1 April 2003
Small Leather Goods(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 02,2003)
Small Is Beautiful
Fung Tat Leather Fty Ltd produces wallets made with nappa (left) and mini paglia leather
Little things matter, and style-conscious people know that the quality of the small accessories a well-dressed person carries says as much about them as their choice of a suit or a dress. Leather always has been, and always will be, associated with quality when it comes to small leather goods.
That has certainly been the experience of Evergreen Handbags Fty, which has been making handbags and wallets from a variety of materials since 1976. Evergreen has found that even in hard times demand for leather from its Japanese, European and South American clients is as strong as ever.
"We make both classic and fashionable designs, but leather never goes out of style," says marketing executive Claudia Chan. "The trends are determined by the big labels, but different markets have different requirements and we try to cater to all needs."
The company's wallets are made mostly from Korean leather at FOB Hong Kong prices of around US$4 per item. Evergreen accepts minimum orders valued at US$5,000 or more, and delivers 30-45 days after order confirmation.
Evergreen has its own Hong Kong-based design team which generates new designs on a monthly basis for customers to check out on the company website.
"The Japanese market demands high quality real leather, but in some other markets the situation is different," Chan observes. "Obviously everybody would like to buy genuine leather, but not everybody can afford it, so in some markets we offer alternatives."
She notes that Italian leather is "great quality" but expensive. "We currently use mostly Korean leather, which is good and is about the right price."
Fashion-conscious Hong Kong manufacturers are also willing to experiment with tints other than black, brown or tan, as Faithwise Ltd's extensive range of wallets and coin purses demonstrates.
The company uses mostly Italian leather and its high quality leather pocket items are available in orange, green, pink and beige. "We have many colours available and demand varies according to fashion, but pink, orange and green are particularly fashionable at present," says managing director Isabella Huang.
Faithwise accepts minimum orders of 500 pieces from its customers in Japan, the UK and the Philippines and can deliver within 35 days of confirmation of order. FOB Hong Kong prices depend on the size of the order.
Quality is the name of the game for Fung Tat Leather Fty Ltd, which has been supplying satisfied customers in Japan and Europe since 1989, according to company director Philip Lau.
"Italian leather is the best and we do mostly high-end products so we need to use very high quality leather," says Lau. "We have our own Tosca brand name, but we also make leather goods for many other companies under many different brands."
Fung Tat produces small leather items ranging from hard nappa leather wallets and key rings at FOB Hong Kong prices of US$5.70 and US$3.10 respectively, to soft mini paglia leather cardholders for US$4.20 and buffalo leather coin purses for US$1.70. Minimum orders, depending on price, range from 300-500 pieces.
"For high quality in these areas you have to have good leather," Lau insists. "Other materials are cheaper, but they don't deliver the level of quality our customers demand."
Cardholders are also a specialty of Lico Leather Goods Mfg Co Ltd., which celebrates its 20th anniversary in business this year. Lico exports to the US, Europe and countries around Asia from its factory in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
Notwithstanding hard times in several of those markets, assistant manager Emily Wong confirms that the demand for quality leather goods remains undiminished. "It's still mostly leather," she says. "Our materials come from Argentina, Taiwan, Brazil and Korea."
Lucky Handbag Fty manufactures Hong Kong-designed quality leather goods at a mainland factory in Hui Yang. It produces fashionable wallets at FOB Hong Kong prices ranging from US$2-6, and currently focuses on the demanding German market.
Flexibility and responsiveness to customer demands has taken Ocean Industrial Co (China) from strength to strength since it was established in 1988, according to sales manager Sindy Wong.
The company specialises in producing tailor-made cases for a wide variety of items including mobile phones, watches, cigars and business cards. "We produce original designs in response to the needs of customers, who send us the product and our designers produce a design to fit it," explains Wong. "Most of our leather goods feature the brand names of whatever they contain - NEC or Motorola for phones for example."
As well as working in conventional cowhide, Ocean uses a number of different exotic leathers, including lizard and ostrich skin, for customers in the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, Japan and Europe. The company accepts minimum orders of 2,000 pieces. "People are interested in different leathers," says Wong. "As well as protecting the products they add value in terms of presentation."
WRITTEN BY ROBERT PIERCE
Evergreen Handbags Fty
Units 8-10, 42/F, Tower 2
223 Hing Fong Rd
Units 6 & 8, 9/F, Blk A
Fuk Keung Ind Bldg
66-68 Tong Mi Rd
Fung Tat Leather Fty Ltd
5/F, Blk N
Wah Lik Ind Centre
459 Castle Peak Rd
Lico Leather Goods Mfg Co Ltd
10/F, Blk N
Valiant Ind Centre
2-12 Au Pui Wan St
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|