How everyone can get a CPSIA exemption

Understandably, many people have been asking on Fashion-Incubator and on various forums whether their product is exempt. Some post claims they are not (using unsubstantiated sources) which is a disservice feeding false hopes. Among them, I’ve yet to see a child related product that really is exempt. The climate was no different at the meeting I attended in Washington this week. It’s easy to understand why. We’re all drowning men, clutching at any driftwood that’ll save us. But as one person suggested, this is the wrong strategy.

Everybody is scrambling to find wiggle room using narrow definitions in an attempt to exclude themselves from the law, desperate to save their own skins. It’s understandable, survival and all. But strategically, that is the wrong thing to do. All of us are better served by coming together to define the rules BROADLY to encompass everyone for two reasons.

  1. The CPSC doesn’t have the infrastructure to process and rule on the flood of exemption requests. They don’t have the man power to deal with it so if any manage to squeak through, these businesses will be unfairly advantaged over others who may have similar legitimate claims.
  2. More of us lose through splintering because assuming the CPSC can come up with a bunch of narrow definitions; it’s not likely to solve but one of a few of our problems; most people will still be hanging out to dry. More stand to lose with narrow definitions than broad ones.

Rather, we are better served by centralizing focus on broad exemptions, not narrow ones. Every man for himself is the wrong strategy to employ when everyone is affected. At this rate, we’re our own worst enemies (divided we fall) because splitting into narrow definitions splinters the whole cause. Let’s say you’re lucky enough to get your exemption that magically covers the gamut of your product line (as if), does that save your colleagues? How much pleasure can you take in surviving when you’re the only one left standing? On Fashion-Incubator, probably less than 30% of the designers make kids stuff but as far as I can tell, they’re all pulling together for their colleagues who are affected.

In summary, I do not want to read any more comments asking if one’s products made from 100% organic fabric (woven by leprechauns) and made via fair-trade (sewn by well paid fairies) using carbon neutral sustainable power (unicorns pulling a water wheel) and are certified to be the singular example of 100% purity by G-d, The Trinity, Mohammad, and Gaia combined [-and you are a nice good person and a widow, single mom, single dad, working family, reformed attorney or recovering engineer (pick one)] are exempt because if you have to ask, they most likely are not. The strategy should be broad enough to cover your neighbor and even the plant down the street, not just yourself. It’s time to pull together. As Rick Woldenberg says, it’s time to ply the pressure on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Here I have posted a tremendous amount of material Rick Woldenberg has sent me with lots of juicy .gov email addresses to harvest!

By the way, this site is really ugly, can anybody lend a hand with design?

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Kathleen Fasanella

Kathleen started production patternmaking in 1981. Starting in 1993, she began providing consulting and engineering services to manufacturers, small companies, and startups with an emphasis on developing owner-operator domestic cut-and-sew operations. In 2015 she opened a 5,000 sqft. fully equipped sewing factory: The Sewing Factory School. Kathleen is the author of The Entrepreneur’s Guide to Sewn Product Manufacturing, the most highly rated book of any topic in the garment industry. She's been mentioned numerous times in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, National Public Radio, Boston Globe, LA Times, Vogue, French Vogue and has at least 15 Project Runway alums at last count. Kathleen writes nearly all of the articles on Fashion-Incubator.com and hosts its forum, the largest private online community for apparel manufacturers on the web.

2 thoughts on “How everyone can get a CPSIA exemption”

  1. Good work! Thank you very much!
    I always wanted to write in my blog something like that. Can I take part of your post to my blog?
    Of course, I will add backlink?

    Sincerely, Timur I.

  2. Yup – I’ve been yelling about this the whole time!

    Divide and Conquer! That’s exactly how this stuff happens.

    I personally don’t sell anything for kids (yet) and I’m not much of a consumer… not because I don’t have kids, but because I do! I’m broke lol

    We all aren’t big manufacturers that have lobbyists and lawyers and money to make sure “we’re good” – and those that don’t have these things go down – individually.

    This has a terrible impact upon all industry (small and large), all consumers, all citizens.

    And who’s fighting for those old books?
    Libraries don’t really carry many, retail stores sure don’t.

    Only some sentimental sap that runs a small shop off an obscure side street in town and that tiny voice will never be heard alone.

    The WHOLE law is flawed. And it’s flawed for all.

    Flawed for one and Flawed for all!

    there’s a new saying for ya!

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