3 July 2007
Style Makers(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 07,2007)
|Smartrend Ltd of Hong Kong shows a high degree of craftsmanship with this mosaic plate and horse figurine|
Being house-proud simply comes naturally, and at the same time generates constant demand for decor items that enhance home interiors with elegance and style
No home decor approach would be considered complete without objet d'arts creating points of interest in a room. These essential decorative objects impart a distinctive sense of style, space and balance. Happily, there is a wealth of accomplished manufacturers offering new and exciting creations.
For example, Han Ko Worldwide Co Ltd - founded by two Taiwanese architects in 1999 - manufactures stylish glassware vases, ashtrays, tumblers, photo frames, clocks, trays and mirrors. Silk-screen designs, decals and silver foil decorations turn the glassware products into stunningly artistic creations.
The Kaohsiung-based firm hopes that demand for a newly-introduced collection of similarly-decorated natural dolomite vases and bathroom accessories will take off this year.
"We think our dolomite products will account for half of our sales within a year," says assistant manager Iris Yang. "If sales go well, we may expand the dolomite collection to tableware."
The firm, which sources its glass and dolomite from the mainland, has a strong development and design team that is experienced in producing competitively-priced products.
Glassware and dolomite items are priced from US$2-6 per piece FOB Shenzhen, while plates and clocks featuring unusual appliqum decorations sell for US$5-10 per piece. "The appliqum gives the glassware more of a 3D look," adds Yang, noting that seasonal items, such as glass Christmas plates, are gaining in popularity and that the company is considering adding Halloween items to its line.
Minimum order is one TEU of assorted items, with a 600-piece minimum for each item, for delivery 40-60 days after order confirmation. Production takes place at an ISO 9001- and CE-certified factory in Shenzhen that turns out 20 FEUs of dolomite products and 35 FEUs of glassware per month for export to markets in the US, the UK, Europe and Australia.
Meanwhile, Tang's Wildlife Design Ltd has made a name for itself with its lifelike wildlife figurines sculpted out of polyresin and hand-painted by a workforce of 200 artists.
Founded in 1994 by master carver and designer Simon Tang, who studied at the prestigious Beijing Academy of Fine Arts, the company has more than 1,000 models of birds of prey, waterfowl, songbirds, deer and animals such as wolves, elephants and goats in its inventory.
"Up until five years ago," says marketing manager Thomas Lam, "we focused on wildlife from North America. Today, we do more creatures from Russia (bears) and Europe (songbirds)." FOB Shenzhen prices range from as little as US$1 per piece for a small songbird to US$100 for a nearly life-sized bald eagle.
The firm designs and produces many original and limited edition series, and can also craft products to customer specifications. North America and Europe are main markets, but Lam adds that interest from Russia, South America and the Middle East is growing.
A new line of bronze-style polyresin wildlife sculptures in metallic paint sells for US$7-30 per piece and offers an affordable alternative to genuine bronze.
Another new direction for the firm is its home accents line, featuring coat racks, welcome signs and candleholders combined with wildlife sculptures. "Customers want something that's decorative and functional," explains Lam.
Minimum order requirements are based on the size of the piece. "We have a 10-piece minimum for the eagle, but for smaller items the minimum might be 300-500 pieces," he says, noting that shipments are on their way 30 days after order confirmation.
Polyresin sculptures in Asian, African, ancient Egyptian, primitive and modern designs from Hong Kong-based Smartrend Ltd are also ideal decorative items for the home.
"We can make them to look like wood or stone, and we strive to get every detail right," says manager Nice Ma, adding that each piece is carefully handcrafted using age-old finishing techniques.
Besides figurines, the three-year-old company also produces polyresin photo frames, boxes, clocks and mirrors priced from US$3-57 each FOB Hong Kong. "Buddha figurines and Chinese-style lamps are our best-selling items," Ma adds, confirming that many pieces are modelled on artefacts seen in museums and art galleries.
