9 Oct 2007
Winning Ways(HKTDC Fashion - Leather Goods & Bags, Vol 04,2007)
|Fashion handbags, wallets and cosmetic bags from Fullwin (China) Bags Co Ltd are big sellers in the UK, Italy, Denmark, Canada and the US|
It may be only seven years old, but Fullwin (China) Bags Co Ltd has already fashioned a track record that would be the envy of much older organisations.
The fledgling company is selling its myriad of fashion handbags, wallets and cosmetic bags to more than 6,000 department stores in the UK, Italy, Denmark, Canada and the US.
"We began by placing advertisements in trade magazines as well as business-to-business portals, and soon began to receive orders from overseas importers," recalls Director William Wong.
But it wasn't long before Fullwin started to work for an increasing number of department store buyers. "This was due to the fact that I have been in the handbag business for more than 25 years and used to work with a UK partner," Mr Wong explains. "I believe my network of contacts and industry expertise have been instrumental in building up our portfolio."
He notes Fullwin's growth has also tied in with the growing trend towards department stores collaborating directly with factories instead of dealing via importers.
"This gives department stores more autonomy on their product designs and lets them enjoy a faster turnaround time and better mark-up, which are all essential in today's cutthroat fashion market," Mr Wong says.
Mr Wong claims Fullwin has its own competitive edge in terms of price, quality and delivery, citing the company's ability to offer handbags costing US$1.50-5.00 each FOB Hong Kong.
Big versions cost US$5.50-7.00 each, with a minimum order of 1,000 pieces per colour delivered 45-60 days after confirmation.
However, Mr Wong points out that nowadays this type of prompt and efficient service is not enough. "To survive, a company needs to establish its own niche in order to offer unique products and services to customers," he insists.
That's why Fullwin, though dealing mostly with OEM orders, has also become very proactive in developing new product ideas or designs.
"We have developed a modish clutch bag with a scalloped flap, and one of our customers liked it so much they got the design registered in their country," Mr Wong enthuses. "They keep re-ordering and we have shipped more than 400,000 pieces since March this year."
Fullwin's head office in Hong Kong takes charge of sales and product development, while its average monthly output of 250,000 pieces of bags is produced at a 100,000-square-foot, 350-worker factory in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland.
"This is a two-year-old factory which cost RMB8m to build," Mr Wong says. "We have invested heavily in advanced machinery as well as various facilities to provide a good working and living environment for our workers."
He points out that computerised machinery is essential for both quality and speed as today's fashion bags require a lot of detailed work.
"Not only can the automated operation provide high-precision stitching, it is also very efficient - one machine is equivalent to 10 workers," Mr Wong explains.
Manufacturing fashion handbags for the teenage and ladies' markets, Wong says big bags, metallic PU, crinkled PU, canvas and details like diamante are still hot.
Up-and-coming materials and colours will be soft patent PU in black, white and chocolate for fall/winter, and cobalt blue, yellow and grass green for spring/summer.
"Besides PU, we are also using a wide array of materials including PVC, denim, canvas and nylon," he says. "Good-quality PU is still most popular as it resembles genuine leather in terms of feel and appearance."
Fullwin sources all its materials from the Chinese mainland, and, Mr Wong emphasises, they conform to international safety standards. "Suppliers from Taiwan and Korea have established manufacturing operations on the mainland, so we simply buy them there as it is cheaper and faster," explains Mr Wong.
Looking ahead, Fullwin hopes to consolidate its existing footholds in Canada, Europe and the UK, while further exploiting the potential of the US market, which it entered some six months ago.
"We are currently working for an importer that plans to create exclusive handbag designs for US department stores," Mr Wong reveals. "We foresee this as a very exciting strategy that will enable us to expand our US business in the near future."
TEXT BY WINNIE HUI
Fullwin (China) Bags Co Ltd