1 July 2001
Snug As A Glove(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 04,2001)
Snug As A Glove
Reliable Bag Handlers
Austins Marmon Ltd
|Austins Marmon Ltd makes almost every type of glove imaginable in numerous styles, materials and designs.|
FINDING precisely the right gloves for sports, work, comfort or fashion can be difficult. They must always be well designed for the designated purpose.
Austins Marmon Ltd makes almost every type of glove imaginable in numerous styles, materials and designs.
"The company is 39 years old and has always specialized in gloves. Initially, we specialized in work gloves, but then we expanded to make other types," says sales manager Juliana Lam. The company has 18 production-related facilities, including two leather tanneries on the Chinese mainland.
"We also have glove facilities in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Cambodia. These factories allow us to have a higher quota of products," says Lam.
Austins Marmon also has a joint venture with Wells Lamont in Chicago. "We are their biggest manufacturer and they are one of our biggest customers. We make a lot of work gloves for them," Lam says.
"Work gloves remain our biggest products, but we do a lot of fashion and sports gloves too," says Lam. The work gloves come in leather and fabric. Durability, strength and protection are top priorities.
"We have very good technical support. There are two designers, 12 sample masters and a team sewing only samples. We design and engineer very carefully before starting production. We also work very closely with clients to make their ideas real," adds Lam.
The company employs 200 people at its mainland office and 500-800 workers in each factory throughout Asia.
"Our Chinese mainland merchandisers follow a maximum of two accounts, so they can really focus on details and serve our clients well. We try to provide lots of support. We inform clients about new materials and trends and even help with other things, like finding good packaging," says Lam.
Austins Marmon is equally particular about quality. "The only way to stay ahead in this business is to provide the best possible quality. But we also have very reasonable pricing. Because we have our own tanneries and many factories, we can offer competitive prices while maintaining tight control on product quality," says Lam.
The company's leather gloves are popular in the mass market. It also manufactures fashion and sports gloves for famous brand names. The sports gloves range from thick ski gloves to weight-training gloves and newly launched boxing gloves.
The boxing gloves are a new design with individual fingers padded to protect knuckles and maintain good wrist support. For sports gloves, much importance is given to performance, strength and comfort.
"We are W.L. Gore-certified and the only glove manufacturer on the Chinese mainland licensed to produce Goretex seam-sealed mittens. We also have ISO 9002 certification," says Lam.
"Our main markets are the US and Europe, and we have a very wide price range," she adds. Raw materials are sourced from the Chinese mainland, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the UK, Italy, Spain and the US.
Minimum order is for 900 pairs, but this is negotiable, with shipment within 90 days after order confirmation. Ultimately, Austins Marmon looks like a snug fit for its customers.
Austins Marmon Ltd
|Alpino Ltd produces medium and large handbags in leather, fabric or PVC. The styles range from everyday casual to trendy and dressy.|
"We have two research and design people who study fashion trends and work closely with clients. They get initial designs from the clients and then create samples," says Alpino managing director Takateru Iwasa.
The six-year-old company has always specialized in bag production. "Although the company began in 1995, I have 10 years' experience in this business," says Iwasa.
Initially an agent for a friend's handbag enterprise, Iwasa soon decided to start manufacturing too.
"We have one factory in Shenzhen [on the Chinese mainland] with 140 workers, and we subcontract to about 10 other companies," he explains.
Alpino produces about 30,000 bags per month. Minimum order, although negotiable and based on availability, is usually 100 pieces per style and colour.
"Our main market is Japan. The bags sell at low-to-middle prices in department stores like Daimaru," says Iwasa.
Alpino's output ranges from small goods, like wallets, to medium and large handbags in leather, fabric or PVC. Large leather and PVC woven tote bags are a classic design and range from pastel colours to earthy brown tones. The leather and PVC also come in various textures, such as imitation ostrich, snake and crocodile skin.
"All our products are OEM work. We do our best to meet clients' needs," says Iwasa. The company's bags range from everyday casual to trendy and dressy.
"Logo bags are in fashion so we make a lot of them," says Iwasa, pointing to a shiny pink PVC bag covered with embossed logos. The design comes in an array of shapes and sizes.
Raw materials are sourced from South Korea, Italy and Taiwan. Alpino's pricing is very competitive.
"Our FOB Hong Kong prices are US$3-30. These prices, plus very good quality, make our bags quite competitive," says Iwasa.
"Aside from providing good quality and designs at competitive prices, our marketing strategy is to advertise and develop our own Web site. Potential clients can also contact us by e-mail.
"We want to develop a European market so we are studying trends there, which are very different from those in Japan," says Iwasa.
Metro Plaza, Tower II,
Hing Fong Rd,
New Territories, Hong Kong
Tel: (852) 2481-3511
Fax: (852) 2418-1110
WRITTEN BY MELISSA G. WESTCOTT
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