1 Sept 2003
Mixing Business With Pleasure(HKTDC Watch & Clock, Vol 03,2003)
Mixing Business With Pleasure
All In The Family
Art Style Enterprises Ltd
Elegant marcasite and cubic zirconia sterling silver women's watches are a specialty of Art Style Enterprises Ltd
Art Style Enterprises Ltd is a good example of the Malcolm Forbes dictum, "Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful." Directors Kelvin Kwong and Lin Chiang Ping saw just such an opportunity in the jewellery watch sector, and 14 years later they have built a business synonymous with innovative, high quality jewellery timepieces.
Both directors apprenticed as watchmakers in local Hong Kong firms before deciding to start their own company. Watches then were very basic, but Kwong believed that by combining watches with jewellery he could link beauty with functionality. "I thought I could develop the watch business," recalls Kwong. "I am a designer myself, so I understand how to cater to customer tastes."
Art Style started by making marcasite watches, but due to market demand now specialises in women's sterling silver watches decorated with cubic zirconia (CZ), which comes in many colours. Semiprecious stones used include amethyst, black onyx, topaz and turquoise, while Art Style also produces gold-plated watches.
The company started with 10 staff in a small, rented office. "Everyone had to do everything in the early days, from design through to production," says Kwong, who now focuses on design while Lin handles the technical and business side.
Today Art Style employs 250 craftsmen at its Chinese mainland factory in Panyu, Guangdong Province, while 10 staff coordinate marketing, accounting and business operations from Hong Kong.
Customers comprise wholesalers, importers and retailers. Europe takes about half the output, followed by the US (30%) and Asia (20%). The company carries out OEM and ODM, as well as producing lines under its own Asmigo brand. "Every market likes our styles and workmanship," claims Kwong.
While customer tastes are always changing, generally Europe prefers sterling silver and CZ in simple styles and antique marcasite, the US likes bigger watches and Asia chooses antique and marcasite.
Some 150 new designs are produced annually by Kwong and three in-house designers and there are some 1,500 designs in the company's catalogue, many of them handmade. Production averages 20,000 jewellery watches per month.
The company strives to produce high standard workmanship and create new concepts and structures in its watches - trying to innovate on elements like clasps. It uses Citizen movements but the watch cases, bracelets and sterling silver backs are all made in-house.
One new release is an attractive sterling silver and enamel watch with a hollow bracelet that reflects Kwong's personal preference for more complex designs incorporating 3D elements. The inside of the bracelet has an intricate cut-out pattern, while the surface of the bracelet and the case features a swirling design in enamel.
According to Kwong, who created and developed the watch, the pattern is handmade, unlike other companies that use stamping. "Samples have been sent to clients," he says. "A business must meet customer requirements and tastes and client feedback is an important part of a successful business."
Kwong believes he is lucky to be working at something he loves and has a staff that shares the same aims and goals. "My biggest reward is if the market likes my designs and products," he says.
As for the future, Art Style plans to continue producing new designs and products: "You can't stand still in this business," says Kwong.
WRITTEN BY HELEN WONG
Art Style Enterprises Ltd
Unit 305, Guardforce Centre,
3 Hok Yuen St East, Hung Hom,
Kowloon, Hong Kong
|Hong Kong Buyers Request Form||Overseas Buyers Request Form||More Publications|