It’s no secret that a huge proportion of the world’s toy manufacturing has found its way to the Far East, particularly to China, in recent years. Very few of the wooden toys we sell now come from anywhere other than that part of the world. Don’t get me wrong – some of these people produce fantastic quality products. Have a look at this Fire Engine if you have a moment, made in Thailand in a state of the art factory. The quality of the finish of the rubberwood is fantastic. Or this dolls house, until very recently made by the British craftsman who had been producing in the UK for years, and now unable to produce economically himself. There’s no doubt the Chinese factory has done a great job in producing a sturdy and well-made toy and at a fantastic price. But I’m uneasy.
I know I’m not alone thinking that too much reliance on foreign manufacturing is unhealthy, for a whole host of reasons, not least the loss of skills and the loss of jobs in Britain and Europe. It is now virtually impossible to find any toy that is made here, and believe me we do try. So I was quietly pleased to see this article in Time Magazine. It looks as if the honeymoon period for Chinese manufacturing is coming to an end. Maybe some of the British manufacturers should start dusting off their machinery and putting up the job vacancy adverts. We can only hope.