You Want How Much ? !!!

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Drachelis
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Postby Drachelis » Mon Mar 20, 2006 8:40 pm

OK with me - we might get some input from our prospective punters too which will always help

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Uncle Bulgaria
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Postby Uncle Bulgaria » Mon Mar 20, 2006 9:05 pm

Although date/time may work on some items, it would be almost impossible on, say, soft kit.

Anyway, can we copyright history. I get really peeeed with people who copy, i've had it done to me, but at the end of the day, i'm only copying in the first place and this make copyright versus authentic replicas impossible surely? :roll:


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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:05 pm

I thought this article might be interesting to the clothing people
http://leda.law.harvard.edu/leda/data/36/MAGDO.html

Goes to show a few aspects of fashion knock-offs and how difficult it is.
And it's not just the designers who get copied !!

Unfortunately you can't copyright a historical design or style, only your own actual work. Like my button, I have the copyright on my 79th foot button, but anybody else can use the design to make their own version.... But don't you dare copy the one I actualy made.

Might be of interest to some people to look at a organization called ACID. Though their not terribly helpfull to people they don't consider 'designer's A bit like the Craft Council, us reconstruction people don't count as being craft !!



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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:10 pm

How's this for a thought.....

If you really want to copyright your clothing ... don't make it historical, that way your design right/ copyright is protected. :lol:



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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:40 pm

Interesting comment on the otherside of the forum

Perhaps this is to do with folks doing this as a full time occupation rather than a hobby - it used to be a lot of things were a lot cheaper because, efectively, you were paying for the material and the makers did the making as a hobby - if the makers then decide to do it as a job, prices rise - there is a discussion of this on the costumes thread.


I think he might have a valid point in some respects.

But then we were doing them a favour and learning the skills and history required to learn how to make things properly.



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Postby gregory23b » Mon Mar 20, 2006 10:59 pm

Neibelungen, where is that discussion?

cheers

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Postby Ben_Fletcher » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:17 pm

I would pay a little more to know where the piece was copied from, or based on originally.

I did buy some excellent glassware recently from some foreign traders, and each piece came with exra info on where to see the originals!

it was a big bonus to be able to look up and see how accurate the copy was!


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Postby gregory23b » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:32 pm

Ben, indeed especially if you have bought an item on the understanding that it is a reproduction or styled on, you want to see it.

In some ways if people have made copies they should be quite happy to show and compare, although I do understand that sometimes items are based on things in private collections which can limit the show and tell a bit.


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Postby Neibelungen » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:36 pm

Friends and Gossip Page 2 of NLHF Free Admission . About 2/3rd down M300572's comment.

Think it was a sort of jest made in humour, but still is quite meaningfull.

A lot of people starting up for the first time, or begining to dabble in making often use their prices as a means to susbsidise the whole learning process. i know i did in the early days.

Often a job is taken on as a means to try something new or stretch your skills, and having somebody paying you for the priveledge of learning isn't a bad way to go.


I don't know, maybe it is time some of the traders worded out a set of guidelines and ideals they should all aspire too ? Nothing rigid or defining, just a statement of intent, or a definition of what we consider good method of practise.

I'd personally hate for somebody to come along and tell me i can't work in this way, or do that because it's not 'right', but perhaps a guide to people starting out drawing from our own experiences. I posted up my terms and conditions to a new topic for people to have a look at and criticise. After all, even fabric is supposed to have a label on it telling people what it's made of, and even a few of us 'old hands' get caught out .

Seems we all tend to start out making for a hobby and slowly get sucked into doing this as a way of life. We might be all to daft to get 'real' jobs.

I'd be interested in seeing other traders terms and conditions and their veiws on deposits, refunds, time scales.



