6 Sept 2007
Spectacular Business(HKTDC Optical,2008)
|Yau Yee Optical Co Ltd is a specialist in high-quality frames|
Starting out in 1981 as a trading company dealing in all kinds of eyewear, Yau Yee Optical Co Ltd began to manufacture its own eyewear products from 1997.
"We are intent on selling top-of-the-line fashionable eyewear,' says design and development manager Queenie Chan. "From our ODM collections, we supply frames in stainless steel, Monel, nickel silver and bronze."
For OEMs, the company offers accurately and individually crafted eyewear prototypes built to customer specifications, employing advanced wire forming, tooling technology and skilled workmanship, she adds.
Yau Yee continually introduces new, original and trendy styles that are designed in-house by the creative and engineering teams, Chan says, naming the firm's YS range of lightweight and flexible stainless steel frames as an example.
"There have been many changes in terms of both manufacturing and marketing," Chan continues. "For example, manufacturing has been hit by continual price increases for metal and plastic, while increased salaries and social-health insurance costs have had an impact on labour costs."
On the marketing side, she says that simple styles find favour with fewer people these days. "Designs are becoming increasingly complicated. It's as if everyone is trying to outdo each other in stylishness," Chan laughs. "For our part, we are fortunate to have our own design people both in Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland."
In recent years, unisex products reportedly achieved best-seller status, particularly in their more trendy and fashionable forms. "However, last year we saw kids' eyewear products selling pretty well, too," says Chan. "And don't think kids don't care, they do - even the five- and six-year-olds."
She says that children love cartoon characters. "The kids like the cute look, with hearts and stars, things that are very colourful, which is why kids' frames are always becoming more attractive. Teenagers, on the other hand, tend to see eyewear as a fashion statement, and wear glasses just for fun, matching colours and styles with clothing."
In the unisex line, Yau Yee offers two-colour combinations of metal and acetate that are proving very popular. "Unisex frames with bright, two-layer colours are very 'in'," says Chan. "We sell a lot of mesh frames as well, while acetate versions with inlays at the front are also well-received."
She says that Yau Yee tries to fuse the basic design with the use of additional materials such as 3D plaque, fabric and epoxy. "In combination, this approach can give frames their own unique look and even character."
The main market is Europe. "Frames and glasses destined for Europe and North America are pretty much alike," Chan points out. "However, the Japanese look for different styles and with a different colour preference."
The price range falls between US$5-10 per frame FOB Hong Kong for metal frame models, including metal combinations and special-patterned mesh frames. "For example, our popular YS series of unisex frames sells from US$5.00-8.50," says Chan.
"We are a vertically-integrated, technology-based company and we make the moulds, do the detailed soldering and all colouration in-house. This gives us an advantage over those manufacturers who have to outsource."
There is also a highly qualified team of engineers and technicians. "We believe that service is very important, and our sales team is second-to-none," Chan declares. "We try our very best to satisfy our customers, not only with excellent products but also with top-flight service and by keeping to deadline."
Production takes place at the firm's 350-worker, 5,000-square-metre factory in Chongqing in Sichuan Province, and capacity tops at about 55,000 frames per month. Delivery of a 300-piece minimum order takes approximately 100 days after order confirmation. Apart from selling direct to wholesalers, the firm produces OEM/ODM contracts.
"Hong Kong is still a strong player in the industry," Chan states. "Italy, of course, is also very well placed in eyewear manufacturing and design - but Hong Kong can achieve much. Hong Kong designers, for example, have greater access to new ideas than their counterparts on the mainland because they travel more. In addition, they are being trained in the professional design field, which assists them in gaining a better understanding and know-how of how to pick up new design ideas."
Yau Yee Optical Co Ltd always tries to stay with its three guiding principles: service, quality and price. "These form our mission statement," Chan concludes.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Yau Yee Optical Co Ltd