3 Aug 2007
Cool Comfort(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 02,2007)
|Trendy jelly sandals in a kaleidoscope of colours and styles are a specialty of Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd|
Jelly sandals might have been plain and simple footwear for men, women and children years ago, but today they are synonymous with versatility and style. Nowhere is this better illustrated than at Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd, where a profusion of kids', ladies' and men's jelly sandals are showcased.
"The products have definitely changed a lot since our debut in 1990," explains general manager Ida Yeung. "I think the most noticeable difference is the variety of designs and upgraded quality made possible with new technology and better raw materials."
Yeung recalls that Champion Wealth decided to venture into PVC-injected jelly sandals more than a decade ago because the company's partners and engineers were specialists in that area.
At that time, she observes, jelly sandals were mostly worn on the beach.
"But today jelly sandals have become a fashion staple that are created in fancy selections, which consumers wear for leisure and fun," Yeung notes. "Jelly sandals have also become popular with big brands and evolve with prevailing fashion trends."
For example, Champion Wealth's latest collections include trendy creations featuring clogs, flip-flops, and sandals jazzed up with rhinestones, sequins, glitters, badges and beaded motifs in a kaleidoscope of colours, including fashionable gold and silver.
Yeung believes that the growing popularity of jelly sandals is driven by the warmer global climate, smart-casual fashion trends and an overall prosperous world economy.
"When the economy is good, people want more sophisticated products with higher quality and diversity in styles," she maintains. "For example, we are currently designing jelly sandals for our buyers to match their swimwear collections and casual-wear ranges."
Champion Wealth has been providing design services to its buyers for more than three years, and Yeung claims the process works well with the company's vertically-integrated operation.
"Nowadays, more buyers rely on their suppliers to provide designs, and we can often offer a buyer a collection that meets their price point and style after identifying suitable materials at good prices," Yeung says. "Their feedback has also become faster, which shortens the turnaround time."
Quality is also crucial to Champion Wealth. "That's why we use A-grade material from Japan, the US and Germany," she explains. "We only choose virgin PVC resin - not the recycled version - as it is better in terms of stability and clarity."
Yeung points out that high-quality PVC is essential to guarantee the jelly PVC still looks clear and lustrous after moulding and finishing.
Today Champion Wealth is selling its jelly sandals at between "one US dollar-something" to US$5 per pair FOB Hong Kong.
Products priced from US$2-3 are best sellers as they are "very good value-for-money merchandise" for branded shops and department stores.
Meanwhile, Yeung also takes pride in noting that Champion Wealth has established many long-term customers over the years and its market boundaries are expanding.
"The US used to take nearly 80% of our output when we began operations, but in recent years it has shrunk to 50% as we are securing more orders from Europe," she explains.
Yeung believes that the stronger euro in the last few years has encouraged European companies to turn to more competitive sourcing in Asia instead of manufacturing in Europe.
Though Europe has overtaken the US in terms of market share, Champion Wealth considers both markets important and offering great potential.
"Orders from the US are typically mass quantity and basic styles, while European buyers are more demanding in terms of quality and style," Yeung reveals. "We think they strike a good balance in order type as well as in our global market distribution."
The peak season for summer sandals in the US and Europe stretches from September to April, so Champion Wealth also ships its footwear to South America and Australia during the other half of the year.
"Our year-round production is well-supported by our 100,000-square-foot, 400-worker factory in Dongguan on the mainland," Yeung concludes.
"The factory produces 300,000-400,000 pairs per month when styles are complicated, but it can go up to 500,000 pairs of simpler design - and we achieve prompt delivery within 45 days!"
TEXT BY WINNIE HUI
Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd
Unit P, 6/F, Yue Cheung Centre
1-3 Wong Chuk Yeung St
Fo Tan, New Territories, Hong Kong