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IF THE SHOE FITS(HKTDC Fashion - Footwear, Vol 02,2000)

Vol. 2 2000


PRODUCT FEATURES

IF THE SHOE FITS
High-heeled Footwear

FEET FIRST
Hiking & Safety Shoes

FEATS OF LEARNING
School Shoes

SLIPPING INTO COMFORT
Indoor Slippers

 

IF THE SHOE FITS

High-heeled Footwear

IN almost every woman's closet there's always room for a pair of high-heeled shoes to make that emphatic fashion statement. Hong Kong shoemakers have plenty to fit the bill, from stylish pumps to slinky sling-backs and show-stopping ankle boots. also included in their line-up is the classic stiletto, arguably the quintessential high-heeled shoe.

The stiletto heel is a feature of the Celine Dion brand made under licence by Patty Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Hong Kong shoe manufacturer and exporter New Wing Shoes Fty Co Ltd. According to marketing executive Winnie Wong, all designs and materials for this line have to be approved by the Canadian chanteuse before production can proceed.

For example, model C225-019, a knee-length, two-inch-high, stiletto boot featuring genuine crystal detailing, is very special in the Celine Dion line. "It is handmade using our black 'Pesca' fabric, and the purple-coloured crystal is stitched by hand -- it's quite an expensive shoe," says Wong, adding the FOB Hong Kong price is available on request.

Another Dion-approved style is model C182-139, a grey satin pump with buckle, featuring baby-pink kid piping. Price is available on request.

The company has three lines, aimed at pleasing all segments in its major markets of mainland China, Japan, Taiwan and the US. "Celine Dion is for the elegant woman, Max Studio is for the young and new graduates, and Patty shoes are for the lower end of the market," explains Wong.

Patty's factory in Dongguan, mainland China, produces 10,000 pairs of shoes a day. Minimum order is negotiable, says Wong, while the average lead time is 30 days, depending on the style. Materials -- leather, fabric and PU -- mostly come from Italy.

Keeping a firm foothold in the low-end to middle-range of the market is Qualfoot Co Ltd. It specializes in exporting PVC and PU shoes made in mainland Chinese factories to Europe, Australia, Canada and, particularly, the US. Its clients include major US firms Avon, K-Mart and Wal-Mart. According to director Ammon Luk, FOB Hong Kong prices range from US$4 to US$8 a pair, depending on the style and material.

Luk predicts croco, snakeskin and sequins will be the "wannabe" looks of the next season. Among Qualfoot's line is model 5027, a sequinned, slip-on sandal with a flattened high heel, priced at about US$5.20 a pair FOB Hong Kong. Model A9933-12, a PU snakeskin sling-back sandal with a stiletto heel, sells for US$5.80 a pair. Heels range between 1.5-3 inches high, depending on the customer. Minimum order is 1,200 pairs per model, with delivery 60-70 days after receipt of L/C.

Apart from sourcing shoes from other factories, Qualfoot runs its own manufacturing operation in Dongguan, southern China, which accounts for about 10% of its business.

The middle-range to high-end of the market is well served by My Step Footwear Co Ltd, which supplies ladies' leather and PU fashion shoes to customers in Australia, Europe and Japan.

Its high-heeled range features ankle boots in leather and velvet, made to the company's in-house designs. Model 296-2066 is a stylish, calf-leather ankle boot, inset with chequered panels, featuring a squared toe and squared heel. FOB Hong Kong price is US$18 a pair. Another style is model 215-247, a velvet ankle boot with a slim heel and pointed toe, selling for US$9 a pair. Both styles can be made in the client's choice of colour.

Although My Step Footwear, established in 1997, is a relative newcomer to the industry, the company's director, Nelson Lo, is no novice.

"My father was a shoemaker -- he ran a footwear factory in Hong Kong and then [mainland] China for more than 30 years -- so I have a good knowledge of the industry," says Lo. "I know what customers want and how to make a good shoe."

Monthly production at the company's factory in Shantou, southern China, is 20,000-30,000 pairs. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs in mixed styles and colours. Delivery time is 30-60 days. Raw materials are sourced from the mainland, Japan, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan.

Circle Shoes Co Ltd caters to the middle market, counting well-known American brands among its OEM clients. According to manager Francis Fong, one of the company's strengths is being able to meet the quality, quantity and delivery requirements of its customers. FOB Hong Kong prices for individual models, depending on the materials used, range from US$8-15 per pair.

Its high-heeled range includes model 6246, a cowgirl-inspired, low-cut leather boot with fringing, a cut-out pattern and squared heel, and model 8992, a classic pump with cut-out detailing and a delicate bow.

Specializing in shoes, handbags and eveningwear, the company regularly sponsors the shoes and gowns for Hong Kong's beauty pageant contestants and is frequently asked to custom-make the shoes for local TV variety shows.

Circle Shoe's 1,800-worker factory in Shenzhen, on the mainland, turns out 100,000 pairs of shoes a month. Minimum order is 50 pairs of shoes in any style and combination, for delivery 20 days after order confirmation.

WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG


FEET FIRST

Hiking & Safety Shoes

HONG Kong suppliers are putting their best feet forward to produce ever better hiking and safety shoes, which stand out in strength and durability.

Kong Cheong Enterprise Development Ltd makes industrial safety shoes and boots in leather -- such as buffalo -- which contains a semi-permeable membrane for transpiration. Waterproof items feature Cambrella or velvet lining with EVA padding, steel toe caps resistant to an impact of 200 joules, and anti-perforation steel midsoles. Dual-density, PU-injection outsoles are light, anti-slip and resistant to oil, abrasion and shock. The shoes and boots come with padded velvet movable insoles for softness and absorption. The range meets the EN345 standard.

"They are designed especially for workmen: they are durable, comfortable, fashionable and light," says import and export executive Connie Chung.

The manufacturer also produces hiking shoes and boots with materials such as crazy horse leather, cow suede and nubuck.

The firm's safety and hiking footwear is available in colours such as black or brown. Materials are imported from India, the Netherlands, South Korea and mainland China. "The source depends on the customer's specification and price target," Chung says.

Prices for the safety shoes and hiking boots collection are available on request. Minimum order is 500 pairs, for delivery 45 days after order confirmation.

Set up in 1989, Kong Cheong turns out about 200,000 pairs of safety shoes, hiking shoes and leather shoes under its Rockstar brand each month. Its 300-worker factory is located in Guangzhou, southern China. It sells to Fiji, France, Hong Kong, Italy, mainland China, the Philippines, Singapore and the UK.

Road Mate Int'l Ltd uses cowhide, including nubuck and full-grain leather, sourced from mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan and the US. The safety boots are fitted with steel toes and plates.

"They meet the EN345 European standard," marketing executive Wilson Chen stresses. "Without the steel toes and plates, the same models become hiking footwear. They are durable. With thick rubber soles, they do not wear so much. They are also fashion shoes -- they can be worn as a fashion statement."

Minimum order is 300 pairs per style per colour and lead time is 75 days. Established in 1994, the firm produces 600,000 pairs of workboots and hiking shoes per month.

The company's free lines are labeled Road-mate, while those produced according to customers' designs carry the clients' brand names.

Major markets are Canada, Europe, the Middle East and the US. Road Mate runs a Guangzhou factory with 7,000 workers.

M2C Shoebiz makes safety and hiking shoes and winter boots in leather, including action leather and rambler buffalo variations. "The outside is EVA. The lining is Taibrelle," says financial manager Johnny Chan.

The collection comes in different heights, usually 6-8 inches. The safety range is fitted with steel toes and plates. Raw materials come from India, mainland China, South Korea, Taiwan and the US.

Shoes with steel parts sell for about US$15.90 per pair FOB Tianjin. Footwear without steel parts is about US$13.80 per pair. M2C Shoebiz carries out OEM at its 800-worker production facility in Tianjin, northern China.

"Our products can meet all the standards worldwide," Chan says. "There is no minimum order size. Delivery time depends on the order quantity and product model."

The enterprise markets its shoes worldwide, including in Canada, Germany and the US.

Durability and competitive pricing are the strengths of the cow suede hiking shoes produced by Fu Tai Industrial Ltd, according to sales manager Keith Cheung. "The soles are made of thermal plastic rubber, which is light and durable," he says. The materials come from mainland China and Taiwan. The range sells for HK$35-40 (US$4.49-5.13) per pair FOB Xiamen, in Fujian province on the mainland, where the manufacturer's 500-worker factory is located.

Founded in 1991, the OEM concern makes 100,000 pairs of hiking shoes, sports shoes and work shoes per month. Minimum order is one TEU, with a lead time of 30 days. Major markets are Central and South America and eastern Europe.

Among the hiking footwear produced by Evermax Industrial Ltd is a series made of PU and leather, which are sourced from South Korea and Taiwan. "These can function as safety shoes if reinforced with steel," says spokesperson Sarah Li. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs, and delivery usually takes a month.

Evermax makes 100,000 pairs of different types of shoes a month at its Fujian factory, on the mainland, with 300-400 workers. The company provides designs to customers, whose brand names appear on the products. Li says the main markets include Europe, the Middle East and South America.

WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE


FEATS OF LEARNING

School Shoes

CHOOSING the right footwear for school can prove difficult and time-consuming. Fortunately, Hong Kong suppliers facilitate the selection process by providing an extensive range of smart shoes.

P & T Trading Co has nine years of experience and offers a comprehensive range for boys or girls. Model 001 for boys is made from PU and priced at US$3.50. The company's girls' shoes, in a variety of styles with either thin or wide straps, wedged or normal heels, are feminine and trendy. Models V10-1396 and F-561, both with bows, are priced at US$3.70. Other models range from US$2.60-3.60. All prices are FOB Hong Kong.

European sizes 22-34 are available. For Asian markets, the sizes are 15-24. Minimum order is 1,000 pairs per style and colour. Delivery follows order confirmation by 45 days.

"Our shoes are durable and comfortable. We hope to extend our markets worldwide. Every year we provide a new collection to show our designs," says P & T manager Priscilla Wong.

The company's 800-worker factory in Dongguan, mainland China, is busy most of the year.

Established in 1993, Pioneer Industrial Ltd produces shoes for men, ladies and children. The extensive children's range starts at US$2.40-3.60 FOB Hong Kong.

Pioneer merchandiser Ricky Hung describes the styles as simple, yet comfortable. Sizes extend from 28 to 34 in black or white. The minimum order is 1,500 pairs, with delivery taking 30-60 days.

The materials include PU uppers, pig-skin linings and TPR outsoles from Taiwan and mainland China.

"We can offer competitive prices while specializing in high quality, so we hope our shoes will become well known all over the world. Since we provide excellent service, our clients are highly satisfied," says Hung.

Pioneer has a 300-worker, three-floor factory in Shenzhen, mainland China. Its major markets are Europe, Australia, France, the UK, Germany and Canada.

Leader Trading Co is a major exporter proud of its strong, productive relationship with factories. Launched more than a decade ago to export shoes, boots, sandals and slippers, this enterprise offers a diverse range of children's shoes that are fashionable, yet casual, basic and suitable for school. Black and white are available, depending on models, at prices ranging from US$2.75-3.95 FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 1,200 pairs, with delivery taking 30-45 days after receipt of a letter of credit.

Leader Trading manager Helen Tam says, "We guarantee good quality and prompt shipment. Our plans involve developing more styles with new materials at competitive prices. We want to meet different customer and market needs."

The company's target markets are Europe, South America, the Middle East and Asia.

Hong-Tech Footwear Co, founded in 1996, is happy catering to different customers. Marketing executive Catherine Siu says, "We have our own styles, but also welcome customers to provide their designs. Then we can supply samples, according to their needs."

The company makes a variety of boys' school shoes priced at US$3.10 FOB Hong Kong. Model A3320 features a side buckle, while A3319B has laces and A3489M a toggle. All the shoes have wedged heels in different designs. Featured colours are black, navy, white and brown. The minimum order is 1,000 pairs, with delivery taking 30 days.

Wearbest Shoes Fty Ltd's export manager Eric Tong says, "When it comes to children's school shoes, our main focus is on quality and style."

Now 32 years old, the company also produces shoes for infants and ladies. Its school shoes for boys come in black or brown and in different designs, depending on model number. Sizes range from 22-35, with prices at US$3-4 per pair FOB Hong Kong.

Tong emphasizes that the company has plenty of new developments in its footwear each season, whether the products are for men, women or children.

Wearbest's minimum order is 3,600 pairs, allowing 1,200 pairs per style. Delivery takes 45-60 days after receipt of a letter of credit.

WRITTEN BY RIYA MABUBANI


SLIPPING INTO COMFORT

Indoor Slippers

WHEN shoes are too confining and bare feet aren't quite right, slippers make a perfect choice. Who hasn't enjoyed padding around the house in the comfort of a snuggly pair?

Hong Kong manufacturers offer styles in fabrics for every need.

Grandcast Int'l Ltd supplies embroidered slippers made of polar fleece, satin, corduroy, heavy cotton or poplin with soles made of plastic. The seven-year-old enterprise's range extends to 30 styles of open or closed-toe slippers for men, women and children.

The company creates its own embroidery designs and also accepts customers' ideas. Flowers, logos and animal faces are among the embroidered objects.

"We can make slippers with or without embroidery," says Grandcast managing director William Chow.

Prices range from US$1.08-1.50 per pair FOB Hong Kong. Minimum order is 3,000 pairs. Delivery takes 30-45 days after sample approval.

Each month Grandcast manufactures 500,000 pairs of slippers at its 80,000-square-foot factory in Dongguan, mainland China. Most are exported to the US and Europe. Next year the company plans to increase production.

Slippers for hotel guests are the main line from J.S.P. Pacific Ltd. The four-year-old company produces terrycloth (washable or disposable), plastic and velvet slippers with EVA soles for hotels in Germany and Japan.

"Most hotels want them in white or grey. Open-toe styles are the most popular, but we also make closed-toes," says company director Sony Lai.

Hotel names are usually embroidered on the vamp. "Normally, we make one size only, but some hotels want separate sizes for men, women and children. We can do that," he adds.

Prices are US$0.40-0.70 per pair FOB Hong Kong for terrycloth slippers, US$0.50 for plastic and US$0.80 for velvet. "The velvet slippers are for deluxe rooms," Lai says. Minimum order is 3,000 pairs, with delivery 30 days after order confirmation.

The company's ambitions are to develop a market in the US and to increase its non-hotel slipper sales, now accounting for about 10% of the 300,000 pairs manufactured monthly at its Dongguan factory.

At Chong Shing Int'l Ltd, novelty slippers in cuddly animal styles, featuring teddy bears, puppies, kittens and rabbits, are the strongest sellers. Made from plush or velour, the slippers are marketed to women and children, selling for US$4-5 per pair FOB Hong Kong.

The 15-year-old firm also makes indoor slippers in printed fabrics, mainly cotton, for men and women. Priced at US$1.50-2, these are available in closed or open-toe styles. They usually have matching fabric soles with PVC dots for better traction.

Chong Shing plans to introduce new novelty slippers. "We will apply 3-D animal characters to the vamp. This will be less expensive than creating animals out of the whole slipper," says marketing manager Lawrence Lam.

Another planned item is a polyester slipper that sparkles and shines. "Glittery material is incorporated into the fabric," Lam said.

The company makes 200,000 pairs monthly at its 20,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan, with delivery 60 days after order confirmation. The minimum-order requirement is one 20-foot container. Most exports go to the UK and France, though the firm intends to expand throughout Europe and the US.

Flicker Footwear Ltd creates a wide range of slippers, including scuffs, booties, clogs, platforms and ballerina models. About 85% of the 300,000 pairs produced each month at its Dongguan factory are women's styles, compared to 10% for children and 5% for men. Open and closed-toe models are available.

"We see huge potential for our men's clog line," said general manager Hsu Wen. The men's clogs (US$2.20-2.80 per pair FOB Hong Kong) are made of washable, extra-soft, high-density foam cushioning with a skid-resistant TPR sole.

Another item catching on is the hooded scuff (US$1.80-2.50 per pair). "It's warm and cozy," he adds.

Flicker offers an extensive range of washable fabrics, from cotton, satin and corduroy to polar fleece, poplin and chenille terrycloth. Other choices include pile velour, wool and gingham.

Prices range from US$1.40-3 FOB Hong Kong per pair, depending on materials, with minimum orders of 3,000 pairs per colour (subject to material availability). Delivery comes 30-40 days after order confirmation.

The company maintains its own inventory of designs, but also produces to customers' specifications. Products are tailored to markets in North America and Europe.

"North America likes more traditional styles and colours, including light blue, pink and white. Europe wants vivid colours, such as fuschia or yellow, and is more willing to experiment with different shapes," Hsu says, vowing to broaden European sales.

WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA

 

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