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Postby House of De Clifford » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:41 pm

To be honest, We price our furs based on a percentage markup. We try to be realistic whilst at the same time being able to make a small living. I think it is a mistake to trade on price (ie selling cheap) because people will expect cheap, both in price and quality and if things get tough trading wise, you have nowhere to go. you cant lower your price a little to help flow of stock.
Our main aim is to offer top grade fur and hides at realistic prices. No, we arent the cheapest but we will still be here in years to come offering a great selection and service to our customers because we have been sensible and hopefully got our pricing right. If people dont like our prices then they will go else where, and thats their choice but to offer a range of products over a sustainable period means you arent just making a quick buck, you have a business plan and you intend to stick to it. That means charging a reasonable fee for your goods/services. We should not be ashamed to say "i am making a profit" thats how we stay in business and carry on offering our products / services to customers.
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PS got some fantastic beaver pelts in now, aswell as arctic, blue frost and red fox pelts and coyote !!! (would pass for a small wolf, we refuse to stock wolves as they are protected).


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Postby gregory23b » Mon Mar 20, 2006 11:47 pm

Thanks Neibelungen.

I remember when Nigel Clough (Emrys now) had to up his prices, it was a major event as he was our only decent armourer, ie the only one that we rated at the time. But he was trying to make a living out of armouring and in about 1988 he released a big ole explanation why he had to raise prices. It sunk in then that the honeymoon period for stuff from him was over price wise, if people didn't realise that it took about a week to make a German tipping sallet and at the time I think he was charging 14-150 quid a pop, and out of that came everything to make the thing then he couldn't sustain it.

He was very much in demand, but as luck would have it there were others coming out of the woodwork so demand grew but it was met by others too, over time I would say that in the top ranges overall prices are much better value than before. There is also a lot more mid range stuff too, which fills a gap nicely, but you get much more choice now I think.



I would have no problem subscribing to a modest CoP.

As for T and C, well so far I use the old written agreement based on the job, the T and Cs are kind of built in, not in great detail but the main points. But I do get them from people who buy things off me, esp offical orders, which I like as they are two way and if you have no problem fulfilling the order they do a lot of the work for you.


"I'd personally hate for somebody to come along and tell me i can't work in this way, or do that because it's not 'right'"

ditto, be nice to see someone try though.


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Postby Kate Tiler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:11 am

Well my personal success story this year has to be finally persuading Jack to charge more for the ovens that he has just started making! It took me a day and a half of planning & working it out in my head, but I finally came up with a good enough series of arguements to get him to agree to charge double what he was originally going to charge! And they are still cheap and he still puts far too much labour & materials into them for the price, but at least he is actually making something on them now & not just charging at the cost of the materials!!!!

I think what finally swung it was that he comes & makes them here with me, using my clay rolling gadget, so its half a day of my time too - and as I told him - I'm not cheap!!!

So glad I took the effort to work it all out properly for him.

Sometimes when we make things ourselves & then have to also put time into standing & selling them, it helps to cost out what it would cost to either buy in that product in order to sell it and make a profit, or to cost the time of getting someone to stand & sell the stuff. Its the main reason that I don't trade at shows, (other than Mr Smith's which is my main PR venue) - after I'd done a couple of craft fairs & small council events & was feeling quite good at selling a few tiles, I costed up the petrol, stall fee, lunch etc and was shocked at how much it had cost me to get there, plus my time, plus I'd had to make the stock in the first place.

We now have an expression which is 'cheaper to stand in the driveway for 10 minutes & hand out fivers...' which helps put proposals or invites to shows into perspective!


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Postby Tod » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:25 am

Rip offs are going to happen. I did a search a while back and found exact copies of some of my brogues. I researched these and sort of worked out the design as none exist in museums etc. I charge £30 the top price for the rip offs is over £120 and they are rubbish.

I can tell people where I took my designs from, and am happy to advise on leather. But it won't stop people buying things are incorrect.

