1 March 1999
Flat Out Comfort(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear,1999)
Flat Out Comfort
HIGH-HEELED shoes may steal the limelight, but flats and low heels have a firm foothold in almost every woman's closet. Hong Kong manufacturers provide a wide range of these comfortable classics in their seasonal collections.
"Our company's target is the young age group, between 18 and 30," says Steven Tung, general manager of Hung Fat Co, which makes shoes under the brand name Boloena. "The shoes we are doing right now are more innovative and fashionable, but our prices are really quite competitive." Typical FOB Hong Kong price for Hung Fat's flats is about US$5.30 a pair.
The company uses mainly PU and sometimes leather for its uppers, but in 1999 it has two special design features for women's flats: carpet velvet uppers and a sloping curved front part of the sole. The special uppers are a new trend, says Tung, because consumers get bored with leather and PU.
Founded in 1982, Hung Fat produces 400,000 pairs of women's and men's footwear monthly at its factory in Guangdong, mainland China. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs - which can be a mix of two styles - with delivery normally taking 30 days after confirmation of order. Major markets are Japan, the US and Europe.
The company uses e-mail and the Internet to communicate more efficiently with its customers. Rather than sending photographs of shoe styles through the post, Tung says digital images of the styles are sent via the Internet so customers can take a look and select a sample. Hung Fat plans to develop its Web site so customers can easily take a look at the images of new styles, which will be uploaded regularly.
Peninsula Shoes Co uses classic styles and high-quality lasts for its range of women's flats, says director Tommy Fong. "Our shoes are classic and definitely comfortable," he says, because instead of using paperboard for its insoles, the company uses three different types of material, which together are more flexible and less prone to damage. "Our customers have tested the different insole design and found it to be very comfortable," Fong adds.
Peninsula makes women's shoes and sandals under the brand names Sabatina and Belli from its factory in Zhongshan, on the mainland. It operates two production lines - one for shoes with PU uppers and another for leather uppers. The company produces 80,000 pairs of shoes every month, and its major markets are the Philippines and eastern Europe.
Minimum order is 1,000-1,500 pairs per style, with delivery 40-60 days after confirmation of order. FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$9 to $10, depending on the style and quantity.
Form Success Co Ltd uses all kinds of materials, including special croco PU, leather, nylon mesh, cotton mesh and silk, for its uppers. "We can go to Taiwan and get new materials because we have a company in Taiwan and can easily source materials," says merchandiser Thomas Ng.
Style H8233032-1 with croco PU and cotton mesh upper and rubber outsoles, and style H8233033 with nylon mesh and silk upper are two examples of how Form Success uses a combination of materials for a more stylish and dressy look. FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$4 for shoes with PU uppers and ordinary PVC soles, to US$8 for models with leather uppers and TPR outsoles. "We invite foreign designers to our factory and they suggest materials and styles," says Ng.
Founded in 1985, Form Success has its head office in Hong Kong, an office in Taiwan and another in Fujian, on the mainland. It makes 300,000 pairs of women's, men's and children's shoes each month at its factory in Dongguan, on the mainland. Major markets are Russia and the Middle East.
"Customers can give us any design and we can do it even if the quantity of the shoes isn't that much," says Nelson Lo, director of My Step Footwear Co Ltd. The company makes a range of low-heeled shoes, including ankle-length boots with black PU upper and TPR outsoles, and white leather flats with gold plaited trim. "Not many factories like to do this [gold plaited trim] because of the workmanship involved," says Lo.
FOB Hong Kong prices for My Step's flats range from US$5 to US$9, depending on the materials.
Although founded in 1997, Lo has more than 10 years' experience in the shoe business. My Step makes women's and children's shoes at its factory in Guangdong, on the mainland, for export mainly to Europe and the Middle East.
Minimum order is one TEU (mixed styles), although new customers are welcome to submit trial orders. Delivery takes 45-60 days after confirmation of order.
Written by Cindy Leong
GOING out for a hike in the hills or just a walk around town boils down to wearing a good pair of shoes. Hong Kong manufacturers offer a wide range of hiking boots designed for a bracing off-road clamber, as well as those that do double-duty as walking shoes.
At Road Mate Int'l Ltd, which makes more than 50 styles of hiking boots for men, comfort is a priority. Most of its models feature leather uppers and rubber soles. "We have some PU in the mid-sole and sock lining to keep the foot more comfortable when walking,?explains Sam Ng, export manager for the firm, in business since 1958.
Road Mate produces both traditional hiking boots and fashionable models with flexible, anti-slip soles. "We can also add coloured nylon trim for a decorative touch,?Ng adds.
High-cut, over-the-ankle styles are the most popular, but low- and medium-cuts are no problem to produce. Road Mate manufactures about 50,000 pairs of hiking boots per month. Half carry the firm's Road Mate brand name, and the rest are private labels.
FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$15 to US$20 per pair. Minimum order is 600 pairs, with delivery 60 days after order confirmation.
Specialising in women's and children's shoes, Cheung Kong Trading Co manufactures 3,000 pairs of hiking boots each month, about 40% of its total shoe production. Most are in fashion-oriented styles, with many featuring platform soles.
