The winners of the BCTF Awards 2019 were revealed at a ceremony held on the afternoon of Monday April 8 at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate, where the very best designer-makers are presenting their latest collections to the trade.
The winners are as follows:
Form & Function
Award sponsored by The Platform Gallery: Joint Winners – Ellen Monaghan,
Helen Eastham Studio, Kevin Hutson, Sarah Saunders Ceramics, Rebecca Perry
Ceramics and Cinda Clark Design.
BCTF Award for
Excellence sponsored by the Pyramid Gallery: Winner – Melina Xenaki
Ceramics; Highly Commended – Ugly Jewellery and DW Glass
Best Newcomer Award
sponsored by the Heart Gallery: Winner – Faye Hall Design; Highly Commended
– Betsy & Els.
Post Newcomer Award
sponsored by ACID: Winner – Sandra Vick
Association Award for Excellence: Winner – Rachel Thornton
The NAJ Award for
Excellence: Francesca Marcenaro
Greeting Card Award
sponsored by Greetings Today magazine: Winner – Citrus Bunn; Just Because –
Betsy & Els; Highly Commended – Claire Baxter Fine Art; Commended – The
Three Foxes and Jill Ray Landscapes
Wow Factor Award
sponsored by DesignGap/ArtGap: exhibitors selected Kate Toms as the winner
from a short list of three, which also included Melina Xenaki Ceramics and Jack
Show organiser, Margeret Bunn said: “BCTF is a real
celebration of all things British and handmade, and our award winners represent
that brilliantly and I am delighted to congratulate them all for their
well-deserved accolades. We are very fortunate that our awards are supported by
important industry associations, prestigious galleries and trade press, so a
big thank you to them all for getting behind the show and supporting the best
of British here today.”
BCTF 2019 has proved to be a success, with visitor numbers
up and many exhibitors reporting that trade has been exceptional as retailers
lined up to place orders on their stands.
“It has shaped up to be a fabulous edition of BCTF,”
Margeret confirmed. “Buyers are aware that demand for handmade British products
has increased over the years and they are keen to offer something new and
unique to their customers. We have some incredibly talented designer-makers
from all parts of the UK who are creating the most beautiful crafts, so it’s
well worth the visit for gallery owners, gift shops, tourism destinations and
other discerning retailers”.
This year’s new ‘Stationery Designer’ category has been
introduced with the support and sponsorship of GO Stationery, which as a UK
manufacturer, is in the almost unique position of being able to nurture a
stationery product through its life – from conception and design, right through
to retail sale.
Entrants for this Award were asked to supply a maximum of
three A3 design boards showing at least three stationery items with the theme
‘The Next Big Thing’. They had to
explain who they thought their designs would appeal to and give an indication
of what they thought the likely RRP of each item would be.
This design competition is a unique opportunity for budding
stationery designers to work with an experienced production and sales team and
see their ideas taken into production and delivered to retailers throughout the
UK. The lucky winner from the finalists
below will work with the GO Stationery team to bring their designs to life!
The finalists are listed below, and the Winner will be
announced at the Stationery Awards Evening on Tuesday, 30 April. All Finalists will be allocated two tickets
to the Awards Ceremony and will be contacted shortly so that they can nominate
who they would like to attend.
The Stationery Designer of the Year 2019 Award finalists
are: (this info has also just been revealed on www.stationeryawards.co.uk)
The GO Stationery team is passionate about producing great stationery
designs and products for many of the UK’s leading retailers. Based in West
London, and proud to be a UK manufacturer, it has a great track record of
working with retailers from stationery specialists to fashion brands to develop
great quality, market-leading, on-trend stationery.
As a toy manufacturer it is our responsibility that every
toy we offer to the marketplace is safe and fit for purpose.
So first thing any manufacturer needs to know is what is a
A toy is classified as a product designed or intended for use in play by
children under 14 years of age. Play does not have to be the exclusive use of
the product, so something like a soft toy keychain is also covered because it
has a secondary play value. If a product has been designed to have “kid appeal”
whatever its primary use, it must also be tested as a toy.
Everything we sell is designed and manufactured to be a toy
so this isn’t an issue for us but it does have a big impact on companies which,
for instance make toys in the shape of food, or gift food or keychains who now
have to ensure their products comply not just to things like food standards but
also toy safety as well.
