13 April 2007
Dynamic Designs(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2007)
Alder Int'l Development Ltd
|Alder Int'l Development Ltd has launched a fashion handbag range that targets the European market|
Veteran manufacturers such as Alder Int'l Development Ltd are clearly well-versed in production and management, and thrive by thinking out of the 'bag'. The Hong Kong company has made a specialty of responding swiftly to changing business environments, according to managing director Leo Chan.
"My family has been in the handbag business for more than two decades, producing basic, bulk-quantity frame bags for the US market, though Alder Int'l was registered in 2005," he explains.
However, the family business began to find itself stuck in a price war with its Chinese mainland counterparts a few years ago when China began opening up.
"The problem was that we could only compete on price with orders revolving around basic styles," Chan notes. "The fact that there were no design variations meant buyers could easily deal direct with mainland suppliers, making the situation even tougher."
Alder Int'l eventually decided to execute a strategic about-turn by launching fashion handbags targetting the European market.
"European buyers are more interested in design and creativity," Chan believes. "Our design team's expertise in this niche was not exploited to its full potential with our previous US customers."
It hasn't been easy starting from scratch, he admits, but is glad that his decision has been proved correct. "Thanks to our creative team, our modern new selections have captured the attention of many new buyers at trade events and we keep receiving on-the-spot orders," Chan enthuses.
Alder Int'l has taken just two years to make inroads in Spain, Italy, Greece, Holland, Mexico, Malaysia, Singapore and Japan, with clients encompassing importers and chain stores that have their own brands.
"Up-to-the-minute design is our selling point and we keep whetting the appetites of our buyers by creating original series all-year-round," Chan adds.
These include about 100 styles launched at the Asia Pacific Leather Fair held twice a year, and an additional 50-100 selections in the semi-season collections.
Chan reveals that material is very important in dictating handbag trends. "Advanced finishing technology means there is a myriad of materials we can choose from," he explains.
"The hottest choices these days are mock leather made from PVC, and different kinds of fabrics with interesting wrinkled, cracked or pleated finishes."
Alder Int'l uses material sourced from Hong Kong, Korea and the Chinese mainland, and Chan is careful to make the right choice.
"Our bags are in the middle-to-high bracket with price tags between US$8-10 FOB Hong Kong per piece, so I am very careful that we don't produce 'cheap' PVC products," he emphasises.
Instead, Alder Int'l chooses higher-quality PVC and fabrics with unusual designs even though they are more expensive.
"The prices of our bags may be higher, but our customers still buy from us because these bags are more appealing and can also be marked up more substantially when they arrive in the retail market," Chan elaborates.
Closely following prevailing trends, the company's latest range of bags is cut in big sizes and accentuated with smart, three-dimensional cutting.
"Fashion bags today are multifunctional, and hang in different shapes when carried in various ways," Chan explains. "Metallic colours like bronze and pewter are popular, while red and patent leather are hot for the coming winter."
Production has never posed a problem for Alder Int'l, even during the period when it shifted its market focus.
"More than 20 years' experience in manufacturing handbags means our production management team and skilled workers can easily adapt to our new designs and maintain our good quality and prompt delivery," Chan insists.
Instead of producing bulk-quantity orders, Alder Int'l now requires a minimum order of 1,000 units, with 200 bags per style, delivered 60 days after order confirmation.
Alder Int'l has been encouraged by the promise of its new direction, and moved to a bigger 3,500-square-metre manufacturing site in Guangdong Province on the mainland in March this year.
"We will also increase our workers from 200 to around 300, and anticipate our monthly capacity will grow to 40,000 pieces," Chan concludes.
TEXT BY WINNIE HUI
Alder Int'l Development Ltd
Rm B, 3/F,
Way Lee Industrial Centre,
30-38 Tsuen King Circuit,
Tsuen Wan, New Territories, Hong Kong