19 April 2006
Manifold Destiny(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2006)
Manifolds Industrial Co Ltd
|Manifolds Industrial Co Ltd produces wallets and bags for several international names including Delsey, Benetton and American Eagle|
These developments are the latest in a long line of achievements for a company that has enjoyed steady growth since its establishment in 1998 with a workforce of just 20.
The workforce quadrupled within a year, thanks to healthy sales for its initial product line of leather wallets, and today Manifolds employs around 500 people.
"We are in the process of buying land for a new mainland factory in Huizhou that will be able to accommodate 800-1,000 workers and we expect production to begin there around October," explains regional marketing manager Rambo Chau.
He says Manifolds mainly makes wallets, folders and handbags, including ladies' bags and travel bags. "We use cow leather, pig skin, artificial leather - PU, PVC - and other materials including canvas, nylon and polyester," Chau explains. "We source materials mostly on the mainland, but sometimes buy very high quality leather from Korea and Italy."
The company's business is mostly OEM/ODM, he adds, noting the company can produce 50,000-100,000 wallets and 50,000-80,000 handbags per month.
"However, once the new 13,000-square-metre facility is operational, we will be able to produce up to 150,000 wallets and 200,000 handbags per month," Chau maintains.
He says Manifolds prides itself on providing an "all-in-one" service for OEM items, ranging from creation, product design, sourcing materials and producing samples to packaging and delivery.
"Strong coordination of our marketing team and production experts guarantees we deliver the right product for the right price," Chau insists.
"When it comes to ODM items we adapt the design rationale of a whole family or group rather than designing single items by function and discover unique materials for our own designs."
Most of Manifolds' production falls into the medium- to high-quality range, with high profile international names including Delsey, Benetton and American Eagle regular customers.
The company's major markets are Europe and Japan. "The US is very price-sensitive, but we are trying to build our market there as well," Chau reveals. "Europe suits our capacity, because the orders are not so big, and they are willing to pay a little bit more for the quality we can provide."
Japan keeps Manifolds' product designers busy developing new lines to stay in step with the country's rapid trend changes. "There is a constant demand for new and different styles in a range of colours and materials," Chau claims.
Regardless of the destination, however, Manifolds' FOB unit prices range from around US$3-10 - although simple wallets might be as little as US$1 depending on the size of the order.
Manifolds divides its clients into two groups: promotional clients that need average quality but want low prices and retail clients that demand high quality.
The latter needs more skilled workers, so the company divides output into two production lines. "Our normal minimum order for promotional clients is 1,000 pieces, while we usually require 300-500 pieces per style per colour for retail clients," Chau explains. "Delivery is normally 30-45 days after the sample is accepted, though that depends on the material."
Materials most in demand at the moment are natural and where possible environmentally friendly, though state-of-the-art synthetic materials are also much in demand among the company's fashion-conscious client base.
"Retail clients are asking for washable PU," Chau says, adding that the company has a "new, very expensive" material from Japan and is waiting for the Taiwanese to make cheaper alternatives. "That trend started at the end of last year and the material will probably become more popular this year."
He admits that Manifolds has not seriously considered the huge domestic market on the Chinese mainland, despite the fact that the company has manufactured there from the outset, but says this will change when the new factory comes on line.
"We are trying to develop a brand to be launched after the new factory opens that will address the mainland's retail market, but we probably won't try to sell it to our clients elsewhere," Chau says. "There's not much point in a brand without promotion, and we're in the business of manufacturing for customer brands."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Manifolds Industrial Co Ltd
Units 1 & 2, 13/F,
Million Fortune Industrial Centre,
34-36 Chai Wan Kok St,
Tsuen Wan, New Territories,