After my first day in Sham Shui Po, exhausted and barely making my way back to the MTR station, I knew that I missed out by not finding any trims at all. Trust me, I got so much better at finding my way around by the second day. The first day, I was so overwhelmed that every corner led to a whole different street full of shops, that I wandered around aimlessly.
Anyhow, since I didn’t find any trims the first day, I emailed Erika again. The first day I figured out that most shops were in sections, or areas, so I asked Erika to point me in the direction of the trim section. She wrote:
Sure thing! The area can be a bit confusing, but I’ll try my best to point you in the right direction. Nam Cheung St is a main (divided) road that runs through Sham Shui Po district. Look for Apliu St and Yu Chau street (intersecting Nam Cheung St) and that will put you in the general area. You might need to circle the blocks a few times to find what you’re looking for, but most shops are in specific districts, so if you find one ribbon shop, you find them all. If you take the MTR (subway trains) they have a good map to guide you at both ends of the stations before you exit. My favorite fabric store in the area is tucked in a little stall on Tai Nan street (cross my fingers that’s right). Happy Shopping!
Armed with this knowledge, and my handy dandy enlarged MTR map that I made, I circled the area Erika referred me to. Determined not to get sidetracked, I exited the same MTR exit and headed up Yu Chau Street, to find Trim Land. Yes, I still got sidetracked but the good thing is that I made my way into a few shops that I marked on my map, but missed the first day (when I wandered aimlessly from street to street). And, on the second day, I had my business cards (referred to as name cards here). It’s so great having a business card, it saves you from having to say a lot. You just hand your card over when you’re ready to ask questions. That way, you’ve established that you’re a wholesale customer (many shops will cut some yardage for retail sales, especially trims). One tip, have your country printed on your business cards. It’s not common for us to do so, but it really helps, because otherwise you end up writing USA on your cards (like me).
I finally made my way up to Trim Land (as I have named it) and found myself amidst more “candy stores.” Ribbons, laces, more ribbons, and tons of other stuff as far as the eye can see. Many trim shops will cut yardage on the spot, for samples, more yardage and they retrieve it from their warehouse in 10-15 minutes. The one thing I love about the area is that everyone is so gracious and nice and thanks you for even the smallest purchase. I can only imagine how it would be to purchase yardage on the spot. It’s nothing like what us DEs are used to dealing with here in the USA. They would make the time to service even my small requests for 10-20 meters of trims to take with me for sampling purposes.
Trim stores don’t have header cards. Some have color cards for certain types of trips (ribbons, tapes, etc.). Other than that, the way it works is that you cut small sample pieces and tape them to letterhead and write the article/item numbers. Some shops will let you cut by yourself, others prefer to assist you. You often can make your own sheets up and then hand over your business card and the sheet, when you need to discuss pricing, fiber content, and minimums. The minimums aren’t high. Usually 50 meters and up for many items. Some come on a pre-measured roll and the minimum is one roll, it’s just like what we’re used to at home. You can always get sample yardage on the spot, though different shops have different sampling policies.
Trim Land is expansive, later I will post about my adventures into the worlds of buttons, zippers and metal hardware. Enjoy the photos, keeping in mind that even though I show you one shop, there are dozens of similar shops. One last thing. My first day in Sham Shui Po, I noticed a lot of redundancy. What I know now is that many companies have multiple shops in the area, often 3-6.
Question: Do you have any suggestions on how to store headers? In the showrooms, they are on pegs
[Kathleen here: If you’re interested in sourcing in Hong Kong, regular visitors of Fashion-Incubator (“Fashincs”) are planning a trip. See the thread in the forum. If you post to the thread, you’ll automatically be emailed whenever the thread is updated. We’re shooting for spring, possibly late March 2008. Miracle hasn’t discussed costs yet but her trip was half what I thought it would cost.]