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"The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible"

~ Anonymous

Tea Time with Liv

New regulations on childrens products

If you haven't already heard there is new CPSIA Regulations to take affect 2/10/2009 that will require testing of all products intended for children under 12. With the rash recalls of children's toys containing lead this past couple years I understand and support testing. However my concern comes from why everything? Unless it is modified, clothing, books, toys, shoes, backpacks, notebooks, cloth diapers, blankets, stuffed animals, everything must be tested. They are not looking for just lead. They are looking for phthalates. This effects more items than people really know. Things you would never have thought of.

If you create and sell anything and I mean ANYTHING that is specifically for children, you are required to adhere and comply with the new regulations set to take place 2/10/2009. This also means anything you have in stock prior to this date. It is retroactive and you are not exempt.

This means less availability of products to consumers, higher prices to offset the testing cost, job losses. Can you imagine the cost of a backpack during back to school? Before you had a wide variety of items. Imagine only a few? We already have high unemployment rates. Do we want to imagine higher rates?

The testing required is on finished products. Do you realize that if you make a handcrafted overnight bag with a childs name on it every piece will be tested? The fabric, any buttons, the zipper, the snaps, the thread. Everything. For the sake of argument lets just say testing is $500 per component. Lets say that bag has 5 components. That is $2500 for testing. Because it is per batch and it is personalized, this one item becomes one batch. Now you see the concern?

What about antique items such as that antique doll you have had for generations that you wish to sell? Guess what? You guessed it. It must be tested. You know how many items made for children would not pass? What about that old Howdy Doody lunch box? Bet that won't pass. You can't sell it now. Why? It was intended for children.

Figure you can't sell it so might as well donate it. No can do. It will be sold and if it is not tested it is illegal and banned as hazzardous.

In such hard economic times this can spell the end of many home businesses and also many mom & pop specialty shops. Many seamstresses will be out of work because they cannot sell a young girls one of a kind dress without it being tested at $500$10,000 average per batch, per color. If only one item is in a batch, that price is for one not for multiple. You create another a different time, you have to test AGAIN. This is really upsetting thinking about the high cost of a wedding to think of how high the cost will rise for a flower girl dress and the accessories. Remember each of those items have to be tested. What about those ebayers that sell their gently used children's clothing? Do you crochet baby bonnets and sell on esty? Guess what? You have to have that tested now before you can sell it. Can you see someone wanting to pay $525 for your one of a kind bonnet made just for you? What about Goodwill who receives donated items.

At this moment it affects both manufacturers and retailers. You can't buy an item from a manufacturer who is certified and sell it. You have to get it certified to sell it. They may not have it tested because they didn't sell you the item or the component to be sold for children. I have less than 60 days to clear out my inventory of items intended for the little customers unless the regulations change. That also means I have to drop 2 suppliers who offer me just custom items for our little customers. These poor ladies are WAHMs just trying to make a living off their talent.

Lets say I can come up with the money to have my items tested and keep them available to my customers who desire them. Do you know that these labs will get twice the money for the same products? That's right. Not only does the manufacturer have to have it tested but now that I have it in and selling it I have to have it tested too. So who really wins here?

The customers don't because they have to pay the extra costs for one product. Not just one item has to be tested. You see the same doll in 3 colors, each color in the same style doll has to be tested. That is 3 times the cost for the one type of doll and who pays? You do. All costs relating to the business is factored into the cost of products. That means you have the privilege of paying for those tests. There is a but here. Because of the economic state of this country, raising prices if we are able to pay for the testing will only sway customers away from us rather than bring them to us. That means I can raise the prices but nobody will pay. So now what?

Did you know these tests can be problematic for our schools? There was a discussion I read about regarding telescopes. There are many microscopes that could no longer be provided to schools because of a required light bulb with a small solder on the bottom. Another I read about regarding a telescope that will no longer be sold. The testing is nearly the same as yearly sales so its ridiculous to sell a product they cannot profit from due to the testing needed.

With so many that have to be tested, can you imagine how long it will take to get certification? Even those big bucks retailers have won't speed anything up. You favorite cartoon character toy will now be off the shelves 6 weeks (just guessing here) because of this testing. Now it is back you may have to stand in line to get it. Remember the days of Tickle Me Elmo? Those could return.

Because so many have closed their doors because they simply could not shell out the thousands required for testing. Now you don't have the variety you loved before. We all like variety right? How many times have you sifted through several aisles of items looking for the perfect piece. Maybe you even went to several stores just for the right one. Well at least you can say you saved on gas because that favorite boutique is no longer.

Well maybe it is use that works at the beloved boutique. They have to close because those thousands do not grow on trees. So where do you plan to work now? You aren't the only boutique so you better have your game face on and ready to fight for those few positions so many are wanting. Either that or have a good book ready for that unemployment line because it could be long.

Maybe you only shop at those big retailers so maybe you won't see the impact. That won't be true but lets just say that is what you believe and we will stick with that. What about those who do shop at the small boutiques. What about those moms, grandmothers, neighbors, friends, you buy from that make those special items you buy. What about those moms, grandmothers, neighbors, friends, that make those special items and sell to others for extra money to make ends meet.

I am just so sad to think about the little guys (or ladies if you prefer) who are us the small business owners who will be devastated by these new regulations. The large retailers will be hit hardest in many ways as they are the bigger targets, they have investors who are worried about their investment, consumers who watch them with an eagle eye. The smaller businesses can't handle the financial burden and for many that will be seen as the little guy hit the hardest.

I am not against regulations to protect our children. I am against the regulations that will prevent and even crush the business of all. I want better regulations that define protection. Not just banning and restricting all items.

This is serious and you are valid with your concerns and worries. It may seem as though some are overreacting but are you willing to blow it off and not read the below links only to receive a fine upwards of $100,000?

Do yourself a favor and get informed.

You can read more about the regulations at:


kathleen said...

Hi Olivia
Thanks for publicizing this! May I also suggest visiting the War Room for up to the minute updates and focused activism? http://tinyurl.com/5fhzbd

As a personal matter, it's great to see another New Mexican in the rag business. I'm down in Las Cruces and go to RR frequently, I have family and friends there. We should meet some time.

Joops said...

thanks for the informative post..

by the way, i am following your blog...

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