17 April 2008
Gadget Gear(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2008)
Portable Device Cases
The revolution in mobile telephony and personal entertainment players that has occurred at breathtaking speed in recent years has proved a boon for one small leather goods manufacturer.
Jun Yip Int'l Ltd began operations in 1989 making wallets and small leather goods, but Manager Iris Cheung explains that a particularly successful area of its business recently has been cases for portable media players and mobile telephones.
"We make iPod cases for Apple and cellphone cases for Motorola and Nokia," she reveals. "The demand for iPod cases is very robust because iPods are selling very well, and there is still strong demand for cellphones, which is unlikely to change."
According to Ms Cheung, the company has based its business development on a focus on quality manufacturing and customer service, and its products are all positioned at the medium- to high-end of the market.
"Our FOB unit prices range from around US$3 for a small wallet and go up for bigger wallets or those made of leather," she says, adding that leather is more expensive than PVC. "We require a minimum order of 500 pieces, and we can usually deliver in around 30 days, depending on the availability of materials."
Jun Yip's major markets are the US, Canada, Europe and Japan, and it sources its raw materials - leather and PVC - in China and Korea, although leather is also imported from Brazil and Italy.
The company has its own factory in Dongguan, southern China, where it employs some 1,000 workers who make approximately 300,000 iPod and cellphone cases per month.
Jun Yip can manufacture cases to customer specifications, but it also develops some 20 new designs per month of its own to give customers new options to explore. "Our most popular cellphone cases are made from leather, while most of those for iPods are made from PVC," Ms Cheung advises.
Although it now has a reputation as a specialist in manufacturing high-quality cases for small electronic appliances, Jun Yip is highly versatile and can supply a wide range of leather goods.
Ms Cheung notes that the company can also produce 90,000 wallets and 20,000 handbags per month, as well as belts, organisers, camera cases and key rings.
"We have ISO 9001 certification, because sound quality management is fundamental to our business and quality is very important to our customers," she maintains.
Ms Cheung reveals that Jun Yip is currently establishing a new factory in Sichuan in southwestern China, which will be ready to begin production in July. "Some 500 people will work there initially, making small leather goods and handbags," she says. "The new factory will be able to produce around 100,000 handbags per month."
The decision to open a second manufacturing facility on the mainland was taken in response to a clear customer need for greater handbag production capacity as bags are an area the company perceives as a growth opportunity.
Ms Cheung explains that established customers ordering wallets were keen to source matching handbags from the same company, and Jun Yip decided that it had to be in a position to meet their needs.
"A lot of our business is with clients with whom we have built up good long-term relationships," she notes, adding that the company works very closely with its customers and can help them develop new concepts or produce designs that meet their requirements.
Although it has not ruled out developing a brand of its own in the future, Jun Yip currently focuses on OEM/ODM business, designing, merchandising and shipping from its Hong Kong headquarters. "Our customers come and visit us here in Hong Kong, and if they have time they will visit our factory in China," Ms Cheung explains.
Perhaps because of its connection to the fast moving hi-tech gadget business, the company's management is acutely aware that successful companies do not stand still.
As well as nurturing relationships with established customers Jun Yip works constantly to generate new orders from new working relationships.
"We advertise and participate in trade exhibitions, and the Internet is also now a very important part of our marketing mix," Ms Cheung explains. "Our website has emerged as a very useful marketing tool - every day we receive enquiries from potential new customers."
TEXT BY ROBERT PIERCE