January 17, 2009

The CPSIA can kiss it, pretty sure

Warning....smart ass coming.

What is the CPSIA you ask?? Why it is the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) of course. It is a law that will go into effect on February 10th, 2009 mandating testing for lead and phthalates in any and every item intended for a child 12 and under. Yay right? Go safety!!! Well, not so much.

Although I agree toys should be safe as should any item for a child the law was written at a time when toys were being imported from China contaminated with lead paint. Remember Dora? Who doesn't? It was a pretty big scare and a wake up call that shook parents across the nation. It caused congress to act and fast (...and they pick toys, ha?), so fast that they didn't consider the effect it would have on the small business world or little ole crafty peeps like you and like me (who might I add, have never even been to China).

Words cannot even begin to describe the level of frustration I feel in regards to this asinine law. It is forcing many of us to do one of two things. 1) Shut down our businesses entirely or 2) Stop selling Children's items and "Re-Market".

Children's businesses can stay in business if they'd like, they just need to be rich!

Read this example I found on Forbes.com of the cost impact for the average Jane

Crafters "must put a sample item from each lot of goods through testing after complete assembly, and the testing must be applied to each component. For a given hand-knitted sweater, for example, one might have to pay not just, say, $150 for the first test, but added-on charges for each component beyond the first: a button or snap, yarn of a second color, a care label, maybe a ribbon or stitching--with each color of stitching thread having to be tested separately.
Suddenly the bill is more like $1,000--and that's just to test the one style and size. The same sweater in a larger size, or with a different button or clasp, would need a new round of tests--not just on the button or clasp, but on the whole garment. The maker of a kids' telescope (with no suspected problems) was quoted a $24,000 testing estimate, on a product with only $32,000 in annual sales."

And Forbes.com views on CPSIA?

"CPSIA is now shaping up as a calamity for businesses and an epic failure of regulation, threatening to wipe out tens of thousands of small makers of children's items from coast to coast, and taking a particular toll on the handcrafted and creative, the small-production-run and sideline at-home business, not to mention struggling retailers. How could this have happened?"

I'm scared. I'm angry I'm confused and I'm totally heart broken. I've voted, protested and even spoken with the Executive Assistant of the Consumer Product Safety Office (and if you know me that last one is HUGE).

I can't shut down my business especially in this economy. My husband's IT job is safe, for now, but his second job as a Real Estate Agent... well should I say more? It's pretty much toast. It's particularly sad for me because I started my business because of my daughter and now I'm not even allowed to make her anything.

So where do I go until someone big enough to care steps in and saves the day? Well, I go and get in my car and drive to each and every local children's boutique I have worked so very hard to get into and pull my items off the shelves. I contact wholesale/retail clients from sea to shining sea to either swap out the "child" like items they have left or take product back in and take a loss. Basically, I guess I just redirect my entire business and keep my fingers crossed that someday this stupid law will be recognized for what it is and I can make Riley whatever I'd like.

The End.


nikki/WhiMSy love said...

Very well put Beckster!

Mrs Jelly said...

I'm in the UK and have been reading all about what's happening with a heavy heart.
And just who is going to be able to afford all of this testing>
Big companies.
And how will they try to recoup the costs they've spent paying out on testing?
By getting it made cheaper.
Where do you go to get stuff made cheaper?
I feel for you. It sucks.

Unknown said...

This is awful. I do hope that some super-hero can step in...
Or that a bunch of angry super-artists will make them sway...
best wishes,

Sylvia C.

LeaKarts said...

Well said!

Latharia said...

This is just so frustrating. Just found out about it from nikki's blog. :( I am hoping to have a child within the year ... and was looking forward to patronizing all kinds of small business owners like yourself. Maybe I should stock up on February 9th.

Beck said...

Seriously wondering what Etsy's children section is going to look like on the 10th, or local children's boutiques for that matter. No fun for anyone. The more you think about it the more you realize how many people this affects. Pretty much everyone in some way or another. Crazy town.