1 Oct 2002
Half-Century Craft(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 04,2002)
Garwa Handbag (Mfg) Co Ltd
A constant commitment to quality and craftsmanship has won Garwa handbags a loyal following all over the world.
DILIGENT pursuit of reliable quality and intricate craftsmanship has kept Garwa Handbag (Mfg) Co Ltd prosperous for five decades. Initially serving only the domestic market, the company now exports to Germany, the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, Southeast Asia and beyond.
"We have been in the business for more than 50 years, although we registered as a limited company only in 1987. Garwa is our family business passed to the third generation. We have never lost a client due to quality problems," boasts managing director Nicholas Leung.
"Our products are never returned by consumers. That is why even if our prices may be slightly higher, buyers still return to us. Loyal customers like John Lewis of the UK have bought from us for more than 20 years."
Relying on vast experience with evening bags, Garwa has developed a specialty in gluing that empowers the company to produce high-quality daytime handbags. The adhesive method combines perfectly with sewing procedures necessary to produce contemporary handbags with intricate workmanship.
"We were among the few manufacturers to start investing in automatic machinery 20 years ago. Now 80% of our equipment is computerized, which upgrades our quality and productivity," says Leung.
In the 1980s, Garwa moved its factory to Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland. The company's 250 workers can produce 40,000 pieces a month. Minimum order is 500 pieces per style for shipment within 45 days.
Working on OEM and ODM orders, Garwa develops an average of 1,000 new styles per year for customers' selection.
"We are quite specific about our choice of materials, ensuring they are made to the desired silhouette and visual effect. Very often it is our materials that first attract a customer's attention. Then our thoughtful construction and styling details give the designs a unique touch," says Leung.
Usually Garwa uses materials from South Korea, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan, but can source from Japan and Italy upon request. Satin, silk and brocade are popular for evening styles while imitation suede is gaining momentum after the recent rave of micro-fibre, PVC and patent PVC.
Targeted at the middle-high market, Garwa's satin bags in simple designs usually cost US$2 FOB Hong Kong each, while larger PVC handbags with more complicated details are US$6-7.
Three years ago, Garwa diversified into a new line of girls' bags, mainly for the US market.
"These bags in smaller sizes and soft construction are really cute for little girls. I'm amazed when buyers tell me some parents buy them as toys. Some styles are even used for decorating babies' cribs," says Leung.
So far, market response has been extremely encouraging. Costing US$1-1.50 FOB Hong Kong, these girls' bags now generate non-US enquiries too. Shipments exceed 130,000 pieces per season. With the coming lot, Leung expects to sell 200,000.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Garwa Handbag (Mfg) Co Ltd
Flat F, 21/F, Phase 2,
Superluck Ind Centre,
57 Sha Tsui Rd, Tsuen Wan,
New Territories, Hong Kong
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