Save USA Wooden Toys From Going Extinct

The year 2007 many will remember what happened to the toy industry. Reports came out that China was using lead paints in toys. There were many recalls on toys and people started shopping and purchasing USA wooden and handcrafted toys. These USA toymakers are purchasing USA products, providing USA labor and many of these toymakers are small family operations. I know from the fact of being one, that the profit margin isn’t a get rich scheme as it takes many hours to create handmade toys.

Now we step into 2008. There are more problems with China products. In August 2008 a law was passed by congress, HR 4040 dealing with child safety standards for ALL toys and any other items manufactured for use by children under 12 years of age. This bill requires testing of all toy products by an independent government certified lab. Testing also includes a test for plastics in our wood toys!

The cost of this testing can run from $1000 to $4000 on each product. We have nearly 100 products that would have to be tested. And the test has to be done annually!

This issue affects many people:

*Toy stores who will have to destroy all uncertified inventory in August. Imagine our landfill problem and the money the stores will lose. Many will probably have to close their doors, leading to more unemployment.

*Small businesses who cannot afford to buy products due to the increased cost of the testing. At the cost of $4000/ item per year no one will be able to afford to purchase the toys.

*Folks who make any children’s products and sell at Farmer’s markets and craft shows to supplement their incomes.

*Schools that have toys for play time.

*Doctor and dentist offices, hospital waiting rooms.

*Occupational and Physical therapists who use toys to increase motor skills.

*Small businesses (such as ours) that cannot afford the testing and have to go out of business.

*Web sites selling children’s products that will have to shut down (many are run by people trying to supplement their retirement income and have spent sums of money to create their sites.

This law was written to protect children but it was not thought through well. This not only is for handmade wooden toys but for those people who sew clothes, baby items or make anything for children 12 and under. If this law goes into effect on February 10, 2009 it will be a downfall of the American dream and many jobs will be lost.

As stated earlier we purchase USA supplies so therefore those people will not be getting our business. If most of the handmade USA toy business and clothes business close, UPS and USPS will be greatly affected as well. It is a major snowball effect. We have had 3 stores cancel their orders so far as they are not wanting to purchase anything if they will have to discard it to the landfills in August.

There is a small amount of time left to turn this around. Please contact your representatives and senators and ask for an amendment to this law. There is an organization that has formed called Handmade Toy Alliance. This organization has drafted an amendment to the law that would exempt testing for manufactures of less than 5000 items per year and or items made of natural materials.

They also have a petition to submit to the CPSC (Child Products Safety Commission). With this law we are literally killing the hand that feeds us and feeding the ones that harm us.

Start A Toy Business For The Weekend Woodworker

Because of the almost daily recall of many cheap plastic foreign-made toys due to lead paint and other hazardous materials, parents are looking for suitable substitutes. Why not use your skills as a woodworker to make safe and superior alternatives? There are many parents who are desperately looking for exactly the type of toys you, the weekend woodworker, can provide. First we will look at some of the toys you can make and then offer some suggestions on how to market and sell them.

What type of toys should you make? To help answer this, you might start by considering your likely customers. What do they want and what do they need? Many parents try to select toys that are not only fun but educational as well. There are many types of toys you can make that fit both of these criteria. You will also want to take into consideration the fact you need to be able to make these quickly and easily if you want to make a profit.

Some toys you might decide to make could include letters and numbers. These never go out of style and it is often difficult to find safe, well made examples. You could offer them as a set of numbers 1 through 10, or the 26 letters of the alphabet. You might decide to make a bucket of letters and numbers together or a bucket of letters with enough duplicates of certain letters to spell common words like mom, dad, baby, etc.

You might also consider making puzzle type toys where uniquely shaped pieces fit into matching openings cut into a wooden board. You could paint these with stencils and non-toxic paint or just leave them plain. You are only limited by your imagination. All of the toys mentioned so far can be made with a band saw, various sanders and hand tools. You will want to experiment with different woods to find what you like best, and do not forget you will need to sand every piece smooth since tender little hands will use them.

One of the secrets to successfully marketing your toys will be how you intend to package them. The easiest way will probably be to prepare a small 8 ½” by 5 ½” card on your printer that you can insert in your shrink-wrapped package. You will want to include on the card the fact the item is made in the U.S. from quality, safe, non-toxic materials.

Instead of focusing on the features, all marketing should show the buyer what benefits they will enjoy from owning your product. List all the benefits you can think of and rate them from most important to least. Take the most important and use these to plan your sales pitch. Some places you should try to sell your products are toy stores, bookstores, department stores, gift shops, local specialty stores, and even online at E-Bay or your own website. You should also include a card your buyers can return to receive word of other products you offer or will offer in the future.

Making and selling wooden toys can be an enjoyable way to exercise your woodworking skills and make some money at the same time. With so many toys being recalled because of safety and toxicity concerns, this could be the perfect way to live your dream of earning money from your favorite hobby.

Buying Wholesale Toys – Places To Start Your Search

When you think about toys, you automatically think about kids. After all, toys are their favorite pastime. They offer endless hours of enjoyment. However, toys are not only meant for playing, they could be made a part of a business strategy. Toys can be handed out as freebies and promotional items on other childcare products. At a school or doctor’s office, they can be used as décor items to set the ambience and make the atmosphere more welcoming. You can also make them a part of your child’s birthday party as takeaway gifts or as décor items.

Using toys for all these purposes requires you to buy them in large quantities. Buying them at a retail shop can get quite expensive. Wholesale toys are a more economical option.

Benefits of Buying Wholesale Toys

The cost is just one of the advantages of buying wholesale toys. The other benefits are listed as follows.

1. There are catalogs of toys you can choose from. Wholesale toy dealers’ deal in regular toys, educative toys, figurines and stuffed animals, party supplies, goodie bag items, holiday décor, video games, PC games and game accessories. A few keep stationary too. There are separate sections for boys and girls too.

2. Selected toy dealers allow you an opportunity to personalize toys with custom printing options.

3. You can buy toys without any membership fees. There is not minimum order amount.

4. Many dealers offer free shipping. You can also join the mailing list or signup for the newsletter to get notifications on special offers and discounts.

Where to Buy Wholesale Toys

The first place to go to is tradeshows. Tradeshows are a promotional venture for businesses. Different toy traders display their goods for sale. Owing to the competition, you can get merchandise at ridiculously low prices. It is also a good place to make some contacts. The only drawback of tradeshows is that it is open to businesses, retailers or company representatives only. So, this is a great option if you are a retailer of toys.

If you are looking to grab real discounts on your toy and game purchase, I would recommend buying straight from the manufacturer. You can always look up the leading toy manufacturers in your local area and contact them. The other way is to collect contact information from toy and figurine labels at a toy store. You can ask the manufacturer is he is willing to sell his merchandise directly to you. More often than not, they will be willing to sell to you.

If the two mentioned options do not work, you can always head to the distributors. They club all the advantageous features of the other two options. Buying wholesale toys from a distributor might be a little more expensive than buying directly from a manufacturer, but you still enjoy a saving on price. When you buy from the manufacturer, you are required to buy large quantities. Dealing with distributors, you can always settle for smaller quantities. You might even be offered free shipping. And, with so many online wholesale toy dealers, you can get an amazing price.

Whether you want to buy just a few toys or are looking at a long term relationship, it is important to settle for legitimate and reliable wholesale toy dealers. This is the only way to get quality products are competitive prices.