(Filed Under wholesale Lingerie News). Founded in 1956 by Andy Lau, Clover Group has grown to become a leading producer of intimate apparel. Based in Hong Kong, and with production facilities in China as well as other key countries, the company supplies a wide range of customers. Clients range from some of the largest names, such as Victoria’s Secret, Aerie and Under Armour, and include a variety of other labels of different sizes.
A recent initiative for the company comes under the heading of “Cloverization,” a company-wide creative refresh of all its processes. In this interview BODY publisher Nick Monjo posed questions to Angie Lau, Andy Lau’s daughter, who is now the firm’s CEO. She joined the company in 2005 following a career in advertising in Hong Kong.
MONJO: Clover has long produced for many leading U.S. brands and retailers. More recently you have expanded to also include Chinese intimates companies. In which categories are you directing your efforts?
LAU: We are still highly focused on bra and panty and the key emphasis is INNOVATION.
MONJO: A couple of years ago, at a breakfast meeting in New York, we discussed your growing business in the Chinese market, and the explosive opportunities for those with an educated understanding of that market. Can you describe your current opportunities and initiatives in the Chinese market today?
LAU: Clover has been a keen player in the intimate manufacturing industry for over 63 years. This foundation stems from our deep understanding on how to read and lead with product development. The constant fast change to market demands whatever happens, QUALITY, FITTING & ON TIME DELIVERY are always of utmost priority.
MONJO: Can you describe some of the challenges and pitfalls in the Chinese domestic market?
LAU: The market is very massive, diversified and segmented. The top 3 brands individually have around 3-4% market share.
MONJO: Can you describe some of your partners in China?
LAU: We support customers with new ideas and help bridge the east and west culture.
MONJO: I am well aware of the scope of your involvement in the American intimate apparel market. But how involved are you with the European markets?
LAU: We have a very small European customer base but a much stronger connect with Canadian customers.
MONJO: I am sure that some companies may think of Clover as “too big” for their production. How would you describe your most suitable potential partners, in terms of volume, price point, and so on.
LAU: Clover has always prided itself to grow with brands over the years. We have been working with many new start up brands and you never know when they explode into the market and become a trend setter. We have helped launch Savage X Fenty and Core 10 for Amazon. We are also supporting Tomboy X.
MONJO: Why do companies come to Clover? What do you offer that makes you unique?
LAU: Customers see Clover as young and vibrant, I hope? Knowledgeable with a thorough understanding of each customer’s USP & DNA. Majority of the key launches with various customers have been extremely successful and we let our product speak for itself.
MONJO: Tell us more about the new Vietnam facility.
LAU: Seeds Vietnam. We are joining hands with a local manufacturer and hopefully we should be up and running in 6-8 months [note this interview was conducted a couple of months ago]. Our Vietnam partner is well versed in high quality production for sports apparel and this synergy will provide a new diversification for Clover.
MONJO: Let’s mention your other facilities and when they launched.
LAU: Seeds China - three factories in China since 1979; Seeds Cambodia since 1999; Seeds India since 2009; 3D pad molding since 2006.
MONJO: Clover has an interesting strategy of maintaining factories in several different countries, each with the capacity to provide a full rage of products. Can you expand on this philosophy and capability?
LAU: My father has been one of the pioneers who believed in risk management. Hence we have been operating out of China since 1979.
MONJO: Five years ago we wrote about your Go! Color initiative. I know the original test machine has a limited capacity. What is the status of that project and when do you expect a full scale roll out?
LAU: We are working to upgrade the Go! Color machine as water treatment facilities are difficult to locate to accommodate our machines.
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