However, a new series of mosaic-style plates, decorative boxes, lamps and animal figures made of cow bone and horn, rattan, bamboo and stone, and priced from US$18-54 each, represent a departure from the company's traditional polyresin products.
"We want to see if customers like the use of natural materials," Ma says. "If they do, we can make more."
The OEM/ODM firm has a minimum order requirement of 80 pieces per item with a total required order of one full TEU for delivery 40-60 days after order confirmation. Major export markets include the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the US and countries in Asia.
Decorative boxes, candle stands, photo frames and bowls made of mango wood and carved in traditional Indian styles are a star attraction at JDS Exports, based in Moradabad, India. The light brown wood is sourced from India. The company's second major line is mother-of-pearl boxes, photo frames, trays and dishes. Items in each line are priced from US$0.50-7.00 each FOB Mumbai.
Minimum order value is US$5,000 and shipment is 45 days after order confirmation to the company's main markets in South America, Spain, Greece and South Africa. The company produces about 50,000 pieces per month.
"All the work is done by hand, and we try to have an ethnic Indian look in the fine carving and design," says Abdullah Rehman, a partner at the 16-year-old firm. "In the next one or two years, we might add some lines of furniture."
The company's newest collection of mirrors, trays, vases and dishes is made of a combination of resin and buffalo bone. "We wanted to do something new, and they're selling well," Rehman adds, noting that a modern-looking line of food bowls in mango wood with a dark walnut finish was introduced last year.
For wooden antique-style photo frames, mirror frames and gift boxes made of pine or Chinese fir, check out Shanghai Jove's Interior Decoration Co Ltd, of the Chinese mainland, which offers a comprehensive range of sizes, designs and decorative borders.
"We use different finishes to make the presentation look antique," says Samuel Tsoi, managing director of the 1994-founded firm. Design ideas often come from old books and interiors. "We look for European designs and develop 1,500 new designs each year," he says.
Photo frames account for 70% of the 800,000 pieces the company produces monthly at its ISO 9001-certified factory in Shanghai, which employs 300 craftspeople. Prices range from US$2-8 per piece FOB Shanghai, with a minimum order of 360 pieces per item. Deliveries go out 60 days after order confirmation. About 70% of exports from the Shanghai-based ODM firm go to the US, 25% to Europe and 5% to various countries around the world.
For 24 years, the signature style of Qiantang River Arts & Furniture Ltd has been apparent in the company's medium- to high-price wooden furniture, porcelain, ceramic ware, clocks, screens, wall panels and brass figurines. The Hong Kong-based firm employs more than 100 designers and 1,200 workers (most of them artists) at its ISO- and UKAS Quality Management-certified factory in Shenzhen.
"We do American-style, Art Deco, classic and contemporary styles," says manager S. W. Cheung. "Last year, we produced more than 3,000 new designs. We like to take old designs and update them with new concepts, so the shape might be from the past while we add more modern touches. We are always searching for new techniques and materials to use in our products."
The US, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America are the company's prime export markets, and 70% of products carry the firm's Henry Dai brand name; the remainder is on an OEM/ODM basis.
Furniture and lacquered porcelain vases are Qiantang River Arts & Funiture's most sought-after lines. Porcelain items are priced from US$15-40 each FOB Shenzhen/ Hong Kong, with furniture priced up to US$2,000 per piece. Minimum order value is US$7,000 per shipment, and delivery is 60 days after order confirmation.
With companies offering such a variety of quality goods, home decorating has never been so easy.
Text By ANDREA PAWLYNA
Anchai-Hayat Nagar, Blk-2
Moradabad 244001, India
Qiantang River Arts & Furniture Ltd
20/F, Goodwill Ind Bldg
36-44 Pak Tin, Par St, Tsuen Wan
New Territories, Hong Kong
Shanghai Jove's Interior Decoration Co Ltd
Rms 1705-1706, Tong Da Chuang Ye
Bldg, No.1, Alley 600, Tian Shan Rd
Tang's Wildlife Design Ltd
No.1, 3/F, Jing Nam Ind Area, Bai Ge
Long Buji, Longgang, Shenzhen