Tag Archives: liuyang

THE EPIC BUYING TRIP TO CHINA

Jimmy and Paul are over the other side of the World on a buying trip in the heart of the home of fireworks; China, and as the Chinese New Year fast approaches, time is short to get around all the factories on their list before the mass migration home for the Spring Festival begins.

Here in the western world, we celebrate Christmas followed closely by the New Year and I do not know of many who have the whole of the holiday off but over in China, more than 90% will return to their homes from across the globe for this 15-day holiday to ensure that they get to share time with their families and loved ones.

Fireworks are incredibly important to the people of China and they have been making them for centuries. The town of Liuyang is in the Hunan Province which is acknowledged as the capital of fireworks. This region is responsible for 60% of the $60 million industry from the thousand or so factories which cover the area. When you consider that the whole of the UK comprises only 209,000 km2 and Hunan is 210,000 you could literally fit our whole country in their province!

Of the thousands of factories in the area, Jimmy and Paul have pretty much been to most but there are some which specialise in certain areas like fountains, roman candles and cakes and rockets are often made by separate companies.

Over the years with the implementation of numerous rules and regulations regarding the transport of explosives and the safeguarding of the staff of firework factories has resulted in a great many of them working exclusively for the domestic market like the massive Spring festival which accounts for 40% of the gross sales of fireworks.

Epic Fireworks Visit The Fountain Factory

A post shared by Epic Fireworks (@epicfireworks) on

In the images, you can see first of all the big Fountains in production – these are one of the biggest sellers of our range as the big beautiful 1kg bad boys last round 90 seconds and offer a great ground display and at the other end of the spectrum, there are the little teensy-weensy fountains, like the ones in the majority of multi-packs or selection boxes but they are absolutely essential for garden displays.

When it comes to cakes or barrages (the same thing … some say that if they have different effects they have other names but it is all horses for courses) we have a couple of preferred suppliers who specialise in effects for roman candles. Which outlet we use depends on the type/weight/effects we need. On the other hand, ALL our rockets come from one supplier which offers us the best quality at the best price and moreover that we can trust that they will send what we have seen and not something random.

More #EpicFirework Cake Samples 2018

Check out the casements ready for creating that special fanned barrage and the roman candle shot tubes. Cakes/barrages are created by bundling together roman candle tubes which individually fire off effects but when carefully fused in a specific order, become a cake fit for a professional show, without the price tag.

We do try to bring something new in every year and this one is under consideration; Let us know what you think:

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May Contain Nuts

Fireworks to be labelled – ‘May contain Nuts’.

The world has officially gone quite mad when it comes to allergies and foods but when they start introducing the necessity to mark everything which comes into the UK with ‘May contain nuts’ because someone may have munched a snickers at lunchtime, you really have to question how far we are prepared to let this go.

The vast majority of firework production takes place in China where over the last couple of years, the government have stepped in to improve working conditions and in particular safety measures. Contrary to popular belief, the firework factories are not full of children in rags taking home pennies to feed their families, it is big business which is intrinsic to the economy. Over 98% of the USA and UK fireworks are from Liuyang along with 80% of all international display shells are made and shipped out of China. There are over 900 factories sending over 11,000 containers annually costing over $430 million so the recent decision to implement the new warning labels is likely to cost thousands.

Some years ago, whilst doing my weekly shop at one of the ‘budget’ supermarkets, I came across a bag of peanuts which had clearly printed on it ‘May Contain Nuts’. Really?!! Well the nuts were sort of the point of the purchase so is it really necessary to offer such a cautionary word of warning to the imbecile who would readily buy a bag of nuts if they have such an aversion to said salty snack?

Initially the rationale for the establishment of a Health and Safety department was to reduce the number and severity of workplace injuries/death by enforcing minimum legal standards. Unfortunately, it is as yet not possible to legislate for crass stupidity. In years gone by, the average human (not wishing to appear sexist) was trusted to use their brain to assess danger in whatever situation arises. Perhaps it is more to do with this generation being under the impression that if you shoot someone they will get straight back up or if you have a crash in your Lamborghini you just lean forward and press reset and you are back up and running again.

The latest decision to introduce labelling on fireworks highlighting ‘may contain nuts’ is an international decision. It beats having to let people know that they most certainly do contain explosives and perhaps, with allergies having cost the UK £68 million per annum and firework injuries on the decline, they may be better served looking to address this issue instead.

REACTION FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Mr Bruce Zolden – CEO of Phantom Fireworks – “I really really think this is NUTS. Excessive use of warning labels about the possible presence of allergens can restrict consumer choice and devalue the impact of warning labels”

Jimmy Singh – Managing Director of Jimmy’s Fireworks – “I can’t believe this…Big problems ahead for the fireworks industry…..first CE marking and now we have to test for banned substances like NUTS……”

Tommy Glasgow from TNT fireworks – “Until there is a consistent and reliable approach to allergy warnings, consumers – particularly those in high risk groups – need to be aware of the potential risks they face by not only ignoring notices but also failing to read the firework warning label. We hope that by raising awareness, we can help local families to look out for their children’s safety”

Mr David DeSafey from Pyro-Talk

Q: What do you call nuts on a wall?
A: Wallnuts

Q: What do you call nuts on your chest?
A: Chest nuts ETC….

Happy April Fools Day 🙂
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The Price of Quality

A few weeks ago we finally received the call we had been expecting for some time.

The last of our suppliers in China rang to say our stock for the coming season was all ready to be shipped and wanted approval to start loading the many containers and set them on their way to the UK.

Hold on there Mr Lee, they need to be tested first. “I will see you in a few days”.

Hours later with ticket to Hong Kong booked for the first leg of Jimmy’s Epic Journey a mere eleven hours flight time, agent/translator in China put on standby, hotels booked in the many places Jimmy has to visit, specialist dietary requirements explained to the various hotel chefs – trust me not easy as our Chinese is not what you could call good, but we get by.

His 1st stop off was in Liuyang a short hop of two hours fifteen minutes by plane from Hong Kong for a flying visit to our rocket factory.

Some of the factories Jimmy will visit are as much as a thousand miles apart, as we only deal with the very best producers each one a specialist in their own field.

Over the years, Jimmy has built up a really good relationship with our suppliers and is known by all from the shop floor workers to the chairman as “Uncle Jimmy”.

When we first started in this game the Chinese used to decide which products we would test, a small tidy stack of our products all ready to be fired off awaiting the visitor whether that be Jimmy himself or our head tester Wyn, or so they thought.

It didn’t take them long to realise Uncle Jimmy would pick them at random and not just one or two, it has been known to fire off a dozen or so just to make sure we keep our promise of delivering the best quality fireworks at the best possible price, bulk buying paying dividends for all concerned.

Every single product is tested to  very exacting specifications, each complying with  BS7144 and in most cases the new C.E marking requirements required in 2017, but more importantly, Jimmy’s very high standards have to be also met.

Take all this travelling into consideration and you quickly have a bill approaching a couple of thousand pounds, money well spent?, of course it is, and a small price to pay for the peace of mind a physical check in China brings us, knowing production of the next instalment of our Epic brochure can go ahead without any product facing any issues, or having to be recalled.

I am very proud to say that in the twenty-odd years we have been in this business, we have never had any major issues with any of our products and will do our very best whatever the cost to ensure we never have, allowing all our thousands of customers to buy not just Epic, but our other brands, Majestic, Marvel and Paramount with the same peace of mind we have selling them.

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