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Thursday, January 8, 2009

CPSIA Updates and my dreaded Opinion

dIts update time!! Good and not so good.
Yesterday, CPSC issued a clarification letter regarding resale/thrift/ministries Stores. Childrens items may still be donated and sold. HOWEVER the shops will still be heald accountable for any recalled items and clothing/toys/furniture containing lead and phylates. That is great for them!! (BUT how are they gonna DO that??)

Tuesday, the CPSC voted to allow some natural fibers, ((Undyed, un messed with, un painted, un embellished)) like cotton, wool and wood to exempted from testing. That is great for the natural toy makers!! I bet they are wiping the sweat off their bow as I type!!

So, you see, the CPSC is starting to listen to us, the small bodies, combined to make us big. They are beginning to react. Make small tweaks where the law was so much like a blanket, without any shape.
In it's own little way, the CPSC was doing the right thing when they wrote the CPSIA. And I see it now. *enter rays of sunshine raining down from the Heavens* Although, yes, I do believe they hurried and whatnot to get it done and passed. They included way too much and forgot a ton, ifyouknowwhatImean.

Until today, I was thinking, "Me, MY, I" instead of "WE, THEY, US". I was being very selfish with my thoughts pertaining to the CPSIA. All I could conjure up was how it would affect ME & MY business, and MY shop.

I woke up this morning with a realization: The CPSIA will not be changing in favor of the micro/small manufacturers. Namely, ME; US. :0)

But why not?? You ask....

Well, it starts here: If you make something, then you are a manufacturer. I am a manufacturer. Jennifer is a manufacturer. There are a billion manufacturers, tiny and huge. The CPSC does not care an iota what size the manufacturer is, they just want conformity from ALL manufacturers. The same rules, the same regulations, the same testing guidelines. EVERY MANUFACTURER big or tiny in the childrens industry, must comply to the same book of rules and regulations. Its professional. Its safe. It will weed out the ones who can't and leave the ones who can.

"But I only do this part time and make $5000 a year. It's a hobby. I
should have an exemption."

Nope. Not gonna happen.
Heres why: I could hop onto Etsy or eBay and in 5 mins find 10 items that are NOT in compliance of TODAYS safety laws. All made by home based businesses. Bling pacifiers, bling shoes, bottons, charms. Everyone seeks them out cuz "they're so cute", no one else has one and
they are hand made. The reason I can find them there and NOT at Walmart or Macy's, is because they are illegal. They pose both a choking hazard and a lead violation. You would think (and I did for so long while in denial...!!) that if you went to Joanns or Hobby Lobby and purchased all your goodies there, that everything would just be safe. Nope. I was so wrong. It took a while for me to realize it, but there are all sorts of neat do-dads available.... for GROWN-UPS!! Charms, beads, crystals, paints..... The list goes on and on. It is all those neat little things that we as childrens designers are adding to our *safe* garments; making them hazardous. In fact, I made some jeans with "Penelope the Pirate" on them.

I hand stitched chain and little fringe-trim coins to them. That chain and coin collection could have been a toxic waste dump for a tiny one (Good thing I only made them for a 8 yr old and a Mom when I listed them). It is US, the tiny hand made manufacturers who are guilty of offering lead and phylate laden childrens items.
Because there has been no one to police US
. Until now.
As a childrens manufacturer, I am guilty of having screwed up by using inappropriate items on my applique masterpieces. Oops. :0)
This all brings me to the truth of the whole CPSIA deal.
It is my opinion that CPSIA will make us, as manufacturers, all on the same page, weed out
the ones who cannot comply (myself included) and also weed out the ones in non-compliance (using lead, intentionally or not). It will bring out the professionals (thanks K!!) and bury the rest.
In all my attempts to see this to the end, I fear it has already taken a piece of my heart. I know that my baby things are lead free. I know that if I can stay out of the *fun* stuff and just applique, my kids' stuff will be lead free. But I do not have the capital to have my one of a kind
items tested for lead. I do not have enough time in any day to complete what I NEED to do, much less the things I want, and still be a Mom, wife & partner. I have no time or money to run out and rent XRF to test everything!! The past four weeks I have stressed myself silly and sick over this mess because it does not just affect my lifestyle, but it affects my passion, my heart.
I have to create.
I am honored to have met some of THE COOLEST people on Earth - some are smart, some are talented, and some have just WOWED me with their super powers. I never would have found them, if it were not for fiasco called CPSIA.
Next month, I will be purchasing the book, The Entreprneur's Guide To Sewn Product Manufacturing, by Kathleen Fasanella. I'll have time to read it and enjoy it. I am really looking forward to a good book!!!
After that, I am getting a head start on Homecoming Overalls for the high school girls!! No more "pedal to the metal" for me!!