17 April 2008
Hitting The Highway(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2008)
Whether traversing the globe or crossing the street, backpacks have become ubiquitous for getting gear from here to there
Once the domain of serious hikers and adventurers, backpacks have evolved into carriers of all shapes and sizes, with pockets, buckles, flaps and zip-up options as boundless as the designer's imagination.
These handy helpmates appeal to people of all ages in all geographic areas, though one huge - and obvious - market for backpacks is children and teenagers.
Recognising the market potential, Tiger Enterprise Corp has dedicated its efforts to ensuring the best and safest backpacks for school, sport and lifestyle, including endless fun designs to keep youngsters happy.
For example, the Tigerpera Nonso rucksack (model 8219) for young teens features advanced padding and multipurpose pockets, as well as the company's special antibacterial nanotechnology coating that ensures the bag is well protected from germs. "This great design makes it one of the best-selling items in our range," Sales Manager Betty Chan says of the Nonso.
She adds that the nano-treated material also has a water-repellent component that ensures watery spills bead up and can be easily wiped away. "Our treated material is also UV-protected, odour-free and long-lasting, and the lasting protection of the nano coating ensures the quality of our products," Ms Chan assures.
Tiger Enterprise is also proud of its line of school bags, which weigh as little as 930 grams. "We use environmentally friendly materials that are carefully tested in accordance with European standards by our own laboratory, which has been awarded the Laboratory Accreditation Certificate (CNAS L1480) and Multilatered Recognition Arrangement (LAC MRA)," Ms Chan advises. "Customers know and trust our brand more than any other."
Meanwhile, customisation is key to the success of Grand Supersac Co Ltd, whose Assistant Managing Director Jeffrey Lee proudly points out the Crinkle Twill Polyester Backpack (model GB-12042BY).
Available in various colour choices and trims, it is one of the most popular designs in the company's climber bag collection and is made with the highest quality twill nylon, he says.
"The bright colour and distinct logo are complemented by this backpack's very slight weight," Mr Lee notes, adding that it is good gear for the great outdoors.
The design is extremely functional with classic compartmentalisation - inside are organiser and laptop pockets providing protection for the user's media equipment. "We're very proud of this in-house design of a product suitable for any function or season," Mr Lee adds.
Buyers are equally impressed, with Grand Supersac models like the Crinkle Twill Polyester Backpack proving extremely popular in European markets, selling in excess of 300,000 units last year alone.
Mr Lee claims Grand Supersac designers are "up for any challenge" and have no boundaries to their creativity. "We focus on quality workmanship, and backpacks and sports bags are our specialty areas," he concludes.
Similarly creative, Miu Sum Trading Co Ltd prides itself on funky designs and a vivid imagination when it comes to fulfilling client needs in terms of brand names and designs.
Miu Sum Merchandiser Jeann Ng says polyester backpack Model A16105 is a great example of a hip, colourful design that has thrilled its clients. "This backpack shows what a cool design can do to sell a product," she claims. "It's a great travelling companion and easy to identify on a luggage rack at an airport or bus station."
Ms Ng says polyester is great for handling all kinds of weather conditions, but adds that Miu Sum also produces models in a variety of other materials including cotton and canvas.
"We can also work up a customer's brand name in print, as with the A16105, or embroidery, which makes for a great effect when a buyer wants a little more sophistication," she adds.
Miu Sum also specialises in waist bags, travel bags with trolleys, shoulder bags, cooler bags and so on. "If it's a bag, you name it and we can do it," Ms Ng insists.
Quality & durability
Focusing on a smaller market segment, Join Winner Industrial Ltd carries only a few designs in its backpack range and believes in focusing on product quality and durability.
Merchandiser Barry Wang says PVC, nylon and polyester are the main materials used to provide both strength and protection in harsh weather. "Our backpack model JW070023 is a perfect example," he says. "It is made of tough polyester and PVC and the back buckle design feature gives it a good rugged look."
Mr Wang believes model JW070023 looks good and will wear well, especially in the harsh weather conditions often found in Europe, where it is marketed. "It's perfect for camping or travelling - a real all-rounder," he insists.
Join Winner also produces travel and duffle bags from the same materials. "We have a broad range of colours and styles, depending on clients' choices," Mr Wang explains. "Whether it's good looks, functionality or weather-proofing, we can provide top-quality products with a quick turnaround - usually about 45 days."
So, whether users are hitting the highway or simply slipping off to school, it's clear that Hong Kong backpack manufacturers always produce the best bags.
TEXT BY JOHN CHURCH