Wednesday, January 14, 2009

One more thing before I go to bed...

We're now less than a month away from the CPSIA... more and more, people are starting to figure out how it will impact them. Just a few things I've been reading:

*This will affect everything given away and all hand-me-downs. You want your grandma to knit you a sweater? Tough luck.

*This will affect thrift stores. While they won't be held responsible for testing, if one of their items is contaminated with lead they are responsible for that. That means all Salvation Army and Goodwill stores take their lives in their hands when dealing with children's items.

*This will affect libraries, as their books need to be tested or destroyed.

*This will affect craft fairs as no one can sell anything that hasn't been tested for lead for children under the age of 12... In state, out of state, out of country, it doesn't matter.

*This will affect the environment. Think about it... I have five boxes of items sitting in my home right now that I cannot give away, sell or trade. I can't give them to the Goodwill, I can't give them as gifts, I can't trade them for other goods -- where are they going to end up? The trash. It's retroactive, so all those toys you see on the shelves? Come February 10th, if they haven't been tested, they'll be pulled and destroyed. Yay for filling landfills with toys that are more than likely safe!

Above all, this will affect you. Not only will you be unable to purchase handmade items (thus supporting individual crafters and artisans), prices will rise as the cost of testing is factored in. Even mid-sized companies will be driven out of business by the cost of compliance. Don't think it's that bad? Let's analyze a bib:

1 test for fabric (front) = $75
1 test for fabric (back) = $75
1 test for snap closure = $75
1 test for thread = $75

Total per style of bib: $300.


1 test for fabric x 4 fabrics on the front = $300
1 test for fabric (back) = $75
1 test for fabric label = $75
1 test for ribbon tag = $75
1 test for thread = $75

Total per Take-Me-Too blanket style: $600

Let's analyze that a little closer...

*One blanket costs $15, meaning that I'd have to sell 40 blankets in one style just to break even with the cost of compliance. Not counting materials cost, not counting labor, 40 blankets simply to recoup the cost of testing. If I change one thing, I will have to get that new blanket tested as well. Honestly, I don't think I've made 40 blankets in one style... ever.

*One bib costs $7, translating into 43 bibs to break even. Of one fabric style. If I throw in fabric costs, you're looking at more like 55 bibs to break even. That's if I don't want to actually be compensated for my time.

It *might* work if I was set on carrying one style of blanket and one style of bib (and just sold those for years)... but that's not why people chose handmade. They don't want the same thing everyone else has (if they did, they'd buy Gerber!!!), they want funky, unique, different.

Ah well... someone cheer me up... I'm starting to get depressed!!!


Karen said...

I can't help but think enough pressure will be brought to iron out the kinks in this bill. While the intent is good the practicalities are sorely lacking. This will drive out all but the largest manufacturers and will hit them hard too. I would hate to think that the charm of hand made items as gifts will disappear. Let's keep writing our congressmen and senators. It is surely a tough time for all of us.

Made By Moms said...

Karen, I agree... I'm just hoping that the delay is being caused by the inauguration. People have been making a loud stink about this since early November and nothing, really, has been done.

I keep telling myself that it's the inauguration and nothing in DC is getting done... but I can't help but admit that I'm getting more and more worried as the deadline draws closer.

Take care!