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Super Skins(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 01,2008)

Leather Products

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Wise Luck Int'l Ltd's specialist leather products have reflected good design, good value and quality of an international standard for some 30 years
Thirty years of dedication apparently isn't enough for a dedicated leather specialist continually seeking to extend the range of its products and expertise.

Wise Luck Int'l Ltd may be celebrating its 30th anniversary this year but has no plans to diversify into other materials, according to Marketing Manager Steven Hui. "We are leather experts - anything to do with leather is our business."

This constant focus on one material has paid handsome dividends for a company that started with a Hong Kong factory that employed about 20 workers.

Wise Luck grew steadily for 11 years before shifting its manufacturing processes to the Chinese mainland, eventually opening a state-of-the-art, 25,000-square-metre manufacturing complex in Dongguan two years ago.

The ISO 9001-certified facility currently employs about 1,200 workers, but has the capacity for up to 2,000 staff while also providing generous warehousing space for the large quantity of raw materials the company maintains on-site.

"Our minimum order is about 300 pieces and that takes about 60 days," Mr Hui reveals, explaining that many factories only order leather when they have an order and this results in longer delivery times. "We select the most beautiful leather colours for the season, buy the stock and then promote it in the market."

Wise Luck manufactures an extensive range of products, including wallets, belts, key holders, ladies' handbags, document and computer bags, desk sets, jewellery and cigar cases, PDA holders, manicure sets and leather-covered metal flasks.

It also produces such unusual items as chess and backgammon sets with both boards and pieces made from high-quality leather. "Mostly we buy from Italy, Korea and South America, though sometimes we also go to India," Mr Hui says. "We use some pigskin from China and some lamb and sheepskin from Spain, but 90% of our leather is from cows."

Around 70% of its production is for customer brands, but Wise Luck is working hard to promote its licensed Italian brand, Auchamo, and has already built a strong profile in major markets such as Europe, Japan and North America.

Europe represents about 50% of the brand's sales, mainly in key areas like Germany, Italy, Spain and France. "We do the design and wholesaling for Auchamo in about 15 countries," Mr Hui reveals, noting that working exclusively in OEM is not the best strategy for the future. "We need to build an international brand with worldwide distribution."

The Auchamo brand was established around 50 years ago in Florence, Italy, and has also attracted some high-profile international customers.

"The final customers for the document bags we once shipped to Russia were high court judges, and one special bag was used by President Putin," Mr Hui recalls. "That's very good advertising, and we sell well in Russia."

Elsewhere, Wise Luck's ladies' handbags have graced celebrities such as Kate Moss and Nicole Kidman, while the company has also made leather goods for luxury car marques such as Ferrari and Lamborghini and manufactured leather goods like smart slimline briefcases for Marks and Spencer in the UK.

"Every year we do about 120 collections - 60 collections per season," Mr Hui says, noting that the company tries hard to find different approaches to leather goods. "We use laser-cutting for some patterns and special mouldings for embossed logos, and weave and screen print leather."

He insists Wise Luck looks for good design, good value, and quality of an international standard. "A lot of work still has to be done by hand," Mr Hui says. "You need skilful workers in the leather goods business for small details."

Five designers from Italy and China come up with the ideas that give Auchamo and Wise Luck's OEM/ODM lines their distinctively elegant appearance.

"We want international design," states Mr Hui. "To be competitive in this market you must have nice leather, nice design, and very high marketing standards."

The firm's creations cost US$2-5 FOB Hong Kong for big shipments of relatively small items such as wallets or key holders, while designer brands like ladies' handbags that use expensive Italian leather can cost more than US$150.

Increasingly, Wise Luck's products will be found in China, which Mr Hui believes is the next big market for the company to develop. "We will be selling there because now there is a demand for quality products," he explains.

Internationally, Mr Hui thinks the demand for leather goods will be strong in 2008, with purple the predominant colour. "We quote prices in US dollars, so there is already a discount built in."

TEXT BY ROBERT PIERCE

FAST FACT

Wise Luck Int'l Ltd
Rm 1505
South China Ind Bldg
1 Chun Pin St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2480-0681
Fax: 852-2480-1216
Email:
mail@datsun.com.hk
Web: www.leathergoods.com.cn
Year Established: 1978
Major Product Categories: wallets, handbags, briefcases and small accessories
Brands & Certificates: Auchamo; ISO 9001
Minimum Order: US$5,000
Monthly Production Capacity: -
Delivery Time: 45-60 days
Factory Size & Location: 20,080 square metres; Dongguan
Workforce: 800