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An Inside View(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2008)


Spectacles Cases

Giorgio Fedon & Figli Spa offers a variety of cases for optical glasses and sunglasses

Thinking "outside the box" with vision counts among the various strengths of spectacles case manufacturer Giorgio Fedon & Figli Spa, whose story contains so many insights to corporate success that it could easily rival any best-seller on business management.

A leader in the design and production of cases for optical glasses and sunglasses, the Paris-listed Italian firm proudly commands a 22% global market share, with a turnover of about $60m and more than 50 million cases sold in 2006.

The family-run enterprise, established as a manufacturer of eyewear cases in north-eastern Italy in 1919, is thriving. For example, the firm's latest catalogue contains items as diverse as cases, watches, bags, wallets and other personal accessories.

Among the secrets of the firm's success are creativity and innovation. "Many of our customers will simply say, 'I want a new case, give me something new.' And from that we will have to create something that is not only new but also unique for the client," says Alberto Agostinacchio, Managing Director of the group's Asian arm, Fedon Far East Ltd.

Giorgio Fedon uses a range of materials in its spectacles cases, including PU, metal, aluminium, fabric and microfibre, which are sourced from Italy, France, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Japan and Korea.

"One of the trends for 2008 is the use of more fabrics that feature embroidery with gold and silver thread detailing, and the use of gold, bronze and other metallic-style laminations," says Mr Agostinacchio.

Another growing trend is the adoption of microfibre as a case covering. "Personalisation is essential in the optical and sunglass market and microfibre provides the highest degree of personalisation possible as you can print any pattern, design or logo onto the fabric," he says, adding that Giorgio Fedon also provides other options such as letter charm straps attached to cases.

On the technical side, the company prides itself on its strong production techniques and advanced technology.

"About three years ago, we relocated part of our production to Shenzhen in China," Mr Agostinacchio says, "but we still have a manufacturing facility in Italy."

Cost considerations aside, its presence on the Chinese mainland can better serve customers who have set up production operations there, he explains.

"To ensure consistency in product quality, the Shenzhen factory adopts Italian technology, techniques and management practices.

"In addition to manufacturing, it runs various departments including R&D and logistics," Mr Agostinacchio says.

Apart from its mainland operations, Giorgio Fedon operates an office in Hong Kong to handle sales of its China-made products as well as distribution in Asia.

He advises that customers can specify which of the firm's production facilities is to manufacture their products. "Some customers, the Japanese for example, prefer the 'Made in Italy' to the 'Made in China' label. We consider it a business strength to be able to offer both choices, while the quality and reliability are the same."

The company's mostly OEM clientele includes licensees of leading luxury fashion and jewellery brands such as Chanel, Dior, Cartier, Prada, Bulgari, Gucci and Ferragamo. "We produce cases carrying all those brands - but for the brand franchisees, not directly for the branded firms themselves," Mr Agostinacchio explains.

Another key patron group is opticians, including chains and single-outlet practices, which often opt to have cases personalised. "We can provide 250 branded cases within two weeks of order confirmation," advises Mr Agostinacchio. "Service quality is also very important and we are also recognised for our service."

The global-selling enterprise predicts its biggest market growth will come from China in the next 12 months, given the country's strong economic development.

"Japan is another growing market where we are redoubling our efforts, and we plan to set up a subsidiary there in the next couple of years," Mr Agostinacchio says, adding that the US will be another growth market.

The company continues to develop new products and recently launched a range of leather goods designed and made in Italy. Mr Agostinacchio says they are mostly for men. "They include accessories, stationery and briefcases, among other products, as there are lots of opportunities in this market."

With its established reputation and smart business approach, there is reason to believe more spectacular success is in store for Giorgio Fedon.

Fast Facts

Giorgio Fedon & Figli Spa
Via dell'Occhiale 11
32040 Vallesella di Cadore
Belluno, Italy
Tel: 39-0435-5221
Fax: 39-0435-520212
Web: www.fedon.it
Year Established: 1919
Major Product Categories: spectacles cases
Brands & Certificates: Giorgio Fedon 1919
Minimum Order: 2,000 pieces
Monthly Production: 5.5 million pieces
Delivery Time: --
Factory Size & Location: Alpago, Belluno (Italy); Timisoara (Romania); Shenzhen (China)
Workforce: 1,100