I feel that your reputation is every thing. I was talking to Keith Lyon at TORM who is one of my major leather suppliers. He was quoting another shoemaker who was praising my work to the highest level. i was quite humbled, but as Keith said any one could do what I do if they wanted to do the research and learn the trade. But of course there are always going to be those who work toa customers budget, and if their stuff is of merchantable quality good luck to them. It just the absolute junk I object to.



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Postby Deb » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:19 am

Been busy beading a cote hardie so have come late to this discussion.
On pricing one incident has stuck in my mind, one man looking at a hood says to me why does this cost so much, i said well it's because it's hand finished-he looked at it again properly and informed me I wasn't charging enough!
Before I left college in 2000ish we had an assessment on sewing and pattern cutting, I was told at that point that my sewing skills were worth £30+ per hour and my pattern cutting skills the same. Since then my skills have improved but I can't charge that amount per hour the market won't support it, but I would prefer lower wages and a good lifestyle to the hell of working in a fashion house.
I was lucky when I set up I got good advice from Business Link and my terms and conditions were refined by a business advisor - still no signed order form and deposit no order. No final payment within an agreed time period then the item becomes stock (or if very pretty display)
With measurements it's clearly stated in T&C that weigth loss/gain does affect the garment and that is the customers responsibility not mine, which is harsh in some ways, but is a system in place in any bespoke tailors, bridal boutique or fashion house. I always carry a copy of the oreder details when an item is collected so if it arises it can be determined if they have changed or I have made a mistake - if it's me I fess up and correct it, if not then it's negotiating time
I hate deadlines cos I have to meet them and I hate not meeting them with a passion.
I agree people don't realise what can be involved in what appears to be a simple item. One lad insisted he would make a padded coif/arming cap himself cos it would be cheaper and came back two shows later and bought two, cos as he said it wasn't chaeper or easier to make it himself.
Copyright is as stated by so many a deep grey area, most of us are after all reproducing items.
What I find worrying as a trader is the indian imports, it's so hard to compete with the prices, I had this discussion at the NLHF with another trader and we discussed the possibility of promoting our traders (before many more of us go out of business, as some already have) and would value others opinions on this - possibly another thread?



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Postby m300572 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:28 am

Perhaps this is to do with folks doing this as a full time occupation rather than a hobby - it used to be a lot of things were a lot cheaper because, efectively, you were paying for the material and the makers did the making as a hobby - if the makers then decide to do it as a job, prices rise - there is a discussion of this on the costumes thread.


It was said in all seriousness. I make my own chainmail, for example - I could therefore sell it at around £15 for a Roman Auxiliary style mail shirt made in butted mail, if I was only doing it for fun. And in the past I have made kit for people on a cost of materials basis usually on a trade for some other material that I wanted for the next job because it was for people in my group and it wa a way of raising the standard in the group (said he modestly). In the days when re-enactment was relatively small scale it was a hobby for a lot of people to research and make up kit, often for their own regiment (I think this is how Anne Laverick started up for example- she made some of my kit when I joined Loudoun's). As the societies developed and new ones appeared, demands for authentic kit grew - in the days of the desert boot as field footwear for ECWS it was impossible to get a pair of authentic shoes for less than about £90 - then someone started to do machine stitched ones (early 1990s) and the price went down to £60 - still expensive but affordable and the price hasn't really changed over many years as there are more people making them and the ban on desert boots has meant that the market is greater.

If I was going to get the same hourly rate as I get in my proper job, the £15 mail shirt would cost around two grand - and if it was rivetted a lot more. So I tend to take the view that if I (or my other half) can make it, I will make it - if I need to buy something in I am prepared to pay a commercial rate for the expertise and research that goes in to the item. Makes it a more expensive hobby though but I still spend less on kit than on petrol these days.



