Sunday, January 11, 2009

CPSIA isn't the only problem. Apathy is as well. Do something.

“Your outfit is absolutely adorable!” I heard a woman say behind me and my daughter replied with, “Thank you! My Mommy has a clothing business!” and I sighed. Sighing is not my usual reaction when I get a compliment for my work. The woman and her sister were very polite and had no idea that they had just brought to surface so many terrible feelings with their compliments, “You made her outfit? It's amazing! You really have talent and I've never seen anything so adorable.” They didn't have kids but talked about how they almost wished their biological clocks started ticking simply to shop for my line of clothes. I was completely flattered but almost muted because of the recent decision to close up my Immature Couture shop. When they asked where I sold my clothes I didn't have the energy to explain what was going on so I simply said “Online.” thanked them and went back to grocery shopping with the kids.

I want nothing more than to know that the toys my children play with are safe and will not cause them any harm. I understand the urgency to protect the children of this country from high levels of lead and stop the ridiculous recalls. What I do not understand is why these new regulations were passed with such carelessness that it requires testing for products that have virtually NO risk of lead contamination! Products like clothing, blankets, wooden toys and books! The CPSIA is essentially causing many small businesses that make products for children under the age of twelve to close up shop because of their haste in passing regulations that have an insane amount of loopholes. Congress decided that a problem caused by ridiculous and irresponsible mass-market toymakers should be solved with a solution that sucks in various other industries that are completely unrelated to toys!

Later on when the kids and I were checking out the two women approached me and asked for my business card because they wanted to tell their friends about my clothing line. I smiled and tried to explain to them as plainly as possible that as of February 10th I would be officially closing up shop because of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act . Shockingly they were outraged that they hadn't heard of it. That they felt their rights as consumers were being taken away. That the deadline is so close and there isn't a media outrage over it. That more small businesses are being shut down and allowing the big companies to triumph. We exchanged information, I gave them my card and they said they would be writing whoever they needed to and be in contact with me. They weren't business owners who are effected by this nor were they parents but they were as equally outraged as most of us that have to close our shops.

The apathy that I have seen from the general public and even those that own small businesses and are not effected by the new regulations have saddened me until I spoke with these two women. They were absolutely right! This does not just hurt my business. This hurts everyone no matter if they have children or not. No matter if they have a business selling products to children under twelve or selling something that, thankfully for them, does not have to be burdened with the CPSIA. Why don't more people care?

I loaded up the kids, put my groceries in the trunk and at that moment it finally hit me. Something I started as a side business for extra cash in hand and as a creative outlet was taken from me. Just when my business started to take off it was ripped from my hands, discarded and no real explanation for it. I sell clothes. Not jewelry. Not toys. Not anything that has been manufactured overseas or injected with lead. I design, cut, iron, serge, stitch and package every item of clothing myself. To comply with these regulations each product I made would have to be tested which means each indicidual component of the garment would have to be tested for lead. A 15$ onesie now costs 400$ to make simply because of the testing fees! I put sleepless nights into marketing plans, helping Etsy teams and writing blogs to help the handmade market. There is no reason for so many of us to be swept out of the way because some major corporations wanted to cut their overhead costs and put MY children in danger. I stood there and cried in the parking lot. There is no reason why so many handmade artists look away at the pain so many of us are going through simply because they are not in the same boat.

Do something. The children in this country need to be protected but by regulations that target only the products that can cause potential harm. If you don't do it for yourself and your business, or your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews or friend's kids then do it for the sake of what's right and stop being silent and a doormat in our society.

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Renee toeNja said...

Fantastic blog post.

knitsational said...

This is a really great post about the subject. You're right, it does affect all of us. All of us need to be ouraged and outspoken. I sincerely hop that changes can be made to this to allow us all to continue to make and buy safe products for our children.

The Single Mommy of Kickassery! said...

Thank you both for taking the time to read the blog. It is a shame that this is happening and especially that more people do not care! It affects us all to some degree.

I just hope to see changes.

Kathleen Fasanella said...

You know, I don't think it's apathy. Anyone I've spoken to has been outraged. The issue is not enough people know about it. Toward that end you're doing your part. However, there is more. May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism? There's also the automated mailer to email legislators in one fell swoop. Lastly, we are asking people to fill out the Economic Impact Survey The latter link also includes every CPSIA entry published on Btw, it was members of fashion-incubator (long forgotten now) who were instrumental in getting the word out on Etsy. In truth, in the beginning, reaction there was very apathetic. Look at the oldest threads on cpsia there. You'll see we had to slog it for months before anyone paid attention.

Dee said...

This makes me so sad! I just cant understand WHY!!

The Single Mommy of Kickassery! said...

Thank you Kathleen and I am checking out all of the links. I have read almost every single CPSIA link on Etsy and you are right.. the apathy in the beginning was astonishing.

