11 Feb 2004
Fancy Slippers(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 01,2004)
Vol 1, 2004
Men's Casual Shoes
These three colourful slippers are typical of the range manufactured by Dameng Footwear Co Ltd
Fancy slippers have been at the forefront of women's fashion for several seasons now as part of a seemingly unstoppable trend for a more casual look.
The variety of fashionable slippers made by Hong Kong manufacturers is enormous, and ranges from simple toe posts or thongs in bright colours to elegant beaded and embroidered styles.
One company that saw the opportunity in this sector is Dameng Footwear Co Ltd, which was established in 2000. "There are many factories doing sports shoes, casual shoes and pumps, but there are not so many making slippers, so we wanted to explore and specialise in this area," explains manager Mandy Yung.
The company has specialised even further by opting for hand-stitched uppers. "Our designs concentrate on trim," Yung says. Styles for this year include toe posts decorated with enamel trim, beaded flowers or sequins, and slippers with mesh or fabric adorned with beads, sequins and embroidery.
PU, fabric and synthetic and real suede are sourced in Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland, while the slippers are produced at the company's factory in Shenzhen on the southern mainland.
Employing about 300 workers at the busiest times of the year, the factory produces an average monthly output of 60,000 pairs at prices ranging from US$4-6, FOB Hong Kong.
"Minimum order is 600 pairs per colour and 1,200 pairs per order, but because the products are handmade we can accept smaller orders if the materials are readily available in the market," adds Yung.
Standard delivery for markets such as the UK, Europe and Australia is 45 days, but during peak periods it can be up to 60 days including sample confirmation.
Grand Pacific Int'l Ltd is another young company that also places emphasis on decoration, using beads and shells to decorate some of its new styles.
Japan is one of Grand Pacific's two major markets, the other being Europe, particularly Italy, France and Spain. "The Japanese like more trendy styles, while the Europeans prefer something simple," explains merchandiser Stephanie Lai.
Grand Pacific's headquarters are in Hong Kong, while production facilities are based in Shenzhen, where 300 workers produce about 200,000 pairs of women's and children's shoes, sandals and boots every month.
"The sandals are made of synthetic materials mainly from the mainland," says Lai. "However, for some designs we source special materials from the likes of Taiwan and Italy."
The sandals are priced between US$3.9-4.50 FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 1,000 pairs per style per colour delivered in 45-90 days depending on material, although the minimum shipment is container-based.
A slightly older but equally enthusiastic supplier is Moheir Industries, which was founded by Nari Primalani in 1987. "Our slippers are durable, they last longer and our prices are cheaper, so our sales are increasing," he claims.
Primalani puts his firm's success down to three factors: "Sincerity - we see the business from our customers' side - good pricing and delivery schedules."
Sales are increasing throughout Africa and Central and South America in particular. "Africa currently accounts for 60%, with 20% going to Europe and the Mediterranean," notes Primalani. "South and Central America are increasing the most - we have appointed agents there and also attend exhibitions to target this market."
Moheir plans to increase production capacity 30-70% this year by adding another 100-200 employees to its existing workforce of 300, which manufactures slippers from PE, PVC, PU and rubber, mostly sourced from Korea, Taiwan, Japan and Thailand.
Prices range from US$2-22 per pair FOB Hong Kong, depending on materials, for minimum orders that are container-based but "generally about 5,000-8,000 pairs", depending on style. "Delivery time can be as low as 25-30 days, although it is longer if customers want individual colours," adds Primalani.
Sweet-smelling jelly slippers are one of the highlights among the new collection from Champion Wealth Industrial (HK) Ltd. "We add a scent such as rose or apple to the plastic used to make the footwear," explains sales manager Ida Yeung.
"When customers pick it up in the store they can smell it and we hope it encourages them to buy - it also acts like aromatherapy and makes people feel good when they wear them."
Other popular styles include thong slippers with multicoloured prints or decorated with beads and buttons. Prices are US$0.50 per pair, FOB Hong Kong for minimum orders of 3,000 pairs per style/gender delivered in 30-60 days.
The company's design section keeps a close eye on the world's catwalks for inspiration - not just the actual footwear but trends in colour and decorations too. "Transparent materials, patterns and multicoloured straps will be popular this coming season," Yeung predicts.
She notes that the US is Champion Wealth's major market, accounting for some 40% of output, but has been decreasing in recent years as Europe becomes more active. "We are quite optimistic about Europe for the future," Yeung adds.
Champion Wealth attends the GDS International Footwear Fair in order to boost its presence in Europe. "Our factory has ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification - the latter is concerned with environmental factors and that is helpful when targeting new customers, especially Europeans."
Slipping up to Hong Kong to check out the superb selection of fancy slippers is a sure-fire way to slip on success in fashion-friendly markets worldwide.
WRITTEN BY ANN WILLIAMS
Champion Wealth Industrial
Unit P, 6/F
Yue Cheung Centre
1-3 Wong Chuk Yeung St
Fo Tan, New Territories
Dameng Footwear Co Ltd
HK Pacific Centre
28 Hankow Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
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