Deb

Postby Deb » Tue Mar 21, 2006 11:59 am

m300572 - I think we can all appreciate your view point, I started as a reenactor only, and because I had the skill I made all our soft kit and still do although my kit tends to end up looking rough cos I'm the last on the order list.
But not everyone seems to make the connection that we have to charge for our time and even now it can be quite hurtful when someone stands in your tent and announces in a loud voice that they can make things cheaper(and in some cases better) than you.
I take pride in my work and pleasure when a customer goes away happy, to the point where I end up spending a fair bit of time telling people to go away and think or seek advice from their group if they are not sure or obvious newbies. After all in the long term it's better to have a satified customer who returns then someone who will do your reputation no favours for the sake of a quick sale and I know that most of our traders operate the same way



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Postby Shadowcat » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:14 pm

I am very lucky in one respect. All my costumes are ordered individually - I am not a trader, so don't have to hope that what I make sells. My web site clearly states that my clothes are not cheap. Most of my customers nowadays come from the Internet, although I still get "old" customers coming back for their third/seventh etc. outfit. I still get word of mouth customers too - the "I saw so-and-so in one of your costumes..." sort.

However, the Internet does allow for all that embarassing stuff about to cost to be dealt with in writing, and not face to face, and if the potential customer thinks it's too much, well, they can say so, or more likely, just not return (rude I think!).

S.



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Postby m300572 » Tue Mar 21, 2006 12:33 pm

But not everyone seems to make the connection that we have to charge for our time


Well, with a bit of luck the message will filter out to some of the newbies (and maybe some of the old lags who bought their kit cheap years ago)through the medium of this forum.

Its much the same story as with the film companies who are quite prepared to spend a fortune on technical equipment, sets etc, but will assume that they can ask re-enactors to donate thousands of pounds worth of time and kit for nothing, which we explored elsewhere.



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Postby Steve Stocker » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:18 pm

I hate deadlines cos I have to meet them and I hate not meeting them with a passion.


Deb,
The late great Douglas Adams was notorious for missing deadlines but said he loved the wooshing noise they made as they went past.

:)


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Postby DomT » Tue Mar 21, 2006 1:42 pm

As a customer:-

If I want some thing cheap and cheerful I will either make it myself (or bribe the wife with chocolate) or pick it up if its a last minute emergency job (ie left something at home). If I buy this sort of thing it's 'cos I need it now. I do sometimes object to paying a lot for what is obviously machine sewn, cheap materials and not particularly authentic.

However if I'm picking up something 'mid grade', ie no obvious machine work, good materials and well made.....well then the craftsperson responcible has to earn a crust. I have no objection to paying well for a good product. That means I cant afford lots of this sort of thing, which is fine.

If its 'POSH' which is say 100% hand work or very fine materials then I would expect it to be a premium price for a premium service. I'll just have to save up and treasure it (and get it insured! I once had to watch all of soft kit and most of my weapons and armour go up in a car fire. Not a happy moment and as a unemployed scrote at the time it was years before I could build back-up again. I still miss the Binns scramsaxe I lost then, the replacement just doesnt have the same balance even if it is a nicer finish with an antler handle)


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Postby Kate Tiler » Tue Mar 21, 2006 2:59 pm

I think as this has veered back towards costume again (well done whoever was steering!) we should maybe leave this here, but a good idea to perhaps take up some of the suggestions over in the Buy & Sell area - you can always link to this there!


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Postby Neibelungen » Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:44 pm

I'm glad to see that my initial post has generated such a diverse range of topics and discussion. It just goes to show the importance of this whole forum site for exchanging information and ideas between re-enactors, both makers and customers.

I've had a little time to think about some of the issues raised in here and the general trends involved, along with the groups of people actualyl participating in this discussion. Perhaps it might be worth asking Cal if there is a case for setting up a forum section devoted to traders, where they can discuss important topics for them; new people can ask advice on starting up in business and generaly share business advice gathered from our many years of suffering alone.

It does seem that traders are looking for some kind of organization or association within which they can develope a level of standards, or practises that the more 'proffesional' could aspire too. I've noticed over the years ideas bandied about of having a 'trader's Guild', but this has always foundered on being unworkable, personal politics, interference in trade and simple dislike of having a 'supervisory' body telling you your work isn't good enoiugh or 'right'.

