26 June 2006
Cute Clocks(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 03,2006)
|Cheerful colours and ingenious shapes are a hallmark of Charmtoy Ltd timepieces|
Keeping business ticking along in the clock and watch manufacturing industry involves a lot more than simply introducing new products, as Charmtoy Ltd has demonstrated since 1981.
"We are working in a constantly evolving industry," explains marketing executive Connie Chan. "This requires us to pay close attention to emerging fashion trends and lifestyles, so our products are frequently updated."
From a fledgling company that began with 10 staff members, Charmtoy has grown to the point where it now employs more than 500 workers and sells its wall, alarm and travel clocks to many household department stores and distributors.
"We started with a vision of introducing exciting products to the market and this remains the same today," proclaims Chan. "The success we have enjoyed has been achieved through a commitment to quality and providing clients with products they want."
The same customer-first philosophy, together with a constant adherence to strict principles, has allowed the company to build a strong client following in the premium gifts market.
"We are always prepared to listen to customers' requests and work with them to develop timepieces that please consumers," Chan claims, adding that key aims include the provision of high-quality products that meet client specifications and excellent service from order placement to delivery.
This approach has seen Charmtoy's product line become synonymous with cheerful colours and ingenious shapes in products such as the highly-popular Flexi Time and Flexi Girl timepieces that incorporate clocks in funky plastic figures.
The company's classic multifunction chronographs featuring five or seven time zones are also acknowledged as some of the finest timepieces available today, claims Chan.
"Our in-house designers are kept busy producing new designs that meet demand and also make new inroads in the market place," says Chan, who says Charmtoy offers a full range of OEM and ODM services.
The company's products are manufactured at a purpose-built, ISO 9001-certified factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland that employs 600 workers.
The plant contains the most advanced electronic discharge, welding, milling and lathe and surface grinding machinery. "Our products also comply with a number of major international safety standards and also meet the RoHS requirements," Chan adds.
Charmtoy provides a comprehensive range of services, including plastic mould making, silk-screen printing, pad printing, hot stamping and spraying. "Strict quality control systems are also implemented, which greatly reduce the rate of salvage costs and increase our productivity," Chan explains.
"We are also considered a leader in casting many different types of plastic moulds for increasingly sophisticated designs using injection moulding machines with clamping forces ranging from 80-360 tonnes."
The resulting products are available at highly competitive FOB Hong Kong prices based on a minimum order of 3,000 pieces in any one model and colour delivered approximately one month after order confirmation.
Although the US and Europe are the company's biggest export markets, Asia is becoming increasingly important. "We are always looking to expand our markets," Chan admits. "Growing affluence in Asia and a taste for quality products opens up a wealth of possibilities."
Charmtoy's extensive experience also ensures that the firm meets the diverse demands of consumers in different markets who appreciate different features in timepieces.
"For example, consumers in the US and Europe look for function and simplicity, while in Asia consumers are more concerned with appearance and colour," Chan observes, adding that Charmtoy's novelty timepieces also enjoy a dedicated following in Asia.
However, Chan stresses that product quality is important regardless of the market. "We keep growing with experience, so I feel very confident that by focusing on complementary markets we can continue to increase the size of our current business," Chan forecasts. "We like designing and making products and dealing with challenges."
This success does have its downside, with the copycat strategies of other manufacturers one of Charmtoy's biggest challenges. "Some of our customers have mentioned to us they have seen copies of our products," Chan says, adding that the products may look the same but close inspection shows they are inferior quality.
Chan believes that meeting customer requirements, value-for-money pricing and commitment to long-term business relationships will keep Charmtoy ticking along nicely in an extremely competitive marketplace.
"Positive feedback from clients guarantees that Charmtoy will continue development of leading product lines and new items well into the future," predicts Chan.
WRITTEN BY CHRIS DAVIS