Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Handmade Landscape

The following article and video was featured in the Storque on December 10th. In February of 2009, the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act will go into effect. Handmade toys and children's clothing will be illegal in the United States unless small businesses and independent crafters pay thousands of dollars for third party testing. The handmade landscape will change dramatically unless this act is amended. Please visit the Handmade Toy Alliance for more information.

Amber Dusick, aka woodmouse and Los Angeles-based toy-maker/work-at-home-mama, is an artist who would be impacted by this proposed legislation if it is enacted. Amber uses sustainably harvested woods, non-toxic paints and beeswax along with her wood-burning tool to create simple, natural wooden toys. Her imagery is reminiscent of a child's crayon drawing come to life in wood.

Amber, like other Etsy toy makers and sellers, is fearful that as a sole proprietor she will not be able to afford the stricter regulations of the Act; the cost of testing and certification is likely beyond her means. She told Etsy, “I'd be more than happy to have each of my toys tested, if it wasn't so cost prohibitive. It is the COST involved in testing that will shut us down, it isn't that anyone refuses to have their work tested."

The Small Business Administration defines "small business" as under 500 employees. Most of our Etsy members are either sole proprietors or maybe a family or studio of friends working together. Many craftspeople on Etsy have told us that they could be put out of business if forced to comply with the proposed legislation. This is the painful irony bound up in the CPSIA.

The U.S. House and Senate passed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 (the CPSIA), and on August 14, 2008, President Bush signed the Act into law. Further information on the Act is available at the CPSC website and helpful FAQs are located here.


jenygwen said...

great post shannon!
i did a post too...
hope it helps!!!!

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.