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that the agent model doesn't work as well as
having your own offices, so maybe that's why
those competitors are less visible than they
used to be.
HOW DOES HORNET WORK?
We provide services to anyone and everyone
who wants to get goods, components
or packaging at offshore prices without
sacrificing onshore quality and control. Fifteen
to 20 per cent of our clients are in the gift and
homewares sector. Some examples of things
we've sourced for them include:
• Goods which clients then resell---
crockery and glassware; hair and fashion
accessories; hampers, printed canvases,
optical frames and sunglasses, baby toys
and blankets; fireplace accessories; candles;
fabrics and clothing, picnic sets.
• Components which go into the product our
clients sell---these are usually intended to
make the base product stand out on the
shelves and turn them into luxury or gift
items rather than staples. This increases the
price that can be charged at a retail point
and in turn profit margin. Organza bags,
honey dippers and marinade brushes are a
prime example. We also coordinate gift set
manufacture. For example a wine company
might want a high end box to hold a bottle
and two wine glasses---we can source the
glasses and organise the branded box made
exactly to the required specifications, then
ensure the assembly of the glasses into the
packaging. All our client has to do is tell us
how many they want sent where.
• Packaging for specific products is also
often designed to create stand-out impact
and increase price. We've managed the
manufacture of tins, bags, boxes and gift
sets with seasonal or branded designs. In
fact, some of the packaging we recently
coordinated the manufacture of has won
international packaging awards. We also
source a lot of branded bags, ribbons and
other packaging items for retailers and
e-tailers who want to reinforce their brand
with their customers.
Outside home and giftwares, we also source
and manage the manufacture of custom
promotional products; lighting (especially
LED); building products; security products;
mainstream product packaging (stay-fresh
foil bags, bottles for hair product etc); even
mining equipment. If you can get it in China
and you want a reasonable quantity, we can
help by cutting down the time, hassle and risk
of manufacturing overseas.
Our clients range in size from small to
medium businesses to large corporates. We
also have start-up clients who need to be
very quantity and cost-conscious until their
product is proven. Some large corporates have
departments which need assistance too---for
example the marketing team might want some
unique promotional items, or the facilities
management people could need crockery for
20 staff canteens.
WHAT DOES HORNET OFFER CLIENTS?
There are two main reasons clients choose to
1 We save them so much time and hassle
Every client has a project manager in
Australia who liaises with our team in China
for everything from initial specification,
supplier sourcing, negotiating quotes, to
checking samples, to quality control and
organising shipping. We estimate this saves
the client 100-200 hours of time on a standard
project. That's a lot of extra time to spend on
other parts of their business or even some free
time to enjoy.
Compare it to recruiting. Finding potential
suppliers is like weeding through all the
resumes which come in, many of which are
completely inappropriate. Then inspecting
factory production capability, quality and
credentials is like doing first interviews. So
our clients only ever spend time assessing
the final quote which stands a good chance of
being a suitable candidate.
Of course we still need to talk to clients
when issues arise which need their input,
but the total time it takes them is much less
than otherwise. Because we deal with the
same kind of issues over and over again,
we can advise them on options and risks as
2 We give our customers the opportunity to
get something unique
The majority of our clients are looking for
something which includes some element of
customisation. Twenty per cent of them may
simply want some branding overlaid onto a
standard product, the other 80 per cent are
looking for custom design of some sort. If
they source themselves, they may spend a
lot of time looking around to find 'something
which fits the bill' or trialling inappropriate
factories, but when they go through us they
get something made exactly how they want it,
with far less hassle.
The decision to start with offices in China
was an easy one. China is the world's largest
manufacturing country, just as it was when
we were setting up Hornet a decade or so ago.
You could get anything there, but on the other
hand, there were still a lot of quality issues if
you went to the wrong factory. So it was the
ideal place for us to set up office, take the risk
out and still get cost savings for our clients.
WHAT ABOUT OTHER COUNTRIES?
Manufacturing is somewhat cyclical. Once
upon a time, 'Made in Japan' meant cheap
plastic trinkets. Then that perception
switched to 'Made in China' and Japan
became synonymous with high tech and
high quality. Now, Chinese manufacturing
is getting more hi-tech, with more reliable
quality, plus labour costs are rising. So for
products made by unskilled, low-cost labour,
China is losing its advantage to countries like
India, Vietnam and Indonesia. They're at the
stage of the cycle China was 10 years ago
when we started out.
The country we're looking at most actively
is India. It's cost-effective for the right product
categories and we have actually sourced
some items there already. We've investigated
all the legal side and we're looking at office
space and staff, but there's not quite enough
demand yet. When the demand's there, we're
ready to move quickly.
SO WHY CHOOSE HORNET?
Pretty much everything we've
You can get products or gift packs or
packaging or promotional items at a cost-
effective price without loads of hassle or risk.
You can get something which is unique and
customised for you.
Or if you've seen something somewhere
else which you know would be ideal for your
market and you'd like us to source it, we can
do that too.
Of course custom manufacture means you
need a minimum quantity which is viable
for the factory, which depends on the
product. For smaller retailers that might
be easier to achieve on ribbon or gift bags
which are used for all customers rather than
on specific products.
It's really a matter of looking at your
business and asking 'Where would something
custom make the most difference?' and 'What
do I use or sell a lot of which I could source
more cheaply?' If you're not sure, we're
always happy to have a chat and give you
YOU CAN GET
GIFT PACKS OR
ITEMS AT A COST-
OF HASSLE OR RISK.
WHICH IS UNIQUE
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