Monday, December 29, 2008
Bonus - I have been offering all of my Twitter followers 20% off their purchase until 1/1/09 and now I'm extending the offer to my blog readers! Enter code TWEET at checkout to receive your discount!
Posted by SweetDreamsDesigns at 8:31 AM
Yesterday, I called and checked in with a couple of my friends and everyone was doing the same thing.....packing up Christmas. What a sad day! I absolutely HATE putting Christmas decorations away - a sign that the season is over....ugh.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Courtesy of: www.boutiquecafe.com
The sky is falling! Yes, I feel a like an overly dramatic Chicken Little. And I wish it were true considering recent congressional legislation is about to crush the life out of the handmade clothing and toy industry. I’m talking about H.R. 4040, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law August 14, 2008, and the ramifications it will have when it goes into effect February 10, 2009 (now being popularly referred to as National Bankruptcy Day).
Make no mistake. CPSIA was necessary in principle and has noble intentions, keeping our children safe and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys. We all demand safety for our children and this is the intent of CPSIA; specifically to ensure safe levels of lead and phthalates in all products manufactured for children under the age of 12. Unfortunately this legislation lacks common sense, is ambiguous and fails to take into account the handmade industry.
What you see is not what you get with CPSIA. There is no distinction between big, small, or even micro one-person businesses. Whether it’s a large-scale manufacturer importing apparel to be sold in big box stores, or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) selling customs on ebay, the legislation applies the same to all.
Unit testing will be required on finished products, regardless if the components are natural materials or if you have documentation from a vendor stating that buttons, for example, are certified lead-free. As it stands, H.R. 4040 fails to recognize that textile products are inherently lead-free. Why then is an organic cotton shirt being tested for lead exactly?
Unit testing is extremely cost prohibitive to small business, but worse, it is unnecessary. In fact, it is completely redundant if the components that comprise the whole have already been tested and due diligence can prove they meet the guidelines.
To put a real dollar amount to testing one of my products, I solicited a lab quote. I was told it was $75 to test for lead per garment component and each substrate. Coated or painted items such as buttons are $100. So my Little Red Riding Hood Shirt, a 100% cotton knit shirt with an appliqué made from 7 cotton fabrics and 2 buttons eyes would cost $625 to test for lead. Flammability testing is also required and is either $50 for a certificate per component stating it meets weight code or $100 for actual testing. So add another $400-$800 for a grand total of $1,025-$1425. in testing costs for a shirt that retails for $40. If the shirt is offered in another colorway, the same testing is required despite the fact that the same fabrics are used throughout.
Small manufacturers have no way of absorbing the price of such redundancy. And all manufacturers will be required to test a finished component/item from each batch. Easy to do in mass production—simply pull one sample from a lot of thousands. But how does one comply when your “batches” are made-to-order batches of one? SKUs will also be required for each product with a permanent label on the item itself.
CPSIA will be retroactive and takes a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach with extremely hefty fines for violators. As written, any product used by children 12 and under (such as toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on) without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not. So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash, Good Will donations, etc.) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise. By the way, there are only 14 said labs currently in the United States.
Think you won’t be affected? I hope not, but the sad truth is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) will be. Do you make children’s clothing, toys, jewelry, hair bows, accessories, furniture, artwork or anything else “intended for use by children age 12 and under”? Are you a retailer of children’s goods? Do you resell used children’s clothing or toys on ebay? Do you participate or shop at craft fairs? Do you donate used children’s items to needy organizations? Do you belong to a church that has rummage sales as a fundraiser? Does your child play sports and get their uniforms from a local screen print shop? Are you a consumer shopping for alternatives to mass-produced toys? If so, this law takes away that freedom.
Surely this legislation can be amended by incorporating some common sense and still make it possible to ensure our children’s safety without further hurting the US economy. According to the 2002 Economic Census (the last survey of its type), small U.S. clothing manufacturers (with fewer than 20 employees) contribute over $900 million dollars [consider: nearly $1 billion dollars] annually to the economy and comprise 68% of total apparel manufacturing in the U.S. This is clearly a vital and contributing asset to our economy. Multiply this fallout exponentially when you take into account the myriad other manufacturers, retailers and businesses that will be hurt or ultimately driven out of business.
So, why should you support amending this legislation?