The boots are made of a combination of PU and leather, generally in high-cut, over-the-ankle styles. A new metallic-look boot is expected to be popular among women this year, says Phoebe Yu, manager at the 31-year-old firm.
Cheung Kong's prices range from US$5.30 to US$10 per pair FOB Hong Kong. It exports mainly to Europe and the Middle East but is looking to sell worldwide. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs per colour per style, and delivery is 50-60 days after order confirmation.
At Prime Wide Enterprises Ltd, high-cut boots with leather uppers and rubber soles are expected to be in demand for both men and women. The five-year-old firm has put its own spin on these perennial American favourites, jazzing up the traditional earth tones with fuchsia and lilac.
The boots are made of suede, full grain or colourful nubuck leather uppers and rubber bottoms, with inner Nylex linings. "We are trying to use interesting pastel colours but we can do any colour,?says Roy Lee, merchandising manager for this OEM firm. The boots sell for US$5-10 per pair FOB Hong Kong.
Prime Wide also manufactures a variety of other traditional and fashionable hiking boots with leather uppers and rubber outsoles, priced from US$8.50 to US$12 per pair.
The company makes 70,000 pairs of hiking boots per month and plans to develop more children's lines for this type of footwear. It requires a minimum order of 2,000 pairs, with delivery 45 days after order confirmation and receipt of an L/C.
Fu Tai Industrial Ltd manufactures more than 100 styles of hiking boots for men, women and children. Men's boots represent 70% of the orders, says Keith Cheung, sales manager at the seven-year-old firm.
Uppers are made of split leather; soles are rubber or thermal plastic rubber. Canvas trim is sometimes added for decoration. Most of the boots come in brown, black or navy, but customers can specify any colour. High-, medium- or low-cut styles are available.
Prices range from HK$30 to HK$45 per pair FOB Hong Kong, with a minimum order of up to three styles per TEU. Shipments go out 30 days after order confirmation.
Fu Tai sells mostly to Central and South America, but Cheung says the company is hoping to develop a new market in eastern Europe. Of the 30,000 pairs of hiking boots that Fu Tai manufactures monthly, 30% are sold with the brand names GAT or Elike; the rest are OEM orders.
Yasaki Int'l Co Ltd makes more than 30 styles of hiking boots for men, combining such materials as suede and canvas, or split leather, suede and nylon with PVC nubuck. The boots are priced from US$8 to US$15 per pair FOB Hong Kong.
Low to mid-ankle cuts sell best, says export manager Rosanna Li, because Yasaki exports mainly to hot-weather markets in the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South America.
Established in 1983, Yasaki also manufactures sports shoes, rackets and swimming goggles. All of its hiking boots carry either the company's Yasaki or Kamachi brand names.
The firm requires a minimum order of 2,000 pairs per model, with delivery 60 days after order confirmation.
Written by Andrea Pawlyna
Fashion Fabric Shoes
WITH comfort and style the prime considerations when buying footwear, fabric shoes are always in hot demand, and the wide selection from Hong Kong manufacturers is well in step with the latest fashions. The thick wedge soles currently so popular with the younger generation, for example, feature regularly in this season's selection, along with the more traditional styles.
Man Fung Hong offers a women's cement shoe with corduroy upper and a thick 5mm PVC heel in a cool curvy design (US$2.30 FOB Hong Kong a pair). Other styles include a women's canvas cement shoe in a lime-green colour with a 5mm PVC heel (US$2.80 per pair), and a more traditional "desert" style canvas boot in bright yellow (US$1.60 a pair).
"We have our own factories in [mainland] China, which enables us to have good quality and price control. Our prices are very reasonable," explains Man Fung Hong's business executive Celia Ngan.
The company has been in business since 1980, with its main markets in Latin America, the Middle East and Africa. Mini-mum order is one TEU and delivery takes about 45 days after receipt of a firm order.
A wide range of nylon and canvas shoes is available from Jumbo Holdings Development Ltd, either in the popular sports shoe style, the more classic deck shoe style, or a combination of both.
"We're offering something new to the market," says senior sales executive Betty Leung. "We have our own thick outsoles developed in Taiwan and sometimes use suede instead of canvas or nylon, which produces shoes with a sporty looking upper and a more casual-style bottom. They're like two shoes in one, and teenagers in particular like them.?The nylon Crwiser shoe with suede trimming and the Buzu shoe with a basketball motif on the tongue both have hefty 7.5mm PVC soles to appeal to younger customers. For the more conventional, lace-up deck shoes come in either nylon or canvas, in eye-catching colours like bright red and mauve.
Prices, which depend on the materials and the size of the order, are available on request. Minimum order is usually one TEU or 1,500 pairs per style per colour, for delivery within 45 days of order confirmation.
Jumbo Holdings employs 500 workers in its two factories in mainland China and sells predominantly to the US, Japan, South Africa, South America and Europe. Bright, bold designs and colours are what have helped canvas shoes made by Strong Rich Int'l Ltd sell all over the world. Its children's range is particularly diversified and attractive. One style in bright red features a ribbon around the edge of the tread, featuring letters from the alphabet and attractive teddy-bear-and-apple motif. This model sells for about US$1.14 FOB Hong Kong a pair.
