 days.
Opting for a different toiletry specialty is 20-year-old Kai Fat Brush Fty Ltd, which specialises in hair brushes, combs, mirrors, pet brushes and bath care items.
This ISO9002-certified, OEM/ODM company offers more than 1,000 different styles and produces more than 4.5 million pieces per month at its 400,000-square-foot, 1,000-worker factory in mainland Dongguan.
Kai Fat's most popular item is its Hot Curl Brush featuring an aluminium body with cushioned nylon or boar bristles, notes assistant sales and marketing manager Karen Ng.
"Our specialty is brushes using half nylon bristles and pins and half boar bristles, which are more expensive," she says. "Our Maggie brand is for the retail market and our Unibrush brand for the professional market. We plan to further develop the salon business this year, which previously accounted for some 10-20% of our exports."
Ng says that the trend in brushes is to find new materials such as silica for handle texture because it moulds to the hand and retrieves its normal shape after use.
FOB Hong Kong unit prices range from as low as US$0.20 for a mini brush to US$1.50 for a large brush with a special aluminium-plated barrel. Minimum order is 2,400 pieces per model per colour, delivered 45 days after order confirmation.
The company's major markets are the US, with 50-60% of sales, and Europe with 30-40%. The company is also hoping to further expand its business in Europe and South America.
Clearly, Hong Kong manufacturers will continue to equip bathrooms as speedily, efficiently and affordably as possible with the best in stylish accessories.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER