Certification in the EU: Boris Vechersky’s experience

What is necessary to establish a successful business in Slovenia? Boris Vechersky, the author of a popular game “Travel to Slovenija”, believes that an idea can be the key to success. The material prepared by the 2TM team presents the way Boris managed to launch his project and pass all steps of the European certification despite all the difficulties.

 

Boris, for how long have you been already living in Slovenia and why have you chosen exactly this country?

– We have been living in Slovenia since last summer. However, only with my son so far: our mum waits for reunion. As you know, in Moscow quite a difficult situation occurred in both ecology and crime. Besides, it is quite possible to speak about the general overpopulation of this city. We were tired. Especially my wife. Therefore, we started thinking about moving to another country. At first, we considered Montenegro. By that time, I even finished the draft of my “Travel to Montenegro” game. However, my wife happened to change her mind and said, “No, we are going to Slovenia!” Therefore, I had to hurry up in developing a new game.

At what stage is the project now?

– It is in progress. Actually, you can already buy both “Travel to Montenegro” and Travel to Slovenia” games either on the Internet or in small Slovenian shops. These games are available almost in all gift shops in the centre of Ljubljana.

Was it hard to begin?

– It was quite difficult. When we arrived to Slovenia, we already had a draft of the “Travel to Slovenia” game developed. All we had to do was to find contractors who would help us to print the game, to provide tokens (plastic or wooden), and blister packing. A friend of mine recommended me one Slovenian company, which assisted in business development. Besides, this company already had experience in launching a board game. We met, had a lovely conversation, and agreed that at the beginning of next week, they would send me an offer for cooperation. Monday, Tuesday, and even Friday passed, but there were no offers from them. I started calling the director of the company. He promised to send everything in an hour, but again sent nothing…during the next week as well. By that time, I was already pressed for time.

Why did you hurry up that much?

– The matter is that at first we arrived to Slovenia only for a month: we spent 2 weeks for finding an apartment and putting it in order, and I still had only 2 weeks to launch my game. That is to find contractors.

Did you succeed?

– No. We ran out of time (laughs). However, instead we found an excellent solution. After the situation with that Slovenian company, I unexpectedly received help from a Facebook group – “We Live in Slovenia”, where I found a company that was printing business cards. Therefore, the owners of this company finally suggested going ahead with game printing. Besides, they provided an excellent solution — to change a game format. At first, the game in folded form was of A4 format, and they suggested reducing it to A5 that many times cheapened blister packing. Besides, the game became neater in its appearance.

What happened next?

– We went to Moscow to remake the game draft. Only during our second visit to Slovenia, we started its printing. We printed both games “Travel to Slovenia” and “Travel to Montenegro” (one thousand copies per each — editor’s note). During the same visit, we also found a company engaged in blister packing. We had a little left to do — to find tokens. And that was a real adventure. In Slovenia, we found no companies that could provide us with the tokens certified in Europe. While without this document, we could not launch on sale our game: we had either to carry out certification ourselves, or to provide certificates of the companies providing us with the game components.

How did you solve this problem?

– We found a company in Germany where we bought plastic tokens. However, they could not provide us with the safety certificate for the first instalment of tokens since they had bought them from another German company. Therefore, we had to buy a second instalment of wooden tokens from them, but already with a certificate.

And what about blisters? Should they also be certified?

– Thank God, blister packing requires no testing (laughs) since it is not a part of the game.

Coming back to certification. How did you manage to certify your game?

– It is possible to pass the CE certification in Europe in two ways: through an Official Notify Body or independently through a Self-Verification Procedure. If you do it through a Notify Body, it is necessary to test all game components — both printed materials and tokens. That is all the parts that a person contacts during the game. It is very expensive. For me, the price of such certification would be 4 thousand euros. We decided to pass certification through a Self-Verification Procedure. Therefore, the expensive tests of wooden tokens were not required. While for the game field and cards testing, I paid only 600 euros.

Judging by comments on Facebook, your game is in demand among those who arrived to the country from the former Soviet Union. And what is the attitude of Slovenes to it?

– Basically, their attitude is rather positive. The Slovenes do like this game, which was not my expectation during the process of its creation. The game is bought well on the holiday eves, and for souvenirs, which then are again carried to Russia. Probably, the matter is that “Travel to Slovenia is more than a simple board game, it is rather a 2 in 1 — a game and a souvenir. It is absolutely a new idea, which caught fancy many people. And it pleases me. Besides, our board game looks worthily and is small in size, unlike other games packed into big boxes. Besides, it is not inferior in interestingness to any other game.

What plans do you have for your further business development? Will it be an additional circulation of “Travel to Slovenia”, or are there any other ideas?

– We do not plan to stop at “Travel to Slovenia”. We want to produce games for other European countries, in particular, for those with a highly developed tourism infrastructure. For now, we have already finished a game draft for Spain and are currently negotiating with the persons concerned. However, we stake not on the retail trade, but on the cooperation with large distributors, to whom we can sell the entire game circulation.

The most important that we have already done is the worked out technique for game manufacturing and the CE certification we already have. While the certification shall extend on all games of the “Travel to” series. For example, if we decide to produce a “Travel to Italy” game, it will not require certification any more. We just change the design. Certainly, Slovenia is an amazing country, but while being in the European Union, one should use the business capacity of all the European countries!

Later on, the 2TM team will certainly inform you on how the Boris Vechersky’s plans will prove their value within the scale of the European market.