Sunday, January 25, 2009
Does anyone know about this?
How uber-cute is that girl's skirt? It is one of my favorite ETSY stores called Kinchi. I go to that online store and marvel at how fun her kids clothes are. It is like Boden clothes, except waaaay cooler. The woman who runs the online store lives in Holland, and makes clothes on the side while staying home with her kids. She searches for vintage 70's fabric to make funky clothes. My kind of gal. I have not bought a skirt yet from her yet, but was thinking I would, and give it to M. for her 5th birthday. My daughter has a love, and I do mean love for dogs. I am venturing to guess this is the kind of skirt M. would wear and people might stop and ask where we bought it. Then I can say "oh, I bought it on the ETSY website, from Holland, this woman hand-makes clothes from vintage fabrics." and that is how things get spread word of mouth in mom-world. Before you know it Kinchi has new sales and her family is supporting itself from her creative efforts. And we all live happily ever after.
No, wait. Not today.
I went to Kinchi's ETSY store today and she said after Feb 11th she was no longer selling clothes to the US and is most likely closing her ETSY store because of it. And here is why...
I have been hearing rumblings from my friends who craft about Congress passing the CPSIA. That would stand for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. Passed by Congress, going into effect Feb 11, 2009. This act does three things
1. bans lead and phthalates in children's products
2. mandates third party testing and certification for lead and phthalates
3. requires manufacturer's of all goods for children under the age of 12 to permanently label each item with a date and batch number
When they say all goods, this means toys, books, clothing, art, educational supplies, bicycles etc. This also means that it will be illegal to sell or donate to charities. The government is requiring all items be destroyed or thrown away that do have certification.
So lets discuss this for a minute. In an effort to make products for kids safe, this law has passed. And, I think many would agree the products in question are manufactured overseas in places like China, right? You know, big companies. The ones making a gazillion dollars, who can afford to comply with these rules. They are not going to suffer very much because they have the financial resources. So far so good. But, for all the wonderful crafters, small businesses and generous people giving clothes and toys away to charities and selling small amounts of merchandise, it does not sound so good. No, not at all. In fact a store in my town has been telling its customers that it is going to close because of this. A wonderful mother/daughter consignment shop I frequent cannot comply with this law because it would cost them thousands of dollars to do so. And while browsing on ETSY I found shops that are closing, no longer making their handmade children clothes, wool diaper covers, hand carved wooden toys all because this law has passed. How many children in low income neighborhoods are going to affected by this law? If I cannot donate M's old toys and clothes to charity, where are they going to end up? In landfills? And what resources are mothers who cannot afford to buy things at retail price going to have? And what about school fundraisers? Holiday craft fairs? Handmade dolls moms make at night to sell for extra money for their family? My community is heavily invested in careers with mothers making crafts and selling at fairs. One of the best presents ever given to M was from a man who carves animals out of wood and puts little wheels on them from North Carolina. What is going to happen to him? Or disabled people working in little shops making toys on a small scale in some city somewhere. Or a woman making handmade baby quilts to sell at local stores. How will they afford the cost to have a lab test their products for safety? Well, they won't. And, meanwhile the factories in China making plastic crap toys will continue, humming along, making a gazillion dollars.
Today I am asking myself, WTF?