Do you like boutique children’s clothing and handmade toys? Then ACT. December 18, 2008
This is so well written, I’m just going to copy and link because I couldn’t have said it any better. Please, take action. This affects everyone.
This is a blog post on Boutique Cafe by Heather.
December 17th, 2008
Article by: Heather Flottman
The sky is falling! Yes, I feel a like an overly dramatic Chicken Little. And I wish it were true considering recent congressional legislation is about to crush the life out of the handmade clothing and toy industry. I’m talking about H.R. 4040, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law August 14, 2008, and the ramifications it will have when it goes into effect February 10, 2009 (now being popularly referred to as National Bankruptcy Day).
Make no mistake. CPSIA was necessary in principle and has noble intentions, keeping our children safe and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys. We all demand safety for our children and this is the intent of CPSIA; specifically to ensure safe levels of lead and phthalates in all products manufactured for children under the age of 12. Unfortunately this legislation lacks common sense, is ambiguous and fails to take into account the handmade industry.
What you see is not what you get with CPSIA. There is no distinction between big, small, or even micro one-person businesses. Whether it’s a large-scale manufacturer importing apparel to be sold in big box stores, or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) selling customs on ebay, the legislation applies the same to all.
Unit testing will be required on finished products, regardless if the components are natural materials or if you have documentation from a vendor stating that buttons, for example, are certified lead-free. As it stands, H.R. 4040 fails to recognize that textile products are inherently lead-free. Why then is an organic cotton shirt being tested for lead exactly?
Unit testing is extremely cost prohibitive to small business, but worse, it is unnecessary. In fact, it is completely redundant if the components that comprise the whole have already been tested and due diligence can prove they meet the guidelines.
To put a real dollar amount to testing one of my products, I solicited a lab quote. I was told it was $75 to test for lead per garment component and each substrate. Coated or painted items such as buttons are $100. So my Little Red Riding Hood Shirt, a 100% cotton knit shirt with an appliqué made from 7 cotton fabrics and 2 buttons eyes would cost $625 to test for lead. Flammability testing is also required and is either $50 for a certificate per component stating it meets weight code or $100 for actual testing. So add another $400-$800 for a grand total of $1,025-$1425. in testing costs for a shirt that retails for $40. If the shirt is offered in another colorway, the same testing is required despite the fact that the same fabrics are used throughout.
Small manufacturers have no way of absorbing the price of such redundancy. And all manufacturers will be required to test a finished component/item from each batch. Easy to do in mass production—simply pull one sample from a lot of thousands. But how does one comply when your “batches” are made-to-order batches of one? SKUs will also be required for each product with a permanent label on the item itself.
CPSIA will be retroactive and takes a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach with extremely hefty fines for violators. As written, any product used by children 12 and under (such as toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on) without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not. So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash, Good Will donations, etc.) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise. By the way, there are only 14 said labs currently in the United States.
Think you won’t be affected? I hope not, but the sad truth is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) will be. Do you make children’s clothing, toys, jewelry, hair bows, accessories, furniture, artwork or anything else “intended for use by children age 12 and under”? Are you a retailer of children’s goods? Do you resell used children’s clothing or toys on ebay? Do you participate or shop at craft fairs? Do you donate used children’s items to needy organizations? Do you belong to a church that has rummage sales as a fundraiser? Does your child play sports and get their uniforms from a local screen print shop? Are you a consumer shopping for alternatives to mass-produced toys? If so, this law takes away that freedom.
Surely this legislation can be amended by incorporating some common sense and still make it possible to ensure our children’s safety without further hurting the US economy. According to the 2002 Economic Census (the last survey of its type), small U.S. clothing manufacturers (with fewer than 20 employees) contribute over $900 million dollars [consider: nearly $1 billion dollars] annually to the economy and comprise 68% of total apparel manufacturing in the U.S. This is clearly a vital and contributing asset to our economy. Multiply this fallout exponentially when you take into account the myriad other manufacturers, retailers and businesses that will be hurt or ultimately driven out of business.
So, why should you support amending this legislation?
Because the CPSIA isn’t fair and will not function as written. It inadvertently punishes American industries unrelated to toys and will ultimately result in fewer alternatives to mass produced merchandise made in China. The concept that small producers should be subject to the same rigorous standards but with lesser regulation (and common sense) has already been fought for and sustained in the food industry, which is why your local farmers market still exists. Now this same idea needs to be applied to children’s products.
