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Singapore Shoe Makers
Offshore shoe production cuts prices by 20 percent
Fashion Accessories - July 1995
Mass production is not in the agenda, but overseas manufacture has cut prices of handcrafted models made of imported materials.

Shoe manufactures from Singapore will not compromise with quality as they continue importing raw materials from Australia, Italy and the United States. Many models are handcrafted and are hardly mass-produced.

However, since most firms have reduced their overhead costs by moving production or subcontracting offshore, they are able to quote lower prices for finished products. They can also afford greater flexibility with the acceptance of orders.

A possible drawback is the rising Singapore dollar and the sliding greenback. Raw materials may be bought at lower prices with the devaluating US dollar, but a slight increase in finished prices will follow the Singapore dollar’s rise. One surveyed firm, however, quotes prices in US dollars.

On the whole, makers expect prices to remain stable for the rest of the year.

More daring designs are a means to entice buyers. Senior management staff participate hands-on to ensure that only the best designs leave the drawing boards.

QC is essential at all the firms contacted. Spot checks are conducted on cut leather and stitching. Firms are also known for their efficiency and ability to adapt quickly to market changes.

Companies are keeping the productivity level high by paying their staff on a per-piece basis.

Patsi Footwear
Established: 1979
Factories: 1,700 square feet in Singapore, Johor Baru, Malaysia
Workforce: 20
Capacity: 500 shoes daily
Min. order: none
Delivery: 60 days after confirmation
Fax: (65) 445-9287
Inquiry # FA0057

“Patsi Footwear’s factory in Johor Baru employs housewives for their skill in stitching shoe uppers and adding accessories,” said marketing manager Patrick Lan. The soles are made in Singapore.

Producing offshore allows the firms to reduce its prices by about 5 percent, said Lan.

Trendy casual and dress shoes for young women make up the main line. Patsi Footwear is also a licensed footwear manufacturer of Courreges (Paris).

The firm imports nubuck, suede and leather from Italy. Strapped, laced, open and closed toe models are on offer. Most products sell for $21.57 t0 $25.88 a pair, FOB Singapore.

A variety of colors in different shades is available. “Various earth tones sell the most,” said Lan. “Metallic sliver and gold models are also popular.”

European sizes range from 34 to 41, while Asian sizes range from 3 to 10.

The in-house Marianne Collezion label includes flat pumps to 3-inch heels. The summer sandals and weave collections are the most popular, each carrying 15 to 20 designs.

The sandals feature leather soles and calfskin uppers in different shades.

The weave series in calfskin, patronized in Japan and Europe, is available in dark shades and in intertwining, multicolored versions. Weaves with tiny air openings can also be created. The range sells fro $28.76 a pair.

The shoes are packed in individual boxes. Clients may specify their requirements or use the in-house designs.

“We are reliable and efficient, and produce footwear of high quality,” said Lan.

The maker accepts buyers’ designs. Markets include Australia, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Freemen Industries
Asia Pacific Pte Ltd
Established: 1985
Workforce: 4
Min. order: 12 pairs/color, 80 pairs/design
Delivery: 60 to 90 days after confirmation
Fax: (65) 356-0503
Inquiry # FA0058

Freeman is one of the few Singapore footwear subcontractors producing low-end to high-end women’s shoes in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Products made in Malaysia are exported from Singapore, while those made in Indonesia and Thailand are shipped to customers directly.

“Subcontracting allows us to cater to small buyers who cannot make large orders,” said executive sales and marketing director Richard Tong. “To lower their costs, we can adapt a different material to a design they may find expensive.”

Freeman also accepts high-end buyers’ designs.

Fly or Die and Pretty Feet are its two in-house brands. “The former caters to working women, while the latter targets trendy, fashion-conscious teenagers,” Tong said.

Just last June, the company released a sporty Fly or Die series, combining patent leather with rubber soles. Red, blue, white, black and transparent models are available in strapped or lace-up, flat or 3-inch-heel versions. Ten different designs sell for $15 a pair.

The Pretty Feet label features strapped leather sandals made entirely of calf leather. They are priced at $25 per pair.

High-heeled mules for office wear come in black, brown, beige or white. Each pair features laces and 3-inch heels. Another model resembling a court shoe adopts a similar design and sells for $20.

All shoes are available in different sizes: Asian (3 to 10), Japanese (22 to 28) and European (35 to 41). Freeman releases two collections each year. It uses leather and fabrics for the summer line, while combining wood with nubuck, suede or cow leather for the winter line.

The firm exports about 40 percent of its products to Hong Kong and Taiwan. It is regular participant at the Hong Kong International Leather Fair.

Tony Shoes Trading Co.
Established: 1989

Factories: in Singapore and Johor Baru, Malaysia
Workforce: 100
Capacity: 500 shoes daily
Min. order: 200 to 300 per design/color
Delivery: 30 to 60 days after confirmation
Fax: (65) 280- 7421
Inquiry # FA0059

Producing offshore allows Tony Shoes to reduce its prices by 15 to 20 percent, said sales and marketing manager Raymond See. The firm recently doubled its factory space in Malaysia to 10, 000 square feet. It also maintains an office in Kuala Lumpur.

“We expanded in Johor mainly to increase our production capabilities and meet increasing order,” said See.

Men’s shoes compose the export line, besides accounting for about 80 percent of the men’s shoe market in Singapore. The firm is also the sole distributor of the Biltrite label from Italy.

Materials, including calf, lamb, ostrich and snake skins, nubuck and suede, are imported from Australia, Italy and United States.

Tony Shoes launches four collections, consisting of seven to eight designs, every year. New collections are normally launched in line with the Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter seasons. Traditional colors like black, dark brown and maroon are the most popular, See said.

Prices range from $22 to $40 a pair. Buyer’s designs are accepted.

The Larika label comprises casual men’s shoes that are designed in-house. The line combines nubuck, suede and leather. The buckles and shoelace accessories from Taiwan and Korea are plated in 16K gold.

The lightweight “Casual Moccasin” series mainly features slip-on, lace-up sandal-type models in sizes 5 to 12. A range of colors is available, including shades or black, brown, beige and white. Each pair sells for about $20.

The Biltrite range consists of formal men’s shoes, featuring models with laces, buckled straps and intricate stitching on the uppers. Their soles are imported and made of leather, rubber or formica. The uppers are made in Singapore.

See creates the design himself. New products undergo strict QC. “We check even the grade of glue used to secure the uppers to the sole,” said See.

Tony Shoes exports to Australia, Dubai, Indonesia and Taiwan, Russia is a prospective market.


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