From his workshop in northeastern France, Michel Muller makes dollhouses, toy cars and other old-fashioned wooden playthings. Thanks to advice from the Enterprise Europe Network about CE marking, he has expanded his range of products, which he now sells throughout Europe.
Muller spent 40 years in logistics and transport before following his passion for woodwork and starting a one-main business called La boutique du père Michel in 2009.
He became a local celebrity after winning France's prestigious Concours Lepine competition for his creations and appearing in the local press.
An article caught the attention of Tiphaine Rocton-Garnier of the Chambre de Commerce et d'Industrie de Région Lorraine, one of 3,000 Network experts worldwide offering free business support to entrepreneurs from legal advice to help with financing. She called Muller to see whether he knew about a recent change in the EU's CE marking requirement for toys.
"Not all SMEs know that the CE marking is compulsory, even just to sell in the national market," says Rocton Garnier. It turns out that although Muller made sure to use bona fide processes and materials, he had not heard about the new rules, so Rocton-Garnier gave him a full briefing and helped him complete all the necessary documentation.
Since becoming CE-compliant, Muller has seen sales grow at home and in other countries, since he has the right to sell his toys throughout the EU without the red tape of multiple national regulations.
"Thanks to the Enterprise Europe Network, I'm selling more toys," says the entrepreneur. "With my new understanding of safety rules, I even developed a new range of toys for children under 36 months. Safety is especially important to parents of newborns and toddlers, so the CE marking means even more."