Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No mo' kokoleo. . .

. . . or, at least that's what's going to have to happen next month if the new child product safety law goes into effect. The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) is an ill-written law that demands ALL items intended for children be tested for lead content, at a cost to the manufacturer of roughly $300 per component. For big name companies of mass produced toys and clothing, this might not be a problem, but for those of us who make one-of-a-kind items by hand, it will drive us into bankruptcy.

Therefore, like a good shrewd businesswoman, I am going to pass this cost on to my customers. Starting next month, I will increase my prices to cover the testing of each item I create. Also, expect a 4-6 month delay in shipping, as I must send each piece to a lab for testing.

Kokoleo friendly monsters, which used to sell for around $30, will now cost $2,735 (plus $5 shipping). It breaks down like this: $30 for the monster (my profit) +

and that's before taxes (included in the price). Sundresses, which usually sell for $40, will now be $1,540 (plus shipping). That's $40 for the dress (my profit) +

And personalized pieces, the bread and butter of my business, will now start at $2,140 (for a two-letter name), and $305 for each additional letter (plus shipping). This pillow:

would be $4,265. This banner:

would be $3,955.

Sounds crazy doesn't it? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for keeping lead away from our kids. I would never make anything I would not allow my own children to play with or wear. I pride myself on making quality, durable, safe items. Kokoleo has been a way for me to do what I love to do, stay at home with my kids, and make a little money each month to help with the bills. I don't do it in the hopes that one day I'll be some fatcat C.E.O. of kokoleo, I do it because I like to make things with my hands and there are people out there who appreciate handmade things. It's a living.

So what can you do? You can join the Handmade Toy Alliance to find out more about his legislation, who it will affect, and how you can help. You can sign the online petition asking this law to be revised. You can also write to your Congressperson and Senator using the Handmade Toy Alliance sample letter or write your own. Most of all, you can spread the word. Email, blog, talk about it on the playground. Please don't let one-of-a-kinds become a thing-of-the-past.


John Meeker said...

When handmade children's products are outlawed, only outlaws will sell handmade children's products. Only one answer, GO BANDIT STYLE!

Sheila Lamb said...

You would think there would be an exception to small businesses, less than X number of employees and sales, etc., etc.???

Anonymous said...

I was just reading in the newspaper how this law will effectively close down thrift stores like Goodwill and Salvation Army that are a life-line to poor families with a lot of children. But I didn't think how it would effect you too!
Hope we can do something about it!

KB said...

They have since clarified the law that would put resellers out of business: Let's hope they do the same for small-time manufacturers.

sugarcreekstuff said...

Well I do have to say that your prices are reasonable. I'll take 2 of everything. Which is what I'll say after I win the lottery!
We little guys need to stick together.

Anonymous said...

we signed the petition through the handmade toy alliance and think we made some headway! wahoo!


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