Last April I wrote a blog post with an explanation of CE marking and what this meant for my customers who make anything deemed ‘a toy’. It means that anyone selling soft toys made of fabric (fabric relevant to me of course as I’m a fabric shop owner), would need to obtain the CE mark in order to legally sell their goods and ensure they were made safely and were fit for purpose.
The issue of CE marking has moved on since I originally wrote that blog post. At the time, CE marking was a foreign entity to many, so the post mainly contained information about what this actually was. Now, it’s time for a little update as I receive lots of queries and thought I’d address them all here.
Here are the questions that I typically field through email, phone and Facebook messages on a daily basis.
(ok… I admit, that photo is not of me)…
Are your fabrics CE marked?
No, fabrics do not need to be CE marked, it is your product that does.
I make xxx product, can you advise if I need to CE mark it?
Unfortunately not. The best people to give advice are your local Trading Standards team, who are within the structure of your County Council. Having worked in Local Government, I can tell you that these teams are usually quite large (dependant on the County you live in), so make a note of your TS Officer’s name and contact details. Having said that, I have one customer who lives on an island in Scotland and it sounds like her local Trading Standards Officer works in a very small team, maybe by himself!
The general rule if that if it looks like a toy, it will be classed as a toy. A label saying ‘decorative use only’ on your item will not be acceptable. Make use of Trading Standards, they are there to advise you. If you’d like some extra support and to talk to people going through the same process, I would strongly suggest you join the Facebook group ‘CE Self Certification Support Page’. The administrators of this page have worked hard to provide support, group testing and guidance on the whole process.
Are your fabrics compliant?
I’m afraid this isn’t something we can give you either a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ on, we can certainly point you in the right direction in terms of the information you need, but you will need to ascertain if the fabrics are compliant as part of your CE marking process as a whole. You can self certify, so as long as you have an understanding of what information you need for this process, you will be able to confirm this for yourself. You may want to use the ‘Conformance’ pack, which will assist with self certification. It can be purchased here.
Can you provide certificates to show compliance with EN71 regulations?
This information would need to come direct from the manufacturer. It is not prudent for a fabric retailer to hold information that may be subject to change by the fabric manufacturer. Also, you will not receive any certification that directly relates to EN71. The manufacturers are primarily in America and so they do not have to conform to this regulation. In America, the equivalent standard is known as CPSIA. As you are a manufacturer (yes you’re a manufacturer if you make things that need CE marking!), you will need to obtain certificates that give you enough information to translate to the EN71 regulations. Once you get started, this won’t be as difficult as it sounds.
I can see dolly makers use Kona cotton solids for their dolls, can you provide certificates for Kona?
As above, certification will need to come from the manufacturer. However, the Kona cotton solid shade card states that Kona cotton solid fabrics are tested for harmful substances according to Oeko-Tex Standard 100 which is a good indicator that they will pass your testing process for CE marking.
You can read more here on the Oeko-Tex website. A simpler translation can be found here on the CE Self Certification Support Page.
Which manufacturers should I approach?
Each fabric on the website has the name of both the designer and manufacturer clearly stated in both the product name and description. As a whole, the manufacturers stocked by Emma’s Fabric Studio tend to be:
Riley Blake Designs – information available directly from Riley Blake Designs.
Robert Kaufman – information available direct from Robert Kaufman, but please advise what range of fabric you’d like details on.
Michael Miller – a general note can be found on the website relating to CPSIA compliance.
All are aware of the requirement for fabric testing, but please ensure you approach them from a general point of view, they sell to countries all over the world and won’t necessarily know what ‘EN71’ is. Have a look at my blog from last April where you will find a little detail on each manufacturer.
So, hopefully this information will set you on the right track to obtain your CE mark. After the initial panic, you’ll start to see the logic in what you have to do to obtain your mark and it will all become clear. You’ll be back to ‘cool as a cucumber’ in no time!