WHERE: THE GIFTWARE ASSOCIATION OFFICES IN BIRMINGHAM
The Giftware Association and former buyer and retail expert Jenny Spivey will be hosting a seminaron how to approach and pitch to larger retailers to help scale up your business.
Following a 36- year career within two of the UK’s most prestigious department stores – Harrods and the John Lewis Partnership – Jenny now uses her knowledge and experience in running her own retail consultancy. As ‘Sense Of Retail‘, she works with both established retailers and suppliers across the home and giftware categories. She also mentors SMEs in the sector, including brands new to market – helping them reach a wider audience and present themselves effectively in a professional and competitive environment, online and offline.
This is a presentation by Jenny Spivey to smaller businesses who are contemplating extending their business to larger retailers. Jenny will outline the opportunities and the challenges that they are likely to be presented with and what they need to do in their approach. It’s a reality check as to what potentially lies ahead. Networking Lunch and Q&A included
To book your place on this event book use the above link or to arrange a 30-day invoice, please contact Simone on Simone.email@example.com
This four-hour masterclass is designed for anyone who is looking to build their brand online – whether you are a solo entrepreneur or are looking to bring your social media in-house and want your team to feel empowered to take it on.
WHAT THE COURSE WILL COVER: How Instagram’s algorithms work Knowing your audience What is the differences between your ‘Feed’ and your ‘Stories’ Creating dynamic content Telling your story Influencer engagement Strategy
WHAT YOU WILL TAKE AWAY: * An MOT of your current social media output * A content creation guide * An Instagram Success Guide * Knowledge, excitement and motivation
This will be a practical workshop, so you will need both a laptop and the phone that is used to update Instagram. If you don’t yet use Instagram but this is the beginning, please get the app set up before you come and we can take it from there.
To book your place on this event use the above link or to arrange a 30-day invoice, please contact Simone on Simone.firstname.lastname@example.org
WHERE: THE GIFTWARE ASSOCIATION OFFICES IN BIRMINGHAM
Independent retail advisor, Henri Davis will be presenting a workshop on ensuring that your business is fit for the future. The event is part of The Giftware Association’s education seminars. Henri Davis explains “The current economic uncertainty is impacting consumer spending, but people will always want relevant, quality products that represent good value for money. To be fit for the future I believe you need to have three key things: great products, great service and a realistic plan that gets you results.”
This workshop will help you become ‘fit for the future’, we will look at the three elements mentioned above so you understand what this means for your business, you can then go away and start to develop realistic plans to take you through 2019 and into 2020 and beyond.
If you are a small business owner thinking about the year ahead or someone in a bigger company involved in business planning, this workshop will suit you. Stepping away from your business for a day to discuss your thoughts and share ideas, allows you to be objective and see it from a different perspective.
With the UK been given a six-month extension to leave the European Union, a no deal could still every much be on the cards. If the United Kingdom (UK) leaves the European Union (EU) without a deal, the UK import VAT rules will change for goods sold to UK buyers that are sent in parcels. The changes will affect the rules for reporting and paying UK import VAT and will impact sellers outside the UK.
Current rules while
the UK is in the EU
Under the existing
rules, parcels imported into the UK from the EU are not subject to import VAT.
For imports from non-EU countries, the goods are subject to import VAT unless
they are covered by low value consignment relief, currently £15 or less per
Rules after the UK
has left the EU
The rules differ
depending on the value of the goods in the parcel. Low value consignment relief
Parcels with a value of £135 or less
Sellers outside the
UK sending parcels to the UK where the value for all goods in the parcel is
£135 or less, must pay the UK import VAT for any parcels sent to UK buyers
after the UK leaves the EU. This includes the situation where goods were sold
before the UK leaves the EU, but not sent until after. Sellers outside the UK
include those in the EU, those outside the EU and the Channel Islands.
For the Isle of Man
(IOM) and UK, VAT is treated as one, so VAT will have been charged by the IOM
supplier, where appropriate.
This will include
any goods worth £15 or less as they will no longer be eligible for the existing
VAT will only be
applied where the goods being purchased would be subject to VAT if purchased
within the UK.
Parcels with a value of more than £135
When the value for
all goods in the parcel is more than £135, UK buyers will need to pay the UK
import VAT and any customs and / or excise duty on these goods. The parcel
operator will apply any necessary charges to the parcel and seek the payment
direct from the UK buyer. For excise goods – import VAT, Customs and Excise
duty is due regardless of value, and will be collected directly from the UK
buyer by the parcel operator.
If sellers outside
the UK sell goods above and below the £135 threshold to UK buyers, the seller
should only report and pay the UK import VAT on parcels containing goods worth
£135 or less .
There will be two
ways for sellers outside the UK to pay the UK import VAT. HMRC’s new online parcel
registration service is open and overseas businesses are
encouraged to register now and get their parcels reference so they are ready to
use it if the changes are introduced in case of no deal. Alternatively, they
can pay a parcel operator that offers a service to pay the UK import VAT to
HMRC on the sellers’ behalf.
If sellers do not
follow the new UK import VAT rules, parcels may be delayed or stopped from
entering the UK. In addition, the UK buyer may have to pay extra tax and fees,
and the seller may have to pay a penalty of £1,000.
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.