Angel Zhong finds inspiration in funny places. A long-time designer and manufacturer of mobile phone cases, she needs constant ideas to keep on top of the industry. They come to her when she’s shopping in department stores or looking at animals (hence her newest line of stone- and animal-print cases).
Zhong has been making phone cases for 15 years from her factory in Guangzhou, Guangdong province. It’s an industry that is highly competitive, and copying and price-cutting are common with her competitors in the space. But she’s no rookie, and she has a few aces up her sleeve and a genuine passion for what she does.
“I have a long history in this industry and I enjoy it!” she says proudly. “Mobile changed the world and changed humans, so I enjoy it so much. And especially now, mobile phones are so important to people—more than their wives and husbands!”
She explains that her production capability makes it easy for C&T to remain flexibile. The lead time on orders is short, especially compared to other consumer electronics products. Molds don’t change much, so the only variables are design. C&T can take a project from 0 to 1 in only a matter of weeks, which less experienced companies can’t manage. By the time a design is popular and someone wants to copy it, C&T will have moved on to the next one.
“Mobile phone cases aren’t very high technology, so it’s easy to copy and the copy cost is very low, but to be different from other suppliers we hire the best designers so we can always be different and do new things all the time,” she explains. “We always help customers with their own designs, too.”
Her experience allows her to take on a shepherding role with some of her clients as well.
“We can help our customers to be more successful,” she says. “We helped on customer to more than double their sales in one year because we taught them how to be more professional.”
From 2005, C&T started selling on Alibaba.com and grew their business from two employees to over 200. Then, her customers had to fly to China to source their products, to meet suppliers in person and oversee the production. Zhong says that Alibaba.com made it easier for clients, who can now just contact her—or any suppliers they want—on Alibaba.com.