I'm going to do a two-parter - otherwise it's too long.
So. I will mush it all down here - in layman's terms- so don't expect any technical terms - but, who needs those anyway - that's why everyone is confused in the first place!
The following is how I understand it - Please, if I have got it wrong, or you have any other insights, please let me know, I'm still finding out about it all and need all the information I can get.
PART ONE: SORTING OUT THE INFORMATION
The Sock Bunnies are toys. I cannot call them 'Collectables'. Well, I can, but it won't hold much truck. You cannot omit the title 'toy' or get away with refuting the title 'toy' if the item is displayed with, tagged or associated with toys. If you make an item that is appealing to children the it is a 'toy' and needs to be tested. Period. Listing it under 'Accessories' on Folksy won't do either!
Stating they are 'Not suitable for children under 36 months' doesn't cover it either. That statement is for toys that have passed the test but may have small parts which come with it. EG. You make a teddy bear who wears a waistcoat with buttons. The teddy passes the CE test but to cover themselves the company might choose to state - 'Please remove the waistcoat before giving to children under 36 months.' Or they can just say 'Not suitable for under 36 months due to small parts). The crux is that the toy still passed the test.
To sell toys, handmade or otherwise, in the UK they, legally, need to comply to DTI Production Standards UK Toys (safety) Regulations 1995 and and pass the CE test. This is changing in 2011 but remains pretty much the same really,
The test is pretty much as follows: Pulling all seams and bits to see if they come off. (Mechanical/physical properties). Burning it to see if it ..er .. burns (flammawotsit test) and lastly (the problem for socks) testing it for heavy metals in the dyes.
Toy filling already complies, so you are off to a good start.
Toy fabric manufacturers tend to test their fabrics so you will be able to get documentation. Keep a record of where you sourced your fabrics from, contact the company to ask them for any documentation showing that it is safe.
A fire test certificate from a fabric manufacturer will not do as flammawotsit can also depend on the shape of the toy. You will need to have it tested (yup you have to sacrifice a toy up for burning). Ouch!
Now, this is important: You cannot self-certify a toy made from a sock that you have bought from a retailer - and, come on, Top Shop do have some great designs!
BECAUSE: Socks do not have to conform to any safety standards, even children's socks, because they are just that, socks. Socks are for feet and not for making into things to play with.
The sock bunnies: I can safely say that the stuffing is safe because it says so on the bag. I cannot, however, safely say that the socks are safe. Most high-street bought socks are manufactured abroad and the factory/company do not need to comply with toy safety regulations. The socks are probably safe but that is not enough, you need a piece of paper saying so. Damnations.
Now is a good time to call your local Trading Standards office. They are astoundingly helpful. Just google your local council and there will be a link there. Find the phone number and give them a call.
The one problem I now have is that I have 'A reference number'. I am documented as selling un-safe rabbit.
THE PROBLEM: The nice TS officer was relieved to hear that I wasn't shifting thousands of unsafe bunny toys. He said that it was something I will have to sort out for the long term but for now I need to say 'Not suitable for anyone under the age of 14 years'. This is a short-term safeguard that will not hold a lot of water in court but is better than nothing whilst I 'sort out what to do'. The long and short of it is, if I want to sell these bunnies they are going to have to pass the CE test.
WHAT CAN I DO NOW? Read Part two of my CE nightmare