The legislation we follow at the moment is the The European Toy Safety Directive. Ironically this is not legally binding in itself, it only becomes legal if its implemented in parliament by the country, which it has in the UK. On a top line level the directive basically says that a toy must be safe, it must have no sharp edges, no harmful chemicals and no small parts.
EN71 then applies harmonised standards (EN71) to these directives which then makes it legal. If a toy manufacturer has applied these standards to the design and manufacture of their toys they will print the CE logo on the label to show that the toy complies.
Toys must satisfy the essential safety requirements of the Toy Safety Directive – there are 2 ways now that this can be done – one is going down the testing route through test houses. The other is self certification. On the face of it self certification could sound as if its just a case of saying “Yup. Our toys are safe” but actually it is a lot harder than just testing a single item off the production line.
At Best Years we have a very stable supply chain. Rather than chasing around the Far East to get the cheapest prices we have always worked with the same people going back years and years. This means that we are able to get documentation to trace the yarn we use and any other materials all the way back to the original source. This includes the dyes we use, the cotton for the crochet, the material for our knitted dinosaurs and even the thread we use for the embroidered eyes.
Because we have such a close relationship with all our suppliers we can prove that the toy has been designed to be safe, the materials used to make the toy are safe and the way that it has been made ensures it is safe. This is the process called Self Certification. It moves the emphasis on safety away from a one off sample picked from the sewing line to be tested, to placing safety at the very core of the toy company.
We’ve been working with most of our suppliers for over 10
years and have a good working knowledge of all the requirements so for us its
pretty straight forward. However it requires both an in depth knowledge of toy
safety and your supply chain plus an awful lot of paperwork to back the whole
Our knitted and crochet toys are all designed and
manufactured to be suitable for children from birth, which means that we ensure
that there are no small part such as plastic eyes, obviously no sharp edges and
that the toys can be washed by immersing them in water. You still see some toys
which say “surface wash only” but to comply with safety regulations all soft
toys must be able to be washed by being totally immersed in water. Anyone who
has seen a child chewing vigorously on a toy and then wiping his left over food
on it will understand the reason for that rule!
Toy safety is continually evolving and changing as new
challenges, new processes and new toys are introduced. In order to ensure that
we keep up to date with these changes we attend seminars by people such as Bureau
Veritas, an accredited test house.
Last week we attended
one such toy safety seminar last week. The chap who took the seminar has been
in toy safety for over 42 years and he has seen many, many changes in his time!
He has also seen lots of toy manufacturers being fined for toy safety issues
including some very big fines but its important for both consumers and
manufacturers to know that people producing poor quality toys are being caught
and then pay the price for poor product development.
One of the key issues which challenge many toy makers are
the use of chemicals. We now have so much more information about which chemicals
are harmful and which are safe than ever before. This has been one of the
biggest changes to EN71 in the past few years.
Before accepting dusted down toys for your baby from your kind neighbour’s
attic do remember that toy safety evolves and things which were once deemed to
be safe would now be banned. There was a toy placed on the market in the 1950s
that had actual uranium ore in it! Supposedly it was an educational toy but its
not something which would be allowed to be sold today.
And did you know that the green arms on an alarm clock used to be mildly
A big change to the regulations over the last couple of
years is all the paperwork that needs to be held for each product. There are
different processes which need to be followed by manufacturers, distributors
and retailers but all of them require paperwork to be held to prove that
processes have been followed
1. As a manufacturer we must ensure that the toy complies
with essential safety requirements. Technical files, safety assessments,
declarations of conformity are all part of the paperwork now required for each
toy. We also need to ensure that each toy has our address, a batch code (for
traceability), a product code and the CE mark.
2. As an importer/distributor we must ensure that the
manufacturer has all the relevant paperwork and that the product has our name
and address on it.
3. If you are a retailer it is important to note you also
need to ensure that your supplier has the relevant paperwork available. You
also need to ensure that your storage conditions and any transport you use (ie
if you send the toy to someone) do not jeopardise the toy’s compliance.
Everyone in the chain has a responsibility to ensure the
product that ends up on the shelf and is bought by a customer is safe.
A few bite size bits of info:
Decorative objects for festivities and celebrations are not
classed as toys – therefore they do not need a warning on them. The age warning is only used when the product
is classed as a toy.
