6 Sept 2007
A case in point(HKTDC Optical,2008)
|Optical cases from Rainbow Bright Enterprise Ltd, made with either metal or plastic, reflect simplicity in design|
Hong Kong manufacturers demonstrate that not only frames are subject to fashion trends these days, and deliver a slew of stylish, colourful optical cases
Confirming the importance of attractive cases is 1986-established Nationalpak Ltd, which exports to the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland.
"We target markets that pursue unique designs and high quality cases," says senior sales executive Kent Cheung, adding that the firm is always trying to create new and fashionable items.
"We have an in-house creative team responsible for developing new case designs, and we come out with 5-10 new designs every year. We use various materials such as PU, plastic, aluminium and wood, all mainly sourced on the mainland," Cheung says.
Nationalpak's cases include models that open into the shape of a butterfly. "This model uses a pair of hinges, designed and patented by us, that are different from ordinary cases that use regular, horizontal hinges," Cheung states.
With the current trends focusing on big frames, demand for larger cases is increasing in tandem. "We have various models already tooled-up to meet demand for different designs," says Cheung. "We develop lots of unique designs, usually in 2-3 sizes to cater for different needs."
Production takes place at Nationalpak's ISO 9001- and ISO 14000-certified, 4,000-worker facilities in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Jiangxi Province on the mainland. Delivery time is 30-45 days after order confirmation for minimum orders of 1,000 cases.
Veteran manufacturer Qualipak Mfg Ltd is also offering a broad range of optical cases. "We use plastic, metal, paper cardboard, imitation leather and different fabrics to produce our cases," says marketing manager Agnes Poon.
Qualipak sources its raw materials from various regions, including metals from Korea, paper and cardboard from Holland, imitation leather from Italy, Korea and Taiwan and fabrics from the US, France and Taiwan.
"We have design teams in Hong Kong who do R&D, while actual samples are produced at our facilities on the mainland," says Poon. "We treasure client input on designs, and many of our final products are the result of cooperation between the two sides."
She says that the firm comes out with some 1,000 new designs every year, and notes that recent trends in optical cases include engraved patterns, light weight and a black/metallic appearance.
Major export markets for Qualipak are Western Europe, North America and Japan. "Our buyers look for practical and durable optical cases that are easy to use and unique in design," says Poon.
With 18 years' experience in optical case manufacturing, Qualipak produces two million units per month at its 60,000-square-metre, 3,500-worker factory on the mainland. Minimum order is 3,000 cases and the delivery lead time is 45-60 days.
Another highly experienced and renowned manufacturer of spectacle cases is 1990-established Astucci Int'l Ltd.
"Our buyers are always interested in new and innovative case shapes, materials and patterns," says sales and merchandising executive Chris Yeung.
"We have our own design teams, in New York and Hong Kong, comprising professional designers, sample specialists and technical engineers," he adds. "They are responsible for the 10 or more new collections we develop each month."
Noting that quality control and reasonable prices are also crucial concerns he states that, nonetheless, optical case designs can be very innovative and flexible.
"Customers no longer consider the product only as a case, but also an important part of their product sets," he states. "A nice case can greatly contribute to the business of selling frames and spectacles by enhancing the whole image of the brand."
One of the designs developed by Astucci is its animal pattern cases. The surface of the case is polished with a chrome look, and then wrapped with a nylon-mesh animal pattern.
"The mesh case has remained one of our hot designs in recent years, and is widely welcomed by our customers," says Yeung. "Besides animal patterns, we also have other patterns in solid colours."
Astucci's cases are made from aluminium, cardboard and paper, and may be wrapped in PU, PVC, nylon or cotton. Injection-moulded plastic cases are also offered. Most of the raw materials come from the mainland, Hong Kong and elsewhere in Asia. "Some unique patterns come from Korea, Japan and Europe," Yeung advises.
Major export markets are the US, Europe, Japan, Korea, Australia and Southeast Asia, while Astucci is also developing new markets in South America, the Middle East and Eastern Europe. "The mainland market is also being developed, and the feedback thus far is impressive," says Yeung.
Production takes place at Astucci's 10,000-square-metre, 500-worker plant in Dongguan. Minimum order is 1,000-3,000 optical cases, depending on the model, for delivery 45-60 days after order confirmation.
Buyers of cases can rest assured that Hong Kong is the ideal source for optical cases that are practical, appealing and affordable.
TEXT BY RESHAM ARON