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Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags Vol 2, 2010: Supplier Spotlight: Leather Goods

Natural Evolution
 
Natural Evolution

Naturalist Charles Darwin’s garden might seem an unlikely source for the name for a line of high-quality leather goods, but it made perfect sense to Sandwalk (FE) Ltd manager Martin Lai.

“Darwin had a garden called Sandwalk where he did a lot of his thinking, so I had this idea of a brand connected to nature and evolution and that’s how it started,” explains Mr Lai.

Sandwalk was established in 2007 as a subsidiary of the 35-year-old Elegance group — a successful OEM manufacturer of optical frames, cases and sunglasses — to enable the group to build its own brand and diversify into other products.

“We didn’t want to tie ourselves down in the optical field, so we decided to build Sandwalk as a lifestyle brand — a modern unisex classic that leans towards men,” Mr Lai says.

Sandwalk does make optical frames as well as timepieces and silver cufflinks, but the main emphasis is on high-quality leather goods such as wallets, bags, travel pouches, belts and wristbands as well as passport, camera, cigarette, document and business card cases.

Wallets are the most popular line, according to Mr Lai. “We subcontract production to a leather manufacturer in Shenzhen, but we import and stock our own leather and do our own designs,” he notes.

Sandwalk products are positioned at the medium-to-high end. “For example, the retail price for a normal wallet is approximately HK$500 and travel wallets go up to about HK$100-1,300,” Mr Lai adds.

Natural Evolution
Belts and wallets are just part of Sandwalk (FE) Ltd's extensive leather goods catalogue

Mr Lai designs most of the products himself, deriving inspiration from the raw material, his passion for fine leathers and particular fondness for nubuck.

He began to experiment with nubuck imported from the US and was impressed with the results, and also began to work with Italian coloured-wash leathers for Sandwalk’s nature line.

All the leathers are highly durable — nubuck, for example, has a life expectancy of 20 years or more.

“I choose leathers which, the more you use them, become softer and change their texture,” Mr Lai avers.Although he has been working mostly with leather, Mr Lai is beginning to look at combining leather and fabric and is also developing more cufflinks — for both sexes.

“The first collection was quite conventional but then we moved into carving figurines and recently produced a collection of silver cufflinks with mother-of-pearl inlay,” Mr Lai observes.

Available at retail outlets in Hong Kong and Guangzhou, Sandwalk products are sold overseas through agency arrangements in Japan, South Africa and Canada.

The company welcomes enquiries fromretailers interested in stocking its products. “We don’t have minimum order quantities, but obviously there are different prices for very small orders,” Mr Lai says. “We usually have enough stock in hand to fulfil orders immediatelybut larger orders generally take about 45 days after confirmation.”

Despite Elegance’s success in the OEM/ODM business, Mr Lai is adamantthat Sandwalk will remain a proprietary brand. “We get a lot of repeat customers and give one-year guarantees,” Mr Lai concludes. “We stand behind our products.”

 

FAST FACTS
 
Sandwalk (FE) Ltd
Rms B2 & B4, 8/F, Blk B
Mai Hing Ind Bldg
16-18 Hing Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2951-6032
Fax: 852-2951-7464
Email: mail@sandwalkstudio.com
Web: www.sandwalkstudio.com
www.hktdc.com/em/sandwalk
Year Established: -
Major Product Categories: leather goods, silver cufflinks, optical frames
Own Brands & Certificates: Sandwalk
Minimum Order: -
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: -
Factory Size & Location: -
Workforce: -
 
 
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