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Legal Ease and Fashion Basics

This is not great fashion blogging although there is a tiny bit at the bottom, I’ll forewarn you.

However, to put it squarely into focus, without a source of income this blogger wouldn’t be blogging or fashion sewing at all, so it is with great joy I announce that the following associations have joined together with the Consumer Product Safety Commission Coalition of the National Association of Manufacturers to ask the CPSC for definitive rulings on all the aspects of the CPSIA 2008 that have been troubling me and many others.

Petitioners joining NAM in this Petition are:
American Apparel & Footwear Association
Association of American Publishers
Book Manufacturers Institute, Inc.
Fashion Jewelry Trade Association
Juvenile Product Manufacturers Association
National Association of Manufacturers
National Association of Printing Ink Manufacturers
National Retail Federation
Retail Industry Leaders Association
Printing Industries of America
Specialty Graphic Imaging Association
Toy Industry Association

You’ll note that the Handmade Toy Alliance and other associations of small toy makers are not participating in this Petition. Many manufacturers and craftsters of this ilk that consider themselves to be “small” have proposed that those who make fewer than 5000 items a year be excluded from the regulations. I was so irked to read that and to hear it on TV. It has been the only public info dissemination that our local media has deigned to give this horrendous new law and, Grrrrrrrr, the “slant” on the story was “This may be the last year you can buy traditional wooden toys for Christmas. But there’s hope. These small guys are petitioning for an exemption. Wooden toys might be available again next Christmas”. I think it’s utterly ridiculous to invent a classification of “Small” that removes anyone who makes fewer than 5000 times a year I mean, what’s the point of having the law in the first place? Dumb and dumber.

But anyway, rant’s over, and my point is that this petition brings great cheer to my lawyerly and childish (child-centered, I hope) heart. I do pray (and I do pray, really) that the Consumer Product Safety Commission responds and fully clarifies all the issues raised.

You can (and should if it touches your life as a consumer or as a provider) read the 15 page Request here at the Toy Association website.

The legalese will turn some folks off, I suppose, but it does more favors to our community of small toymakers and craftsters and our children and consumers than any stupid, puny, self-involved, short-sighted, idiotic exemption could ever do.

It’s professionally presented and speaks the language our lawmakers speak. Therefore it will get realistic consideration from the powers making these rules. It’s our best hope. I’m sure there will be those who will find points to argue but I won’t be one of them. I have other things to do.

Gee, it even addresses redundant testing of zippers and threads. This is a very good thing and might work to save my sense of peace and joy during this Holiday Season.

I’ll tell you, it’s been hard to sew up my December orders with this hanging over my head.

On the personal fashion front, well, the “front” is a lot bigger these days. I’ve quit smoking after 40 years. Yeah, that’s right.

I’ve been taking that quit smoking pill, Chantix, and it’s worked! I’ve felt every ill effect the product is said to produce and still I took it and now I haven’t smoked in 11 weeks. I figured if I could live through chemo and radiation and survive, I could live through withdrawal and the multiple ill effects of Chantix. and I got each and every one of the ill effects. Haven’t slept more than 6 hours at a stretch since October. Good thing I’m not a depressed maniac or I’d be locked up somewhere. Promise!

I do so love being able to sit still for long periods of time. I do so love not wanting to get away from humans so I can go smoke. I do so love not having a stinking home, hair, clothes. I do so love that my HusPartner is so grateful (not “diamond earring grateful”, though, darn it!) but he’s happy and to his lover, this woman, that is the most important thing.

But one of the side effects (according to the FDA it’s the most complained of drug) is increased appetite and my waistline proves it. I’ve gained 15 pounds (or more!!!) in the past 3 months and now all the clothes I’ve made in the past year are way too tight to wear. It’s a yucky weight gain, too, expanding the waist and thighs and begging to be covered up with tent dresses and other obscenities. I’m going to have to make knit pants with elastic waistbands and boxy cardigans to get through the two sewing classes in January when I have to dress from a suitcase.

But weight gain can be temporary and gladly suffered to be classified as A Non-Smoker!!!!

Yipppeeee, Yaaaay, and Yahoooooo

Hope Abounds!

Holiday smoochies til later,


About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

17 responses »

  1. Yay, MB!!! I’m so proud of you! MWAH!

  2. Hi MB,

    I’m so glad to see this get so much traction. I run a website that helps promote items made for kids from small designers and artists–and a few big ones too.

    I’ve had some conversations with the Handmade Toy Alliance and my understanding is that they’re continuing to adjust and reform their suggestions as new ideas come to light. I have no doubt that if you or the TIA were to reach out, they’d be delighted to join forces. In the end everyone just wants the same thing – a fair method for accountability.

    And as a mom (and one who doesn’t sell anything myself) I just want to know that the companies I buy from are willing to stand behind the products they sell.

    Good luck with fighting the good fight. And with the non-smoking. Yay you!

  3. Congratulations on quitting smoking!!! I quit 9/11/1994, just one month to the day before I got married. DH hated the habit, but I quit because I had chest pains and terrible asthma (I was 35-almost 36 and had smoked to 20 years). My weight gain of 25 lbs has turned out to be somewhat permanent, but I no longer smoke and that’s more important. KUDOS!!!!! It’s a tough habit to quit.

  4. yeah Mary Beth!!!
    Also, I’ll be going over this today and expect to hash something together and make a formal announcement on F-I forum.

  5. Dear MB,
    I just wanted to say a couple of things on behalf of the Handmade Toy Alliance.

    First, we were not contacted by TIA or anyone else regarding their petition. Even though we are gaining considerable media attention, we remain under the radar in many ways. We do feel, however, that their petition has a lot of merit and are discussing what our response to it should be.

