26 June 2006
Photo Frames/Albums(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2006)
Photo frames and photo albums remain in strong demand globally, and Hong Kong manufacturers feel the situation is unlikely to change even given strong competition from digital storage media. Nevertheless, suppliers say it is important to have a wide selection of attractive, quality products that incorporate the latest trends.
For example, Smart World Print Products Co Ltd has an extensive range of frames and albums including a memo pad with space to insert a picture (US$0.35 each FOB Hong Kong), a T-shirt shaped photo frame (US$0.40), four magnetic photo frames (US$0.25 each) and a photo album with an insert on the front cover for a photo (US$0.95).
"We introduce approximately 20-25 new products every three months, all of which are the result of monthly brainstorming sessions with our designers plus input from the sales and marketing team. It is important to discuss what sorts of new products are good for development," says business development manager Yollanda Lam.
Delivery is 20 days after confirmation of order, and the minimum order is 3,000 units. The monthly production capability depends on the item, but averages about 100,000 items.
"The current trend in photo frames and albums is for more decorative items, with the addition of feathers or diamantes to the frames. We also produce these items," says Lam.
Established in 1995, Smart World's main markets are the US, the UK, Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.
In addition to Europe, Hip Sing Paper Products Fty Ltd says its other major markets are the US and Australia. Established in 1973, the company credits its long success to its use of special-material products - such as its metallic photo album range - prompt delivery and reasonable prices.
"To be successful in this business, it is important to have good designs," comments marketing manager Eddie Chow. "We have also found product diversification - such as offering albums, stationery and other paper products - to be a good strategy."
Unit prices for the firm's metallic photo albums are US$2.40 FOB Hong Kong, while baby-theme photo albums cost US$2.30. The minimum order is 2,000 pieces and delivery is 40-45 days after confirmation of order. Both of these album ranges come with a photo frame cover. New items are introduced every three months, and the monthly production is 200,000 albums per model.
Meanwhile, Ngai Sing Plastic Fty has come up with a distinctive design for its latest range of photo frames: a sliding gallery-frame series.
The photos are placed in a variety of frames and then onto a sliding bar to create a gallery of images. "This is a unique way to display many memorable photos, or even art," says manager Emily Wong. "The series comes in sets of two, three and four frames, with prices available upon enquiry."
In addition, the company manufactures a wide range of frames available in minimum orders of 3,000 pieces for delivery within 45 days of order confirmation. Main markets are the US, Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe and South Africa.
Wong says that the 1970-established firm credits its long-term achievements to a combination of price, delivery, quality and service. "The design of our products is also a major success factor," she adds.
According to Wong, each market has different needs that must be reflected in the design. "For example," she explains, "Europe requires simple and elegant designs while the US demands new and stylish ideas that reflect home dˆmcor trends."
Noting that new products are introduced quarterly, she says it is important to keep up with different trends in the industry. "For example, there is a strong move towards environmentally-friendly operations, which we support, such as using recycled materials and eliminating any unnecessary packaging."
Another company with many years of success behind it is Win Tai Industrial Ltd, established in 1973. The firm manufactures a fun collection of quality photo frames and related items.
"We strive to bring fresh designs to the market each season," says director of marketing Helen Yu. "We have a very strong design team with creative minds who come up with inspired product ideas all the time."
She says the firm's Fuzzy and Rubber series of photo frames (the names refer to the finished texture) were created using a special printing technique to produce a 3D effect.
Also popular is its selection of magnetic frames. "We have many more items," says Yu, "and these are just a few examples."
FOB Hong Kong unit prices for the products mentioned range from US$0.30-0.45. The minimum order depends upon the product, but the company can manufacture up to five million units per month for main markets that include the US and Europe.
To stay in the picture, clearly one needs look no further than Hong Kong for photo albums and frames.
WRITTEN BY VICKI WILLIAMS
Jaunlet Industries Ltd
Ngai Sing Plastic Fty