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Plush toy suppliers prioritize user health

More stuffed toy companies are investing in the physical and chemical safety of inputs.

Efforts to meet stricter overseas product standards are pushing China suppliers of plush toys to be more selective of the type of materials, trimmings and components adopted.

Stuffed toy owl
This stuffed toy owl from Hoping has a polyester plush and T/C shell.

Many manufacturers prefer shell fabrics with shorter pile as longer nap has a greater tendency to collect dust mites, which can trigger allergies. The most popular option is velboa, measuring only 2.5 to 3.5mm.

For animal designs, makers are reducing the use of plastic eyes, noses and mouths that may contain phthalates and other toxic substances. PVC panels and synthetic leather are also avoided for similar reasons.

As a safer alternative, most suppliers embroider the facial features. More than 90 percent of Hoping Toy Works Ltd’s and 60 percent of Guanhao Bags and Toys Co. Ltd’s products utilize this method.

Factories, however, must keep stitches within the allowed lengths to prevent trapping children’s fingers. To illustrate, each stitch for the lips should only be 5mm.

Other businesses opt to print the eyes, nose and mouth. They employ nontoxic and environment-friendly ink.

Models featuring electronic components are also inspected for compliance with RoHS and CE standards. These include releases that have musical ICs, flashing lights and automated movements.

Further, incoming materials are evaluated for colorfastness, flammability, and lead, azo and phthalate content. Finished goods undergo needle detection two or three times, and pull tests. Moreover, the products should be clean and without thrum.

Stuffed toys from China are primarily in animal forms, including rabbits, bears, dogs, fish, elephants and monkeys. Some suppliers offer educational versions such as those in alphabet shapes. Eye-catching designs measuring 10 to 30cm are the best-sellers.

Releases are mainly made of polyester in velboa, velvet or terry constructions. The most popular option is 350gsm velboa with a 3mm pile. About 50 percent of exports employ this input. Other fabrics such as T/C can be used for the ears, palms and footpads.

Polyester filling is typically chosen because of its high squeeze resistance, strong air containment, and quick-drying and easy-care properties.

PP or PE pellets may also be incorporated, particularly for the hips, and upper and lower limbs. The grains are put into a packet prior to insertion.

Plush playthings are decorated with ribbons, lace or a printed pattern. Several models have clothes, scarves, hats and other accessories.

Cutting, filling and sewing are mainly done in-house. The first two processes are automated, although smaller parts of the toy may need to be stuffed manually. The wadding is typically weighed first to ensure a standard heaviness.

Embroidering and attaching plastic facial components are typically outsourced, although a few suppliers, including Yangzhou Lovetoys Trading Co. Ltd, are capable of completing these steps.

Size, design complexity and function are the primary price determinants. Materials are generally just a secondary factor as consumption has more bearing than the type of input used.

Models with intricate detailing and clothing accessories are also quoted higher. For instance, 20cm toys featuring garments may be valued equivalently to 50cm versions without add-ons.

Low-end releases are $1 to $2, and are made of pure polyester plush. Measuring 8 to 20cm, the playthings are filled with 100 percent polyester. The products adopt simple designs and minimal trimming.

Midrange versions are $2.10 to $3.50. These range from 15 to 30cm in dimension. High-end models are $3.60 to $8 and between 20 and 80cm.

Both segments may have musical ICs, but flashing light and motion functions are available only in the most expensive designs.

Upscale plush toys utilize polyester plush shells and polyester filling with pellets. Items employ lace, embroidery or patchwork trimming. More accessories, including clothing, hats and scarves, are added.

Amid higher manufacturing costs, product prices increased 10 to 20 percent in the past three months. Quotes in the coming year are expected to rise slightly.

To control outlay, several manufacturers are keeping stock of polyester filling to avoid fluctuating material rates. Some businesses are also adopting piecework policies to streamline operations. As an additional contingency measure, companies such as Guanhao are shortening the validity of quotations to just 15 days.

Product gallery

Plush toys price guide


Stuffed toy dog
Product gallery

Hoping Toy Works Ltd

Model: Dog
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Stuffed toy dog; pure polyester plush, T/C

Stuffed toy elephant

Hoping Toy Works Ltd

Model: Elephant
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Stuffed toy elephant; pure polyester plush, T/C; 20cm

Stuffed toy monkey

Hoping Toy Works Ltd

Model: Monkey With Scarf
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Stuffed toy monkey; pure polyester plush, T/C; scarf accessory

Stuffed toy owl

Hoping Toy Works Ltd
Model: Owl
MOQ: 3,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: Stuffed toy owl; pure polyester plush, T/C; 20cm

Teddy bear

Yangzhou Lovetoys Trading Co. Ltd

Model: LT10Y010
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 35 days
Description: Teddy bear; pure polyester; 30cm; 48 pieces per 63x45x58cm packaging

Stuffed toy caterpillar

Yangzhou Lovetoys Trading Co. Ltd

Model: LT10MT019
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 35 days
Description: Stuffed toy caterpillar; pure polyester; musical function; 70cm; 36 pieces per 63x45x58cm packaging

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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