Loewie Trading Ltd, Hong Kong

By on August 2, 2016
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The company was founded in 2008 when we started to design stylish toys which were then manufactured and in 2009 we sold the first products under the brand of Nomi Tang.

The very first product sold was “Better than Chocolate”. This product received the German red-dot design award in 2010 and it is still high in demand.

By this time a lot of western brands approached us whether we could help distributing their products in Asia. And since we are based in the heart of Asia and our team is a good mix of Westerners and Asians very familiar in both worlds, we decided to take on this challenge. Over the years Loewie proved to be a very successful distributor and represented more and more brands such as Eros, Fun Factory, Sliquid, Swan, We-Vibe and many others. Today we are representing more than 25 brands.

Tell us about your premises.
Our Nomi Tang products we design in Germany, where our team of experienced designers is based. But the majority of our staff is based in our two offices in Hong Kong and in China where we manufacture our products and manage the distribution business. From our China warehouse we obviously serve all customers in China. All other countries are served from our Hong Kong warehouse. Hong Kong is also our central hub for all imported products we distribute in Asia.

How and to what countries are you selling to?
The Nomi Tang product line we started to sell in Asia and Europe, but we are now also selling in Australia after having set up another warehouse in Sydney. In a next step we are looking for distributors to expand in the Americas.
Talking about our distribution business, we distribute to virtually all major Asian markets from India in the west to Japan in the east, from China in the north to Indonesia in the south.
In terms of growth, where do you see yourselves now? How are the markets developing globally for you?
Despite constantly growing the past 7 years, we still see a solid growth and we are very optimistic about our markets. Especially in our home market Asia we predict to grow above average.
How do you promote, create awareness, social media, trade shows…
Despite Loewie and Nomi Tang are already well known in our markets, we are always reaching out to connect with new and existing customers. We are using many social media but also our newsletter to inform about news and to announce new products. And of course we are present at many trade shows.

Direct sales? Amazon, Ebay, your thoughts?
These days there is a growing number of sales channels which are all very diverse. Different sales channels attract different customer groups. There are pros and cons which every customer may weight differently. Finally customers are choosing their favorite mix of sales channels. This is what all successful brands are accepting and hence we are serving all those channels from offline to online from small shops to big chains, from small web shops to big online platforms.

What percentage of your product do you think is sold online vs brick and mortar stores?
This question is not easy to answer, because this percentage is different from market to market. On the one hand there are many online driven markets such as China, but there are also many markets with high offline sales such as Singapore.

What can you tell us about working with retailers?
Retailers are in the center of our focus, because they are the first line of contact for the customers. Therefore we provide all kinds of support, such as training materials, floor samples, displays, graphics, local translations, videos

What are some of your best selling items?
Very popular is our Better than Chocolate 2, a smaller rechargeable and with silicone covered version of Nomi Tang’s very first iconic product. But also other Nomi Tang products such as her G-spot vibe Getaway Plus or her latest remote controlled and revolving prostate massager Spotty are very high in demand. In January Spotty received AVN’s “O” award in the category “Outstanding Product for Men”.

Are there any country specific trends globally or are some countries more receptive to certain product categories over others?
Every market has its own characteristics and preferences in terms of product categories or colors. Therefore our team developed a very good sense of which products are selling well in which markets. This experience is the key to success and we share that knowledge with the brands we are representing to be successful.

What brands are you now distributing and how did you select these?
In selecting the brands we are representing we are very selective. We apply many criteria such as product quality, innovation, reliability of their supply chain, etc. but we also try to create a portfolio of brands which complement each other, so that we have a well rounded assortment of top notch products.

How has the market for lubricant evolved over the years?
Lubricants are essentials, maximizing the user’s experience. In this regard we have educated the markets about the usage of the right lubricants and this is now paying off. Our lubricants are made in compliance of the highest standards catering exactly the customer’s demand for high quality lubricants.

What are some of your best sellers and what makes a product a ‘best seller’.
Best seller always have one thing in common, they do not excel in just one characteristic but in all, namely innovative and useful features, plausible use cases, attractive design, safe materials, superior quality, attractive packaging, reasonable pricing… supported by well thought of marketing.Since these are the basic ingredients for successful products, both Loewie and Nomi Tang applying these criteria throughout the whole product selection process.

What can you tell us about the manufacturing process?
In the beginning is the inspiration, the product idea which is later discussed with our various teams in-house, but we also invite customers to share their opinion in these early stages. Once we have collected as much input as possible and we have fixed our requirement list we start the industrial design process which typically takes several selection stages and iterations until the whole team is happy with the prototypes. Then the tricky part starts. Our engineering team needs to fit all components into the space the industrial design allows. This process also takes a few iterations between engineering and design to finish the detailed 3D drawings. At this point of time a functional prototypes are created which are then extensively tested to ensure functionality and ergonomics. Also here several iterations are needed to get the perfect solution. Only then the tools and molds are created and the production process is prepared. Once the first parts are received it takes another few iterations to optimize the molds before the first trial production can start. Only after extensive tests these products are approved and we ramp up the production.

So you may understand that due to these many tests and iterations the exact launch date is hard to predict. But since quality is at our utmost importance, we are willing to spend this extra effort.

What legal and compliance issues are there to deal with in regard to manufacturing?
Since we are mainly active in Asia, we often see manufacturers producing counterfeits or misusing trademarks. Hence the legal requirements and compliance requirements have increased over the past few years. Especially when it comes to online sales, platforms and sellers are getting very cautious asking for many certificates and documents before allowing a product to be sold.

Tell us about your staff resources. How have staff resources changed for you over the years and the technology involved in selling?
Back in 2008 we started with 2 people. Not counting manufacturing, our team meanwhile grew to more than 30 employees. Our processes have changed a lot since we constantly introducing new technologies to increase our efficiency and also to cater the needs of our customers in terms graphic designs, website development, digital marketing, etc.

Where do you see the company now and where would you like it to be in 5 years?
Currently Loewie is the leading distributor of western brands in Asia. We will continue our path to increase the brand awareness and brand value of the brands we represent in our markets and so we will target higher turnover.

Also we will continue our successful cooperation with Nomi Tang to launch more exciting products…stay tuned!

A Synergy interview with Loewie Trading Ltd.

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