Wednesday, December 10, 2008

the death of handmade?

I honestly can hardly believe what I found out this morning, it seems so insane. But basically, it seems that in Congress' rush to compensate for the toy recall disasters of 2007, they have passed legislation that puts all small crafters out of business as of February 9th. No handmade toys, clothes, accessories, decor, or anything can be sold for any kid under 12. No craft fairs, no etsy, nothing. Like I said....INSANE. But it's true. Don't believe me? (I know you don't want to!) Check out this article at Fashion Incubator, which is a pretty good intro. Go to the Handmade Toy Alliance's web page. If you've got the stomach to read more, start with this (very long) etsy thread on the subject -- and at least go to this page and scroll down to Meitaibaby's post, which is excellent and says in part:
As written, this applies TO YOU AND ME. Yes, the little guys. The craft-fair sellers. The artisans. If you do not comply with the new regulations, you will be in violation of the law and will be selling illegally....We MUST be proactive and let our representatives know that the law as written is dangerous. If not, there will be a lot of a) new felons as of Feb. 10 or b) a lot of bankrupt businesses on that day.

There seems to be a lot of confusion (and again, disbelief) about this, but there are a lot of clarifications emerging. And it appears that yes, everything (meant for kids under 12) must be tested. (See details here.) The level of testing is different for different items, things like clothing "only" need to be tested for lead, but if there is no change in this law there will be no more handmade items, probably lots of small companies going under...

does this make ANY sense in the situation our country is in? What we need is support for small makers and individuals handmaking goods in their houses! Cottage industry is what we need right now!! If you are a crafter, buyer of craft, or supporter of handmade goods, please spread the word, write your legislator and keep your fingers crossed that someone wakes up and realizes what they did here!


  1. What is really going on here? I'm getting conflicting reports about this from all over. Some say it'll all be ok, some say it won't. Honestly I DON'T KNOW when i'm sewing 'if' my fabric is in fact lead free, supposedly all fabrics are now manufactured overseas - i can't really say for sure if my stuff is safe. I do think this 'is' the end for handmade for now - at least those WAHM and small business' that make handmade items for sale in craft-fairs, etsy or other small local vendors. It's sad and couldn't come at a worse time in our economic environment.

  2. Holy cow! So much for capatalism!!! Wow. I am totally stunned and horrified! I suppose if I plan to buy any WAHM diapers for Jonah, I'd better get on it NOW, huh? Sheesh! Otherwise, I'll be buying them off the black market? I never thought I would see the day....

  3. went to my congresmans office today. 1) wood toys are decorator accesories only. clothing is for life size dolls.
    i'm a scofflaw.

  4. I just called my house rep. who used to be on the Small Business committee and his aide was totally unaware of the issue. He's researching it, I sent him links to all these conversations as well as links to businesses that would be affected. He'll be calling me back later today. I'll let you know what I find out. :) But I'd suggest everyone one try to do this.

  5. I have been reading on the open forum at the fashion-incubator and I am just sick with worry!! The implications for large retailers and small cottage industries are unimaginably bad. Worst of all, not many seem to take this seriously...

  6. This is so weird. I've bought several gifts from Etsy over the past week, including beautiful handmade baby bibs. I just purchased some more items from Etsy tonight, then came over to check out your blog. I was shocked to see this post! It's like I stepped into the Twilight Zone! Hubby and I are reading more about it now, just trying to understand. It seems it will effect everyone from small crafters and businesses to even the large manufacturers. The people who came up with this legislation don't seem to understand economics at all!


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