GUANGZHOU, CHINA — Guangzhou Talents Foamer Pump Co. provides an object lesson on how small commodity manufacturer can make a mark in an ever-competitive international market.
Founder and General Manager Freda Luo jumped into the injection molding business when she learned from her older brother of a company that made caps for cosmetic bottles quadrupling its production capacity in six months.
A pure example of a mom-and-pop business — Luo expects sales to reach 20 million yuan this year (about $3.1 million) — Talents Foamer started out in 2010 with four injection molding machines and now has 16, producing 2 million foamer pumps every month.
Foamer pumps put a twist on bottle pumps — those mainstays used to spray and squirt everything from window cleaner to hand lotion. A bit of netting aerates the product, so instead of a thick stream, foam comes out. Foamer pumps have a bevy of applications in the personal care market, including hand washes and hair care products.
Small doesn't mean stolid, so on top of a 60-person production team, Talents Foam employs three full-time R&D staff. Success in today's competitive marketplace means listening to the customers, Luo said. After lots of back-and-forth with hair-care suppliers, Talents has landed the first order for their new product, a combination foamer/comb. The product makes it so fashionistas needn't get styling foam on their fingers, Luo told Plastics News through an interpreter, “Many Japanese and Korean customers are interested in the new product.”
Currently in development is a foamer pump that doubles the typical 0.8 cc-per-squeeze output to 1.6 cc per squeeze. Luo sees the pump as a potential difference-maker in the competitive baby-wash market, appealing to harried parents reluctant to take their hands off a slippery infant.
“We're already making samples,” Luo said, of a third device – a shaving-cream foamer that would be an green upgrade on the environmentally unfriendly aerosol can.
Luo cited rising labor costs and intensified competition — especially from foreign firms targeting the domestic Chinese market — as Foam Talent's top two macroeconomic challenges. But if the stress is getting to her, Luo isn't showing it. “We try to control our costs with higher production efficiency” — paring all steps and processes to the minimum necessary. She is also considering investing in more automation equipment.