Today is CPSIA Blogging Day. Another big push to get the laws changed and prevent thousands of small business owners — artists and crafters making beautiful handmade items for children — from going under. Bloggers across the country are posting today about this important issue.
So, what can we do?
First, learn everything you can about the CPSIA. Here and Here are really good places to start. (Please take a moment to check both of those links. They are certainly worth your time!)
Next, make your voice heard! There is an ACTION KIT made by the etsy administration that contains sample letters you can use to contact all the pertinent representatives. Do not be afraid to contact your representatives. They must become aware of the impact the CPSIA could have on thousands, if not millions, of mom-run businesses.
Then, help spread the word! Put up a post today about CPSIA Blogging Day. Send an email to all of your friends. Tell your best friend or your sister when they call. Shoot a text message to the moms in your local playgroup. Tweet your heart out about it.
So many companies that Buy By Mom loves to feature and support (including Babycapes and Suzi Homemaker) will be affected by this new law. In most of the cases, the testing fees required will put these small businesses and WAHMs in bankruptcy and/or force them to close their doors forever.
I don’t want to imagine a world without etsy, ebay, or WAHMs who use their amazing talents to make wonderful items for children. I want to be able to continue to support *all* WAHMs and their businesses.
Please help spread the word about the CPSIA. Every day I am shocked at the number of people who don’t know about the CPSIA or don’t think it’s any big deal. This is a big deal. Something must be done to change this law. Take a moment to read up about it, and then do something. It won’t take but a moment. Let’s unite together and make our voices be heard!
Susan Maphis from Upscale Baby has been doing a great job spreading the word about how the Consumer Product Safety Information Act (CPSIA) will adversely affect mom-made and handmade products in the United States. She contacted Elizabeth and I (coincidentally right after I had just posted my piece on the CPSIA), to see if we would provide comment on how the new law could affect us. Please read her post and others she has written on this topic. Also, sign up to receive updates via Upscale Baby's CPSIA Alerts Newsletter. Additionally, they have compiled a list of resources that provides more information about the law and what you can do to help save these products and countless businesses affected by it.
Despite all of this CPSIA crap, marketing of our product goes on. So instead of whining about stupid laws, let's celebrate some of the good press we've been receiving lately.
Babycapes is featured in this week's edition of Tot Trends Weekly. The magazine is theme-based and features Babycapes as its #1 pick for items that will keep your little ones warm and stylish this winter.
We've also had some television exposure of late thanks to our publicist at Orca Communications who landed us a feature spot on "Sonoran Living" in Phoenix. The video segment features top safety products for children that were invented by moms. Babycapes also was featured on Jan. 20 in many southeastern markets on the syndicated program "Daytime." Erin Taylor from The Mom Buzz presented Babycapes in a segment that featured top products for children. The show was blacked out on our television affiliate, so we were unable to view it, and, as of yet, Erin has not seen it either. Hopefully, someone out there was able to record it for us and we'll be able to view it and share it soon.
Babycapes received a glowing review from one of my favorite bloggers Jacqueline of Blessings Abound. The picture she has posted of her daughter in her front carrier wearing her Babycape while at a zoo in Alaska is priceless.
Angie of 5 Vinez Monkeys and Buy By Mom, two more of my daily reads, also gave Babycapes a rave review! She loved the cape for her son so much that she purchased one for her darling little girl, too! Angie also has Elizabeth and I as her Featured Moms for the week, so if you haven't read "Suzi and Elizabeth: A Love Story" yet, now's a good time to check it out!
Another thing to celebrate is our new President Barack Obama! In honor of our new President we are holding an American Economic Recovery Sale on our retail site! We are so looking forward to the Change that President Obama has promised throughout his campaign and are going to do our part to help stimulate the economy one Babycape at a time! Please check out our deep discounts--nearly 40% off retail pricing for a limited time only and while supplies last!
A lot has been written around the blogosphere about the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA), which was passed in August 2008 and will go into effect on Feb. 10 of this year. The law, although its intentions were good, could, in effect, wipe out an entire cottage industry in this country. Small businesses that produce/sell children's products (like Suzi Homemaker and Babycapes) are going to be required to implement extensive and expensive testing on all products that are used by children under the age of 12.
