23 Oct 2006
Full Potential(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 01,2007)
Hunter Group Ltd
|The Hunter Group Ltd has evolved from manufacturing flatware to bar and wine accessories|
For the 1978-established Hunter Group Ltd, the transition from flatware to bar and wine accessories has proved an overwhelming success. Today, the company's merchandise is shipped to more than 40 countries worldwide. While most items satisfy OEM and ODM orders, the firm's own Prima Series brand is also starting to appear in the market.
"We started out making silver-plated household items but in 1996 switched to bar and wine accessories, an area in which we discovered great potential," recalls sales manager Louisa Yu.
"We are doing very well these days and, given our 27-year experience in business and the skill sets we possess, we have the clear ability to make customers' ideas come to life," she enthuses. "We also manage to do this at a very attractive price with good quality."
Hunter's range of bar and wine accessories includes complete bar sets; bottle openers; corkscrews in zinc alloy with pearl, chrome or rubberised finishes; and bottle-stoppers complete with Swarovski crystals.
"We also have champagne coolers, brandy warmers, coasters, assorted cocktail accessories, cocktail shakers, decanters, foil cutters and even hip flasks," adds Yu. "Then there are ice buckets, tongs, drink jiggers and martini stirrers in addition to wine baskets, collars, coolers, funnels, racks, thermometers and much more."
Indeed, the list seems endless as even the avid bartender gets consideration. "We offer useful gadgets such as apple slicers, presses for garlic, scrapers for lemon rind, scoops for ice-cream, snappers for lobster shells, can-openers, nutcrackers and pizza cutters," she adds. "Furthermore, we try to introduce at least 30 new items each year. A one-touch corkscrew is our latest design."
Most of these items are classified as medium- to high-end, although there is a low-end tier of more economically priced models. "Basically the same range but featuring plastic handles, for example," says Yu. "We plan to have a mix-and-match range of products ready for February 2007."
Both metals and plastic feature in the production process, according to the item. "We have R&D teams in our Hong Kong headquarters and at our factory, and they aim to come up with elegantly-designed bar items and also products with creative functionality that are new to the market, make life easier or are more enjoyable for the end-user, whether a bartender or a home party-giver," says Yu.
She says that Hunter participated in a trade fair in Poland - the Warsaw International Expocentre Expo XXI - in 2006. "We have observed that Eastern Europe is a lively buying region and that the market there is growing quite rapidly. We have high hopes for our products in that market," says Yu. "Actually, we are very active with overseas promotions and use trade fairs as showroom venues. Next year, for example, we will be in Milan while the Hong Kong Gifts and Premium Fair and the Frankfurt Ambiente are our perennial showcases."
Production takes place at Hunter's ISO 9001-certified, 400-worker, 100,000-square-foot factory in Jiangmen in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland. "We implement a strict product quality guarantee system," Yu assures.
Approximately 25 staff in the 10,000-square-foot head office in Hong Kong deal with sales, customers' enquiries, order follow-up and delivery arrangements. "We aim to provide a convenient one-stop facility for customers for product design, product development, manufacturing, packing and shipping," says Yu. "We also run an agency service that acts as a buyer for some 50 international customers."
The Hunter Group certainly seems to know how to tap the best from potential markets.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Hunter Group Ltd