1 Oct 2002
Keeping in Touch(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2002)
Keeping in Touch
Paddy's Collection Ltd uses simple shapes, pastel shades and touches like glitter and diamantes to give these handmade cards appeal that is more feminine.
GREETING cards are a time-honoured way of staying in touch with friends and loved ones, as well as commemorating holidays and special occasions. They also form a good business line with today's cards offering something to suit every taste - from traditional four-colour cards to three-dimensional handcrafted cards and musical cards that play lively tunes.
At The Bright Printing Press & Paper Products Ltd, handcrafted cards are star performers. The company's ODM cards come decorated with a variety of materials, including cloth, metal, plush, EVA soft plastic, lace and organza.
Made from high-grade, single-sided art board paper, blank cards sell for US$0.25-0.30 per piece. "We began making these in 1999, and they now form 25% of all our business," says Frankie Wong, senior marketing executive at the company, established in 1970.
Christmas greeting cards remain the company's bread-and-butter product line, accounting for 60% of sales. These, usually four-colour printed cards with some featuring glitter or hot foil in gold or silver, come produced usually to customers' specifications. They sell for around US$0.25-0.40 per box (8-12 pieces) while musical greeting cards cost from US$0.20-0.30 per piece. Note card sets, which typically comprise 10 note cards, 10 envelopes and a small notebook, cost about US$0.50 per set.
All prices are FOB Hong Kong; a minimum order is 2,000 pieces for handmade cards and 10,000 pieces for greeting cards and note cards; and shipment takes place 30 days after order confirmation.
At peak season, the company ships up to 20 TEUs of cards each month. The US is the main market, followed by countries in Europe and Asia.
Greeting cards for all occasions account for 30% of sales at Max Fortune Industrial Ltd, which also manufactures paper bags, wrapping paper and stationery items.
This nine-year-old company produces US$100,000-500,000 worth of cards each month at its 3,000-worker factory on the Chinese mainland. These cards are exported to the US and Europe.
"We make plain four-colour printed cards using art card paper, or we can add hot stamping, glitter or flocking," says Movie Lau, the firm's marketing manager.
"Handcrafted cards with accessories such as plastic flowers, tinsel and printed PVC items have been strong trends in recent years," she adds.
"Our marketing plan is to place greater emphasis on handcrafted cards because buyers perceive them as value-added items, which in turn allows us to obtain better prices. On the other hand, basic four-colour cards are less popular these days," Lau says.
The company has a strong creative team that adds to its reputation for trendy, up-to-the-minute designs. "We do a lot of in-house designs and put our Colormax brand name onto our cards," she says.
Max Fortune prices its four-colour cards at under US$0.25 per piece, with handcrafted items at US$0.23-0.45 per piece. All prices are FOB Hong Kong; a minimum order is 5,000 pieces per design; and delivery is usually 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Customers can not only read but also listen to Kai Yuen Development (HK) Co's cards. The eight-year-old maker of melody ICs specializes in all-occasion musical cards and cards with voice greetings. "Our Christmas cards have a suitable Christmas melody while birthday cards play 'Happy Birthday'," says Jacky Cheng, the company's marketing manager.
Cards are priced from HK$1-10 (US$0.13-1.28) per piece FOB Hong Kong, with a minimum order requirement of 6,000 pieces. Shipments go out 20-30 days after order confirmation.
This OEM manufacturer produces 4-5 million four-colour cards per year and exports them to the US and countries in Europe. According to Cheng, the company is also hoping to develop markets in Eastern Europe.
This year, Kai Yuen introduced optical fibre cards that light up when opened. "These cards are quite popular, and we developed the technology in-house. Whereas we once used LEDs, optical fibres make the colours brighter and give us more design choices," Cheng explains.
This particular type of card sells for US$2 per piece FOB Hong Kong. "We are still testing them and producing only about 10,000 cards per month because the selling price appears relatively high," he adds.
The focus at OEM manufacturer Paddy's Collection Ltd is on handcrafted greeting cards. "We make classic four-colour greeting cards, paper bags and boxes, while our handcrafted cards represent 70% of total sales," says Vivian Cheung, a company representative.
"People like sending handcrafted cards because they have a three-dimensional effect, which makes them stand out from others," she adds.
Materials used for handcrafted cards may include plastic beads, ribbon, mesh and soft plastic. "Plastic beads, especially, are quite popular now," says Cheung.
The company's 850 workers turn out about three million greeting cards per month at a factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. The handcrafted range costs US$0.10-0.70 per piece while four-colour cards cost US$0.10-0.30 per piece.
All prices are FOB Hong Kong; a minimum order is 5,000 pieces per design; and shipment takes place 45-60 days after order confirmation. Australia and countries in Europe are primary export markets, and Paddy's plans to further explore opportunities in the US market.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
AF Offset Printing Co Ltd
11/F, Rms A-D, Wealthy Ind Bldg
22-26 Wing Yip St, Kwai Chung
New Territories, Hong Kong
David Hot Blocking Press Ltd
G/F-6/F, David Commercial House
139 Portland St, Mong Kok
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Kai Yuen Development (HK) Co
10/F, Flat E, 123 Des Voeux Rd West
Max Fortune Industrial Ltd
Rms 913-914, Hing Wai Centre
7 Tin Wan Praya Rd
Aberdeen, Hong Kong
Paddy's Collection Ltd
13/F, Rm 6, Laurels Ind Centre
32 Tai Yau St, San Po Kong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
Party Products Mfg Ltd
10/F, Blk J, Winner Fty Bldg
55 Hung To Rd, Kwun Tong
Kowloon, Hong Kong
The Bright Printing Press & Paper Products Ltd
3/F, Units A & B, Universal Ind Centre
23-25 Shan Mei St, Fo Tan
New Territories, Hong Kong
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