When international brands and retailers look for better quality at affordable prices, they are increasingly finding the solution is located in Indonesia.
Jakarta-based PT. Hollit International has a 25-year history of providing both production and design inspiration to some of the world’s leading labels.
Hollit’s strong production skills enable it to make complicated products for higher-end collections. Tasks that would baffle most manufacturers, such as split seam shirts and complex pattern matching with up to 21 points are part of what make Hollit unique in the price-sensitive, fast-turnaround world of Asian sourcing. In 2013, Hollit established its own environmentally friendly laundry in Central Java called La Tintoria. The facility allows the company and its clients to experiment with new washing techniques and finishes, equipped with latest Tonello machines.
While Indonesia might not hit the speed records that Vietnam can, local workers are talented problem solvers, according to Hollit president, Frank P. Smits. "Our employees don't turn away from challenging production requirements. Instead, they continue to work on it until they find a way to achieve it," he said. It’s a trait that will serve them well as quality standards for apparel continue to rise.
In addition to its production facilities, Hollit also has its own design studio that provides international brands with cutting edge design concepts.
“I always tell the design team, ‘don’t hold back on creativity’. We experiment with all kinds of crazy ideas, using special fabrics or construction techniques. We try to push the boundaries as much as possible,” said Mr. Smits.
A full-fledged sample production unit that includes over 25 specialized tailors and state-of-the-art equipment can produce immediate samples for visiting designers and product developers supports the design studio.
Here designers have access to a wide range of materials, machines and skilled technicians who can literally help them to realize even their wildest ideas on the spot.
Investing in Quality
From its origins as a sourcing office aimed at helping high-end European brands achieve the production quality they wanted in Asia, to its role as a design innovator, Hollit made the strategic decision to develop its own vertical supply chain and its subsequent merger in 2011 with PT. Pan Brothers Tbk., one of Indonesia’s largest apparel manufacturers. By being part of Pan Brothers, Hollit has access to integrated production lines that work exclusively on its orders. In addition, Hollit recently opened an office in Vietnam to oversee its own production lines there.
“We take ownership for whatever we sell,” said Mr. Smits. “We buy the fabric and find the best factories to do the garment production. We take great pride in the products we make,” he said, explaining that Hollit is not just another buying office but part of a fully integrated group. Their role as manufacturer in the supply chain is substantial with all the added value they deliver to their customers (design lab, laundry, sample room, in-house design teams, multiple production facilities Indonesia/Vietnam).
The Importance of Market Intelligence
As an innovator and leader in a fast paced industry, Mr. Smits understands the value of good market intelligence.
“I’ve been subscribing to Inside Fashion for about 8 years. It’s the one publication that gives me a comprehensive overview of the global market, including sourcing information, comparative market studies and insights into the retail and consumer markets,” he said.
Eye on Indonesia
"The real opportunity here in Indonesia is to make creative, mid-range product," said Mr. Smits.
While Indonesia is not the lowest cost manufacturing nation, it offers the skills that are now increasingly in demand by brands that are looking to move up the value chain.
“Our ultimate goal to provide value to our customers,” said Mr. Smits. “Price is part of the equation, but so is quality and unique design, as well as service. We want to provide all of this so that we can help our customers be successful in the market.”