All pen lids now should have air ventilation in the cap –
have a look at the pen you’re using…does it have one? This air ventilation will
allow the person to breathe if its accidently swallowed.
Warning on toys. Because any warning on the toy is deemed to
determine the decision on the purchase of a toy (if you are buying something
for a baby you need to know that it is suitable from birth) the warning must be
visible to the consumer at point of purchase. This is especially important if
you are selling on line. Your product description must include any safety
notices or information.
There were a couple of big toy issues for toy manufacturers
and for test houses in 2018.
Slime –The issue was that how do you define
slime. Is it a solid or is it a liquid as it comes in both forms and therefore
could be tested in one of two ways. Since slime includes chemicals Trading
Standards verged on the side of caution which generated a lot of negative press
as products had to be recalled.
Squishies – these caused a major headache with
regards to age grading and several countries in the EU have banned them. They
are made from specialised rubberised foam and many have scent added to make
them more attractive, ie if the squishy is designed to look like a water melon,
then a scent of water melon was also added. The trouble was that the foam can
be picked off by little fingers and given it smells so delicious the foam
quickly ended up in the mouth and was swallowed.
There were warnings that the chemicals used to make the toys included some
which were toxic and should not be ingested. Furthermore because children are
more sensitive to chemicals that adults then continued exposure to the
chemicals used in the squishy could be harmful.
Both of these toys had passed test
when first designed and manufactured it was only as they became more popular
that they were subjected to closer scrutiny and issues identified.
So what safety issues are we looking out for in 2019?
Smart Toys – The Government is considering regulating
connected toys with regard to personal information. These are toys which are
designed to connect to the internet to gibe the child an interactive experience.
These “smart toys” have microphones,
they have cameras and they even have recording devices. All these things store
data obtained from the child and usually it is then stored in the cloud. At the
moment there is no toy safety regulations as to what can be stored, for how
long and where it should be stored. Given that data such as your child’s name,
age, date of birth and sometimes even address are normally stored it makes
sense that there should be some parameters around this issue.
Sequin plush – over the last year there has been a surge of soft toys released which are partially or completely covered in sequins. There is no doubt that these toys are attractive to children under 3 but manufacturers have been labelling them as suitable for 3+. Labelling a sequin covered soft toy as 3+ meant that the sequins did not have to pass the test for small parts (ie be small enough to swallow safely or secured on to the toy in such a way as to ensure that they could not be detached) However this is going to change as toy safety authorities release updated legislation to ensure that manufacturers test these toys to be suitable for babies. We are assuming most of these toys will fail so please check if you carry them in your shop.
The Giftware Association caught up with Business Account Manager Ian Daniels from K Play International, one of the countries leading toy manufacturers with 21 years’ experience to find out more about the company and their business experience.
What does your company make/sell?
We manufacture and distribute premium toys and gifts.
Who are K Play Internationals target
We have toys for all age ranges from birth and have over
2500 products. Our ranges include beautiful wooden toys and puzzles, ride on
vehicles and amazing soft play historical weapons that encourage role play and
creative thinking. We are especially proud of our supply to the education
industry as its so rewarding to play a part in children’s learning and
How long have you been trading and
what is the history of the company?
We have been trading for over 21 years and are super proud
of our history. The business is run by Managing Director Scott Kenworthy and originally
began with a toy shop in Germany after Scott discovered the beauty and play
value of wooden toys before exporting them for sale to the US and UK
Where are your products designed and
UK, Germany, Romania and China.
What three words best describe your
business and its products?
Quality, Service and Experience.
Which trade fairs do you exhibit at,
and where can we see you on 2019?
So far in 2019 we have exhibited this year at the London Toy
Fair, Birmingham Spring Fair, Harrogate Nursery Fair, and we attended the New
York Toy Fair. We still have the Games Expo and Autumn Fair to look forward to
as well as Kind & Jugend in Cologne in September and Family Attraction Expo
at the NEC in November.
Do you have a website? If so, do you
sell directly from it? If not, why not?
We do. www.k-play.uk. Our
trade customers can purchase all our products online but K-Play does not sell
directly to consumers.
Do you use social media to promote
your business? How has this landscape changed over the years within the
We mainly use Instagram but also have a presence on Facebook
and LinkedIn. We used to be on Twitter but this has been discontinued in the
last few months. We find Social Media useful for
getting imagery and imagination out to the consumer and for promoting the brand
names we own and represent.
