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Friday, February 20, 2009

So this is what I wrote...... CPSIA

I was given the heads up that a certain person was looking for real life stories about how the CPSIA has affected me and mine. So this is what I wrote. This is actually the *edited* version as I just could not shut up. I felt like it was my one and only chance to write a personal note with feelings mixed in with the facts. If I could have hand written this with actual tear stains, I would have.

20 February 2009

The Honorable Henry Waxman

The Honorable Bobby L. Rush

The Honorable Joe Barton

The Honorable George P. Radanovich

Committee on Energy and Commerce

United States House of Representatives

2125 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairmen Waxman and Rush and Ranking Members Barton and Radanovich:

I am writing to regarding the new law, CPSIA, put into effect February 10, 2009.

You see, I have been making and designing children’s Boutique Clothing for eight years now. I have spent many hours using my creativity to design perfect appliques and mastering twirly skirts. I have also built a huge customer base who rely on me to keep their children dressed in the best of custom clothing. It is what I do, and who I am.

In January of 2007, I utilized my talents and that of 10 other children’s designers to open The Pink Zebra Boutique. A small shop where Mom’s could come in and touch, see, feel the best in handmade clothing and accessories for their children. Our offerings quickly became popular here in the small town of Katy, Texas and even Moms from Houston would drive in to shop in my store. The Pink Zebra became an icon in a very short time.
This past December 2008, I became aware of CPSIA, but only because I like to be on my computer. If I did not have this tool, I would not have found out until someone verbally told me about it. I spent many hours, days and weeks researching and trying to figure out why CPSIA was including me! How could I need to test clothing items with nothing but fabrics and thread for lead? Have I been poisoning children for the past 8 years?

I quickly researched the testing that would be needed.... XRF Technology would be good until August of 2009. I inquired at some companies to see if the cost would be feasible. At $400 a day to rent the gun, and the training involved paired with the amount of merchandise in my store would cost me over $2000, and closure of the store for a week or more to make the documentation.

I spent 2 weeks trying to decide what I should do.

I have put so much money and time into painting the shop, the walls, the furniture, the displays. I had just purchased 1,000 new business cards in December. I lost the deposit I put on the building because I had to break the contract 2 months early.

I feel like I have taken a personal blow with everything I have lost.
With no word or changes to the CPSIA, I gave notice to my landlord that I would be closing my shop, vacating the first week of February. Everything immediatly went on sale to clear out as much as possible. Many of our items sold at or below materials cost, giving us all a loss on our business efforts.

The Pink Zebra Boutique closed on January 31, 2009.

It is so sad, that my dream of being an enterprenuer and Business icon in my community was so quickly snuffed by an over reaching law that was intended to make TOYS safer for children. It makes me so angry that everything I have worked for the past decade is gone. It saddens me that my customers, my biggest cheerleaders, can no longer purchase the very clothing items I love to design.

Although it is too late to save the Pink Zebra and all the designers associated with it, maybe something can be done to save the rest of the handmade clothing business.

Component testing. If all components available to BUY were lead free. If the fabric were certified lead free. The elastic, the thread. IF toys and other goods need to be lead free, the components to make such items should also be lead free.

I think about all the new Moms holding their newborns against the tee-shirt that says, “New Mom” all in crystals. I worry that the quilt on my bed from JC Penney, that my babies laid on when I changed their diapers, might have lead. It is not just childrens items, or baby things. My babies were held close to me and MY shirts were never tested for lead.

In closing, I want to thank you for taking the time to read my letter. This law means so much to me and my livelyhood. I want for children to be safe, not coddled, or in a plastic bubble. Children need to be free to live and experience life. Parents just need to pay attention to their kids and make sure they are not eating the zipper on their jeans or licking the pages in their books. Please don’t allow the CPSIA to take these vital things from our lives!!


Trevor M. Thorson
Owner, Pink Zebra Boutique
Owner, KraftyMommas Boutique

If you made it this far, you need to check out this story about a library in Nebraska. Books under an orange tarp, under quarantine. As if deceased.
Yep, libraries are having to close up the kids section so they can go through and get rid of books printed pre 1985. Far reaching and over written, this CPSIA. What a pile-o-crap.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Um, well, Yea. R.I.P.


Not feeling all that creative right now. Check back in a couple of months, I guess.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

CPSIA and My Five Favorites

Bankruptcy Day is only TWO days away, and I have been thinking about how my (and my children's) lives will be changed forever. I am making a list of (only) 5 of my FAVORITE things that will be affected on February 10, 2009, forever.


