Monday, January 26, 2009

Keep it Green, Handmade and Legal!

I first found out about the CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) In mid December. And even though I've read countless articles and spoke with congresspersons' and senators' aides about this new law, I've kept the gravity of the future of my business and handmade children's products everywhere locked away so that I could keep going. I asked my friends and family for help and wrote, emotionally removed from my words. Now, with 2 weeks left before the February 10th deadline, I beg you to call your senators and congresspersons to tell them how this law will affect you.

I was (and am still) very lucky to have some really amazing jobs. I've worked with the kindest and most helpful people over the years, and for this I am so grateful. Of course I've had my share of crappy positions, too. In my early teens, I worked at 3 different fast food restaurants. 2 at the same time... I left one and drove straight to the other trying to save every damn minimum wage penny. I was robbed on North Avenue working a day shift. It was not dramatic. A man tried to flimflam me, but I was wise enough not to be bullied into giving him the crazy amount of change that he demanded. I was not wise enough, however, to close my drawer and he reached over the counter, grabbed what he could and stormed out of the place. Management promptly docked my pay.

Sewing clothes for my daughter and for kids all over the place is the most enjoyable and fulfilling work I could have ever dreamed of. Seriously. I take great pride in knowing your baby looks cool. I built a business I believe in. I use only recycled and organic fabric because I care about our environment and our children's future. And, like I said, I want them to look cool.

If for some reason this law goes into effect as-is, unamended, we will survive. We will lose a major chunk of income, our families will have to work even harder to make ends meet, but we will survive. Yes, we will lose thousands upon thousands of dollars in merchandise and non-refundable fees. Childhood will become much more homogenized. We will most definitely cry some more, but we will survive.

I know congress and the senate and the CPSC can hear us... we just have to make sure that our voices are so strong that they can't ignore our pleas. We will survive and we will keep on fighting because we are scrappy like that. And everyone who supports us, well they're scrappy, too. Yeah you are! And we love you for it. Thank you.


ColesCloset said...

As an advocate, I know the pressures of trying to be heard. I wanted to make a suggestion to your plea and suggest that you write a sample letter that folks could cut and paste to send to their legislators via email. Or give folks a loose script of talking points so they have their facts straight. Please generally want to do good and help, but sometimes their time is short, and this takes all the guess work out of helping out.

Just a suggestion. Good Luck!!

Michelle Waters said...

From what I have been reading, it appears there may be hope. Take a peek at this letter:

Sweet Pepita said...

Good idea! I just saw this post...
where you can download a CPSIA Action Kit full of sample letters, addresses and loads of great links.

Thank you everyone!