What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA – the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.
2) Email or snail mail your representatives.
3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.
4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
5) Sign the petition.
6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.
Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.
9) Read more about this legislation and its ramifications:
Handmade Toys at risk! December 11, 2008
In just 62 days it is going to become illegal to sell handmade toys in the U.S. unless they have been tested. Many of us who are crafters and Etsy-aholics certainly can’t afford this. Is it time to say R.I.P. to all the beautiful crafts we love? I certainly hope not.
Please visit the Handmade Toys Alliance to see what you can do to help all the wonderful stay at home crafters out there.
Don’t forget to sign the petition too.
We need to do everything we can to keep crafters crafting.
EtsyBABY Holiday Hunt Promotion! November 7, 2008
EtsyBABY is kicking off the holiday season on Friday, November 7th with their 2nd Annual Holiday Hunt Promotion!!!!!
Cayne, EtsyBABY’s Holiday Helper, loves to play Hide ‘N Seek! EtsyBABY needs YOUR help to find where Candee Cayne has hidden! We need her back in the EtsyBABY nursery by November 30th, to help EtsyBABY members prepare for all of the holiday goodies that are purchased! She has hidden in multiple EtsyBABY Member shops and the shop owners are generously offering rewards!
Heirloom Quilt Storage and Display November 3, 2008
This weekend I happened upon a beautiful way to store and display your most prized quilts. I don’t know about you, but I have lots of truly heirloom quilts since my grandmother was such an avid quilter and seamstress. I found these at Canton’s 1st Monday Trade Days and luckily, you can see them online as well.
The woodworking is truly high-quality and the glass just really sets it off. I LOVE the lid – you can just see in the photo that it has a beautiful, rounded, beveled top. I wish I had more time to look but the day was just about gone and everyone was packing up. Thankfully, I snagged a couple of business cards. My “Things I Want” list is getting rather long, isn’t i?.
You can see more examples of their awesome craftsmanship at Papa’s Piddlin’ Place.
Do you have a girl? October 26, 2008
Then you NEED to get yourself over to Just Tutu Cute’s shop on Etsy. Oh my heavens at the cuteness!
Amanda is awesome and so easy to work with. She custom crafted a made to match Tutu for my little one’s 1st birthday. It is just perfect with the Gymboree Birthday girl shirt. I adore it!
And to top it off, you can add accessories!
And now she has truly outdone herself – go check out her fairy wings. You better believe we’ll have a set or two of those for playing dress up. I think one for Mommy AND one for baby is in order.
EtsyKids BOGO feature October 24, 2008
One of my Posh Pouch Diaper and Wipes holders was featured on This Humble Abode – go check it out! Then head over to Etsy and shop the massive BOGO sale!
Search Etsykids BOGO.
Super Excitement! My item was featured on Etsy Front Page! October 20, 2008
*Doing a little happy dance* My Black and White damask print Posh Pouch was featured on Etsy’s front page today! I’m so excited!
Here’s the link to the Front Page.
And the screen shot, because they change it pretty often.
Got Baby? Toddler too? October 15, 2008
You need these. I need these. I mean, my daughter needs them. Yeah, that’s it.
Some info from the creators in their own words:
“We are sisters and our business, mini-mocs, inc. is all about the good health of babies feet. we both love sewing and design and we both know how good it feels to go barefoot & for babies it’s highly recommended by pediatricians. babies feet will grow strong and healthy when they have the freedom to flex, move and grip naturally. our soft soled shoes give baby that ability while at the same time keeping their feet protected from rough surfaces. also our non-skid suede soles prevent baby from slipping and sliding like they would in socks. the elastic ankle band stretches easily so parents have an easy time getting them on but the band is just snug enough so that baby can’t pull or kick them off. (no more lost shoes or socks) we use only the finest grades of leathers, suedes & fabrics to insure vibrant true colors as well as soft supple comfort. best of all every pair of mini-mocs is machine washable. you can buy our mini-mocs here at our ETSY store or you can shop our entire collection at http://www.myminimocs.com. we trust you’ll love our shoes as much as we love making them. they are made especially for parents with discriminating taste and who want high fashion as well as comfort for their babies.”
And if anyone wants to buy Willow a pair, she’d be tickled pink. Or brown. Or pink and brown.
I just found some super cute craft tutorials, and they’re free! Check out these adorable designs from Q.D. Patooties.
Aren’t those just so dang cute!?! Go visit her blog for much more!