6 July 2007
Quality Counts(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 03,2007)
|Elegant gift and household products are a speciality of Eastern Base (HK) Co Ltd, which has its own ReíR brand|
A constant focus on quality keeps Eastern Base (HK) Co Ltd ahead of the pack and provides satisfied clients all over the world with a huge range of gift and household products.
However, the company is never content with its offerings and is constantly researching and developing new, interesting and exciting items to tempt discriminating buyers, says business manager William Shum.
"We specialise in a range of elegant products individually designed for upmarket customers," Shum explains. "We are also constantly updating them so that we're always a step ahead in the marketplace."
This concentration on product development is also reflected in its production ethos. "Mass production and bulk sales are not our style," Shum insists. "We're perfectionists, and the two don't go together."
He notes that all Eastern Base products are quality-guaranteed and can be tailor-made to meet buyers' requests. "High-quality and high-perceived-value products featuring innovative and user-friendly design are our major aims," Shum says.
The company is equally dedicated to providing buyers with immediate, customised sourcing solutions via a variety of methods. "We offer sales aids such as portable showrooms, showroom displays and videos of our products," he adds.
Eastern Base's formula for success is originality in design, with the emphasis on elegance and appeal, courtesy of a Hong Kong-based designer who works closely with two others in Shanghai. "Their combined talents ensure that we continue to project a consistent design image," Shum maintains.
The design team is inspired by ideas from various sources: for example, several matching items are based on the works of two notable painters, Vincent van Gogh and Henri Matisse, while traditional Chinese Opera masks make particularly striking lighter sets and ashtrays.
This perfectionist streak also extends to the peripherals that other companies either overlook or ignore. "We are not just particular about the design and quality of our goods, but also the boxes and packaging that contains them," Shum says.
Crafted wooden boxes or cardboard packages bearing elegant designs are tailor-made by a packaging company in Guangzhou on the Chinese mainland and carry Eastern Base's website address to catch the eye of international traders.
"As a result, we get enquiries from time to time about a particular item such as a compact or a lipstick holder," Shum notes, adding that he often replies by suggesting that a more attractive and saleable idea might be a matching set.
"We email them back with the full details - matching graphics with a choice of designs and all the relevant data," Shum explains. "This method of doing the thinking for the customer has helped stimulate sales quite a bit."
Eastern Base's current best-selling products are ladies' cosmetic mirrors, lipstick and lipgloss holders, key chains, cardholders, cufflinks and matching cigarette lighters and ashtrays. "Our biggest concern currently is developing our own brand, the ReíR collection," says Shum, explaining that reír is Spanish for laugh.
This is, he believes, a logical move for a company that originated in Shanghai in 1997 and only moved to Hong Kong last year to be close to its factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"We launched the brand in 2005 to create a vibrant, memorable image and keep it before international buyers," Shum explains. "We didn't want a brand in English - Spanish is different and distinctive so it matches our products."
He says Eastern Base aims to develop the brand so that it sells all around the world. "We have invested a lot in developing and promoting it, and overall the progress has been slow but steady," Shum says.
One inadvertent obstacle to brand development is caused by overseas department store chains wanting Eastern Base to put their own brand names on its products. "They offer us large OEM deals, but if we accepted we'd end up competing against our own products - which is not good business," Shum reasons. "We also welcome OEM deals, but they may not want to use our existing design - in which case we'll provide an alternate design for their consideration."
These minor problems aside, Eastern Base's biggest markets are in the US, the UK, Sweden, Austria and more recently Greece. "We are also aiming to make a big sales breakthrough in China next year with the Beijing Olympics," Shum adds.
Clearly, Shum's business strategy is a combination of emphasis on quality products and elegant design. "Once we get a client we want to keep him, so we ensure deliveries are made promptly and regularly follow-up on how sales are going," Shum concludes.
TEXT BY GEOFFREY SOMERS
Eastern Base (HK) Co Ltd