1 Nov 2005
Hands-Ands-On Designs(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 01,2006)
Vol. 1, 2006
Cosso Int'l Ltd
|Smart kitchenware, houseware and even gift items are among the wide range offered by Cosso Int'l Ltd|
"We have our own design team that does a lot of OEM work for companies in the US and Canada," says marketing and design manager Johnny Chow. "This arose as our original investor was an OEM and a lot of effort went into developing our own designs for the Cosso brand name."
He stresses that while Cosso is essentially a new brand, the company's management has worked in the OEM field for more than a decade. "Furthermore, as the original investor is no longer part of the company, Cosso is now an entirely independent operation mainly producing injection-moulded plastic items frequently combined with stainless steel."
The design team is charged with turning management's ideas into strong concepts for kitchenware and houseware items. "We look for products that can be readily exported and quickly establish a place in international markets," says Chow.
"We drive ourselves with information obtained from trade fairs and even the Internet. Our hunger for ideas is constant, and we buy selected magazines and take in useful comments from customers. The hard part is the sifting and sorting into useful and useless - looking for good product ideas that will ensure Cosso stays different and better than its competitors," Chow enthuses.
"Fortunately, we have had some great ideas - some in cooperation with clients - and they resulted in the release of five kitchenware products and two gift items that went to market in 2004. This year, we hope to emulate that success," he adds.
As an example, Chow mentions the firm's Mini Chopper. "This smart chopper is known for its superb engineering and powerful cutting performance," he says. "A stainless steel blade rotates automatically as the user presses down. It is quick, fun and easy to use, and it's sharp enough to chop garlic, chilli, nuts and herbs in seconds."
The top-quality stainless steel blade operates and rotates automatically for smooth, even chopping, while the chopper can be fully opened for cleaning. Made from durable ABS, it features a self-contained base unit that dispenses with the need for a cutting board. "This tool is great for keeping that herb and garlic smell off your hands," smiles Chow.
On the marketing front, Chow says the Cosso strategy is to focus on a target and try to gain a comprehensive understanding of its needs and requirements. "Once we have this picture, we will develop a product with the most suitable materials, quality and price and tailor its performance and features," he says.
"It is important that each product has a very strong yet simple storyline - particularly on its use and operation - to make it easy for our importing clients to sell and distribute the item to department stores and so forth."
He stresses that all Cosso products are manually operated by end-users. "We see that as the trend, especially given the increasing interest in environmental factors and the polluting effects of batteries when thrown away. Manual operation is a much more acceptable way of doing things - no motors and no batteries - but, of course, there needs to be a clever design."
He readily admits that increases in oil and raw material costs are eating into profit margins, but insists Cosso will try to maintain current selling prices. "We try our best to absorb the costs, which is not always easy. However, when a company is looking for long-term relationships it is necessary to work out difficulties amicably with major customers."
Chow feels that Cosso's strong OEM management experience also helps. "Having been an OEM, we are familiar with the sorts of problems customers face, and that allows us to quickly identify the hiccup and find a solution," he says.
Discussing the ongoing success of the Cosso brand name, Chow thinks it will take time for the market to become fully familiar with its profile. "There are many factors to take into account apart from price and appearance," he notes. "We want consumers to also associate our name with quality, functionality, design and reliability - that's not a time-frame of one or two years, but maybe 5-10."
Nonetheless, the effort continues. "We are continually working to improve our products and provide greater customer support. Our goal is to make Cosso a brand that represents exceptional design and quality, offering creative solutions for the home and kitchen," he asserts.
"We want the end-user's home and kitchen experience to be more fun, efficient and rewarding."
Cosso is certainly a hands-on company with the consumer's best interests at heart.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON
Cosso Int'l Ltd
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