Often times the quality in a bag is beneath the surface.
“Quality is the most important thing. As I always say to my team: A customer could always come back, even if we lose them because of price, production schedule, or other reasons. The only reason they won’t come back to you is if your quality is poor,” said Cyan Tsoi, founder of Karale Industries Limited.
This dedication to quality and reputation that Karale developed among its customers has helped the company to weather many economic storms.
“We are selective about who we work with. Most of our clients come from referrals by older clients,” said Ms. Tsoi, whose client relationships go back as far as 22 years with one client, and average six to seven year for most.
Clients include leading brands including (Braccialini, Twin-set, Dsquared, Versace Jeans, Byblos, Elisabetta Franchi, Karen Millen, Lulu Guinness, Brian Atwood, Liu Jo and Nine West).
“You cannot just look at the outside of the bag. There is a lot of work under the surface. That’s where we really exceed expectations,” said Ms. Tsoi. The company has more than 700 employees at its main factory in Dong Guan (China). Another 200 work at each of three satellite factories.
Karale is more of a strategic partner with it clients than a manufacturer. “We try to see through our clients’ eyes. We are more like a team than just a supplier to them. We work very seamless,” said Ms. Tsoi.
With its technical know-how, Karale has helped many clients who have a design move through all the stages to launch a new bag collection. “We build up the line for them, we work on various technical issues, we identify the market, and we help them with the logistics, and so on.”
With an eye on sustainability, Karale helps its clients meet today’s more complicated environmental standards. “We look after our client on compliance issues,” said Ms. Tsoi. For example, the new REACH (Registration, Evolution, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals) Standard in Europe affects the sourcing of certain materials, which can impact design.
Eye on the trends
Knowledge of what’s happening in the international fashion industry helps Karale to be at the top of its game. Ms. Tsoi has been an Inside Fashion subscriber for more than 10 years. “I love to read Inside Fashion. It provides an excellent overview of what's happening in the fashion industry and constantly gives us new inspirations,” added Ms. Tsoi.
Know Your Strength And Focus On It
“You have to find your own strength to survive,” said Ms. Tsoi. For Karale, that means having a clear idea of one’s market position and leveraging it.
As a medium-size manufacturer, Karale understands its strengths and positions itself well. “More complicated and more tailored products are our real market,” Ms. Tsoi explained. “Each brand has its own identity. We offer tailor-made programs for them. We are one of the very few that can be 100% customized for almost every project.”
The company keeps its production in China where they can find highly skilled workers that are hard to find in other countries. However to avoid comprising on flexibility and efficiency, Karale also carefully controls the size of its production facilities. “When you get bigger, you can no longer enjoy the flexibility as lines become too big for small quantity orders—you become less accommodating to your clients.”
To achieve economy of scale, the company’s three satellite factories focus on production. This structure allows Karale to amplify its strength in catering special orders as well as working on bigger orders and catching lead times.