The value of growth and making connections
Children grow up and grow out of their toys and we feel very strongly that through the CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective we want to grow up and grow out too.
Is this a business?
Hell yes! It’s a business collective!
Toy making is a business and we are in the business of toy making. We want our members to value themselves and each other as businesses and to understand that can mean making an investment in yourself and your work. Not just a financial investment, but more importantly an investment in a shared hope, self belief, your own intentions and in enterprise.
Our members generally aren’t amateurs, or any that are have their own toy making dreams and want their work to be taken seriously, to give them a return and to have a level of professionalism associated with it. Through the Collective we want to take CE Marked Handmade Toy making to new levels, in context of members’ business growth and the wider handmade craft sector, which has blossomed in recent years.
Do we want to make a profit?
Of course we do! Don’t you?!?
Your business is our business. As a Collective of small businesses we get to work towards bigger goals collaboratively. More importantly, we want our members to profit and to follow through – to create, to dream, network and to inspire each other. We want to channel funds and profit back into the community by letting members contribute, by buying resources and the actual standards for reference on the behalf of members or letting members promote and get more involved socially and practically, within their particular toy specialism. We want to be able to commission and pay our members to write articles or put together information about their particular specialism, for the benefit of all.
We want you, our members to be high fiving each other every step of the way on your CE journeys.
You’re not just paying towards test results anymore. You’re making an investment in yourself, your business, your products and your belief that handmade can mean so much more as well as your intention to follow through, CE mark and keep everything you need to up to date. Making handmade toys is fun and CE marking doesn’t need to be a roadblock. Instead it can be used as an opportunity to quality assure your toys and make your designs in the company of people who understand the requirements you need to comply with, as well as the context of handmade toys. Imagine instead of 2 or 3 people, we had hundreds of handmade toy making businesses collaborating and contributing – working on a CE and handmade wiki or contributing towards one blog. Isn’t that something you’d like to be a part of?
The CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective allows you be part of something bigger and better. We get to connect not just as individuals, but more importantly as businesses too and on a highly creative basis. As a collective (of handmade CE marked businesses and members specialising in making handmade toys) we can move beyond *cheap* craft cliché offerings and promote quality, safety and originality, alongside consumer awareness. It’s not just about EN71-3 test results anymore and it’s not just business as usual. Together we get to be bigger than that, but we need you to be able to do so. Without you and every other member in the Collective, the dream and the shared hope isn’t possible. That shared dependency and strength in a scalable community is partly what the Collective about.
The other part?
Being involved in the very best CE marking handmade toys support group online, helping you comply with the Toy Safety Directives and EN71, while keeping you up to date. All these aspects are just small parts though. The community as a whole has so much more to offer having developed way beyond when we first started with a handful of people clubbing together to lab test some ribbons, in early 2012.
What else do we have planned?
Apart from continuing to develop material testing budgets and schedules, we’ll also be launching CE packs and guides, printables, online courses, as well as probably live member seminars and events. We think 2015 is going to be amazing!
Joining the CE Marked Handmade Toys Collective as a Member
Check the Membership Fees & Join page for more information and to sign up as a Collective member.
The CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective is a membership driven community of handmade makers and businesses who CE mark their toys through self certification.
Incorporated in January 2015, the Collective evolved in response to our members’ needs. Having developed originally in 2012 from networked groups of small businesses, who were hand making toy items and were aware of the requirement to test and CE Mark their toy products, so supporting each other through the CE process.
It was quickly realised that obtaining the correct EN71-3 certificates for materials to be used on toy items was going to be difficult and time consuming, so as a group we decided to combine our efforts and share any certificates we’d obtained. We quickly realised however, that we would not be able to obtain results for a large variety of materials we wished to use and so cooperative testing came about with ribbons being the first material tested. The EN71-3 standards changed in July 2013, which meant all materials used in toy making required updated certificates and test results.
Over the past 3 years the group has rapidly evolved and developed, with many of the original members having become very experienced in the field of CE marking handmade toys, overall holding a large wealth of knowledge. The collective has now developed into a Limited company and we provide guidance, advice, resources and cooperatively tested results for our members. The original facebook group has grown to around 2500 members and there is very much a community and supportive feel, which we seek to maintain through this website and forum.
The purpose of the CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective is to support and represent members and their interests, in context of CE Marking and complying with EU toy safety directives. We wanted to develop a website that could work more effectively for members as a place to refer to, to network with other members and share knowledge, resources and experience.
We’ve found through supporting and consulting, that members often asked many of the same questions or cover the same areas of knowledge repeatedly, so the requirement of a website where special interest groups could be better represented, where we could publish resources and a member knowledgebase grew more crucial, while also coinciding with the annual membership update and new requirements for EU VAT on digital products.
Our mission is to promote the safety of toys, allowing handmade makers to CE mark and self-certify, while also promoting understanding of the importance of CE testing and best practices in handmade toy making.
What we do?
The CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective provides our members with benefits and resources through the membership tiers available. Our goal is to improve the knowledge of members, while showing that by following safety requirements and procedures, a greater confidence of quality can be found in their end outcomes. By promoting safety and handmade, we seek to not only impact makers, but also raise consumer awareness of why being CE marked is so important. The collective also provides an important community context which allows members to network, share their knowledge and support through the CE journey.
Our Collective Members & Community
You can find out more about our members through the Handmade Toy Collective Members’ Directory listings. Members produce a vast range of different toy types, the main thing in common being that they are handmade and self-certified to the EU Toy Safety Directives. As a Collective we are able to network and draw from common interests in a co-operative way.
The CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective is run by a small group of admin and moderators, representing the Collective membership.
Suzi is chairperson and the initial founder, having originated the concept of a CE Marking group whereby makers could help each other through the process and share the cost bared by chemically testing materials to EN71-3.
Suzi creates her own pocket toys for her business Muchkin Munecas and so has a thorough working knowledge of the whole CE process. Suzi mainly deals with the testing labs, membership applications and arranging materials to be tested. She has been a head admin for the CE Marking Facebook groups and page since the initial conception.
Beth is secretary and the artist & designer behind Beth Sutherland Creative Studio, providing graphic design services and branding as well as consultancy on areas of quality assurance. Beth created all the branding and graphic design, as well as building the majority of this website.
Beth is also very knowledgeable in the dying processes of material and yarn textiles, having previously commercially hand dyed her own EN71-3 tested materials. Beth has also CE marked her own toy products in the past, so has a working knowledge of the whole process as well as having been one of the head admins for the CE marking Facebook groups. She also has commercial experience in quality assurance, business development, marketing and account management.
Laura is a consultant whom previously had her own handmade toy business making soft dolls, which conformed to EN71.
With a scientific background and Chemistry degree Laura is well versed in the technical language found in the toy directive standards and is well placed to work on our CE marking guides, test packs and resources. Having a sound scientific and legislative knowledge, experience of toy testing and a working knowledge of the whole process, Laura is a valuable asset in discussions around toy testing, having also worked as one of the head admins for the CE marking Facebook groups. Laura has commercial experience of laboratory testing, quality control and quality assurance as well as the experience she has gained from running her own toy and retail business.
What are our future plans?
Following the launch of the website, during 2015 we plan on developing our own resource packs and courses for members. Ultimately, the primary purpose behind the CE Marking Handmade Toys Collective is to help members achieve their CE marked status, while also providing additional support and drawing on the strength of community of which our members are a part. In the future we will continue to build on the knowledgebase and member benefits available and at the same time we expect out members and community to continue to develop and grow.