6 Feb 2006
Dress Shoes(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2006)
Create Earth Co Ltd's ladies' pumps with delicate, feminine details are perfect for work and special occasions alike
Abound Industrial Development Co is one such accomplished OEM footwear manufacturer and exporter. In the business since 1988, Abound produces men's, women's and children's shoes such as sandals, slippers, casual and sports styles in quality leather, PU and PVC using integrated design and mould-making techniques.
According to merchandiser Raymond Cheng, Abound Industrial's main customers in 2005 were importers and distributors in western and northern Europe, including Germany, Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway. "In the past, the US was a major customer, but in 2005 Europe became our biggest market," Cheng adds.
He says Abound's European customers are currently asking for high-heeled dress shoes in pastel colours with textures and trims.
"Customers have been ordering shoes with different textures and decoration like suede and fur on the uppers, and not only classic shoes," Cheng notes. "They want patterning on the shoes, and some are asking for crystals on the uppers."
Heel preferences for dress shoes are generally 2-4 inches - though there is a current trend for slightly lower, "2-3 inch heels" - using fine quality leather and PU sourced mainly from the Chinese mainland.
"Leather dress shoes are priced at about US$16-18 a pair FOB Hong Kong while PU is available at a middle price of about US$10-12 per pair," says Cheng.
Abound maintains a strict quality assurance system at its 500-worker, 3,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the mainland, which produces about 80,000 pairs of shoes a month. They are available in minimum order sizes of 2,000 pairs per style delivered 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Another OEM specialist with a proven track record is Francas Enterprise Ltd, which works for well-known, high-end brands such as Next and Stead & Simpson in the UK.
"About 10% of our market is in the UK," reveals Dobson Auyeung, manager for the ladies' leather and court shoes manufacturer. "The bulk of orders are from Australia, while a small percentage goes to Canada."
Auyeung notes that customers have been asking for a combination of decorations and trims on dress shoes, while heels have been ranging between 2.5-4 inches high.
Regardless of the style, most of the leather uppers and synthetic materials for the soles and linings are sourced from India, Pakistan and the mainland and processed at a 500-worker plant in Dongguan that produces 10,000 dress shoes a month.
Many of these shoes are bought by customers that Francas has groomed during more than a decade in the footwear business. "When we started out we strove to build up relationships and we still work with many of our customers from the early days," Auyeung notes.
He maintains Francas' strengths lie in its follow-up, sampling and production control. "We provide services to our customers like material sourcing, and we are reliable," Auyeung claims. "Our pricing is workable and acceptable to our customers."
This attitude, together with a minimum order policy that sees 1,000 pairs of shoes delivered 50-60 days after order confirmation, has helped the company to achieve annual turnover of HK$30m.
Making ladies' leather footwear for leading brand OEM customers is also the focus for Wah Yuk Co Ltd, which was established in 1998 to produce casual shoes, dress shoes, sandals and boots for women.
"Our customers are mostly middle-end distributors in the US, like Nine West and Bakers, and the Middle East," says director Jin Ying Chen, adding that a firm in Japan recently contacted Wah Yuk.
According to Chen, Wah Yuk's customers want simple, stylish shoes. "Elegance is very important," he stresses, revealing that attempts to add crystal detailing has not been very popular except with Middle Eastern customers.
However, strap-and-buckle dress shoes with 2-4 inch heels remain favourites, especially in brown and black colours. "We mainly work in cow and kid leather sourced from a leather factory in Guangzhou on the mainland," Chen explains.
Wah Yuk' s own 10,000-square-metre mainland plant in Taishan, about 3-4 hours' drive from Shenzhen, produces 80,000 pairs of shoes a month.
FOB Shenzhen prices for dress shoes are US$9-10 per pair for minimum orders of 1,000 pairs per style delivered 45 days after order confirmation, including sampling.
So whatever the occasion, Hong Kong's footwear makers are more than happy to provide optimal OEM terms to ensure consumers step out in stylish dress shoes.
Abound Industrial Development Co
Rm 3, 11/F, Wing Hang Ind Bldg
13-29 Kwai Hei St, Kwai Chung
New Territories, Hong Kong
Create Earth Co Ltd
3/F, Wing Wang Commercial Bldg
557-559 Nathan Rd, Kowloon
Hong-Tech Footwear Co Ltd
Flat B, 6/F
Chou Chong Commercial Bldg
422-428 Castle Peak Rd
Cheung Sha Wan, Kowloon