Because the CPSIA isn’t fair and will not function as written. It inadvertently punishes American industries unrelated to toys and will ultimately result in fewer alternatives to mass produced merchandise made in China. The concept that small producers should be subject to the same rigorous standards but with lesser regulation (and common sense) has already been fought for and sustained in the food industry, which is why your local farmers market still exists. Now this same idea needs to be applied to children’s products.
What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspxComments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.mailto:Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov.
2) Email or snail mail your representatives.http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476
3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/dbq/officials/
4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia
5) Sign the petition.http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html
6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.
7) Join others in fighting this cause.Facebook groupTwitter searchhttp://cpsia-central.ning.com/notes/Notes_Home
Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/Etsy Thread
9) Read more about this legislation and its ramifications:Fashion Incubator
Handmade Toy Alliance
National Bankruptcy Day
5 Minutes for Mom
Cool Mom Picks
The Smart Mama
Apparel and Footwear.org
Safety and Compliance
Freshly Baked Blog
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
So, to lighten things up a little, I have decided to share with you some Christmas photos from my home! Every year, I have good intentions to go all out with my Christmas decorating, but somehow it just never ends up happening! I do really love my dining room table though...
Monday, December 15, 2008
Five Steps You Can Take To Save Natural And Handmade Companies
The word is out: The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act has cast such a wide net that many small businesses and natural toy companies are threatened with financial ruin by testing requirements that need to be overhauled if they are to be applied to them at all. Livelihoods, work-at-home arrangements, and the availability of handmade and natural products for our children are at stake. Here are five things you can do today to help force Congress to address the mess they've made before the law goes into effect on February 10, 2009.
1. Familiarize yourself with needed reforms. The Handmade Toy Alliance has proposed the following reforms to the CPSIA:
Exempt toys made or imported in quantities under 5,000 per year by companies making or importing less than 50,000 total items per year, as well as toys made entirely in the U.S. and other countries with a strong safety regimen of their own (Canada, EU), and pair this with mandatory registration by companies and random auditing with stiff penalties (the way the EU does it).
Assume that natural materials (wood, wool, silk, bamboo, cotton, and uncoated textiles) and food-grade materials (wood finishes made from beeswax and certain oils) are lead- and phthalate-free, and don't require them to be tested.
Allow manufacturers to accept third-party test results for raw materials, and require company testing of products based on manufacturing levels rather than specific time frames.
Don't require batch labeling for small runs of products not made from molded plastic, and don't require manufacturing dates to be a part of any labeling, as small batch toys are costly to label in this way.You can read their full proposal on the Handmade Toy Alliance's website.
2. Tell your local news outlets that this is a local story. Look up Etsy sellers in your city or town, then call your local TV station or newspaper, ask for a business reporter, and tell them that you could help them identify at least X number of sole proprietors in your community who are about to be driven out of business if the law isn't changed. If you have a locally-owned toy store that carries natural toys, mention this too - they'd be a great interview for the same story. Local news desks are overworked and understaffed; if you can connect the dots on a timely topic you will probably see a story.
3. Make some phone calls. Phone calls are better than form letters, and if you get the person on the phone you might actually get some useful information you can share with others through the grapevine.
Here are four calls you should make:
Call your current U.S. Representative. Republicans and Democrats claim to care about nurturing small businesses, but new testing requirements encompass product areas highly unlikely to pose a risk for newly-banned chemicals. The new law needs to clearly articulate feasible and logical standards for small businesses and companies that already meet international (EU) standards.Tell them how you feel about what will happen to many of the SAHM, small businesses, and natural companies that are already doing their due diligence to ensure product safety. Find out if they've been voted out or are still in for the next session; if they'll be replaced, ask by whom and if you can contact them at the same number. You can find out who yours is and how to contact them here.
Call Nancy Nord. She's the acting head of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, and she needs to hear from you. To reach her, call 301-504-7923 and ask for her; if she's busy, leave a brief, polite, but firm message.
Call the CPSC ombudsman's office. The number is 888-531-9070.
Call your Senator. Tell them you aren't pleased with the way the House wrote this bill or the fact that the Senate passed it in its current form, and that it is in dire need of reform before it sinks small businesses under exorbitant testing costs for products that are made using natural materials. You can locate contact information for your Senator here. If they're being replaced, ask them how to get in touch with their successor.
