1 Aug 2003
Beauty & Health Products(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 08,2003)
Beauty & Health Products
Back To School
Back To Basics
This Harmony home fragrance set from Lutex Co Ltd (top) will keep any home smelling sweet, while a grapefruit body care set makes a great gift
The beauty business is booming and with it a veritable array of products that sees the industry going back to natural basics - whether for perfumed toiletries or stylish utensils for pampering oneself.
One veteran company that knows all about grooming is National Brushes & Plastic Mfy Ltd. Founded in 1946, it started out making toothbrushes of cow bone and pig bristle.
From its 9,500-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland, some 300 workers produce virtually every kind of comb and brush for hair, nails, bath, body, face, kitchen, bottles and toilet for babies, ladies and men.
"Our biggest selling items are hair brushes and plastic is the most popular material," says manager Bill Yip. "Two to three years ago frosted colours were fashionable but now the natural, transparent look is in style. Also, European markets like bright, coloured brushes."
The company manufactures under three home brands - National, the leaf logo brand and Babycare - as well as producing to customer requirements.
The US is National's biggest market, accounting for 50% of business, while Europe takes some 30%. "We are also exploring Eastern Europe as we've received some large orders from there recently."
The company sources plastic raw materials such as PS, PP and ABS from Japan, Korea and Taiwan and nylon filament from the mainland.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$1.02 per dozen for small brushes to US$3.20 per dozen for larger brushes, with delivery taking 30 days for a minimum order value of US$5,000.
Another well-known beauty products company is Lutex Co Ltd. Established in 1942, it has become a leading bath and toiletry products manufacturer offering more than 700 items each year, focusing on gift sets including soaps, bath oil, bath crystals, bath fizzers, shampoos, body scrubs, body lotions, scented candles and plaster holders.
ISO 9001-certified since 2000, Lutex has its own in-house laboratories as well as design and R&D facilities. Some 1,200 workers at its 32,500-square-metre mainland factory in Shenzhen produce about 1.5 million gift sets each month, for distribution to more than 30 countries.
"We concentrate on the gift market, where gift sets account for some 70-80% of our business," says sales manager Irene Pan. "Our business closely follows the cosmetics industry - glitter and high colour were popular but we're now seeing a trend towards simple, natural products and pastel colours."
Lutex manufactures under its own brand, Luveon, as well as for OEM customers, and modifies designs to meet different market needs. "The US favours floral and fruit perfumes, whereas Europe goes for the more natural, aromatherapy and plant smells," says Pan.
"The biggest market is the US with 30% of our business, followed by Europe, South Africa, the Middle East and Australia."
Pan adds that Eastern Europe has been a growing market over the past two years. "We are meeting more buyers there through participation in international trade fairs and through advertisements in various publications."
All raw materials are imported from the US and Europe. Product prices range from US$0.50 FOB Hong Kong for small promotional give aways to US$20 for corporate gift sets. Delivery is 45 days for a minimum order of 1,440 sets per item.
Gift sets are also big business for toiletry and skincare company Seara Industrial Ltd. Some 1,000 workers produce one million gift sets and three million free-standing bottles per month at its mainland facilities in Huizhou.
"More than 70% of our business is beauty gift sets," explains sales manager Monita Kau. "Our items include lotions, shampoos, scrubs, oils, face masks and children's beauty products. We also buy in other items such as baskets, paper boxes, massagers and gloves to complete our gift set range."
The US is the company's biggest market with 60% of business, followed by Europe, Australia and Canada. "The US likes richer perfumes such as vanilla and apricot; shea butter is also popular now. Europe goes for lighter aromas, particularly lavender."
She also identifies a trend for multi-product sets for particular parts of the body. "Before, it was mainly for the whole body, but foot and hand care sets are now very popular, with lotion, scrub, gel and wash all in one set."
There is also a growing market for children's products. "Big toy companies want children's beauty sets and we produce special rich formulations to meet their requirements."
Seara imports more than 90% of its raw materials from Japan, Germany and other countries. Product prices range from US$0.40 for supplies to the "Dollar Store" market to US$30 for large beauty sets. All prices are FOB Hong Kong. Delivery time is about 45 days for a minimum order of 1,000 sets per item per colour.
Hand care is a growing aspect of the beauty business and perfect nails highlight a well-groomed hand, as six-year-old company Koon Hung Mfy Ltd knows well. Koon Hung produces more than 10,000 manicure sets a month, along with other handy travel, shoe shine and sewing kits at its 600-square-metre mainland factory in Xinhui.
"We produce a range of manicure kits in stainless metal, PVC, PU and fabric pouches with metal accessories ranging from just a few to up to eight pieces," says director Grace Leung. "Our sophisticated metallic cases have proved most popular."
Europe, particularly Germany, accounts for over 60% of business, with Eastern Europe, Japan and Central and South America other key markets. Raw materials are sourced mainly from the mainland, with PVC from Taiwan.
Prices range from US$0.60 FOB Hong Kong for a one-tool kit to US$4.00 for a multiple-piece set with delivery in 30-40 days - depending on logo requirements - for a minimum order of about 3,000 pieces.
It is a reflection of the ability of Hong Kong-based companies that they successfully supply a range of health care products to a diverse and global customer base.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Galleon Industrial Ltd
Rms 60-62, 1/F
Toy Centre, South Seas Centre
75 Mody Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
Golden Pacific Industrial Ltd
29-35 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
National Brushes & Plastic Mfy Ltd
Units 1-8, 4/F
Favor Ind Centre
2-6 Kin Hong St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Seara Industrial Ltd
China Aerospace Centre
143 Hoi Bun Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
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