Darned CPSIA

Hi, everybody.

I have some very strange news. As of August 14th, 2009, Stupid Creatures will officially stop marketing to children under 12 years old. I have nothing against kids and pre teens. In fact, some of my favorite fans and customers are kids under 12. By no means do I want to indicate that I no longer like kids or want to serve them. But there are some new laws in place that now make it unreasonably expensive for me to do that for the time being.

America has established new laws governing the manufacture of toys. Because of some tremendous oversights and mistakes made by various overseas manufacturers (and the Americans who hired them), many, many toys, clothing items and food products for kids were recalled over the past couple of years because they contained lead, toxic plasticizing components called phthalates, and other nasty substances.

The Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act, which applies to everyone from gigantic corporations all the way down to us hand crafters, now REQUIRES each and every one of us to submit to expensive testing of the products we make. In a nutshell, we crafters now have to submit for testing one piece from every run of products we make. Each piece will be disassembled into its component parts, in my case, various fabric, stuffing, thread, my product tag and eyes. And each component part will undergo a test for phthalates, then a test for lead. Each test is upwards of a hundred bucks or more. I’d essentially be paying $800 to $1000 to test an item I sell for $30 to $50 bucks.

I understand that consumer safety is important, but until these laws change to suit small businesses and hand crafters, I have to establish a drastic rule. Only people aged 13 and older may order products from me. What they do with my creatures, or whom they give them to afterward, is none of my business.

This, of course, means that even though all of my work is child safe anyway, I can get a bit more edgy and conceptual with the designs. I can use new and different materials and try new concepts. Who knows if I’ll do all that. Chances are I’ll keep making new runs of new designs just like I’ve always done. Ultimately, this big mess only indicates that we need to bring manufacturing back home to America where we have safety standards already in place. We need to rely more on American hand crafters than big chain stores.

In the meantime, help crafters amend this law by joining groups such as the Handmade Toy Alliance.

Anyway, now you know the deal. If you have any questions, you know where to find me.