17 April 2008
Ready For Action(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2008)
Names can sometimes be misleading, as the Action Handbag Co Ltd knows only too well as its business extends well beyond designing and manufacturing stylishly fashionable bags for ladies.
Also included in Action's extensive and ever-growing product range are wallets, pencil cases, backpacks, children's bags, computer bags, cooler bags, shopping bags, beach bags, sporting bags, trolley bags, waist bags, toilet bags and more.
The Action series of sporting holdalls is equally extensive and includes bags that meet the specialised requirements of skiers, anglers, cyclists, surfers, mountaineers and tennis players.
The company's large selection of cooler bags is geared to the different requirements of shoppers, picnickers and hikers, and further highlights Action's versatility, while its fashion bags are known for both elegance and durability.
"Some manufacturers favour one type of bag, but we have a good range so we can maintain healthy sales throughout the year," says General Manager Aldous Leung.
He says the company has been increasing its business, which is fitting for a 19-year-old firm that moved five years ago into a new, expanded and wholly-owned factory in Shenzhen occupying approximately 20,000 square metres.
"It's just across the border - about 50 minutes by car from our headquarters in Hong Kong," explains Mr Leung. "We have a canteen and dormitory as well as a sewing factory and warehouse, and because it is wholly-owned we can guarantee punctual delivery of orders."
Action employs about 700 people in Shenzhen, and typical monthly production at the factory comprises some 200,000 bags of various kinds. "Most of our customers have their own brands, but we have also established our own label called Paujanka," Mr Leung says.
The Paujanka brand mostly features on samples of Action's original designs, but some customers who are not actively promoting brands of their own opt to take goods bearing the manufacturer's own logo.
Around 90% of Action's business is OEM/ODM, Mr Leung says. "We make a lot of bags to customer designs, but we also have two seasons per year and produce 8-10 collections each season," he reveals.
A number of designers work on those collections, with variable results. "Some customers will take the whole collection, while others will take just one or two styles."
Action's bags are made mostly from nylon, polyester, PU, canvas, cotton, denim and leather. "Most of these materials we source in China, Taiwan and Korea," Mr Leung explains.
"Ultimately, it depends on the customer - some like high-quality fabrics and some go so far as to supply the fabric they want to us to use."
The company takes considerable pride in its flexibility, efficiency and customer service focus, and on the speed with which it can turn sketches into products.
Samples can generally be ready in as little as two weeks, and while manufacturing time is dependent on the availability of materials, delivery within 50 days of order confirmation is normal.
"The FOB unit-price range is quite wide, starting at around US$1 for a simple wallet or pouch and going up to US$40 for a hard case or one of the more complicated bags," Mr Leung notes.
Action's usual minimum order is about 500, but he admits the company has no set lowest quantity. "Our principle is that if we can get the material for production then we accept the order," Mr Leung insists. "Our customers appreciate that service, and we have been able to develop our businesses together."
Although Action's bags are mostly in the medium- to high-end quality range, he says the company is nevertheless highly cost-competitive and can design and build to budgets.
As a result of this flexible approach, the company's impressive client list includes famous brand names such as Adidas, Ben Sherman, Dell, Nike, Pierre Cardin, Playboy, Rossignol, Sony, Speedo and Thomas Burberry.
"Our main markets are in Europe - Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, France and the UK - with about 10% in the US," Mr Leung reveals. "We are still focusing on Europe because the market there is quality-conscious."
In addition, he notes, there were quotas for the US when Action began operations. "Now there is no quota for the US, so we see our business expanding there," Mr Leung concludes.
TEXT BY ROBERT PIERCE