Have you seen how they make toys in a Chinese factory?
As a toy wholesaler we try to give you a lot of information about where our toys are made and who makes them so that you can see that they have been made ethically.
We have had a comprehensive overview of our Pebble crochet toys and the organic toys from Peru on the website for a time but having just come back from a trip to China we realised that we have no information about the toys we buy from China.
There are thousands and thousands of well managed and ethical factories in China but unfortunately the only time Chinese factories hit the news is when there is a child labour or quality scandal.
Like anything you get what you pay for and if you are only looking to pay only the very cheapest price for your products the chances of there being an issue increases.
Industry in China has come a long way just in the last 10 years. For instance the majority of workers used to live in factories and only go home at Chinese New Year but now less than half of workers at our factory live in and the rest live locally. Workers salaries have also risen steadily to the point where China is not always the cheapest place to source goods from if you are only after bottom end product.
So this is a quick overview of the chinese soft toy company we work with and how a toy from China is manufatured
When you first ask for a toy to be sampled the factory will go to a material shop such as this to buy cloth to make up the first sample. Every material you could think of is in the stores, an amazing variety.
Once the sample has been made up and approved the actual production starts. you'll be pleased to know that this is quite a social activity
Once the skins of the toys of the toys have been sewn together the toys are stuffed. Its a bit like Build a Bear but on an industrial scale
Once stuffed the toys are weighed to ensure that the right amount of stuffing has been used
Then the details are hand sewn or glued on to the toys
the biggest safety issue within sewing factories is that a needle piece may break off the machine and inbed itself in to the toy. for this reason the toys are checked via a machine with a large magnet in it for any needles which may have broken off and there is also a needle book where all needles are counted out at the beginning of the day and then counted back in at the end. Broken needles are cellotaped in to the book to ensure all pieces have been found.
One final clean and then off they go!
So what is it that we look for when we go to see a factory? It used to be that we would be looking at how many toilets were provided and how many beds there were to a room but things have changed significantly since those days. There are so many factories that workers vote with their feet if there is an issue. This is true in the areas near cities, which is where our factories are based, but probably more of an issue in more remote areas where employment is not so readily available.
Now we check that there is somewhere to eat lunch (and that food is not allowed on to the factory floor!)
We also check how clean the floor is, we check their needle book and how many quality check points they have. But the main thing is that we can have a good working relationship with the management team
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