4. Join the conversation. Find Twitterers discussing the matter by searching for the #CPSIA hashtag. Browse new blog posts about the CPSIA and point others to them by giving them a bump on whatever social sharing or bookmarking software you use. (Links for giving a bump to this article are at the foot of this post - if you like this info, help spread it around!)
5. Sign some petitions. We believe that petitions are among the least effective steps you can take - the less effort it takes to make your voice heard, the less seriously your effort is taken by those you hope to impact; and signature rates inevitably underrepresent the number of concerned citizens, often vastly so - but it can't hurt, so here's one petition and here's another.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
If this worked, it would be awesome. Read below copied and pasted from a forum on Etsy:
OK, this is just a pipe dream, but what if we all took some handmade
children's item and mailed it to the office of, say, Rep. Bobby Rush (chair of
the committee on Energy and Commerce). Each item would have a label that said:On
Feb. 10, 2009 this item will turn into a[really big font]HAZARDOUS SUBSTANCE[end
really big font]Don't let this happen, modify CPSIA now!Just think if he had to
step over all these cute handmade things staring him in the face!
Here is the address of his Washington office (this is from his official
website so I presume he intends it to be public knowledge):
Rep. Bobby Rush
2416 Rayburn HOB
Washington, DC 20515
Let's make sure we don't put "Hazardous Substance" on the outside of the
box, or else they'll have to call in the bomb squad or something.Suggested text
for enclosed letter:
On Feb. 10, 2009 this item will turn into a[really big font]HAZARDOUS
SUBSTANCE[end really big font]Don't let this happen!I am a crafter [or artisan;
I don't want to reopen that debate] who makes and sells one of a kind items for
children. It is financially and physically impossible for me to do all the lead
testing that the CPSIA requires. Since all my products will legally be
classified as "hazardous substances" on Feb. 10, 2009, I am sending one as a
gift to you. How else am I going to get rid of it, if it will be a felony to
sell it? Hopefully you can find something to do with it before Feb. 10 too, so
that you don't have to call in the hazmat team to take it away.Of course, Rep.
Rush, if your committee would reconsider the interpretation of the CPSIA, I
might not have to go out of business...
Read more here:
Etsy :: CPSIA Protest Idea
Posted by SweetDreamsDesigns at 6:01 AM
Sorry for not writing in a while - my time has been consumed with getting out Christmas orders, Spring preorders and figuring out what the heck I'm going to do when Sweet Dreams Designs is shut down because of the CPSIA. Read below to figure out what the heck I'm talking about - and if you are in a children's manufacturing industry - be afraid....be very afraid.
National Bankruptcy Day. Will the CPSIA effect you?
Posted using ShareThis
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Wow, have I been blessed this year! My whole life I have had many things to be thankful for, but now as an adult, with a blossoming career, wonderful husband and supportive family I feel more blessed than ever. I, of course, cannot leave out my fantastic customers - I am especially thankful for you, who over the past 2+ years have turned this from a hobby into a career. I'm so lucky to be doing something that I love for you guys.
I hope all of you have a very happy Thanksgiving and be sure to take a moment to realize that you too, are blessed in many ways.
****Don't forget to read Tuesdays post about our Thanksgiving and Black
Friday sales! All items pictured are available for only $35 plus shipping
today and tomorrow!****
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
If you have been hoping to preorder your favorite Spring 2009 outfit, now is your last chance!
This Friday, November 28 is BLACK FRIDAY and Sweet Dreams Designs is offering a sale to go along with all of the other day after Thanksgiving Sales! For two days only, you can purchase any of the Spring 2009 designs pictured below for $35! This discount will not be offered again, so please act fast.
You will still have until Dec. 1 to order the items at a 20% dicount, but for Thursday & Friday only, you can order these items at a huge discount! Please view the photos below and then click the "buy now" button to purchase. Please enter the size and description in the text box. (if you are unsure of the description, just put the row#, column # etc, or email for an accurate description.) You will be charge only $5 for shipping. Act fast!
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Get on the list! Better book your show soon! See one in your area? Ask about attending! Don't see one in your area? Host one of your own!
1/24 - Spring Preview Party - Chelsea, AL - *if you want this date let me know! 1st show of the season!
