23 Oct 2006
Cutlery(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 01,2007)
|Sky Industrial Co's stainless steel cutlery sets with 16 or 24 pieces have gold-plated patterns for added elegance|
A relative newcomer, the 2002-established Sky Industrial Co specialises in the manufacture of household, bathroom and kitchenware products including a wide range of cutlery sets.
"We make more than 10 different sets in such styles as forged, gold-plated, embossed and so forth, and we try to introduce a new collection each year," says general manager Boris Cheung.
He adds that one highly popular model for high-end customers is the firm's 24-piece stainless steel set, which features gold-plated, patterned handles. "We also make simple, stainless steel designs intended for the middle market."
According to Cheung, Sky Industrial has not found it difficult to break into established markets thanks to a clear marketing strategy. "If we are a new player in the market," he says, "we first alert potential customers to our presence by sending them samples and catalogues. We usually get good responses from mid-level and high-end buyers who demand better quality."
The company designs in-house under OEM or ODM terms, and says the latest trend is for two-material crossover features or the pairing of stainless steel and plastic.
The minimum order is 500 sets for delivery 30-45 days after confirmation of order and prices are available upon application. The monthly production capacity at Sky Industrial's Dongguan factory on the Chinese mainland is 6-8 million pieces, and main markets include Germany and Italy.
Europe, the UK and Scandinavia are the main markets for Total Products Ltd, which was established in 1999 and manufactures kitchenware, barware, catering equipment and cutlery.
"We serve a small but demanding segment of the market, which is the high-end European sector," explains director Raymond Tam. "We conform to rules and requirements such as functionality and food contact safety, and we add value through our designs, quality and creative packaging."
The company currently has about 20 active designs (excluding OEM products) in production, and in the past few years has introduced 3-4 models each year. "This will grow to 4-6 new models annually from 2007 as we increase production capacity," Tam promises. "Current production capacity is 250,000 high-end pieces and 750,000 medium-end pieces."
Tam says two popular models are the Varon range and the Envy range, and he believes their popularity is due to the fact that they embody the company's "simplicity and form" philosophy.
"Both of these sets are our own designs and feature elements that we strongly believe in, what we call simplicity and form. It is easy to add details, but often difficult to leave things out and maintain a clean-looking appearance," Tam asserts.
"The best designs are always minimalist in approach and the silhouette should tell the whole story," he adds. "We achieve our goal by using thicker gauge materials to create beautiful contours and a good feel in the hands."
He says that Varon costs approximately US$14 per 16-piece set, while the same-size Envy costs about US$10, FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 1,000 sets. The company also accepts bulk orders for individual pieces, and delivery takes approximately 11 weeks after confirmation of order.
Cirlite Ltd, established in 1981, exports its range of stainless steel houseware and cutlery to such major markets as the US, the UK and Germany. The firm's range includes more than 100 models, with about 30% made wholly from metal and the balance featuring plastic handles.
"The current market demand and trend shows consumers now favour simple designs," says Joe Chan, marketing manager, adding that a 16-piece stainless steel set with stand is one of the firm's best sellers.
"This set is also available in a 24-piece format, and prices range from US$8-10 per set FOB Hong Kong depending on the thickness of the materials used," he says.
Cirlite, which sources stainless steel in Japan, accepts minimum orders of approximately 1,000 pieces for delivery 60 days after confirmation of order.
The monthly production capacity at the firm's 350,000-square-foot factory in Guangzhou on the mainland depends on the model. "For example, the capacity for our best-selling range is about 900,000 pieces a month," Chan says.
Abdoolally Ebrahim Housewares Ltd has been supplying flatware and stainless steel products to international buyers for more than 40 years. While new models are frequently introduced, some like the Olivia series are in constant demand, according to merchandising manager Katherine Cheung.
"The Olivia is a classic flatware design," she says. "However, we have more than 25 other models available and most feature simple designs - perhaps with some occasional patterning on the handles."
Noting that Abdoolally Ebrahim sources only the best styles of cutlery from leading manufacturers on the mainland, she says that total monthly production capacity, minimum order, delivery times and prices can be discussed upon application. "We have all the basic styles suitable for major markets such as the EU, the US and the Middle East."
Clearly, buyers of cutlery can be assured that sourcing from Hong Kong will give them a cutting edge in the market.
WRITTEN BY VICKI WILLIAMS
Total Products Ltd
Flat 6, 8/F
11 On Sum St
Sha Tin, New Territories