Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Hey, I have a question,

There has been a little bit of discussion so far covering making plush and where this kind of craft fits in within the artistic community as a whole.  Are there any rules or guidelines when it comes to issues like health and safety with regard to selling what could be described as a soft 'toy'?

Here in the UK, the manufacturing industry is governed by Trading Standards requiring a CE mark and/or the Kite Mark, which basically means the toy has been tested to European Standard BS EN 71.

But, how far into all this as a designer, maker, and seller of handmade plush would you need to go?  


monda-loves said...

often ponder this, and I have in the past bought handmade softies on etsy for my young nephews, but have chosen wisely when doing so (no buttons that can be bitten off and swallowed etc).
Part of me thinks that going down the trading standards line means that your OOAK products start to have a mass produced feeling.
It's a really hard one to call because you want to be safe and recognised for being safe without compromising your unique identity.

I'm pretty sure I haven't answered your question here but just opened the discussion much wider. sorry about that - oh and thanks for letting us all know about this place via your blog - I joined up on your recommendation :o)


Ms Frapcious said...

i guess that's tricky when it comes to plush. somehow plush has come to mean kids toys. stereotypes run amuck. i mean, you wouldn't buy a card of buttons and expect to find a disclaimer on it, and yet parents know not to give them to babies.
for really young,eat the kitty litter babes, i'm thinking organic cotton and other natural fibers might be nice. falls right in line with environmental issues as well. speaking of-- i simply love what you are all doing with recycled fabric!

Anonymous said...

This is a good topic and very relevant for those of us whose main audience are parents buying for their kids.

If I have made a toy with buttons or anything that could possibly be removed and swallowed, I always include a statement in my etsy item descriptions and on the tags attached to my creations that such toys are not suitable for children aged 3 years and younger, and leave it to the customer to make the right decision (as they would when buying any toy in a store which has a statement about recommended age suitability).

Would be very interested to hear what others are doing regarding this topic too.

ChristinaWard said...

This is interesting. I am adamant that all my creatures are for kids six and over. Sometimes older, depending on materials.

I had an odd experience at a craft fair. I had one creature that I specifically stated was for kids 12 or older. A woman stated that she wanted to buy it for her 2 year-old grandson. I told her NO. It was an odd, surreal moment trying to explain to the woman that I could not in good faith sell her the Giant Squid. She was quite peeved.

In the end, we all have to sleep with ourselves at night.

Anonymous said...

That's a good point Christina and I think such a tactic works when you have the opportunity to interact with customers face-to-face. However, if you are only selling your creations online (as I am), there is not much scope or opportunity to enforce the age recommendation/suitability in the same way - even less likely if you are selling through a third-party.

I think that we who do sell softies geared towards children should always ensure that all moving parts and potentially removeable parts are sewn in and attached as securely as possible (including double/triple stitching)and always state what age the toy is suitable for, because at the end of the day we can make the recommendations but we can't control who the buyer chooses as the recipient.


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