15 April 2008
Wonderful Wrapping(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 02,2008)
Wai Tat Jewellery Box Ltd
Packaging specialist Wai Tat Jewellery Box Ltd's history of expertise and dedicated service to its many customers worldwide dates back almost 20 years.
In its early days the company focused on manufacturing handbags and plastic packaging boxes, but today its wide range of items includes watch, jewellery and metal boxes, pouches, pen cases, optical cases and display accessories.
A team of top-flight technicians in well-equipped factories in Shenzhen and Dongguan on the Chinese mainland transforms raw materials such as plastic, vinyl paper, PVC, PU, aluminium, wood, tin and velvet into professional presentation products that are sought after by many international brands.
In terms of watch boxes alone, Wai Tat has always maintained a good relationship with watch manufacturers and counts about a dozen international brands in its portfolio, says marketing director Aster Chung.
"We're crazy about brand names and proud to work for them because they want high-quality work," she explains, naming Girard-Perregaux, Festina and Jaguar as among those in the watch brand group, while other clients include Dolce & Gabbana, Lacoste and Mary Kay.
Ms Chung says plastic watch boxes represent the company's largest product line, accounting for 60% of total sales. "Recycled plastic is typically used for the inner layer - this is then covered with vinyl, paper, PVC or velvet, depending on the customer's specifications," she explains.
Eighty per cent of Wai Tat's boxes are made of recycled plastic. "We think this is a good idea environmentally," says Ms Chung, adding that the boxes are "very good" quality. "We use ABS so they don't bend, but if a company wants us to do metal or some other material, we can do that too."
Paper boxes are next in popularity after plastic. "Wooden boxes with lacquer finishes are the costliest, most deluxe products because of the raw material component - although lower-priced MDF can be substituted for real wood," Ms Chung adds.
Traditional rectangular or square-shaped watch boxes are always in demand, she says, but customers are always on the hunt for more creative ideas. "For example, our spring-loaded, pop-up watch box is a popular item as it is a lacquered, heart-shaped wooden watch box, specially designed for Valentine's Day gift-giving," Ms Chung notes.
Wai Tat has patented certain designs in Hong Kong and China, such as a treasure-chest jewellery box that expands in layers and has separate compartments for watches, earrings, necklaces and rings.
The company's commitment to keeping abreast of the latest trends has seen packaging that features contrast stitching, leather straps and buckles and faux leather looks.
However, Ms Chung says that while some clients prefer a streamlined, minimalist look, others opt for decorative features such as bows, handles and special trimming.
"Ninety per cent are our own designs and 10% are OEM," says Ms Chung, noting that the combined efforts of Wai Tat's five designers and 800 factory workers result in a production output of 16 TEUs per month or about 800,000 items.
Several years ago, the company converted from paying a flat-rate salary to a piece-rate system. "That helped us increase our production by 30%," she says.
Wai Tat's move to a larger factory in 2005 also allowed it to double its production capacity, boosting sales by an average of 20% per year as a result.
This output boost was helped by Wai Tat's investment in an array of hi-tech machinery, which includes six plastic injection moulding machines, two paper-cutting machines, more than 1,000 knife-tooling machines and five wood-carving machines.
The company has spent more than HK$500,000 on new equipment since 2005. "We are also investing in lamination machines, sewing machines and more wood-carving machines," Ms Chung adds.
However, although the logo and the basic shape of each box are machine-made, the company prides itself that the assembly and c-ring or interior cushioning are carefully hand-crafted by its skilled workforce.
Customers can browse through hundreds of models on Wai Tat's website, which displays 90% of its products. "Our website enables our customers to find products in all kind of shapes and materials," Ms Chung claims. "We want to show as many of our products as possible because it's convenient for customers and helps save them time."
Customer referrals and the business matching services offered by the Hong Kong Trade Development Council are additional ways the company acquires new clients.
Wai Tat has developed a strong reputation over the years for being able to successfully handle challenging jobs that other firms cannot. "We don't reject difficult orders because they force us to do better and help us improve the image of our company," Ms Chung explains.
For example, she recalls an OEM order in 2004 for 800,000 boxes that required the firm to design a series of plastic watch boxes that could fit together in an interlocking, stackable fashion, much like Lego toys.
Prototypes were fashioned again and again, only to be discarded. "The idea was to make each box join to another box by making them click into place," Ms Chung says. "Our technicians spent two weeks designing and regulating the tooling so that the boxes would do that perfectly."
She believes the company will have an especially good year in 2008 because of new orders related to China's hosting of the Olympic Games in Beijing. "We think there will be a lot of demand for watch and jewellery boxes, pen boxes and other souvenirs," Ms Chung predicts.
Looking ahead, she says Wai Tat plans to increase production of watch stands and store displays. "We're putting more emphasis on this because it's a high value-added product, and we would like to double our production to 20% of our total business," Ms Chung says, adding that jewellery and pen boxes are two other areas in which the company expects to step up production.
Most of all, Wai Tat wants to continue to offer its customers more choices and more variety than anyone else. "Our aim is to satisfy our customers by providing good service, good quality and speedy delivery - even if we spend more money and time than we expected," says Ms Chung.
By maintaining its high-quality appeal and forward-thinking outlook, Wai Tat is poised to produce more professional packaging and enjoy a prosperous future.
TEXT BY ANDREA PAWLYNA