Barr-etzz said...

Thanks for the post. It is TRUE. I am a shoe-maker; out of necessity, since I got laid-off in may...after trying to find a job with no luck at all (I am an architect), I decided to start my shop, and now I survive because of it. Because of this CPSIA law, I will be forced to close it - apparently shoes ARE part of the regulations. All the joy and the rewards that I get day by day like being on someone else’s blog, or receiving a nice comment about my products, will be also taken away.

There is not a single news channel looking at this issue, not a single newspaper either, and it is getting scary.

Many thanks again,


Wenonah4th said...

I think Kathleen is correct; it hasn't gotten enough media attention and most people don't know aobut it if they haven't been listening at the right posts. I know my folks, who are fairly astute, hadn't heard through their papers or TV news.

60-60 said...

This is outrageous! I can't believe ppl create laws so carelessly and didn't use their brains at all! I don't know why they did what they did but just simply stupid, they earn money by not working right!

kim* said...

sorry about that. i bet you will open up again

Anonymous said...

your links all take me to the same page.

thanks, blogging about it now, and will send to my town blog. including a link here.

Holli Grubb said...

Below is a copy of the class action information. I am a WAHM with a small hair bow business and I urge anyone is affected by the CPSIA so join with me. The cost to join depends on how many participants are involved but the lead petitioner is hoping it may cost each claimant $100-$200. This is not much compared to the cost of testing each of your products.

Contact me or the lead petitioner (info below) with your email and I will forward the info and form to fill out for interested parties. There is no obligation to submit the form, they just need a count of how many are interested.

Holli Grubb


Moms ban together to save their businesses.


Moms ban together to save their businesses. Rachele Dressler-Sweetser is a mother of 3 and owns Monkey Baby, a creative children’s clothing line. This business is not only her additional “baby” but her main source of income. She created Monkey Baby out of necessity. As a single mother she was faced with the issue of a sick child with medical needs that could not be left alone. She combined her creative sewing skills and marketing knowledge to create a fun and successful children’s clothing line. Waking up to a new year she is faced with her legs being knocked out from under her with this quiet law going into effect with huge consequences.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is requiring lead testing on all products (including apparel) designed for children under the age of 12. This new Act is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and disregards the significant and disastrous impact on small and medium businesses.

Dressler-Sweetser says “I have built this business out of love for my children and my God-given talents. It is my dream, livelihood and my future. I can’t sit still. I understand the need to keep our children safe but this law is too broad. It is not in anyone’s interest as it is currently written.” Dressler-Sweetser has contacted the Kushner Law Firm to begin the process of a Class Action Suit to prevent the law’s enforcement of the February 10, 2009 deadline. She is actively contacting businesses owners that this law will effect to ban with her in preventing its enforcement on February 10, 2009.

The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is requiring lead testing on all products (including apparel and components of apparel which knowingly have little or no lead such as ribbon, tulle, thread, elastic etc.) designed for children under the age of 12. “This new Act is unconstitutionally overbroad and vague, and disregards the significant and disastrous impact on small and medium businesses as Section 605 of the Regulatory Flexibility Act requires” says Michael Kushner, of The Kushner Law Firm.

Immediate action is required in order to save many businesses and to keep costs from skyrocketing for children’s toys, accessories and clothing.


Rachele Dressler-Sweetser
Ph. 949.916.9288 Fx. 949.916.9087

Glamglass said...

Great post!! Can I ask If anyone knows anything about selling your goods outside the USA? And buying goods from outside the USA? As this affects soo many businesses in the USA and abroad, I am sure there will be some changes made to to the legislation????

Janay said...

Holy shit. I feel stupid. I didn't even know about this. I was just trying to find the answer to the baby butt circle!

damn! I was up for some buying for my brothers new baby too as soon as I got a new job! Chica, I'm so sorry! Yeah, we gotta fight this. I dun care if its shut down. People can continue to fight til they fix it. Businesses like yours are the reason this country lives. I mean everyone started small like this then it grew and flourished unbelievably. Our country is grown on small business! We've gotten some good companies out of it! They keep saying jobs are dying we must do something! Doing this kills more jobs and makes us worse. I mean I saw the low job industry as an opportunity to create more jobs with a small business....but damn I didn't know they started doing this!! Hell on them. We'll just beat them southern style. I got rope and they got toes!

Imma go calm down....this is so stupid of them.

Monkeyville said...

I truly hope that the CPSIA is revised to make sense, and hold the companies that caused the problem-- huge multinationals, who outsourced to developing countries-- responsible.

As it stands, the law will put so many of the small, high quality, local makers of kids products out of business, and make it so parents can only buy from those companies which have already proven they're not trustworthy.

It's very, very sad, because us little guys are the ones that really truly care about kids and their safety. Most people running these businesses have kids of their own!

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