Another slip-on style in dark navy with a stripy interior lining features a friendly sailor figure on the toe and is priced at US$0.97 a pair.
"Designs like these are very popular with customers," says Strong Rich's manager Shirley Ngan. "They know the children will like the strong colours and attractive features.?Whether slip-ons or lace-ups, the company's styles are all made of strong, durable canvas in a variety of strong colours, often with different-coloured laces for an attractive contrast.
Minimum order is 400 dozen of any style, with delivery usually within 30 days of order confirmation.
China Island Enterprises Ltd makes all types of shoes, with a particular emphasis on sandals and fabric shoes and slippers for men, women and children. These include a large range of simple, classic canvas slip-on and lace shoes with normal rubber heels and trim in bold colours.
Prices range from US$1.45 FOB Hong Kong for a children's pair with a sturdy rubber toe to protect the feet, to US$1.90 for an adult pair.
China Island also offers a few styles made of a mesh fabric which allows all of the foot, except the toes and heel, to be seen.
"Our products show we pay attention to quality and pricing," says marketing manager Vicky Wong. "We have many years?experience producing fabric shoes and are able to work with customers on particular designs.
Minimum order is about 3,000 pairs, with delivery usually within 30-45 days. The firm exports mainly to Portugal, Australia, the US and Chile.
The range from Man Fung Hong includes women's cement shoes with denim, canvas and corduroy uppers.
Written by Nina Hayward
Children's Sports Shoes
WITH style-conscious end users, the children's sports shoes sector is a demanding one. Hong Kong manufacturers, always flexible, have risen to the challenge and continue to meet the needs of its customers for practical but fashionable footwear.
With nearly 20 years?experience in the business, Shing On Plastic Shoe & Garment Industries Co is well placed to understand the market. "We have a strong customer base in both Europe and the US, and we are building on our exports to the Middle East and South America. Our emphasis has always been on quality and not on making the cheapest possible shoes," explains manager Elton PY Chong.
Shing On uses synthetic and natural materials and has a wide range of designs, styles and colours. It has two brands - Bifeng and Bate - and also manufactures to special customer requirements. Its own styles include children's low-cut trekking shoes (7684), in blue or black suede, priced at US$5 per pair FOB Hong Kong; running shoes (80389), in light-blue, at US$4.20 a pair; and children's sneakers (98148), in green or black canvas, at US$2 per pair.
Shing On requires a minimum order of one TEU, and delivers 45-50 days after confirmation of order.
Established in 1996, Grand Step (HK) Ltd is a more recent arrival on the Hong Kong shoe scene. It counts a large number of children's sports shoes in its range, including designs in suede, mesh nylon, PVC, PU and nubuck. Most of its children's shoes come in two size brackets - 22-27 for infants and 28-34 for older children.
Grand Step's range includes model G08697, with artificial suede and mesh nylon upper, priced at US$3.15 per pair; model G07644 in PVC/PU nubuck, at US$4 a pair; and hiker model G09559 in artificial suede, at US$4.60 per pair. All prices quoted are FOB Hong Kong and are for the smaller size bracket.
"Synthetics are particularly popular in this market, and we use high-quality materials imported from Taiwan and [South] Korea. We are at the upmarket end of the industry, with most of our customers based in Europe and South Africa," says sales manager Nitin Tahilramani.
Grand Step has a minimum order of 1,500 pairs per range per style, and delivers 45-60 days after confirmation of order.
Most of the manufacturing is for customers?own labels, although Grand Step has its own brands, Ardi and Belladonna. "We have earned a good reputation through our in-house design team and its commitment to design, and our attention to service," says Tahilramani.
Toneast Footwear Ltd has also built a reputation based on service, along with prompt delivery and competitive pricing. It produces about 200,000 pairs of shoes every month, for customers based in South America, the Middle East, South Africa and Europe.
"We have our own designs and keep up with the latest trends, and we also offer tailor-made products. Our factory is in [mainland] China, where we have the capability to produce a wide range of styles and colours," explains managing director Lee Kong Nam.
Toneast has a popular range of children's PVC sports shoes, ranging in European size from 15 to 27, and priced from US$0.95 to US$2 per pair FOB Hong Kong. The company has a minimum order of one TEU, and delivers 30 days after confirmation of order.
D & T Import and Export Co Ltd was founded in Hong Kong in 1992 and produces about 200,000 pairs of shoes each month, of which children's sports styles make up about 20%. "We manufacture for babies, children and youths, offering many designs and colours - normally under our customers?own brand names," says sales manager Crystal Du.
Model GM048061, in nubuck/PVC, features flashing lights in the soles and sells for US$5; model GM130011 with suede upper is $5.50 per pair; and model KS016012 in action leather sells for US$5.30 a pair. All prices are FOB Hong Kong and depend on a minimum order of 2,000 pairs per style per gender.
D & T delivers within 45 days of confirmation of order. "We are an honest company, our quality is very good, and we deliver when we say we will. That's why customers return to us," concludes Du.
Written by Simon Saunders
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