Our annual picks of the industry’s rising stars – a brave, bold group that’s trailblazing a unique path to success.
When some of the industry’s most prominent and innovative suppliers are looking for the coolest new items for their lines, their first stop is often the Hong Kong-based manufacturer Headwind, helmed by the très hip trend-spotter Michael Hung, the company’s scion. Now 37, Hung grew up in LA but moved to Hong Kong 13 years ago to learn the business started by his grandfather and now run by his formidable father, Tom, a legendary character of the highest order. Hung personally handles the company’s largest clients, and has continued the industry relationships his father nurtured with the fathers of current clients, epitomizing a literal changing of the guard.
“From a product standpoint, I enjoy the fast pace of developing products across multiple categories,” Hung says. “I’ve also come to appreciate the longstanding relationships that the industry is built on – the people who last in this business tend to have not only rather large personalities, but they are generally also good, honest businesspeople.” And in a masterpiece of understatement, he adds, “Reputation is everything in this business.” Testament to that is this comment from CJ Schmidt, president of Top 40 supplier Hit Promotional Products (asi/61125) and the #1 ranked person on Counselor’s Power 50 list: “We’ve been doing business with Michael and his family for over 20 years, and they’re the cream of the crop in the sourcing world. Michael has taken the business to the next level with his creative nature and bringing a retail element into the promotional environment.”
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