My own suggestion would be to try to set a voluntary, self-regulating set of codes or aims;
A generally agreed minimum ideal for work (ie. what is living-history, museum, battle re-enactment) quality. What defines hand made, hand finished, machine made.
A set of terms and conditions for traders to work towards. Where we comply with Trading Standards guidelines (though a legal obligation) but one which works within the peculiarities of this type of environment and individuals own practises.
Where we are proud to specify the country of origin of our work and it's material composition

These last two points brought up a couple of interesting facts while I was looking though relevant legislation.

We are obligated to label goods with a material composition. This includes both manufactured costumes and raw textiles. It's actually illegal not to have these dispayed on the goods. This also includes shoes. Fabrics must have the label on them., though it can be removeable.

There's also a couple of changes in the law regarding returned goods. Customers do not have to prove a fault in the first 6 months, it's the trader who has to prove otherwise.

Internet sales are covered under the distance selling legislation and are entitled to cancel orders withing the first 15 days for no reason and get their money back.

I'd be interested to hear traders oppinions as to to these ideas. I've seen it tried before and always faltered, but I would think a voluntary system might be more practical. If we together try to set a standard and be proud of that we might help to encourage people to aspire to reach them and support them towards ataining that goal.

Andrew



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Postby sally » Tue Mar 21, 2006 5:27 pm

This has been a fascinating discussion to read. I'm just at the point where items that I've made for years fro my own pleasure and for a bit of pocket money are starting to be offered to a wider audience, and gauging the best way to work out pricing and to indicate the difference between a fully documented 'authentic' item and a more modest 'closely inspired by' item has been quite a headache.



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Postby sally » Tue Mar 21, 2006 6:45 pm

Sorry, got cut off there! Anyway, I've been worrying about pricing, I know full well and would never pretend otherwise that at any point my stall will have a mixture of 'very accurate', 'budget accurate' (ie fine until you turn it inside out) and 'inspired by the evidence but can't show you a real one in a museum' items, (though even these last items will have many hours of research behind them and there will be a good reason why I havent made a closer interpretation fo something) and balancing the prices to fit the time and materials involved with what the market will appear to take has been anything but easy.
I'm starting to assemble a file of supporting images and references to make it easy to show people where my references come from, and I'm always rather happy when someone can offer constructive criticism if it helps me make a more accurate product next time round, and I'll always happily point out the minutae of which bits are as exactly identical to the original as possible and which bits are guesswork or a calculated economy. However, I do also expect potential buyers to take a little bit of time to ask questions, maybe compare what I do with what others do, and make up their own minds as to whether what I offer fits their requirements. I'm never cross if someone decides not to buy from me, I'd much rather they got what they need for their own level of accuracy and budget. I'm rapidly coming to the conclusion that I really need to put the prices up on some of my lines, I don't think there is anything I do that brings in the minumum wage much less anything else, but I'm a bit sad to do so as I've always enjoyed being able to let people have nice stuff at an affordable price.

Many thanks to all the experienced traders for sharing their thoughts on this area. Its being very useful!



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Postby gregory23b » Tue Mar 21, 2006 7:30 pm

Neibelungen.

Yep gets my support.

Similar sentiments to Sally.

I suggest some CoP intentions if talking about authentic (euuurgh word) items, as Sally said the kind of sources etc, lines of thinking and a bit of background info.

Service will be tricky as we have slightly different MOs, but even if the common factor is written orders and decent communication is offered.

I would also be more than happy to cast an eye over any fellow artisan's packaging/literature etc or help recommend cost-effective print etc, my day job, but would willingly do that for my colleagues who might exchange in say help with T and Cs.

IE skill swaps if anyone is interested?

Sally your soap is excellent, I shave with it regularly and it really lasts. Anytime you want a testimoninial you let me know, I want to also use it at events when I get a razor a bowl and a sucker, er client.


