jan_andrea: (ARGH)
Hurray! The commission has added a one year stay of execution on the CPSIA -- the provisions are still in effect, but testing is not mandatory on most items. So we're in the clear until Feb 10, 2010, by which time the guidelines should be much clearer and based in actual science, instead of scaremongering.

Thank you to everyone who wrote and called the CPSC and their representatives -- I really think that made all the difference.

2008 Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act

Everyone wants safer toys and other items for their kids -- there's no question of that. So in 2008, Congress approved the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a sweeping reform of current safety legislation. Sounds great, right? Now our kids can be protected from lead and phthalates in numerous products, and who on earth would vote against that?

Well, the trouble is the broad scope of the legislation. It doesn't target only plastic or lead-painted toys from China. It targets every single item made and sold in the United States that will be used on or around children. Whether you're a giant corporation importing toys, or a tiny garage business making wooden toys, or, like me, a mom sewing slings to help pay her mortgage, everything has to be tested. Testing for lead costs more than $100 per item. And this means, every fabric, every color, every different color of ring, has to be tested for lead. For me, that means a conservative estimate of $8000, based on my current fabric inventory (add another $2000+ if I add more colors or fabrics in the future, which I will need to do eventually). I would also need to test zippers and snaps -- each different color -- so I would be looking at around $10,000 (minimum) in testing. That's a huge portion of my annual profits.

Obviously, that is totally unsustainable for a small business, or even a big one. My business, along with pretty much every single other cottage industry, would be forced to close down, or face fines of $100,000 and even jail time for violating this law.

This goes for other textile items as well... including knit hats, blankets, cloth diapers, stuffed animals and other plush, and boutique clothing. *Every* WAHM producing anything of that nature will be affected by the law. Keep in mind that lead levels in fabric are already low -- on the order of <10ppm. The standards right now are 900ppm, falling to 90ppm in the future. Even at that level, the vast majority of fabrics would pass... but the act doesn't specify that fabrics are exempt.

The economic impacts this law has on business in America cannot be understated. One gentleman has gone so far as to dub the day the testing provisions go into effect (Feb 10, 2009) "National Bankruptcy Day", because any business that hasn't tested its products will be unable to even liquidate its inventory (since untested products are assumed to be full of lead and thus hazardous), leading to mass bankruptcies. That's NOT what our already-shrinking economy needs right now.

The law was well-intentioned, to keep children from getting sick and dying from lead poisoning. But it ignores the fact that the vast majority of lead-tainted products were from large manufacturers, almost universally imported from Asia, and instead puts this impossible testing standard squarely on the backs of small American businesses, the very ones that Americans *want* to shop with right now for their record of safety and honesty. What this act will end up doing is making it impossible for small businesses to compete (since the costs of testing will have to be passed on to consumers, and small businesses will pay disproportionately compared to big ones), and limiting the choices Americans have in their shopping.

These sites offer more information:
If you value small businesses and handmade products, I urge you to contact your representatives, sign the petition above, and email the CPSC and let them know that this act is *not* what you want. Handmade products are historically far safer than imported, mass-produced ones, yet the latter will be all that is left in the marketplace if the act goes into effect as written.
jan_andrea: (wow)
... and bought the next Janome Memory Craft model. It's been out for a couple of years, and for a couple of years, I've been vacillating over whether to pick it up or not. I put it off for a long time, since my 6500 was pretty new when the 6600 came out, but now I wish I'd gotten it sooner! It's an amazing machine -- everything my 6500 has, plus a number of other great features, not least of which is a built-in walking foot. I've sewn a couple of thick slings with it now, and it makes a *huge* difference. It's really quiet, too. Shiny all around. I kept my 6500 rather than trading it in -- they offer only 10% of the purchase price for trades no matter what kind of machine you're trading in, and the 6500 is worth way more than that. So I'm thinking that if [livejournal.com profile] brunahildm wants to, she can sew for me on the 6500 while I sew on the 6600, and I'll be able to take more orders, which would make my potential customers happy!

The 6600 isn't inexpensive by any means -- I paid $1149 for it at my local sewing machine store -- but I figured it's an investment in my business. It's already saving me time, too: you can reprogram the stitches (something I *really* wanted on the 6500!) and since I was constantly changing between stitches and having to adjust them each time, it should cut at least 5 minutes from my sewing each day. Doesn't sound like much, but sometimes 5 minutes is the difference between comfortably finishing by 11am and having to rush down to get Sophia. I'd definitely recommend it to anyone who does a lot of sewing! It's an incredible machine, and a big step from the 6500.

Sigh.

May. 23rd, 2007 09:22 am
jan_andrea: (exist)
Another day, another stack of orders, and I don't wanna work.

Me and my first-world problems.
jan_andrea: (clear)
Yay! I just upgraded the pages on my site to actually use PHP. I had changed the pages to .php extensions earlier, to allow the page to query my database and see how many "points" were left, but that was all. Then I redid the page layout and such of SlingRings.com and all their pages had been previously redone to use PHP in a more meaningful way -- to whit, to actually build the pages using PHP. I had been getting really annoyed with my pages, because every once in a while, my cart hiccups and an option which is in stock will show as out of stock, forever, unless I duplicate the option and change the product to use the duplicate instead of the original. Annoying when it's one option on one product, but when it was the points -- which are used in *every* product and which needs to be queried by the page -- it was disastrous, because the way I had set my pages up previously, I had to re-upload the ENTIRE site when I changed the cell being queried. Okay, that's a lot of technical sounding stuff, but really, it was just obnoxious because I had to re-upload every file whenever this hiccup happened with the points. Now, it's one file that says "query the points" and so, if the points hiccup (which they had done this week), I can easily change what I need to change and be done with it.

I also just changed the links that I have on my journal -- it has been at least two years, I'm guessing, because I no longer visited at least a couple, and the link to my own site was broken (due to the .html to .php changeover). So now there are links to the other blogs I actually visit on a daily basis (besides my LJ friends, of course), as well as to my new business blog, which I still need to tweak. But, I'll work on that later. Now, I need to get to bed!

Oy vey

Jul. 11th, 2006 03:56 pm
jan_andrea: (faucet)
There's no adequate atheist equivalent expression for "dear god in heaven", but, dear god in heaven, USPS is so friggin' slow today!!! I use Click n' Ship for my labels, because you get free delivery confirmation and sort of tracking, but it's taken more than 40 minutes to get my 5 labels processed. I'm seeing at least 3 minutes between each page. I would just write them out by hand, but I really like having the DC and tracking, so I'll just whine instead.

Plus I've caught up with all my LJ friends' journals, and  the one forum I go to is being awfully quiet, so there isn't even anything for me to read while I wait. (pout)

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