1. Tee-shirts. As a kid I always loved wearing tee's with silly graphics and pictures of my favorite rock bands. My kids are following in my footsteps... Hillary Duff, Taylor Swift, Vans Tennis shoes. Even silly ones like "Can I recycle my brother?". No more silly, trendy tees for my kids.


2. Halloween!!! I would have 5 Halloweens instead of all the other Holidays!! We love to dress up in the craziest of KraftyMommas Boutique costumes, complete with tons of accessories we often buy at the Dollar Store and WalMart. This year, in 2009, we won't be able to do much, as it will cost THOUSANDS of dollars to have these extravagant costumes tested. Not only that, but last years prize winning costumes will not be legal to sell on eBay, due the cost of testing requirements.


3. Resale shop-hopping. The girls and I LOVE checking the resale shops for things to paint and craft with. But we also love to buy clothes and stuff for play and dress up. Sometimes we even find items for our Halloween costumes. Most of the resale shops by our house have stopped taking children's items for fear of getting caught selling/stocking and illegal item. They are scared of what COULD happen, since they do not possess an XRF gun or the money to buy one.


4. Garage Sales. Yep, I am el-cheapo. I love garage sales. When the kids were babies, I bought 3/4 or their wardrobes from garage sales, and we still do frequent them. One can never have too many pairs of shorts here in Texas, nor can a girl have too much Barbie crap. I refuse to buy certain things at retail, when I know it will get lost, forgotten or thrown away, LOL Now, I guess, not-so-much.


5. My creations. (I saved this for last) I love the fact that I can make so many different things for babies. That people seek me out to make that special quilt or coming home from the hospital outfit, is such a blessing. I have been bettering my sewing skills every day for the past 8 years to get to where I am now. Not only have I lost the freedom to create for others, but I have lost my brick and mortar shop as well. Over the course of 2 years, I built up relationships with designers and customers alike, and now I have to bid them adieu. Many will hang on to our friendship, but without the common bond, others will slowly fade and begin buying mass produced crap for Target and Walmart, as they can squeeze that cost of lead testing into their production line.

Now that I have shared with you, I want you to share your top 5 in the comment section!! PLEASE list your top 5 Favorites the CPSIA will ruin for you on Bankruptcy Day, February 10, 2009.
(If you blog your TOP %, please share your link and link back to me!!!!)

Remember, EVERYONE will be affected by the CPSIA, EVERYONE.

**EDITED** to add 5 Favorites Blogs:
Whimsical Walney
Connie, owner of From My Room Resale

Friday, February 6, 2009

CPSIA (Confusion) Update


So much confusion.....
The CPSIA has my panties in a wad!! LOL
A new development today: A Press Release from the CPSC, to spell out the Enforcement Policy for new lead limits in Children's products efective February 10, 2009.
Yep. Another, of I am sure, to be many.
In this newest release, the document basically states that there are certain materials used in children's items that have been proven NOT to have in lead in them. This works hand-in-hand with last weeks stay of mandatory testing and certification. The certain materials are as follows:
  • ...certain natural materials, including wood, wool, cotton and metals and alloys known to not contain traces of lead in them
  • ...ordinary children's books printed AFTER 1985
  • ...dyed or undyed textiles (not including leather, vinyl or PVC) and non-metallic thread and trim used in children's clothing and other fabric products, including baby blankets
I can read into that, as a crafter/seamstress/business owner, that the product made by KraftyMommas Boutique (ME!!) can and will be sold LEGALLY for up to one year from now. I have the freedom to continue creating for the babies and for the older crowd, provided I do not accessorize with zippers, buttons, leather, charms or bling. So, YEA!! for me!! And for all the other girls wearing my boots right now!!! My biggest hurdle will be finding overalls with compliant snaps and clips. I applique a lot of overalls still, and need to make sure all the metal hardware is complaint. I have a tote full of blanks I may have to burn.... Ugh.
I feel bad though, for libraries and book stores, though. Stuff printed before 1985 MAY have lead in the ink they printed the books with. That's a tough thing. I have collections of books from my Dad's sister that date from the 40's and 50's. Not to mention all book collections I have, like Nancy Drew, Little House and Wizard of Oz. My kids will read them, lead or no lead, as I did, and I am just fine, thank-you-very-much!!!
Those are the main topics covered by todays announcement. Many of us on Twitter are still wary that this is even the correct way to interpret the Press Release. The CPSIA has been oh so confusing to everyone involved, including the CPSC, since day one. No one seems to *know* the answers completely, so many things have been guesstimated or insinuated. Hence the picture at the top of this post.
Remember, though, this enforcement policy will only stay in effect until superseded by action of the Comission.
IOW: Until they decide to change the interpretation, again.

