1 Sept 2004
Rimless/Half-Rim Frames(HKTDC Optical,2004)
Frames from Shine Wood Optical Mfy Ltd come in various designs and colours to suit different tastes
Spectacles have become a fashion accessory that personalises the wearer's style. To keep up with the recent fad for rimless and half-rimmed frames, Hong Kong optical manufacturers can offer a myriad of modish designs.
Founded 18 years ago, Nova Eyewear Ltd manufactures a profusion of reading glasses, optical frames, sports' and kids' sunglasses made from acetate, copper-nickel and silver.
"We have established a broad customer base through aggressive advertising and marketing at exhibitions. Once a contact is made, we regularly update buyers on our latest collections," says director Kelvin Tso.
Each month Nova develops 70-80 new designs. Specific styles are sent to its customers in the US, Europe and Asia.
"Metal-rimmed frames are our strength: they make up nearly 80% of our production. It is highly labour-intensive, but we have 250 skilled workers at our 3,000-square-metre manufacturing facility in Fuzhou on the Chinese mainland," says Tso.
The ISO 9001-certified factory manufactures up to 30,000 dozen frames a month. Nova requires a minimum order of 100 dozen per model and delivery is within 30-60 days of order confirmation.
"Our semi-rimmed or rimless metal frame sunglasses also come at a very attractive price, from US$10-15 FOB Hong Kong per dozen," adds Tso.
Over at Shine Wood Optical Mfy Ltd, the focus is on unisex frames for younger consumers.
"Europe has been our major market since we began in 1995. Over the last two years we have expanded into Japan and the domestic market in Hong Kong," says president Freddie Chan.
On top of manufacturing OEM orders for importers and optical chain stores, Shine Wood also creates nearly 500 new styles each year. According to Chan, these designs can cater to the different tastes of individual markets, and are innovative both in style and materials.
"Lately we have been using hi-tech substances like Niclaflor 1000, a new material which is harmless even when implanted inside the human body. It offers comfort and flexibility, and most importantly, we have the technical capability to implement the treatment which optimises its performance," says Chan.
Shine Wood also uses stainless steel, Monel, nickel silver, titanium, GE and acetate sourced from Japan, Germany, France and Austria.
Supported by its 5,000-square-metre, 300-worker factory in Shenzhen on the mainland, Shine Wood produces 50,000-70,000 frames a month. Minimum order quantity is 300 pieces per style, delivered in 50-60 days.
Shine Wood's stainless steel semi-rimmed designs generally start at US$4 each FOB Hong Kong, but prices depend on the materials and styles.
A veteran manufacturer founded in 1976, Winntics Optical Industry Co Ltd produces handmade frames, metal frames, injection frames and sunglasses.
"I believe our success lies in our quick response in product development, stringent quality controls and prompt delivery," says manager Cecilia Wong, who notes that the company endeavours to provide a "zero complaint" customer service.
Winntics exports all round the globe, with Europe and the US accounting for more than half of its annual turnover. Its two mainland factories - in Bao'an and Dongguan in Guangdong Province - have a total floor area of 150,000 square feet and can produce up to 100,000 frames a month.
Besides engaging in OEM and ODM terms, Winntics also has its own Chevron and Winntics brands, catering to separate market sectors.
Chevron is an up-market, trendy range with a price bracket of US$6-12 FOB Hong Kong per piece. The designs are made from titanium, stainless steel, Monel and nickel silver imported from Europe and Japan. Winntics features mass-market, mostly injection-plastic creations priced at US$1.50 or above FOB Hong Kong per piece, elaborates Wong.
The company requires a minimum order of 300 pieces per model and delivery is 90 days after order confirmation.
A relative newcomer to the industry, Ace Top Enterprise Ltd finds its niche in providing exclusive frames and sunglasses with strong design elements and high quality. It encompasses handmade acetate frames, as well as metal and leather designs jazzed up with diamonds.
"We have been selling mainly to importers, yet our recent strategy has been to look for clients who are not traditional retailers of optical goods, but fashion labels expanding their product lines," says managing director Philip Wong.
The strategy has been working well, and now most of these branded customers come from Europe. Italy, Germany, Austria, France and Spain today chalk up 80% of Ace Top's sales; Japan is also an emerging market.
"It is undeniable that Europe leads on the fashion front regarding taste, style and material. That's why most of our optical parts and material are imported from Italy, Austria and France," continues Wong.
Ace Top operates a 1,000-square-metre, 80-worker plant in the mainland's Shenzhen, manufacturing 30,000 frames a month. The company requires a minimum order of 300 pieces per model, delivered in 60 days. Half-rimmed and rimless frames from Ace Top generally start from US$5-6 FOB Hong Kong per piece.
Whatever the fashions dictate, Hong Kong optical suppliers can offer the quality and price to fill the prescription.
WRITTEN BY WINNIE HUI
Ace Top Enterprise Ltd
Kowloon Bay Ind Centre
15 Wang Hoi Rd
Kowloon Bay, Kowloon
Good Quality Optical Mfy Ltd
Flats A & B, 21/F
Glee Ind Bldg
77-81 Chai Wan Kok St
Tsuen Wan, New Territories
Shine Wood Optical Mfy Ltd
Unit 15, 11/F
2 On Yiu St, Siu Lek Yuen
Sha Tin, New Territories
Yau Yee Optical Co Ltd
Lee Kar Bldg
4 Carnarvon Rd
Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon
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