15 Sept 2005
A Clear Mission(HKTDC Optical,2006)
Winntics Optical Industry Co Ltd
|Winntics Optical Industry Co Ltd has made the quality of its workmanship and raw materials top priorities|
"We have strong personal relations with many of our clients, and strive to fully understand what they need," says executive manager Cecilia Wong, who is also the wife of founder William Wong.
She recalls when her husband, before striking out on his own, spent a number of years working for a trading company that specialised in optical products and later for a factory that produced eyeglass frames. "When he set up Winntics, it quickly became a pioneer in the optical frames sector in Hong Kong," she claims.
The 1980s and early- to mid-1990s proved a heady time for the firm as production for brands with tie-ins to movies such as E.T. - The Extra-Terrestrial provided a big sales boost. However, as the industry began to grow, so too did the competition. "We had to compete on price, but we didn't want to lower our quality or workmanship," says Wong. "As a result, we had to settle for thinner profit margins."
However, customers who might have opted for low-end wares elsewhere soon came back, she claims. "The clients appreciated the durability of the products and the fastening/drilling techniques on rimless frames that kept the lens and temple pieces securely in place," she recalls. "Even today we use a double screw and special nuts to make sure that the lenses don't move around."
Winntics started out making both handmade and injection-moulded plastic frames, adding metal frames about 10 years later. Today, it has a production capacity of 100,000 pairs of eyeglasses frames and sunglasses frames per month at its two factories in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"The cellulose acetate used for our plastic frames comes from Hong Kong, the mainland and Italy, while metal frames are produced from a wide range of materials, including nickel silver, Monel, stainless steel and titanium," Wong says.
Winntics has also remained relatively small. "We really do not want to grow too fast or too much," says Wong. "We want to be able to retain control over every phase and aspect of our products, so we have carved out a niche in high quality detailing/ornamentation work, including lamination and engraving."
This becomes apparent when looking at the delicate stripes and subtle designs on the temple pieces, or frames with multicoloured layers of plastic that create a pleasing blend of colour and form a testament to the skill of the company's technicians.
Medium- to high-priced hand-cut plastic eyeglasses frames, in beautifully patterned cellulose acetate, form the firm's biggest-selling items along with combination metal-and-plastic frames.
Sunglasses frames account for about 5% of the company's total sales, and come with CR-39 or polycarbonate lenses. Eyeglasses frames are fitted with plastic demonstration lenses only.
Besides its focus on detailing and ornamentation, the company believes its design flair also gives it a competitive edge. "Currently, ODM orders account for about 70% of sales with the balance being OEM," says Wong. Winntics also has two in-house brands: Chevron, a dressier, higher-end style, and the more casual Winntics line.
Major export markets include the US, Canada and Europe, with goods going to importers, distributors and optical chains. There are hopes to further expand to Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Japan.
In terms of trends, Wong sees consumers returning to plastic after years of wearing metal frames. "People are tired of metal," she asserts, "and they want more colour. Smaller, lighter frames are in demand, as are rectangular lenses, while rimless and combination metal-and-plastic frames remain popular."
In contrast, sunglasses frames are becoming bigger - although customers seem to still want a thinner, lightweight product. "Titanium is a popular metal, coupled with grey and brown lenses," she notes.
Winntics clearly has all it takes to maintain its proud record and its determined mission statement.
WRITTEN BY ANDREA PAWLYNA
Winntics Optical Industry Co Ltd
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|