One of the trickier parts (once you’ve got your head around the idea of needing to CE mark) is the money aspect of it. Of course as a maker/seller, the aim is to actually make money rather than spend it out before you start(other than materials), and sometimes its hard to swallow that you’ll need to pay more, for certificates, for different fabrics, for packs, and so on.
The money block is such a hard one to navigate, because lets face it, if there’s no money to begin with, there’s no money to work with!
Its worth working out what your vital spends are, and what you can do without to start with. When planning your toy start with our free stuff section, where you can find manufacturers who have tested their own materials so we/you don’t have to.
- Things like swing tags can actually be printed at home, and don’t need to be super fancy as long as they have the vital labelling information on.
- If you’re stuck with fabric you’ve discovered you can’t use, its worth thinking about making up some non-toy items, or just selling the fabric on to regather your costs
- Sometimes your trading standards can be helpful! in rare occurrences they have been known to have labs attached to them who will test toys for you, so its always worth a try with them.
- Don’t forget our CE roots of emailing manufacturers/suppliers for certificates! Its how most of the free stuff section has come together (you can also let us know to add things) and the more manufacturers realise that people want certificates for materials, the more they’ll be inclined to test things to boost sales.
- Starting with one basic item to complete is always good – instead of working on few different toys, this way you can establish your first item, make some money back from that and go on to expand your ideas.
We group our certificates into bundles now, which can sometimes be frustrating we understand. Its worth remembering that most of our bundles costs less than the cost of one certificate if you were going to get something tested independently (but we also understand that this is a block for a good reason! as money doesn’t grow on trees…)
Is it possible to CE mark with no additional costs? What can I do without?
Its not impossible, but it takes more time and is a steeper learning curve to tackle.
In terms of fabric certificates for a first make, for example a CE marked ribbon style blanket, in Westfalenstoffe or Dashwood fabric – cottons, with a Westfalenstoffe nicki velour backing (certs are on their website, link on free stuff page) with ribbon reel ribbons (link in free stuff) would be a beautiful start, but unfortunately so far we’ve not found a thread tested to the en71-3 that we haven’t tested ourselves.
Knitted or crochet items from stylecraft or Thomas B Ramsden’s certified yarn with crafty bits eyes, and world of wool stuffing, would be free of certificate costs though
Guides and paperwork – Obviously we’re bias in that we think our pack is amazing and has everything you need in terms of paperwork for all your soft toys/dolls in the future going forward, however, if you were feeling brave you could devise your own paperwork with additions of the hantsweb risk assessment and declaration of conformity(linked also in free stuff), and if your library has access to the regulations, you have all the information in there for whats needed tests wise. However it is very heavy reading, and unless you’re technically minded, the CE marking guide would be a much easier way to begin, and save you valuable time if you’re in a rush to sell.
Being money wise in general
- Shop in sales for fabric, shop around!
- Equipment like clamps for tests can be found in most hardware type shops, or online – again shop around and get the cheapest. Or, raid your dad/husband’s/your shed where clamps and S hooks can often be found..
- When buying certificate packs consider which will be the most economically useful for you, and if you’re not sure, we’re always happy to help by email. Likely to need lots of certificates? consider premium membership!
- When you’re a fully fledged member make use of all the advantages, and interact with other makers, use the directory, share posts and make friends! Work together. Meet up!
Once you’ve gotten over the first part, and you’ve got a toy ready for sale your costs will reduce, and it will be easier. You could use your sales to invest into your business, and then start to buy wholesale. Eventually you’ll be making profit too! Just remember to never under price your work. Your toys are not mass produced and pricing should reflect the time you’ve taken, the material costs, the CE marking costs and time,hidden costs such as insurances, and you’re aiming towards the market of people who buy good quality handmade items, not people who want something cheap and cheerful!
Please do share any money saving CE tips in the facebook box, or the part of the CE journey where you hit this block and how you got through it!