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When is a brand eco or fair trade and when is it just marketing?
- Gaynor Humphrey
One of the best things about being a small business wholesaler is that there is not the same rivalry as there is in big business. We compete with many different wholesalers across toy markets, childrenswear and baby wear and then in the organic market too. We share many customers and we all pretty much get on with each other.
To be honest we stand or fall by the quality of our toy and clothes designs and our service so there is no point in getting upset with a competitor if they are doing better than we are. We need to get upset with ourselves and do a better job!
However there is one thing which gets my goat and that's the practice of claiming your products are Eco, fair trade or made in Britain when if you look a bit closer these things are simply not true!
Firstly Made in Britain. We have struggled with this as we have never been able to source toys which are made in the UK, tested to EN71 and CE and affordable. So a big hats off to Funky Feet who manage all these things with their baby shoes made in Shropshire. Great designs, made in the UK and sold at a great price. Fab
However when is Made in Britain not actually Made in Britain? I see products where they call themselves something like " A Great British Brand". The products are made all over the place but the brand is UK based. Am I being small minded resenting that? Am I jealous that their marketing is better than ours? Or should I jump on the band wagon as Liz and I are definitely based in the UK!
And then there is fair trade. Our Pebble toys are fair trade and we have the Ecota certificate to prove it. Our organic Under the Nile toys are also fair trade, made under conditions where the primary aim of the co-operative is to provide jobs and training to people who previously had no hope of a skilled job.
We see wholesale products sold as fair trade when in fact they are hand made. Our toys from China are hand made but we would never call them fair trade as the concept simply does not exist in China. Hand made and fair trade are two very different things to us but are we too close to the subject to be realistic?
I could go on for ever about organic labeling where it's only the box which is organic, or fair trade where it is so obviously nothing of the sort, but i think you probably get my point by now!