Being a small business owner can be rewarding and challenging. My sewing business provides me both rewards and challenges. One of my most recent challenges involved compliance with regulations concerning making children’s wear safe.
My sewing business consists of alterations (but NOT prom or bridal alterations!), some custom sewing, and some handmade products that I sell. For a few years, the bulk of my sewing projects were bags and purses. Over a year ago, I ventured into doll clothes and had a great time sewing clothing for 18″ dolls like the American Girl dolls.
It was around that time that I heard or saw something about safety regulations for children’s wear and toys. My first response was to pretend I didn’t see it! I care about children’s safety, but the whole idea of bringing my business into compliance with CPSC (Consumer Product Safety Commission) regulations was overwhelming.
I joined a Facebook group dedicated to helping artisans become compliant, and the amount of information there was mind-boggling. My inclination was to stop producing any items for children. I would continue to make bags and aprons and pillow covers and whatever else my customers wanted for themselves, but I was going to avoid this whole compliance issue by never sewing another item for a child.
That was fine until I saw some awesome patterns that I wanted to sew up for my granddaughter. I had a feeling that others might ask to buy some of these designs, so I crept back into the Facebook Compliance group, took a deep breath, and started the process. Step-by-step instructions helped tremendously, and I completed the process in a little over one month.
I am now pleased to say that all children’s products made and sold by me will meet the CPSC safety requirements. That means that all fabrics and notions used in my handmade treasures will have proper certifications stating that they meet safety standards for flammability, lead, BPA and phthalates.
All children’s items must be tagged to make tracking possible in the event of a product recall. Ordering and receiving my own products tags was really exciting for me. Having the tags in my hand-made my compliance journey complete, that and the ongoing paperwork that is necessary to keep track of all of this stuff. Geesh! I’d never have guessed sewing would involve so many numbers and codes and inventory lists and letters of certification and all of that jazz.
Here’s a stack of one of my tags that I bought to use on a new line of children’s wear for winter. I’ll be posting more about that specific item very soon here on my sewing website and on my Facebook page. Other children’s products that I make and sell include aprons and undies.
If you buy handmade children’s wear, you might notice that not all sellers are compliant with the CPSC regulations. Most who are will note that on their websites or Etsy store front. We can’t assume that those who are not compliant are just ignoring the regulations. Some may not even be aware of them which was the case for me for several years.
Now that I know about these pesky CPSC regulations, I would be careful to purchase children’s items from reputable business people who do make the effort to ensure that the products they sell are as safe as possible for the children who will use and wear them.
Does it make a difference to you if products you buy comply with federal safety standards? Why or why not?