Wednesday, January 28, 2009

CPSIA - What it really means

As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students: Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader: Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade: Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist: Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper: Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur: Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector: Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy: Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy: Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react - contact your Congreesmen and Senators and let them know how you feel. Ask them to consider taking another look at this legislation and its unintended consequences.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Time to face reality

Maybe it's a mid-life crisis, or maybe I've just finally decided to give in to reality. It's time to give up this insane dream of mine of thinking that I'll ever be successful at selling what I create. I've been at this now for the better part of the past 20 years, and I really think that's a long enough test. A test which I am failing miserably at.

I've been fooling myself, escpecially the past five years or so, into thinking that I really do have what it takes to make a go of this. I was wrong, so very wrong.

No matter what "great" ideas I come up with, and no matter how much I promote just isn't working. Time to face facts, being ordinary just isn't going to cut it, and I just don't know how to be more than ordinary.

Yes, I've had a little success over the years....maybe a couple of hundred or so customers have decided to buy what I have offered......but a couple of hundred over the span of a couple of decades does not equal "success" by anyone's definition. Over the next couple of weeks I'll likely be beginning the process of closing up my shops on the various venues I sell on. I just can't afford them any longer, either financially or mentally. The stress of seeing my stuff just sit there unsold is more of a price than I can afford to pay at this point in my life. I think I'll need to expend the same energy on trying to get a second "real" job that actually gives me a paycheck at the end of the week for the efforts I put in.

Friday, January 9, 2009

New Year and another creative slump

Well, 2009 is finally here. Did anyone feel like it couldn't get here soon enough? I couldn't wait for 2008 to be over.

A few weeks ago I had all kinds of ideas for items to create for my shops. I was going to introduce a new line of little teddy bears.....several lines actually. And I was all set to create a whole bunch of little octopus in all kinds of different colors. Then.........I learned about the new CPSIA rules!!! There went my plans, poof, out the window.

So, now I sit here with probably a few hundred ounces of yarn....all different weights, all kinds of different colors, and absolutely no idea what I should make with it. I did make a few hats and scarves....but I really don't think any more of them are needed on Etsy......there are tens of thousands of them there already....most of them much nicer than I can ever make.

I definitely want to crochet, but I have no idea what. I know I want to make items on the smaller side...that way they are more economical to mail. I also want to make something practical, because in this economy I really think those are the types of things that will be most salable....something durable and practical. And, I can't make anything that would be interpreted as being for a child under cutsie (is that a word?) stuff is likely out. I'm really stuck.

For two days now I've been staring at these two large plastic containers filled with yarn.....and absolutely no ideas are jumping out of them at me. I hope I get some inspiration soon, because next week my Etsy shop's going to be pretty bare when I take down all of the remaining Christmas stuff (I am so tired of looking at it).

Oh well, off to waste more time over in the forum on Etsy, while continuing to stare at this yarn.