Do you do any advertising/PR?
We advertise sporadically in trade magazines and are
currently looking at using a consultancy PR firm
What do you wish you’d known at the
very beginning of starting in the giftware industry that you know now?
Which avenues are most effective for finding new clients.
What top tip could you give to people
thinking of starting out making/supplying gifts?
Study the market in terms of the product you want to
introduce and its’ potential outlets and then approach retailers before
investing in stock.
Do you feel the economic climate is
improving or is it getting tougher to trade?
The climate is undoubtedly challenging but then this cycle
has always been around. Trading is definitely changing and suppliers must be
prepared to meet this change with flexibility and new ideas.
What do you see as being the biggest
problem for gift producers?
Constantly coming up with new ideas and products. Most new
product is undoubtedly re-inventing the wheel but occasionally something new
and exciting comes along.
What is your major gripe with the
retailers that buy your products?
We have no major gripes with any of our customers.
Occasionally there are late payers or customers who unduly feel they are
entitled to larger discounts than we are sometimes able to give but for the
most part, all “issues” with customers can be solved by effective communication
on a personal level by phone or in person rather than the never ending “email
If we could help you with one aspect of your business,
what would that be?
Encourage larger Buyers to be brave and to experiment with different
companies and thus allow the consumer a greater and more interesting choice of
goods. One sees this in the way supermarkets are changing and offering local
produce and trialling different sales techniques with fresh food, it would be
refreshing to see larger chains doing the same in their giftware departments.
What news do you have to share with us so we can
celebrate your achievements in 2019?
The new range of Pillowfight Warriors® Medieval Knight Range of Soft Play Shield and
Weapons, guaranteed to be a hit after the introduction of our Viking Range last
What are you looking to achieve in 2019?
Continue to work and look after our existing clients, and add additional ones to our portfolio and grow the Pillowfight Warriors® brand. Most importantly put smiles on parents and children’s faces as we have for 20+ years.
To find out more about K Play and their amazing product , visit their website here.
In this blog, Mary Kernohan, Head of Business Development at SnapDragon, goes into detail about how to make the most of your design rights and trademarks.
Shockingly, online counterfeit retail sales have grown at an annual rate
of 25% since the rise of e-commerce, meaning that the volume of fake goods sold
online will soon surpass those sold by physical vendors.
Sadly, the toy and nursery market as well as the home and giftware
industry are two of the most highly targeted by counterfeiters. “Must-have”
items flood the market at key times of year, such as Christmas, offering a
price that just undercuts the original – so it looks like a bargain.
One way to protect your brand from counterfeits is with trademarks and
design rights. It is vital to file trademarks that are valid in the countries
where you plan to sell – and make – your product, preferably before any
information about it appears online.
The First Steps…
Most trademark attorneys offer a very cost-effective service around
trademark registration and it’s even possible to file your own, if you know
what you’re doing. Registered trademarks are your first line of defence when
you’ve been copied online – in that they are accepted as a registered
intellectual property right by the online marketplaces which means if you can
prove the trademark is registered, and yours, a counterfeit product (using your
trademark) should be removed.
Trademarks come highly recommended as being amongst the most
cost-effective pieces of registered intellectual property available. You may
also be able to file Design Rights for your product. These protect the shape
and configuration of a product – not the function – but again can be extremely
valuable in proving ownership of a concept.
Make sure to keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs to keep one step
ahead of the fraudsters – you can get our blog updates straight to your inbox
by signing up on the top right of this page.
Our ‘Top Tips’ to Protect Your Brand
In the meantime, you can use our helpful checklist of Top Tips to
protect your brand online. And, if you’re in doubt, or worried, please get in
touch with us today to find out how we can help:
Register your trademark in as many territories as possible – and definitely in China.
Register products and trademarks with the EUIPO enforcement database and its equivalent elsewhere. (This is a free service and helps protect your brands at ports of entry.)
Translate your brand – into as many direct and slightly indirect variants as possible and search regularly for these on online platforms.
Report sellers for infringing activity and get listings removed. If you find counterfeits, buy a sample and get to know it so you can tell the difference and teach others – including customs – how to do so too.
Be super aware in terms of customer safety
5. Don’t get too distracted from your day to day business.
You can win – and with persistence, you will!
6. Don’t forget we have been there, done it and got the (genuine) T-shirt. We are here to help.