1/25 – Tiffany Sanders – Harpersville/Vincent, AL
1/31 – Rhonda Williams – Mobile, AL
2/5 – Alex Hare – Hoover, AL
2/7 – Mericia Cruz – Thorsby, AL
2/8 – Stephanie McCloud – Harpersville/Vincent, AL
2/9 – 2/14 – Leanne Calhoun – Alexander City, AL
2/21 – Erica Hurly – Atlanta, GA
2/28 – Donna Welling – Hoover, AL
3/21 – Emily Locklear – Trussville, AL
3/27 – Brandy Wallis – Harpersville/Vincent, AL
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
I am inlisting your help for a little advice. I have an appointment with an awesome boutique tomorrow and need to bring in some samples from the Spring 09 line. What are your favorites that you have seen so far? I do realize I have not posted the entire line yet, but if you have seen something that really blew you away, please leave a comment and let me know and I'll be sure and bring that outfit with me tomorrow! Please leave your comments asap!
Monday, November 17, 2008
There are only a few of these available in each size - they are also premade and ready to ship, so the lucky girls who preorder this LIMITED EDITION outfit will receive theirs immediately!
A little peek at the back!
Sunday, November 16, 2008
PLEASE DON'T FORGET YOUR ORDER MUST BE IN BY DEC. 1 TO RECEIVE YOUR 20% DISCOUNT!
Coming tomorrow, a special request from one of my model mommies!
Size 2T ($29.99)
Size 2T ($29.99)
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Well, I wasn't quite finished when I posted that last post. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of my Christmas themed booth, but it turned out pretty cute, I thought! I sold a bunch of my clearance items as well as a few Christmas outfits. HOWEVER, I still have more Christmas left that I am going to list on Etsy and/or Ebay. I will post the links here once they are up so you will have the opportunity to check them out. Several of them are beautiful handpainted dresses by my mother in law. They were a hit at the show, but the sizes needed weren't there so we took orders. That still leaves me with inventory that needs to be sold off!
Also, I booked two - almost three - Spring 09 Shows! That was worth the trip for sure! So, that being said, available dates for shows are slimming down! If you are even a little bit interested in hosting a show, I really do suggest contacting me asap to secure your date.
Tomorrow, I will begin again posting Spring pre orders to the blog. I do apologize for not sticking to my one a day promise, but it is harder than you think to remember to do that on top of the list of "to do's" that I already have going! I'm thinking it is time for some more boy stuff. But, I have already had a few requests for one particular outfit so it will be posted first.
Ok, off to spend some time with my hubby who is NOT HUNTING this weekend! I know....I can't believe it either!
Mountain Marketplace Holidaze was today and it was just awesome! Unfortunately, I didn't get a chance to go around and check out all of the awesome booths that were there this season, but there were LOTS of cool vendors. One, that I just loved was The Pretty Shirt. Please check out Kristin's site and the message that she is sending women with these uplifting shirts that she makes and sells. I have to admit, the website is precious, but doesn't do her products justice. They are so cute in person and there are even more designs than are on the site. The shirt I got said "TIGERpretty" of course for my Auburn Tigers!
A little more about The Pretty Shirt from Kristin's site:
About…..The Pretty Shirt…..the message of these very cool shirts is one of
empowerment….a celebration of all women—of all ages—and all the
different ways we are pretty…..I have 3 daughters and my hope for them is that
they don’t waste their time trying to be someone they’re not…that they embrace
the way God made them and go girl go….
I hope you enjoy these shirts and
their message….I hope you are pleasantly surprised by the uplifting message of
the packaging and most of all I hope YOU feel celebrated when you wear your
pretty shirt….and lastly I hope you enjoy giving The Pretty Shirt to all the
women in your life. I still can’t decide whether is more fun to wear The Pretty
Shirt or to give The Pretty Shirt….
Posted by SweetDreamsDesigns at 8:45 PM
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Now, the requests are rolling in! If you have seen something posted previously that you are hoping to pre-order, please email me and let me know or post a comment here. I'll be happy to post it for you on the next round!
Don't forget, you only have until DECEMBER 1ST to get in your preorders and receive and 20% discount! This discount will not be offered after that date and the spring line will not be available on the website until January!
BE FIRST AND BE FASHIONABLE!
From Spring 2009