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.
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