Monday, February 21, 2011

Weeding Through the Regulations

Starting my "shop" has been on my mind a lot lately.  In good ways and bad. 

To review:

  • I have no shop yet.  I went in and signed up my shop name on Etsy but haven't done anything else with it up to this point.
  • My original idea and plan was to make and sell all things KID.  The ideas were pouring out of me around this time last year in crazy amounts.  I was so beyond psyched to continue to hone my skills and collect patterns to make up a little product line.  I even took an Indie Business Course.
  • As many of you are aware, there is a fair amount of controversy these days over children's products and how they are regulated for safety in this country.  Laws have been made and alliances have been formed to push Washington to amend these laws to take some of these 3rd party testing burdens off of the small time producers of handmade goods.  It's only gotten so far.
  • I went through a period (which I'm still not sure I'm completely out of) where I considered abandoning the production of children's items altogether.  That I know of, there aren't crazy regulations on making stuff for adults so a whole new world of handmade possibilities opened up to me.  I started to look for new things I could get excited about making.  I have come across some things that I'm interested in, but there is a part of me that is still very much holding onto the ideas I have for kids.  Which has led me to:
    • Trying to weed through what's currently "allowed" and what's "not allowed" when making anything for kids under the age of 13.  (Quite a range, wouldn't you say?)
    • Getting very frustrated with how dry this document is and wondering if I'm understanding it correctly.
I'm bringing this up for a few reasons: 
  1. If you are a person who makes and sells things for children, please help fill me in on what's OK and what's not.  So far I think I've figured out I can use fabric without worry, but I don't know if I can use things like ribbons, buttons, zippers, etc without having to endure 3rd party testing and the costs associated with it.  Also, how do you "track" your products (if you do)?  I can't tell if this is required if you're using exempt materials or not, but it's giving me a headache just thinking about it.  If this is not something that you want to put out on the internet in the public comments, please consider emailing me.  My intent is to understand and be encouraged . . . I would love to make safe and unique handmade goods for kids without living under constant worry that I'm breaking a law I don't fully understand
  2. Since I have no real grasp on who is actually following along with my blog (past the regular commenters), it would be interesting to hear what kinds of things my readers consider purchasing handmade.  For me, I've looked to Etsy to purchase art, patterns, supplies, jewelry, and gifts.  I assume quite a few of my readers are sewers themselves . . . is this true?  Are you a person who already buys handmade?  I'm not taking a survey, I'm just curious about these kinds of things and wonder who might play along with my questions.   :)
Is anyone else out there feeling held back by the CPSIA?  I'd love to commiserate with you.  Please comment below or email me at skooksplayground[at]gmail[dot]com

Here's a helpful resource I've found if you want to muddle through this with me.  Please?

Onward and (hopefully) upward,


pigwidget February 21, 2011 at 4:18 PM  

Sometimes you just want things in plain, plain English :) You know, I occasionally dabble with the idea of creating goods for kids, but the whole regulation thing has me in fits of confusion also to the point of not pursuing it (plus it would mean a change of direction I am not sure is good at this time). Good luck with your getting to the bottom of it all - I am interested to hear how you get on.

As for your other question, my key Etsy purchases are supplies (sewing/craft) these days, though I have treated myself to a few hobby-related goodies in the past. I also look for gifts, depending on who I am buying for... Hope that helped :)

Lilith's mommy February 21, 2011 at 4:40 PM  

I have no idea and wasn't even aware that anything had passed. Now I'm at that "What to do now" stage. Most of what I make are "baby" items. (Carseat covers, strap covers, stroller cover, diaper/wipes case, nursing cover, etc.) Then there are things for babies/children (baby legs, blankets, crayon roll, etc). What's ok and what's not? Do I just close my shop now? And just shortly after I get it going, too. I have stuff cut and ready to sew, too. :(

pigwidget February 21, 2011 at 10:37 PM  

Another 'thought' - what do folks do who go from making their friends/family gifts to selling them at local craft markets? I get the feeling that too few folks get sidetracked by the regulations - most just dive into selling...

urban craft March 6, 2011 at 12:15 AM  

I know that there is proposed regulation most of which can never really be properly regulated, but from my understanding, and I am not an authority, there are no restrictive laws nor has anyone been criminalized for any handmade items. There are of course your basic laws: kids stuff needs to be lead free but if you check etsy, you pretty much find everyone selling everything as well as characters that are copyrighted like sesame street and star wars, so I'd say you are pretty much in the clear, for now. Get selling!

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