January 13, 2009

Speesees and other small toy/clothing companies need your help*

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Rachel Pearson, owner of Speesees, SF, CA, Canon Rebel Xti

This is Rachel, the fabulous owner and designer of Speesees, the incredibly cute line of organic baby clothing.

By now you guys may have heard about the law going into effect this year that requires toy companies to have each item in their line go through third party testing for phthalates, lead and other unsafe chemicals that might make kids sick. On the one hand, this is good, right? I am so grateful that this stuff came out in the media while Ben was still really small.

But this is the rub. The only companies who are going to be able to afford this testing are the large, multinational companies. This law, as it is written now, is going to drive every small toy, clothing, and art supply manufacturer out of business. That is thousands of businesses in this country who are making completely safe, lovely, wooden, and organic toys.

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These are photos from the most recent photoshoot I did for Speesees. Are these kids not gorgeous?! I am such a fan of this company, both their incredible clothing and design, and for their ethos. All of this stuff I had been reading about was driven home for me when Rachel told me that kids clothing is susceptible to this law as well. Even organic clothing companies like hers (totally conscious through and through) will go out of business this year if this law isn't rewritten.

There is more info on the Handmade Toy Alliance page and links to petitions you can sign. Only 27 days until this law goes into effect!

Posted on January 13, 2009 08:29 AM
Comments

lemyaskin rulezz

Posted by: lemyaskin at September 22, 2009 08:57 PM

Hello Perdunky!

Posted by: Perdunok at September 22, 2009 10:41 AM

Hello Perdunky!

Posted by: Perdunok at September 22, 2009 10:40 AM

Hello Perdunky!

Posted by: Perdunok at September 22, 2009 10:40 AM

Hi everyone. I never think of the future - it comes soon enough. Help me! It has to find sites on the: Bronzing tanning bed. I found only this - tanning lotion for tanning bed. The cuttracie egan blames gay men for many; of the fashion industry; problems. But first they want as much money out of you as they can squeeze. With best wishes ;-), Kesare from Egypt.

Posted by: Kesare at August 17, 2009 11:16 PM

Oh no! This cannot be! Something must be done! Thank you for the info. I love speesees and all of the conscious little companies out there. Something must be done...

Posted by: pixie at January 18, 2009 08:49 PM

I, too would like to thank you for mentioning this. It's frustrating that so few people know (or believe when you tell them) that this is real, and as bad as it sounds (and will effect everyone!). There is a lot of "they would never let this happen!" ("they" being someone else, of course) The real problem isn't necessarily what the CPSIA (the unelected committee of 2 that was given the job of interpreting the law & enforcing it) will or will not decide to exempt, it's that they really shouldn't have the power to. Congress should write laws that specifically define intended parameters rather than just saying something vague like "fix this" and letting someone else decide what it means. Murky water. Precedence setting, and subject to be used in other industries too. Especially because the penalty isn't just that you lose your business due to bankruptcy, it is a felony (5 years of jail time), and caries charges of up to $100,000 per "violation" (a violation being not having their certification, not actually selling an unsafe, untested product)
Sorry for the soapbox... it's hard to shut up once I get going ;)

Posted by: Heather at January 16, 2009 08:43 AM

Thank you Andrea. This is hurting those who can least afford this now. Second hand stores are up in arms because no one can navigate this ruling and places like GoodWill & Salvation Army who do so much good and provide clothes to those trapped in poverty and families needing to fill in the gaps.

If this is such a priority it should be dealt with on the fabric manufacturing level, and not handed down to small businesses who are already feeling the pinch of the economy crisis.

Posted by: Heidi Renee at January 15, 2009 08:24 AM

thank you for bringing this to light andrea. how awful! especially in the midst of our already fragile economy..

Posted by: maile at January 15, 2009 07:49 AM

Letters to congressmen and women, and Senators have been sent! :-)

Posted by: Samantha D at January 14, 2009 01:09 PM

Did it. Thanks for the reminder. I plan to be an outlaw if this sucker goes through as is. Let's make our own micro-artsy country!

Posted by: Shelley Noble at January 14, 2009 11:48 AM

Sent my petition today....thanks for the info.
This is WRONG, unreasonable and WRONG!

Posted by: Krista Lynch at January 14, 2009 11:06 AM

Thanks for this post Andrea, it's good to know more about this issue and it's great to have a central place to link to alot of these companies. While I try to buy local, in general, I live in Atlantic Canada where it's quite challenging to buy safe and smart handmade toys for children. I depend ALOT on the internet for this kind of shopping.

Posted by: wn at January 14, 2009 06:32 AM

While I think it's important for any toys/books/clothing that could possibly go in a baby's mouth or touch its skin be tested for dangerous chemicals, it shouldn't deplete the small businesses that make unique and special products. What may happen is, that like all cycles of business, where there is a need for a new business to fill a void, they will come. In other words, perhaps new (smaller) companies who test for these chemicals will price their services accordingly so that small business owners/manufacturers will be able to afford to have their products tested. Sounds like they would have lots of clients.

Posted by: cpr at January 13, 2009 08:45 PM

This law applies to books too and is seriously causing pain to the already hurting publishing industry.

I believe an exemption has just recently been written in to apply to second hand clothes, books and toys (although I'm not sure about that) -- but it was being called national bankruptcy day by consignment stores up until recently. If an exemption could be made for consignment, surely an exemption could be made for small time operators and crafty folks. But our voices need to reach lawmakers!

Thanks for spreading the word about this, Andrea!

Posted by: Kjersten Hayes at January 13, 2009 08:17 PM

sorry I posted a million times--didn't mean to.

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:55 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:53 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:53 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:53 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:53 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:52 PM

Just found your site today--I love it! It would be so devastating if small toy manufacturers were forced to go out of business. I think I read just yesterday that they exempted wool, cotton, silk, and gemstones...also thrift stores will be exempt. Hopefully, they will extend the exemptions to cover wooden toys. Anyhow, your blog is quite inspiring. Thanks!

Posted by: mama nurture at January 13, 2009 03:52 PM

There are a lot of info posted on this topic at http://blog.buyhandmade.org

Stand up!

Posted by: m-c at January 13, 2009 03:45 PM

Thanks for posting this. I knew that the law was passed. I hadn't realized that we could still do something about it.

Posted by: Melissa at January 13, 2009 01:56 PM

oh my gosh. i hadn't realized the effect it would have on small companies at all. thanks for this andrea! i'm off to sign petitions...

and these pictures (and the clothes) are so gorgeous!

Posted by: vivienne at January 13, 2009 01:51 PM

Thank you for bringing this important information to light. I have many friends whose business' are in danger. Thanks for the link!

Posted by: Puanani at January 13, 2009 10:58 AM

Andrea, thank you for giving this issue some publicity! It's been a concern of mine for a while, especially since my sister and many of my friends earn or supplement their income with darling and entirely thoughtful handmade toys.

Etsy is doing a fair amount of motivating on this, too: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5950540

(BTW, I think a similar law went into effect in California on Jan 1st)

I'll petition for sure!

Posted by: Teresa at January 13, 2009 10:33 AM