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Please help keep small manufactures like Baby Wit in business!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Read this article in the LA times about what is going down:
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-thrift2-2009jan02,0,2083247.story

As most of you know I own a children's clothing business, and as of February 10, myself and thousands of others in the children's industry will be deeply affected financially or will be out of business. Remember the outcry last holiday season over lead in imported toys? In order to combat such safety issues, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has passed legislation called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). The law sets stringent guidelines for children's products containing lead and phthalates (a chemical used in some vinyl products). It is supposed to go into effect February 10th, 2009, and after that date any product intended for children ages 12 and under must meet these guidelines, and have a certificate of compliance from a CPSC-accredited laboratory. This includes not just toys, but clothing, jewelry, blankets, sheets, books, bibs, strollers, carriers, and anything else that a child under 12 might come in contact with. Sounds great, right?

In theory, maybe. But in actuality the law is so far reaching that it may succeed in turning the economy upside down. For starters, the CPSIA requires end unit testing on every product intended for use by children under 12. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do this testing, regardless of how small the business. That means that manufacturers (like myself ) will have to pay to get every different product they offer tested. These tests have to be done at a CSPC accredited lab, and cost tens of thousands of dollars. For example if you offer 3 different types of dresses. Each dress contains 2 different fabrics, as well as buttons, and thread, so that's potentially $600 to test one dress. But if you have 3 or more styles, that's $1800. And when you get a new bolt of fabric, you need to start all over again.
At present, there are no exemptions for small businesses and "micro" manufacturers and most handcraft artisans. There is no exception for quantities made, where the garments/products are made or anything else. Nor is there an exception for unadorned fabric components, unfinished wood components, materials which, by their nature, are free of lead and phthalates.

Also, the Act takes a "guilty until proven innocent" approach, which would treat a handmade, unfinished wooden toy that doesn't meet the certification deadline of 2/10/09 as a "banned hazardous substance" which would be illegal to distribute in this country. Each infraction carries a $100,000 felony charge. This legislation is also retroactive for any pre-existing inventory as of February 10th, 2009. This means that everything on the shelves in those big (or small) stores will also be "banned, hazardous substances" - contraband.
Larger corporations that can afford testing will incur thousands, maybe millions of dollars in fees, and this expense will be handed down to the consumer, probably making the prices for children's products go through the roof.
This also means that after that date, even selling your kids old things on eBay or Craigslist will be illegal. Charities will not be able to accept donations without a certificate of compliance either. February 10, 2009 is being dubbed "National Bankruptcy Day" by many people in the apparel and toy industry. If this legislation is not amended, it will affect everyone from port workers to parents looking for legal products. Billions of dollars worth of children's products will have to be destroyed because they can't be legally sold, and this will cause major environmental problems.
While I am all for higher safety standards and keeping our kids safe, this law is so overreaching as to put thousands on manufacturers of children's products out of business -hurting our economy and causing even more loan defaults. Though this legislation was well-intentioned, it cannot be allowed to stand as is.
Please help us defend the American dream and our entrepreneurial spirit! This law affects every stay at home mom trying to help put food on the table and every grandmother knitting blankets for the local craft fair. It makes the thousands of us who have found a niche in the burgeoning children's market have to make a tough decision - continue to produce items illegally and possible incur a $100,000 fine, pay the enormous fees and raise costs of goods sold, or close up shop!

Please help us!
Contact your Congressperson by clicking HERE.
It only takes 30 seconds!
If you have an extra minute send a hard copy of the letter as well!

To sign the online petition click HERE.

Read more about it here at www.nationalbankruptcyday.com

Please copy and paste this on your blogs, we need all the help we can get!

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