Before you go and buy knock-off wooden toys from those “affordable” toy companies, read this:
Counterfeit products aren’t just lower-quality, more affordable versions of a product you want to own. They’re unregulated, and dangerous and can put you (and your children) at risk!
With Christmas shopping in full swing, I think it’s imperative to bring attention to the issue of counterfeit products like wooden toys that are being advertised by “influencers” and sold on social media platforms and third-party sites like Amazon and eBay.
Companies like Grimms, Grapat, Avdar, Gluckskafer, Abel Wooden Blocks, Bauspiel, and the like produce high-quality, handmade toys that are made according to officially certified standards. Buying counterfeits, knockoffs and copies of their products aren’t just saving you some money.
When you buy knock-offs you are:
➊ Purposely denying a small business your monetary support. When purchasing a counterfeit, you are denying a tax-paying company the chance to provide jobs that increase the value of the economy. You’re also most likely supporting a Chinese company that does not pay fair wages or provide a safe working environment to its workers.
➋ Exposing your children to potentially harmful toys. Knock offs are not made to any safety standards. Period. So those toys could have heavy metals, phthalates, bisphenols or worse. Especially the paint they are using on these counterfeit wooden toys. Do you really want that in your child’s mouth?!
➌ Contributing to manufacturing practices and production standards that are not safe for the environment. Counterfeit products pollute the air, waterways and the health of factory workers. If you bother buying organic clothing and cloth diapers, you need to think about your toys too.
➍ Enabling illegal activity and organized crime. By purchasing counterfeit products you are potentially funding a crime syndicate that traffics children, drugs, or guns.
➎ Supporting theft. These companies are stealing the ideas of small businesses and using it for profit. As Catholics I think it’s morally objectional to buy replicas or knockoffs of items we want just to save money. This is really something you need to pray about if everything else above doesn’t deter you!
One of these popular toy companies claim their toys are “handmade” and will tout they are a “US-Based Business” when in reality their home office might be in Texas, but they are buying all their counterfeit toys overseas from AliExpress and then reselling them to you for their own profit.
You might not be able to tell the difference in quality or differentiate a knock-off when you see them piled on someone’s shelfie, but toys made in China or other developing countries carry a high risk of containing chemicals that are illegal and unsafe! Toys made in the US, Canada, or the European Union (EU) are much better regulated which is one of the many reasons why it’s better to purchase the real, genuine product from the manufacturer directly or an approved retailer.
My favorite place to purchase wooden toys from is The Wooden Wagon.
There are plenty of retailers that sell authentic wooden toys without lowering your standards. Many of them are having sales this time of year or will offer discounts when you sign up for their newsletters. Additionally, there are several reputable BST (Buy Sell Trade) groups on Facebook where moms will list their used wooden toys when their family is done with them.
Less Is More
In this “have to have it now” world we live in, it can be really appealing to be able to buy 4 or 5 fancy wooden toys from one of these knock-off companies for the same price as 1 or 2 from the actual company who designed the toys you want, but remember that less is more!
“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” Luke 12:15
I’ve chosen to allot a certain budget for wooden toys in my home because my autistic son does much better with open-ended toys. Early in his life, our home was filled with plastic toys made in China with flashing lights and obnoxious sounds that we picked up at yard sales or thrift stores. I have since purged my home of most of those types of toys. I’ve been slowly replacing them with high-quality, enriching toys and homeschool supplies that foster the learning environment I am trying to build in my home.