Among other things, the CPSIA bans lead and phthalates in children's products, mandates third party testing and certification, and requires manufacturers of all goods for children under the age of 12, to permanently label each item with a date and batch number.
I am not an expert on this law, but I am an expert on Babycapes. Rather than go on about how ill-conceived the CPSIA is (there are hundreds if not thousands of other bloggers and small business owners that have written about it--just Google "CPSIA" and you will be amazed at the public outcry), I am going to tell you a little bit about how this law will affect Babycapes.
First, a little background information...When Elizabeth and I set out to make this wonderful product more than two years ago, we both felt strongly about having it produced in the United States because of the stigma surrounding products being made in China. Even though we are paying three times as much per garment to sew it in the U.S., we felt it was important to keep production in this country and put Americans to work. Initially, we hired several seamstresses to produce the capes, but soon demand became so great that they could not keep up so we set out to find a sewing contractor to produce a large quantity of capes in a relatively short period of time. There are not many U.S. sewing contractors left, so it was quite a feat to find one that was relatively close by.
We purchase our luxurious Minky fabric from a wholesaler in North Carolina rather than purchase directly from Korea (where the fabric is produced, again, putting Americans to work), our snaps from an American-based notions supplier, and our labels are produced by an American company in Florida that also produces our hang tags. According to the CPSIA, it is not enough to obtain certificates of conformancy from these suppliers. Instead, we will be required to test a sample item from each lot of Babycapes, in each color and style, after complete assembly, and then the testing must be applied to each component (the fabric, the snaps, the labels, the hang tags and even the thread. Aside--I'm still trying to track down any instances of lead found in fabric or thread, but have had no luck thus far). Currently, we offer nine different styles of Babycapes and nine different styles of hats. Additionally, a new label will have to be added to each Babycape every production run providing the date and lot number. Those labels will need to be tested, too. That means 90+ different tests every production run.
And testing ain't cheap.
Not only does the law apply to future production runs, but to existing inventory as well. Although it has been amended slightly, the law initially stated that products that have not undergone testing will be considered contraband after February 10, 2009. According to the website Change.org, "It will be illegal to sell or give these items away to charities, and the government will require their destruction or permanent disposal, resulting in millions of tons of unnecessary waste, and placing an enormous strain on our landfills." (Can you imagine disposing of dozens of Babycapes at a landfill? I guarantee there will be renegade moms out there storming the trash piles, rescuing these precious garments before they hit the rubbish!) Rather than grandfathering in the testing requirements, existing inventory must comply with rigid standards, as well. So, again, more testing is necessary.
Not only is the testing expensive, it also is hard to come by as the number of certified testing facilities in the United States are few and far between--especially considering the sheer volume of children's products currently being offered in today's marketplace--all of which will need to be tested in order to show compliance with the new standards.
So what do we do? Cut down on the number of styles we produce, limiting choices for our customers? Jack up the prices to accommodate our testing bills? Take our business away from our U.S.-based sewing contractor and our American suppliers and give it to a factory in China or India because it will be less expensive to produce, padding our budgets a little to allow for ridiculous testing? The least attractive option would be to close our business completely, thereby throwing away the thousands of dollars we've invested bringing this wonderful product to market.
Our product was designed to keep babies and small children warm, comfortable, but most importantly, SAFE while traveling in car seats or strollers, do you really think we would use any supplies that would cause our children harm?
Please check out Goodies for Mom for a chance to win a Babycape and other wonderful handmade/mom-made products that will be adversely affected by this law.
We are ringing in the New Year with a $10 off sale on all styles of Babycapes at BabycapesOnline.com. Sale prices will be in effect throughout the month of January, maybe longer. There's plenty of cold weather ahead of us this winter and now is the time to ensure that your child is warm, comfortable and, most importantly, safe, while traveling in a vehicle this winter.
Additionally, we have a number of "Factory Seconds" that have minor imperfections (such as an arm hole being slightly off or a skewed hem or skipped stitches) that we will be offering at deep discounts. While the functionality of these garments is the same, we can't, in good faith (as we are PERFECTIONISTS!), sell them at full retail price. So if you have been wanting a Babycape for a while, but have not wanted to spend the full retail price (even though the garment will last through several seasons), now is your chance. Just email sales@BabycapesOnline.com for a list of available colors and styles.