    I do think our cause might have the most emotional resonance for people because it is easiest for people to understand and for the media to explain. The proposals we have put forward are meant to be a solution for our businesses, but they are by no means meant to be exclusionary. In fact, we have also stated clearly on our website and in communication with other activists that we support relief for multiple industries. We have stated publicly the we support the following concepts regarding application of the CPSIA to other groups:
    * The law should be scaled back to focus on products that were an issue in the first place (namely: toys and children’s jewelry).
    * Enforcement should allow component versus unit testing. Manufacturers and/or industry groups, in cooperation with the CPSC, should decide the most rational method for their situation.
    * Testing frequency rules should be adjusted to allow smaller companies that deal with smaller runs the ability to stay in business.
    * Random testing could be part of the legislation in place of some of the more burdensome requirements, especially for “low volume” companies.
    * Companies should be allowed to keep testing certificates on file instead of re-sending them with each order.
    * The law should be simplified to be understandable, while maintaining (or improving) its effectiveness.
    * Batch Labeling should be required only for companies producing more than a certain quantity.

    The media, unfortunately, chooses to focus on proposals we have made which are easiest to explain. We are not seeking to cut a deal to save ourselves, but rather to improve the law so that standards remain high but the burden of compliance is lessened to a manageable level. In fact, it is my hope that our efforts will open a door in Washington so that concerns from industries such as yours can also be heard.

    Dan Marshall
    member, Handmade Toy Alliance

  6. Dan, you’re not being invited to the table because your rhetoric is divisive as I and others have told you repeatedly. You’ve also been told your proposals are illegal under international treaty reducing the credibility of HTA and anyone who agrees to your proposal. Likewise, your organization is far from inclusive as it could be ( The sentiment in the broader community is that this issue is too important to relegate it to turf building and attention seeking self aggrandizement of a given individual and as such, others can minimally be described as dismayed in that it appears you don’t understand that. You cannot rationally expect that which you will not give. You reap what you sow so you shouldn’t be surprised with the results you’ve wrought by your own hand.

  7. HTA members think I’m cranky and don’t empathize with others. In fact they are badmouthing me over on their Google chat board. Most are wondering why I’m upset (and of course, don’t know a thing about me or what I do)

    HTA members, you are wasting time and resources and being divisive and just proving my point for me, see? You’re behaving like small fish in a very big pond. You’re going to get eaten, and nobody cares, right?

    As Jack Benny would say with his cheekbone resting on two fingers and his eyes rolling to one side, “Well!”

    So let’s get real, shall we?

    I’m not cranky, I’m just preoccupied with the exact labeling of my precision-machined wooden educational materials. And digitizing the tiny fonts for my sewn classroom products labels….

    The point of this law is to make the manufacturers prove the safety of their goods before they are placed into the stream of commerce. It’s called the Precautionary Principal. Risk managers everywhere are scrambling to shift the burden to the upstream suppliers through contracts and affidavits of scheduled testing and certifications.

    As a matter of fact I need to get my Risk Manager right on it.

    See? I’m the janitor, sewing machine operator, designer, sales rep, lawyer, accountant, administrator, and now the risk manager.

    And I am !not! cranky (stamping foot).

    BTW my main competitor has been busted by the Chinese for having unacceptable levels of lead in it’s educational materials. Yup, you read that right. The Chinese wouldn’t let those educational materials into their country.

    Wanna talk some more????? Business can be a rough place.

  8. Thanks for posting this. It gives a bit of hope. Congrats on stopping smoking!

  9. Pingback: CPSIA - What Children’s Clothing Designers and Manufacturers Need to Know « THE DOMESTIC DIVA’S DISASTERS™

  10. Congratulations on quitting smoking, even while dealing with what sounds like a very stressful business situation. I hope it all works out!

  11. I’m so pleased and proud of you! Congratulations on quitting smoking. Too bad about the weight gain, but, as you say, it’s worth it. And good luck sorting out these new regulations – it sounds complicated and stressful.

  12. Congrats on quitting smoking! As an ex-smoker myself I can tell you that the weight will return to your norm and you’ll be so happy you quit!

  13. Congratulations on quitting smoking! Another tough battle you seemed to have weathered. Now if you can just get through this business business! I don’t envy anyone having to work through this situation.

  14. Mary Beth .- ahhhh … that’s what I fear: stop smoking and get fat … I am sure you will recover your figure, usually the case.

    Now, let Christmas as best as possible, so: happy Christmas with my best wishes for the new year.

    A hug, Paco

  15. FELIZ NAVIDAD!!!!! recibe un fuerte abrazo de cariño y paz, y que todos los buenos deseos se hagan realidad.

  16. Happy NEW YEAR, Mary Beth. I hope this new year will be filled with happiness and success for you. Hurray for kicking that smoking habit, now your views will be much clearer…lol…
    Sending Sewing Hugs.

  17. Found your site via Fashion Incubator. I think that the point made by the handmade toy alliance is a valid one and should be considered. I think the law itself is the issue. It is overreaching and was created in response to a bad situation. The “do something” disease. They clearly did not think through the repercussions of how this law would affect people – especially small businesses and artisans.

    This law does not affect me personally on the business end … but it will affect me as a consumer. It’s very upsetting to think that I may not be able to purchase handmade original clothing from a state at home mom when I have a baby. Or a blanket. Or toys. Etc.

    I do not understand all the legalese but can only hope and pray that this issue gets resolved so that the wonderful sellers on Etsy (and those like them) will not be run out of business by a bad law. And yes, I do think it is a bad law. Badly written. Poorly thought out.

    Oh…and congrats on quitting smoking! My little brother is trying and I know how hard it is. 🙂


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