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Postby Andy T » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:38 pm

I'm one of those chaps that wants the best that he can possibly get -and if that means paying premium so be it. I did note that there are a large number of traders selling things on-nothing intrinsically wrong with that, just don't want you originals to go bust because of that!

(I could give examples/name names etc etc but best not.....)

This is My personal list of the best (and ok I emphasise that its a personal and Medievo-centric view) (these being the people I push others to see)(not a fully comprehensive list either)
Tods Stuff
Debs
Sue King
Kay Rouse
Bodgerarmour
White Rose
DtK
Tyrrel Armouries
Jorge
Pete (pans and battered books)
Andy Kirkham
Jim the pot (TCP)
Mark Vickers
thingy near me (does stoneware)
Arma Bohemia
some Polish people I met and liked
yon fellow selling treen (Peter Crossman?)
Enciniron(sic)
Ali (wonderful selection of linens that makes me wish I could sew)
Steve Wagstaff (not Medieval but a genuinely nice bloke and good quality stuff)
all my furniture people (and I'm not naming names otherwise you'll beat me in the queue)
My apologies if I forgot anyone!!!!!!


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Postby Andy T » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:39 pm

I forgot Gerry!!!!!!!!!


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Postby agesofelegance » Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:48 pm

There has form time to time been a discussion amogst traders re a michelin star type rating of levels etc and a sort of guild committee to police it but it has always foundered as being unworkable fro various reasons. I remember a long season of trying to get it sorted shortly before i stopped trading at Blackbird leys about 10 years ago but it would seem it never happened althoguh I did pass my TOB around and a number of people nicked bits lol. A more workable option is to have the set of guidelines beign suggested now that people can work towards and the punters can see beign adhered to sort of like the guild of master craftsman type code.
I also remember it being suggested there should be a good and bad trader and customer list ;-) but that would fall foul of the DPA

One of the points Andrew makes is something that folks should be aware of however. In the real world if you make clothing to sell off the peg you have to by law have a fibre content, wash care label and if it is going out of or being brought into the country a made in... label. A trading standards officer coming to a reenactment market would have a field day. Whilst I mainly do bespoke i occassionally sell some of my stuff as fashion items to a number of shops and they can't take them if I don't have all this info in there
Dawn on her own log in this time



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sally
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Postby sally » Wed Mar 22, 2006 7:49 am

agesofelegance wrote:
One of the points Andrew makes is something that folks should be aware of however. In the real world if you make clothing to sell off the peg you have to by law have a fibre content, wash care label and if it is going out of or being brought into the country a made in... label. A trading standards officer coming to a reenactment market would have a field day. Whilst I mainly do bespoke i occassionally sell some of my stuff as fashion items to a number of shops and they can't take them if I don't have all this info in there
Dawn on her own log in this time


Thats an interesting point. If I had a little A5 leaflet that had the care info on for say the typical top three fibre contents I used (all wool, all linen, mixed fibres) with the relevant care info described, made in Wales and my contact details and when someone bought a garment I ticked an appropriate box and handed over the leaflet, woudl that satisfy that regulation or does it have to be one of those shiny sewn in labels? It would also be a good place to outline my research and manufacturing policies for the interested reader. I'm fully clued up on labelling for the soaps and so on, but my hats and the odd garment I do hadn't really registered as needing the same treatment



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Neibelungen
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Postby Neibelungen » Wed Mar 22, 2006 11:56 am

Sally,

There's some information leaflets on labeling requirements, along with Sale of Goods Act on the Trading Standards Website
http://www.tradingstandards.gov.uk/cgi-bin/bgllist.cgi. Worth alook to get an idea of whats required.

On a different point, on the copyright posts in this forum, Kate brought up the issue of selling copyright to a customer. It's worth a look through, as it's a part of product costing, and a factor of determining why we should value our work and protect ourselves fiercely against infringement.




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