11 Jan 2006
Wooden Gifts(HKTDC Gifts, Premium & Stationery, Vol 01,2006)
As usual when it comes to gifts and premiums, Hong Kong companies are making a name for themselves by offering everything from functional gift sets to nostalgia-based products.
For example, Armstrong Industrial Ltd marketing director Tammy Mo believes that nostalgic items are still popular even though there is "not a huge market" for them.
"Our most popular item is the CD/radio jukebox," Mo notes, adding that the jukebox makes up 50% of production at Armstrong's 5,000-square-metre, 300-worker factory in Huiyang on the Chinese mainland.
The five-year-old firm's R&D department will work with customers on special requests for minimum orders of 200-1,000 items, depending on the product.
Armstrong's products, which cost US$5-260 per piece FOB Hong Kong, are delivered to the US, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, France, Japan and Australia 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Art's Modern Stationery Mfg Ltd, however, no longer produces the traditional stationery items it manufactured after it was founded in 1982, expanding its product range in the past six years to include modern desk accessories and premium gift sets.
Marketing manager Sherry To notes global market trends towards more functional items and give-away items, but points out that colours and prices vary from market to market.
"Our most popular product is our all-in-one item - a six-piece functional gift set that includes things like a pen holder and memo holder," she adds.
Art's uses guger wood and iron from the mainland and alder wood sourced in the US in its products, which are manufactured at a 4,000-square-metre, 400-worker factory in the mainland's Guangdong Province.
The 50,000 premium gift sets produced each month comprise 70% of the Guangdong factory's output, although a plant roughly double the current facility's size will boost productivity when it comes online in mid-2006.
Art's requires minimum orders worth at least US$6,000, which can consist of 10 different items, at FOB Hong Kong unit prices ranging from US$0.20-3.00 for individual items to US$2-8 for gift sets. "Delivery is 45 days after order confirmation," To adds.
Another innovative company is Firmstock Ltd, which currently produces wooden cigar humidors, jewellery boxes, watch boxes, game boards and stationery sets, but is planning to expand its product line to include watch winders and multi-game chess sets in 2006.
The company's unique jewellery boxes, which comprise 65% of Firmstock's 25,000-square-metre factory's production in Guangdong Province, are its most popular item.
"The factory operates with the most advanced technologies available and handles everything from raw material to finished product," explains managing director James Law. "Our entire production is crafted from exotic woods in a variety of finishes, from natural to very high polish."
Firmstock's entire line of music and jewellery boxes is based on historic European designs, and showcases decorative compositions of different textures of fine wood.
"In addition to these consumer products, we also produce fine custom-made wood products exclusively designed for executive and corporate incentive gifts, recognition and commemorative award programmes or celebrating special events," Law adds.
He says Firmstock tries to make the jewellery boxes "more functional" with lots of drawers and compartments so rings, watches and cufflinks can be kept neatly in their own individual sections. "I try to make them as big as possible," Law says. "They can take up as much space as half of a desk."
The company's main focus this year, however, will be chessboards that will also allow people to play multiple games like backgammon and checkers. "Four different models are to be introduced," Law says. "We are also developing chess pieces in pewter."
Prices range from US$25-150 per item FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 300 pieces - although Firmstock will accept requests as low as 50 units for higher-priced items - delivered 30-90 days after order confirmation.
Silver Billion Int'l Enterprise Ltd is another company that says good design, finish and appearance make or break a sale, especially in European countries.
The eight-year-old company manufactures wooden wine, cigar, tea bag, watch and jewellery boxes and wooden photo frames at its 2,000-worker mainland factory in Dongguan.
"We have an R&D department on the mainland and company executives also generate ideas that occur while they are travelling," says business development manager Cheng Sze Wan.
Silver Billion uses wood from Russia, Malaysia and the mainland in the 30,000-50,000 products it produces each month, which are delivered to the US and Europe in minimum order quantities of 500 units 30-35 days after order confirmation.
Hong Kong manufacturers' innovative, quality designs will obviously continue to provide the exciting, durable wooden gifts and premiums that keep buyers' order books bulging.
WRITTEN BY SHARMILA GOPINATH
Art's Modern Stationery Mfg Ltd
Silver Billion Int'l Enterprise Ltd