14 Oct 2004
Hong Kong Leather Goods & Bags
Hitting The Road
Polyester trolley cases and tote bags from Associated Industrial Co Ltd make sturdy luggage carriers
Why lug a heavy suitcase around when soft, lightweight luggage and travel bags offer flexibility and ease? That's the question more and more consumers worldwide are asking themselves - especially those aware of the beautifully crafted travel sets produced by Hong Kong companies.
Whether destined for the airport or sported around town, quality bags such as those produced by Associated Industrial Co Ltd definitely stand out from the crowd. The 37-year-old firm is a standard setter when it comes to manufacturing soft luggage and related travel items such as duffle bags, flight bags and tote bags.
In recent years, simpler, lightweight pieces in polyester or nylon and the use of metal or plastic frames that help the luggage maintain its shape have become a trend, according to export director Frankie Lee.
"We are using a thinner backing and more aluminium or lightweight plastic such as PP or PE instead of ABS," he explains. "People also don't want a design that's too complicated, such as too many pockets on the outside - they would rather have the pockets inside."
Associated offers both low-medium (US$10-15 per piece FOB Hong Kong) and medium-high luggage ranges (US$15-30 per item). The mostly OEM manufacturer has a minimum order requirement of 300 pieces and delivers 60 days after order confirmation. ODM and its own Bon Voyage brand account for 20% of orders, with Europe, Australia and the US its major markets.
Meanwhile, at Hing Time Luggage And Bags Ltd the focus is on luggage trolley cases and carry-on travel bags made of polyester, nylon or a combination of PVC and nylon/polyester.
The company's three- or four-piece sets sell for US$28-40 FOB Hong Kong, while carry-on items range from US$7-10 per unit and shoulder travel bags are US$3-5 each.
Hing Time releases 10 new styles every quarter and has added a locking mechanism to the handle extension for ease of use. "This keeps the handle in place so it doesn't slide," says director Raymond Pang. "Our customers also like to have two pockets in front and some rubber protection at the corners."
Minimum orders of 300 pieces are delivered 60 days after order confirmation to major markets such as the EU, Australia and the US, although Pang says the 11-year-old company hopes to expand its sales to South America. "We've already started selling in Argentina," he adds.
Nylon, PVC, PU or polyester travel bags, backpacks, handbags and waist bags are big sellers for Daily Fund Enterprises Ltd. "We do more nylon than anything else because customers like it, it is lighter than polyester, stronger and easy to clean," explains marketing director David Lim.
The ISO 9001-certified company produces 300,000 pieces per month at its 100,000-square-foot, 500-worker factory in Zhongshan on the Chinese mainland.
Lim says "dressier looks" without too many complicated features are most in demand at present. "People want simple designs and a single colour like black - although we sell a small percentage in purple, light green and cobalt blue," he adds.
The US is the three-year-old company's biggest market, with 60% of sales, although Europe, Australia and South America are also major sales outlets.
OEM orders constitute 70% of business with ODM, including the firm's Dandy brand, accounting for the remainder. Minimum order is 5,000 pieces and shipments are delivered 30 days after order confirmation.
A leading specialist in leather handbags and small leather goods is C-Corp (HK) Co Ltd, which has more than 30 years in the industry, having started business as a leather trader.
The company offers a range of in-house handbags made of top-grain cow leather and sheepskin sourced mainly from Italy, Spain and the US. "We can also buy stock leather and get a better price for that because we buy by weight rather than by length," explains director Matthew Chow.
The leather handbags are available under C-Corp's Soda Pop, Dot, C-Bags, Mexi Mexi, Finesse and Mass Movers brands, which account for 70% of the firm's output of 20,000 bags per month from mainland factories in Dongguan and Guangxi Province. The remainder is high-end OEM and ODM production.
One of the newest Soda Pop collections, aimed at women 18-30 years old, features brightly coloured nylon bags with leather trim priced from US$2.20-3.20 per piece FOB Hong Kong. Functional, full-leather bags with pockets as a main theme start from US$4-30 each, with brown and black the most popular colours. "Styling is geared to the growing baby-boomer market consisting of women 40-plus years of age," Chow notes.
Minimum orders are negotiable and deliveries are shipped 45-60 days after order confirmation. "Delivery is immediate if inventory is available," Chow adds.
Which is why smart consumers with an eye for style are increasingly choosing travel sets from Hong Kong when it comes time to hit the road.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Associated Industrial Co Ltd
22/F, Blk B
Young Ya Ind Bldg
381-9 Sha Tsui Rd
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Hing Time Luggage And Bags Ltd
Shun Fat Ind Bldg
17 Wang Hoi Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Miu Sum Trading Co Ltd
Flat F, 4/F, Stage 4
Golden Dragon Ind Centre
190 Tai Lin Pai Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|