Saturday, January 3, 2009

Take Action - Save Handmade Businesses

This issue really upsets me, and it doesn't really affect me that greatly. Except that I am a small business person and independent artisan ... so what affects other handcrafters affects me. Or could someday. Not to mention the fact that I like to buy handmade items and when we have a baby I want the option to purchase clothing and toys from artisans on Etsy.

I'm writing a letter to my local paper and encourage everyone who cares about small folks like me to do the same. You're welcome to use my wording or modify it as you see fit. I mostly used the wording directly from the Save Handmade Toys facebook site but cut it down to less than 250 words for my paper.

In 2007, large toy manufacturers who outsource their production to China violated the public's trust - selling toys with dangerous lead content, toys with unsafe small parts, and toys that made kids sick. Almost every problem toy in 2007 was made in China.

The Congress passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) in 2008, which bans lead and phthalates in toys, mandates third-party testing and certification for all toys and permanent labels on each toy with a date and batch number.

All of these changes will be fairly easy for large, multinational toy manufacturers to comply with. Large manufacturers who make thousands of units of each toy have very little incremental cost to pay for testing and updating their molds to include batch labels.

For small American toymakers the costs of mandatory testing, to the tune of up to $4,000 per toy, will drive them out of business. American-made toys had nothing to do with the toy safety problems of 2007. Toy aren’t the only ones impacted – used toys and clothing will be eliminated from thrift stores – artisans who design children’s clothing will be shut down.

Unless the law is modified handmade toys will no longer be legal in the US.

Thriving small businesses are crucial to the financial health of our nation. Please write or call your Congressperson and ask that this law be revised to ensure the economic well being of small U.S. businesses. Visit for more details and for how you can help.

I wish I had more room to include my frustration with the government overreach and Nanny State-ism. Government "do something" disease often has unintended consequences and The Simple Dollar brings up one that I had not even considered.

"Currently, all of their secondhand children’s clothes will have to be tested for lead and phthalates. Given that many such stores aren’t high-income operations - many are nonprofits - these shops simply cannot afford to do the testing on the children’s clothes on their shelves."

USED CLOTHING and children's items are also included in this law. !!!!! This means that used clothing stores, thrift stores, etc. will no longer be allowed to offer discounted, used children clothing or toys. Non profit stores will go out of business (there are several in my area alone) and places like Goodwill have apparently already stopped accepting children's clothing.

In these economic times it is absolutely insane to force people to buy brand new clothing - not to mention a complete waste of resources. I'm all for used clothing if it is still clean and wearable. And someone posted a good question in the comments at The Simple Dollar - what about garage sales? I know lots of people who go around to garage sales for used kid's clothes. My aunt has sold all of her four girls' clothes at garage sales over the years. I suppose this puts a stop to that as well.

Please spread the word on this issue. The Help Save Handmade Toys group now is on Facebook. Please join them there and add your thoughts.

Also, the US Consumer Protection Agency is soliciting comments on the new law. Please PLEASE go to their website and implore them to revise the law and help them recognize the significantly negative impact (and unintended consequences) that this law brings to our economy.


Susan C. said...

Check this pdf that LostTheThread posted on Ravelry: very encouraging!!

The Staff is recommending to Commission that things like wool yarn and fine silver be OK'd as not having lead levels that exceed CPSIA section 101(a)requirements. Read the list of items! It is in plain English and has some important details, but it is short.

pamibe said...

This is horrible! Again, parents aren't smart enough to take care of their own children, the state thinks it needs to step in and do that job. Ugh.

CastoCreations said...

Thank you Susan!!! I hope all the hard work pays off and handmade works are left alone.

Lauren said...

I can't understand why we do any business with China. We know they are using slave labor. With all the hoopla about "how far we've come" and the hero worship of Obama and "we elected a black man" it seems rather hypocritical at the very least.

CastoCreations said...

I totally agree Lauren!

LifeNStuffUSA said...

Who do you send your letter to the local newspaper to? Dear Editor? Local news station? i haven't seen a thing about this on my local news programs. Thanks for any direction you can offer me!