31 July 2007
Sweet Success(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2007)
|Handiwares Co Ltd offers a personal range of aroma diffusers, mini-humidifiers, body brushes and body massagers|
The transition from standard household utensils to a more personal range of aroma diffusers, mini-humidifiers, body brushes and body massagers, tells the tale of how Handiwares Co Ltd has evolved over the past 30 years.
"We used to deal solely in plastic and metal kitchenware items, and we also worked on OEM products such as bathroom anti-slip mats made for a Spanish client," relates director Steven Shair. "However, while still maintaining our household theme, we are now actively engaged in health and beauty products that lean toward the more personal and luxurious end of the market."
He says that personal massagers are selling steadily, while business in body brushes is brisk. "We mostly design and create our own products," Shair says. "For example, since making our first brush we have developed seven more styles. Some were designed in-house and some in cooperation with clients."
These mini-brushes are 5x6cm in size, and variations include pumice stone, nail brush, facial brush and ceramic massager. There is also a model that removes hair and smoothes the legs.
In 2006, the firm began producing humidifiers, starting with larger models and gradually scaling things down to appealing, compact sizes. "Now, we even have a particularly small range ideal for the travel goods market," Shair says.
Aroma diffusers, meanwhile, come in two versions: a larger type that uses water as the dispersal medium, in capacities of 150-250ml, and smaller diffusers that are dry-operating.
"The water diffuser has a sponge that sucks up the aromatic vapour into a small chimney where it is blown out into the room by a small fan," Shair explains. "The sponge version is better than the traditional tea-candle type as there is no naked flame. It operates from dry-cell batteries, while there is an option to run it off a USB port. It is totally silent-running because we use a good-quality motor."
In the more compact diffusers, a fibre strip can be spread with aromatic oil to naturally disperse the scent through the air. "These are hot sellers in the US, Canada and Europe," adds Shair.
The dimensions of the 250ml water capacity model are 130x105x148mm, while the 150ml model is 105x86x106mm, and the dry type measures 105x86x69mm. Light colours are chosen for the present range, and a 10ml bottle of soluble essential oil is optional.
Shair reveals that Handiwares Co specialises in plastic mouldings, and is able to quickly assist customers. "They bring us their ideas and we develop the product for them. We do all the moulding and tooling," he states.
"For example, a customer in the US asked us to develop a range of attractive emblems that could easily be affixed to automobiles. We did the whole design, from concept to realisation, and it was a great success," he adds, noting that most emblems are made from ABS and manufactured by hot stamping foil, in either silver or gold, and have a 3M-type sticker on the reverse.
"Usually, these items are weatherproofed to withstand any harsh conditions associated with long-term automobile use," says Shair. "The manufacturing process is hi-tech and the quality high-end, comprising different layers of materials and perhaps a chrome finish."
Shair says that Handiwares Co is not afraid of competition. "We use top-quality materials and our designs are excellent," he asserts. "Besides, our prices, although higher than some others, are reasonable for the standards we deliver. Also, we manufacture for some top brand names in Italy and the UK."
Care is also taken to ensure procurement of the best raw materials. "Our brush bristles are made from material purchased from Dow Chemicals and DuPont, and they are impervious to smells and not affected by hot or cold water," Shair says. "We do this precisely because we are selling to top brand names and to ensure the products will not spoil in use."
Main markets for Handiwares Co are the US, Europe, Japan and Southeast Asia. "Our humidifiers and aroma diffusers are exclusive to buyers in the US," Shair says. "The distributors we sell to there all have their own retail outlets."
Minimum order is 1,200 units per item for delivery about 45 days after order confirmation. Production takes place at the firm's 4,000-square-metre, 100-worker factory in Huizhou in Guangdong Province.
"We will continue to innovate and bring out new ideas while always maintaining our level of quality, which is always appreciated," Shair promises.
For the home, the car or the person, business certainly seems to be brisk for Handiwares Co Ltd.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Handiwares Co Ltd