3 Oct 2006
Memo Pads & Holders(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 04,2006)
|JH Mfe's new stationery range features a mischievous black kitten called Wa-wa and a goofy-but-hardworking puppy named
Reaching for the memo pad has become an automatic reflex for multitaskers needing to jot down messages, make reminders or write short lists.
Usually found within arm's length of the telephone or computer, the memo pad has become an indispensable desktop accessory and the choices available are seemingly limitless.
With "new" and "novel" being the market catchwords, Hong Kong manufacturers such as JH Mfe Ltd - an ODM newcomer specialising in injection PVC and rotation PVC toys, gifts and premiums - are constantly developing new ranges to cater to this demand.
JH Mfe has created a new line of gift, premium and stationery products called the B-li Ba-la Store, aimed squarely at the cash-rich youth market. "We are targeting 15-20-year-olds because they have a lot of money to spend," explains merchandiser Freda Tsang.
The range features two cute animal characters with youth appeal - a mischievous, money-loving, black kitten named Wa-wa and a goofy-but-hardworking puppy named Vi-vi - who both "work" in the B-li Ba-la Store.
"Cats and dogs are popular, so we thought it would be easier to market characters based on these animals," says Tsang, adding that the characters have been trademarked. "My boss came up with the B-li Ba-la name from the Cantonese slang for girls who talk too much and are too noisy!"
Each Wa-wa or Vi-vi design-patented memo holder holds notepaper printed with either cat scratch marks or puppy paw-prints, while the base is also a puzzle into which slots a rotation PVC figure of the kitten or puppy character.
The ABS memo holder measures 100x100x90mm, comes packaged in a PP gift box with decorative stickers and costs US$1.65 FOB Hong Kong each for minimum orders of 2,000 units.
The one-year-old firm manufactures its ABS, PVC, PP and ATBC products at an 800-worker factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland and delivers to the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore 20-25 days after order confirmation.
The B-li Ba-la range was only released this year, so JH Mfe Ltd is content to consolidate for now. "Maybe in 2007 we will look at adding new characters, but we want to expand the range of Wa-wa and Vi-vi products first," says Tsang.
Another company that knows longevity lies in constantly introducing new product lines is 56-year industry veteran Union Paper Box & Printing Press Ltd. "Every six weeks we have a new range," reveals marketing manager Phylis Wong. "We have standard designs and three in-house designers based in Hong Kong who can also work with customers' designs."
Typical of its high-quality memo holders are a fabric-covered jotter box with photo frame (103x140x40mm, US$2.31 each FOB Hong Kong) and a dolphin-motif jotter box with memo paper and pencil (108x54x72mm, US$1.48 each).
Using covered greyboard and paper, these models can be made in any colour, style or dimension to suit customers' specifications. "Different markets require different size memo paper," observes Wong. "For example, while 100x100mm is the most common size, the US likes to do something apart from the norm and may ask for 100x150mm paper."
One new design is a memo caddy made of glossy PU-covered greyboard decorated with embossed floral icons. Priced at US$1.12 FOB Hong Kong, the caddy measures 132x108x34mm while the memo paper is 100x125cm. "It comes in aqua - a hot colour right now - orange, yellow, pink, red and purple," says Wong.
Minimum orders are 3,000 pieces per item per design, delivered 45-60 days after sample approval and confirmation of order. "We have our own 2,000-worker factory in Panyu in Guangdong Province so we can control the quality and delivery time of our products," notes Wong, adding that greyboard, paper and ink are sourced from Europe, Japan, Brazil, Sweden and the mainland.
The memo pad's compact size and useful nature also makes it a staple item in the premiums field. "Customers are always looking for new designs and if you put time into the design, then it will sell," observes Lai Lok Sing, marketing manager at Lean Giap Trading (HK) Ltd, which sells premiums directly to companies or advertising agencies.
Slant pads and block pads are Lean Giap's best sellers, says Lai, since the block shape is conducive to advertising a client's message. "You can print on the top, the sides or all round," he says, adding that memo pads and sticky notes are also popular.
Slant pads come with or without a cover, have sewn tops and support a printed graphic on the cut edge. "Printing a calendar on the inside cover is also popular for year-end season orders, but at other times customers might just print the company logo," Lai notes.
The unit price for minimum orders of 3,000 pads that use wood-free paper from the mainland is HK$4.50-5.00 FOB Hong Kong, but prices vary depending on the type of printing, the size of the pad and the order quantity. "Delivery time from our mainland factory in Shenzhen is around 10 working days to markets worldwide," Lai adds.
So when it's time to stock up on memo paper, busy buyers should remind themselves to contact one of Hong Kong's paper products firms for its newest notes.
WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG
Union Paper Box & Printing Press Ltd
Union Ind Bldg
27 Ko Fai Rd
Yau Tong, Kowloon