1 Oct 2003
One-stop leather shop(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 04,2003)
the executive market
Lloyd Pascoe Leather Craft (HK) Co Ltd
Lioyd Pascoe Leather Craft (HK) Co Ltd produces high-end leather bags for such leading brandnames as LL Bean, Paul Smith, Eddie Bauer and Mandarina Duck
Creating a strong, reliable supply chain is the key to success in today's competitive leather goods market, claims leather veteran Stanley Luk. As the second generation of a family leather business and managing director of one of Hong Kong's biggest leather goods producers, Luk should know.
He has helped steer Lloyd Pascoe Leather Craft (HK) Co Ltd from its beginnings in 1958, making large leather trunks for the romantic era of sea travel, to a luggage, business bag and handbag manufacturer with exports worth US$18m in annual turnover.
Today, Lloyd Pascoe produces a wide range of high-end leather executive work bags, including totes, briefcases, computer, travel and pilot bags, handbags and accessories.
"We work very closely with our suppliers to fulfil the demands of our customers, who are increasingly looking for ODM and a one-stop shop to meet all their needs," explains Luk.
"Some of our customers have limited bag product and design capability so they rely on us to provide this expertise. We also have a very wide product category and can source or develop parts and accessories for our bags from our suppliers to meet all customer needs."
These customers include LL Bean, Paul Smith, Eddie Bauer and Mandarina Duck; prestigious brand names that have earned Lloyd Pascoe a strong reputation in the upmarket executive bags sector.
Keeping such brand leaders satisfied means adapting to fashion trends. "The product shelf life for professional bags is getting shorter, especially in the 'women to work' category," Luk notes. "Also, we must incorporate popular natural fabrics such as canvas and linen into our designs."
This presents few problems for a company with such long experience in the careful handling of leather. "There have been huge developments in breathable materials and our solid experience in this area enables us to work easily with the kinds of advanced, delicate materials used today."
That expertise is apparent at Lloyd Pascoe's two factories on the Chinese mainland: one in Ban Tian, Guangdong Province, where some 1,000 workers manufacture luggage and business bags, and the other in Dongguan, where 1,400 workers handle shorter turnaround goods such as handbags and leather accessories.
The company also owns a tannery on the southern mainland in joint venture with Japanese company Kaneda. "Our own tannery helps us to guarantee quality and turnaround and enables us to handle smaller leather processing quantities for our customers, which is especially important for leather accessories."
Lloyd Pascoe has invested heavily in factory facilities, equipment, computer software and training, and provides in-house lab testing for materials and finished products.
The company also adheres strongly to growing concerns by customers and government authorities over environmental and social responsibility and occupational health. Lloyd Pascoe was awarded ISO 9001 certification in 1999 and is now working towards ISO 14001.
"The leather business is highly competitive and only the strongest players offering the best value will survive," says Luk. "An integral part of our value chain is how quickly we can help our customers put their products on the shelf."
The company responds to customer needs for new ideas and multiple designs concepts with an in-house team of three designers in Hong Kong and a four-man support team providing backup sketches and graphics on the mainland.
These designers must know what the market wants, says Luk. He identifies a recent move towards a "tough casual" look in work bags incorporating natural materials such as canvas, vegetable leather and linen. "Black, brown, tan or khaki are always popular for men," he adds.
For women, Lloyd Pascoe designs for two seasons - spring/summer and fall/winter. "Pastels are currently popular and for the coming spring season sky blue in particular, also metallic tones," Luk notes. "Soft nappa is always a market leader as it epitomises the touchable, sensuous nature of leather."
Europe and the US each account for 40% of Lloyd Pascoe's business, with Japan taking the remainder. "Business is very good in Europe, especially with the strong euro over the past 18 months which has attracted new customers," explains Luk.
Lloyd Pascoe has also been running its own brand of executive business and travel bags, Global Gear, through marketing company Lloyds Enterprises. "We plan to eventually take the brand global, as its name implies," says Luk.
Luk is confident that Hong Kong will maintain its premier position in the leather goods industry. "Buyers see no one stronger or better than Hong Kong and this has encouraged us to make such long-term investments in the industry."
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Lloyd Pascoe Leather Craft (HK) Co Ltd
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