2 Oct 2007
True Grit(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 10,2007)
Gifts & Premiums
|Profit Charm (FE) Ltd offers a wide variety of items, including many that are highly popular as gifts and premiums|
"One of the reasons why we have so many items on the market is due to our close cooperation with our buyers," says Managing Director Joe Wong. "We help to create workable samples that soon become saleable products, and at the same time act as a catalyst for even more new items."
The result is obvious when one visits the showrooms of Profit Charm, where thousands of items suitable for the home, or as gifts or premiums, fill the shelves. "We dare not stop," Mr Wong declares. "We have to keep up the pace, the production and the creativity."
Established in 1993 as a manufacturer of household and gift items, Profit Charm now rates itself a top OEM and ODM supplier. The firm claims it does business with some of the best-known brands in the US, the UK and the EU, and most of Asia.
"The very first items we made included miniature personal fans and torches," Mr Wong recalls. "We were fortunate to do a lot of OEM business, and it was their ideas that prompted us to look at the ODM prospects."
Today, the product range includes ionic air fresheners, car vacuum cleaners and mini-vacuum cleaners for computers.
"Our hand-held fans, though, remain a popular premium item," says Mr Wong. "We do one with a square body that gives a better grip, and offer a variety of colours. We also do a soft PU fan, which is really a decorative desktop item that can also move air gently around a room."
Also popular are hand-cranked dynamo torches using LEDs, and car windscreen scrapers for ice or snow that come complete with small heating elements. "Another windscreen model plugs into the dashboard cigarette lighter socket," Mr Wong informs, mentioning that other highly popular premiums are cappuccino whisks and egg whisks.
"We enjoy very large demand for many of these items," claims Mr Wong, adding that buyers from the US, for example, place orders for 1-2 million units at a time.
Rising prices for raw materials also take their toll on profit margins. "We will happily take on up to 50% of any sudden increases," says Mr Wong, "and pass on the other half to the buyers. Everyone has to make a profit no matter the obstacles."
Despite the excellent business, though, copycats are a major concern. "The product life cycle is now so short," Mr Wong feels. "In 1993, say, the life cycle of a particular product averaged about 4-5 years. Today, we are lucky to see 4-6 months."
With an eye to protecting its interests, Profit Charm now tries to register or patent as many design ideas as it can. "We register the designs in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland, in addition to major sales points in the US and Europe," says Mr Wong. "This approach is proving very successful."
The company also takes an unusual approach to design. "As people's tastes differ from market to market, even within Europe, we hire local-market designers to ensure we have all the angles right," says Mr Wong.
"Sometimes they initiate ideas for us and sometimes they work on a project basis. It is relatively more expensive, but it does mean that we are always on-trend or even ahead of the competition."
The main point is to keep working hard to satisfy customers' demands. "One never knows in this business," Mr Wong says. "A client can come in quite unexpectedly with a demand for an unusual item, and we do not want to be caught short and risk losing the business."
He reveals that this work ethic is purpose-driven to gift items with a perceived longer useful life. "We want to cater for various promotional opportunities and also, perhaps, capture the more upmarket gifts demand by repackaging items for retail sales."
Confidence is taken from the fact that many consumers in the firm's major markets appear to have more money to spend. "And spend they will," Mr Wong declares, "especially if the product is right."
It is clear that Profit Charm (FE) Ltd intends to continue with its profitable, dedicated approach for years to come.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
|Profit Charm (FE) Ltd
Rm 1015, Kwong Sang Hong Centre
151-153 Hoi Bun Rd, Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Tel: 852-2753-6262 Fax: 852-2757-4386
|Year Established: 1993
Major Product Categories: gifts & premiums, toys
Major Markets: the US, Europe and Asia
Monthly Production Capacity: 500,000 units
Minimum Order: 5,000 units
Delivery Time: 30 days after order confirmation
Factory Size & Location: 40,000 square feet; Dongguan