3 March 2005
A Winning Touch(HKTDC Jewellery, Vol 01,2005)
Winning Jewellery (HK) Co Ltd
"Our business leapt 80% in 2003-2004 as US and European buyers sought better clasp designs at lower costs," explains manager Faith Li. "Buyers recognise that our clasps are the equivalent of Italian styles and standards but at half the price."
Winning Jewellery is no novice, starting out in 1970 producing metal fashion jewellery and later moving into 925 sterling silver jewellery and clasps before adding gold clasps in 1980.
Over the years, this farsighted company has developed an important niche in the quality clasps and findings business, introducing 14K yellow and later 9K and 18K yellow and white solid gold findings and clasps, as well as findings for pearl jewellery.
Today, Winning produces 925 silver, white- and gold-plated and solid white and gold clasps and findings, such as ball, diamond and magnetic clasps, tubes, beads, pins, chains, findings and charms.
The company also produces silver earrings, pendants, rings, brooches and bracelets for fashion and pearl jewellery, as well as gold settings for pearl designs. "Some 65% of our business is in 925 silver, the rest in 9K-18K gold, with 14K representing about 60% of the latter segment," says Li.
Winning also acts as wholesale agent for additional jewellery materials such as leather cords, plaits and braided bolo buffalo leather available in various thicknesses and lengths; steel and coloured wire from 0.24mm-1mm thick; and nylon and cotton for bead and pearl stringing.
"We have more than 5,000 silver items and in excess of 2,500 in white and yellow gold," Li reveals. Given this impressive range of offerings, it is easy to see why the company wraps up total sales in excess of US$2m a year.
"Clasps are our major item and we have more than 5,000 styles ranging in price from US$0.50-38.00 per piece for silver and US$1.00-385 for gold FOB Hong Kong, depending on style and karat," explains Li.
The most popular item, she says, is the ball clasp, which is available in satin, smooth and stardust finishes. "Spring locks and toggle clasps are also perennial favourites, as are our silver beads, cast in a variety of sizes and textures, and our tubes and pins," she adds. "We also offer rhodium plating, which has become increasingly popular in the silver market, while our silver is gold plated to one micron."
This extensive array is manufactured at the company's 10,000-square-foot factory in Kaiping in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland.
"We are doing so well that we are now expanding and building a new factory covering approximately 50,000 square feet," Li confides.
Some 80% of Winning's business is ODM and the remainder OEM. "ODM is an increasing trend," notes Li, who estimates the company handles approximately 5,000 customers a year. "The US is our biggest market, accounting for 50% of our business, followed by Europe with 25%," she adds.
The biggest European markets are Germany and Switzerland, while other markets include Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, the Asian region, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. "India is a new market for the company."
However, Li sees Europe as offering the biggest growth potential with customers placing "many new orders" recently. "Our European buyers go for our higher-priced, more elaborate items," she observes. "Silver continues to be very popular, and this year we will produce more higher-end silver clasps and findings than gold."
Li notes that while gold findings had previously been in demand, the high price of gold has seen many buyers switch to silver, particularly gold-plated silver such as the company's sparkling CZ-set clasps.
As for the future, Winning remains highly positive and will continue to exhibit at the Hong Kong International Jewellery Fair in March as well as other jewellery exhibitions in Hong Kong.
"Fashion jewellery is increasingly popular, changing more frequently with every season's clothes and colours," Li believes. "For example, last year pearls were popular with fashion designers who used them in different colours and mixed them with semiprecious stones."
Indeed, Winning is now moving back into the fashion jewellery business. "Our customers kept requesting basic silver jewellery, so in 2004 we produced some 50 silver designs, including bracelets, earrings and necklaces," she explains. "In 2005, we will produce even more - some 300 items in plain silver, adding bangles, pendants and charms to the range."
But whatever new styles, designs and directions lie in store, it appears that this company has hit on a valuable winning formula.
WRITTEN BY SANDRA JENNER
Winning Jewellery (HK) Co Ltd