Monday, December 15, 2008

Going out of business?

Okay, so if you're at all crafty you have probably heard about this, but it could stand to be repeated here because it WILL impact my business.

The government has recently passed a rather poorly-thought-out law,the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which goes into effect February 10 2009. On the surface, it sounds good, requiring additional testing of children's toys and equipment to reduce exposure to lead and other harmful substances. Great! I'm all in favor of not poisoning our children.

The problem is, this applies to EVERY toy and children's item, not just those manufactured by large companies or places with histories of problems in the past. And the testing has to be done by an official third-party testing facility, which can charge hundreds of dollars for one test.

So, for example, the tummy time quilts I make to sell on etsy for $18-50 would have to be sent away for testing to make sure the materials and design are safe for kids. Every quilt is made of a unique blend of fabrics and a unique design, so testing one quilt won't apply to all of them. And pretty much every etsy artist who makes things for kids faces the same problem, unless they are large enough that they are mass-producing items (which includes maybe half a dozen etsy folks ... the rest of us make very limited runs of whatever we make). We're stay-at-home moms, crafty parents, owners of small businesses, people who just like to make little stuffed animals. And we're pissed.

Come February, we're going to have to make a choice - quit selling children's items, or be non-compliant and risk major fines and legal entanglements. Personally, I plan to quit selling kids stuff - the most profitable and popular part of my product line - rather than risk getting caught. And I know a lot of etsy folks feel the same way. So next Christmas, good luck finding handmade children's items that don't cost an arm and a leg ...

Unless we can modify the law. If you'd like to learn more about the topic and find a list of ways you can support artists who would be put out of business by CPSIA, pop on over to the round-up on Cool Mom Picks. Write your congressman and senator, contact the folks at the CPSC, sign the online petition, add the button to your blog.

Please take the time to look into the issue and add your voice of support, if you can. Thanks!


Laura said...

Wow, I hadn't even heard of this until I read about it on your blog. How incredibly lousy for people who sell handmade items. I know a few other people who sell kids' stuff on Etsy (and I was thinking of opening an Etsy shop myself), so this is good to know. Does it apply to anything that a child or baby can use?

LazyTcrochet said...

Hang in there until we get all the facts. There are rumors flying and one of them is that, if your items are one-of-a-kind, they can't expect you to test it or it would be ruined. Granted this, among many others are just rumors. I'll do my best to help you stay informed if and when I hear of anything official. It is a tough law and opinions abound as to what will and will not be affected.