13 May 2008
Premium Quality(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 05,2008)
Gifts & Premiums
One Hong Kong firm quickly discovered that the transition from trading to sourcing was a profitable move that was also appreciated by international clients.
The essential history of Pacific Sky Industries Ltd began in 2001, when the firm operated as a general trader for items such as ballpoint pens, key chains, lanyards, baseball caps and scarves. Today, apart from Hofng Kong, there are branch offices in Shanghai and Fujian Province on the Chinese mainland.
"In 2004, we opened the Shanghai office as a sourcing centre working with selected suppliers and factories," says Manager Jeffrey Go. "These sources were mostly in the Shanghai, Ningbo and Suzhou area, and in easy reach for liaison and inspection work."
The sourcing concept pleased existing clients and attracted new ones. "We quickly started to work on OEM projects in addition to locating ready-made products for other customers," relates Mr Go. "The sourcing process includes arranging samples and meetings for customers, placing subsequent orders, arranging funding with factories where necessary, carrying out QC inspections and ensuring on-time delivery and follow-up services."
Despite its success, though, Pacific Sky did not abandon its trading ties. "The general trading sector still has certain advantages and enables us to reach niche segments of the market," says Mr Go. "The difference now is that we can trade in more profitable, upmarket lines."
He points out that Pacific Sky differentiates itself from other trading and sourcing firms by having its own in-house designers to add value and innovation to products.
"We are able to build closer relationships with clients by offering them design options to compare with their own," Mr Go says. "At the same time, we benefit from learning directly what different markets require."
These benefits are seen in the changing scope of the firm's export markets. "We once exported 95% of our goods to Europe, whereas today the figure is closer to 60% and the balance has been taken up by the US and markets in Asia. Sales in North America have grown substantially and quickly, while Asian markets look to have a bright future," Mr Go says.
The Pacific Sky policy, he adds, is to try to lift quality whenever possible, to add value, and to try to increase the life of certain mementos and gifts. "Of course, this is a marketing exercise that requires the participation of everyone concerned," he declares. "We want all parties to enjoy a reasonable profit margin and to benefit from new business, and especially to have the retail buyer satisfied with the end product."
He is also an advocate of quality being part of the promotional message. "If someone gets a souvenir or giveaway item and quickly disposes of it then something is lost," he explains. "It's like throwing the logo away. We advise customers to try and maintain the standard of quality they see in the brand name. What is the point of giving away a promotional item if it fails to do its job?"
In the foreseeable future, the firm expects to be servicing the gifts, premiums and promotions sector in addition to the retail market, which features demand for smaller quantities but generally higher quality. "This approach will help maintain our push into more upmarket business," says Mr Go.
In another expansive move, sister company SyncGroup Co Ltd was established in 2005 as a manufacturer of PP woven bags. "PP woven is reusable and excellent for bags used by supermarkets and chain stores or for use as giveaways. PP woven is especially ideal for quality printing effects," says Mr Go.
"Although mainly producing promotional bags at this time, we can also do shopping bags, backpacks and travel bags, and the typical bags used by courier firms," he adds. "Besides these, we also offer cosmetics bags, key rings with handy fittings, lanyards for mobile phones and luggage belts."
In addition to PP woven, which is relatively inexpensive, and thus perfect for giveaways, other materials used include nylon, oxford, PVC, PU, non-woven (matt-finish), canvas, cotton, TC with lamination and PE woven.
All told, it looks as if Pacific Sky Industries Ltd is well on its way to developing a highly successful future.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON