1 Jan 2001
MATERIALS FIRST AND FOREMOST(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 01,2001)
MATERIALS FIRST AND FOREMOST
YEAR OF THE JADE DRAGON
WITH plans on track to launch a new 8,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland in 2001 or early 2002, "successful forever" - the literal translation of Wing Shing - may be an apt name for Wing Shing Enterprise Int'l Co Ltd.
The company's history began in 1983 with the creation of two enterprises: Shing Hing Leather Fty and Wing Shing Metal & Leather Products Fty. Recently, the two merged into a single entity featuring evening bags, fashion handbags and wallets.
Monthly production stands at 10 million pieces, a figure that will surge when the new factory hits its stride, according to Wing Shing director Pang Fong-chiu. The company now occupies a 5,800-square-metre, 600-worker facility, also in Dongguan.
Pang believes Wing Shing's background in metal and leather parts gives the company an edge, enabling him to focus on materials. "I have always had an interest in metal and leather, which is why I went into this business," he says.
Wing Shing's latest models, PVC handbags with nylon coverings, demonstrate that focus.
All bags and wallets are designed by Pang, who creates 4-5 sets (each with 5-6 bags or wallets) per month. "Designing is the easy part," says Pang, noting it takes 15 days to create a product from drawing board to completion. "Sourcing raw materials is the real difficulty."
Wing Shing relies on local agents to source leather from Italy, South Korea and Taiwan. PVC, PU and nylon come from Taiwan, the Chinese mainland and South Korea, also via local agents.
Pang attends various trade shows, but few of his design ideas come from these events. "I get my design ideas from looking around the streets and observing people's fashions. Fashion changes constantly, so leather-goods designs must do likewise," he says.
A typical handbag or wallet has a market life of only a few months. Few models can survive on the market for more than a year.
At present, Wing Shing focuses on smaller, versatile models that incorporate straps, clasps and handles.
Appealing to a wider range of buyers is part of Wing Shing's strategy. "The market looks good, especially for fashion bags," Pang says.
The company's steady markets include Europe and the Middle East, but Wing Shing products may soon enter Southeast Asia and Japan. Minimum order is 1,000 pieces. For items in stock, delivery takes 15 days.
Wing Shing Enterprise Int'l Co Ltd
6/F, Workshop 7, blk A
Fuk Keung Industrial Bldg
66-68 Tong Mi Rd
Kowloon, Hong Kong
THE Jade Dragon of Hong Kong's bags-and-leather-goods industry is intensifying its focus on export marketing and design. "We would like to expand by as much as 50% and hope to achieve this growth within 2-3 years," says Jade Dragon Group Co Ltd managing director Chau Wai-tung.
Rather than adding new markets to its network of Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, Jade Dragon aims to attract a wider range of buyers within these existing markets.
In preparation for increased emphasis on export marketing, the company has consolidated production capacity over the past two years. "Earlier, you could classify our products under the 偤verage' category, but then we began making more complicated models with enhanced workmanship and irregular shapes. Now design is our strength and the reason we stay ahead of the competition," says Chau, who has spent more than 20 years in the leather-goods industry.
Jade Dragon's range includes ladies' fashion handbags, men's bags, purses and wallets. Most design work is done in Hong Kong, where each month a team of seven in-house designers creates 300-500 bags and 200-300 purses and wallets. The company's designs are sold under eight brand names, with Babila and Tipzag Young being the most famous.
"In the past we followed overseas trends. Now our designers are confident enough to create their own styles, and we give them room to develop," says Chau.
This new confidence has resulted in more complex designs. "We devote special attention to properly finished stitching on the straps, and we add large base flaps to some of our handbags. Even with inexpensive materials, you can create elegant products."
Chau says another reason Jade Dragon can turn out intricate designs is because each designer focuses on a single aspect. One concentrates on colour combinations, while others look at styling, cutting and materials.
The products are made from genuine leather, synthetic leather, PVC and PU, plus less traditional materials like snake-skin and ostrich hide, both popular. The materials come from Italy, South Korea, Taiwan or Japan.
"We source directly from Italy and South Korea, allowing us to trim manufacturing costs while still producing complicated models and achieving our vision," says Chau.
That vision - to produce quality goods at reasonable prices in a sector flooded by manufacturers vying to tempt buyers with low-priced products - inspired the formation of the Jade Dragon Group in 1995, when chairman Alex Woo joined as a partner. At the same time, Jade Dragon also entered the retail business in Hong Kong.
The company operates a 100,000-square-foot factory, employing 1,500 workers, in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. Monthly capacity is 80,000 purses and wallets, 50,000 ladies' handbags and 20,000 men's bags. Minimum order is 300 pieces per model, and delivery requires 45-60 days.
WRITTEN BY TAMARA CHEUNG
Jade Dragon Group Co Ltd
M/F & 1/F
Far East Consortium Bldg
204-206 Nathan Rd, Tsim Sha Tsui
Kowloon, Hong Kong
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