NOTE: Many people are so confused by what the CPSC thinks is giving clear and concise information on their site. I am beginning to believe they are writing in code purposely, to encourage all of us bloggers and Twitters to super-sleuth out the answers, like Scooby-Doo!!

Keep trying, CPSC, one day you will get it right, I hope!!!

I hope this outlook has been helpful if you came here looking for answers!!
For all my trusty followers and PZB peeps, I promised to keep you posted!!
:0) Cheers!!

*SHEW* It has been a busy week!!

I just realized it has been nearly a week since I have sat down with enough time to actually blog!! That is a long time for y'all to keep checking in and I feel like I have let you down.
[My apologies]
So, what has kept me so busy? Closing up the Pink Zebra, working at Babin's and fighting this darn head cold, that's what!
Monday, my friend Heather (the Master Packer!!) and her Hubs came to my rescue and helped me organized enough to get a HUGE load of stuff moved from the shop to my garage. Heather is quite meticulous (she SAYS shes not OCD, but whatever!!) at packing and I am so thankful to have had her help. If not for her, I would probably STILL be there trying to figure it out. LOL David, her Hubs, packed most of the heavy, large furniture into his pick up.
Tuesday, Stacy of SJacobs Designs met me and we jammed her Isuzu and my Isuzu full of most everything else. Her two-year-old, Ashton, kept me moving and grooving. I swear he is the cutest thing alive! I love making that kid giggle!!
Long story short. It took 3 days and the help of 3 AWESOME friends, but the shop was finally empty and ready to vacate on Wednesday 1:00 PM.
My cute little place looks so empty and lonesome without all its displays and cute little Boutique clothing.
RIP Pink Zebra
January 27, 2007 - January 31, 2009








Sunday, February 1, 2009

CPSC Grants One Year Stay of Testing....

Yes, yes, my friendly bloggy readers. This SOUNDS just exactly what I (and other handmakers) wanted. And it is.... Kinda. It is a small victory of many to come!! But it still needs some adjustments and this gives the CPSC some time to fine tune this awful piece of legislature.
I did do a little jig of accomplishment around my living room. My eyes did well up a bit in sheer happiness that everything us bloggers and Tweets have been fighting for. I DID go celebrate with a basket of fried shrimp and a Cape Cod.
Well, it is worth that small amount of celebration. But the fight is not over and WE still need to keep on, keepin'on with our voices.
A small win. A chance for the CPSC to look over the entire CPSIA document and get it right the second time around. The Stay is for one year.... It states that as a clothing manufacturer, I DO NOT have to test and certify my goods are lead compliant, HOWEVER, I better not get caught selling anything over the 600 parts per million. In fact, a friend of mine, who shall remain nameless, works for a company who produces childrens items. They have already sunk millions into the third party labratory testing to guarantee no lead. (And NO LEAD has ever been found!!) Even with the stay, their Attorney has told them to CONTINUE with the costly testing on each batch, as there will be big box retailers out the fighting the stay, purely because they have already been doing this expensive testing on their products and "so should we". They are probably feeling like they have lost MILLIONS of dollars right now to be February 10th compliant. And I am sure the backlash will be big. I am prepared for things to change, again. I am sure this will be a roller coaster ride all the way to the end. I have my kleenex box close by, next to the bottle of celebratory bottle of wine, just in case. *wink*
So, as a retailer, and manufacturer, um, how do I KNOW my goods are compliant?? I need to test don't I?. Yup, for the most part. I am still held accountable for my wares.
You can read the the say HERE.
Don't get me wrong!! I am thankful for the smallest hint that our voices are being heard. As Mark Riffey said, "I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that the power of social media is what made this happen." I am so glad to have been a part of that statement.

OK, now that's off my chest.
Yesterday was the last open day of The Pink Zebra. I want to thank everyone who has come in to say good-bye, make purchases and show so much concern about my creative well being. I love you all so much. You have no idea how wonderful it feels to have such a wonderful team behind me supporting me and my dreams.
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Please continue reading my blog as I may have news for you sooner than later!!
I also want to thank my dear friend Heather for being a leaning post the past few days. Spending her time with me at the PZB for the past 2 days and being there to celebrate this small win we have with the stay of mandatory testing. She brought her kids to the shop yesterday and a whole bunch of activities to keep all 4 our tikes busy all day. Basically, she entertained the kids while I handled customers (friends!!) without interruption and was able to get things done.
I will leave you with the highlight of my day... Miss Morgan Farnsworth. Mommy bought her my FAVORITE OOAK Texas A&M deco overalls. Needless to say, Morgan loved them!! :0)





Thank you Laura, for coming by to say "Hi" and bringing Morgan in for a kiss!!! We love you!!