6 Mom-Owned Small Businesses That Closed Due To CPSIA

by Donna Maria on August 12, 2010 · View Comments

I am a wife, a mother and a business owner. I also serve a lot of mom-owned businesses through the Indie Beauty Network, and I know how important it is to stand up with and for my members to oppose unfair legislation that would destroy their jobs without any consumer benefit. It would not be the first time it happened.

On August 14, 2008, former President George W. Bush signed the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. The law, which has its genesis in the fact that a few large companies manufactured and imported unsafe children’s products and sold them to American consumers, became effective on February 10, 2009. Two and a half years later, the fallout continues.You can get a great ongoing summary of the “unintended consequences” of CPSIA at the Handmade Toy Alliance blog. Earlier today, IBN member Katherine Corkill at Sterling Minerals Cosmetics told me that some people don’t think CPSIA actually caused anyone to go out of business. I believe that to be untrue. Here are just a few examples of businesses that folded after CPSIA became the law of the land. These links are from media reports or the blogs or websites of the people who either closed completely or put their businesses on hold.

  1. Perfect Circle. This consignment shop in Bremerton, Washington, owned by Laura Nesby and Jenna Matthews, closed its doors, saying, “”We will not run our business knowing we could get fined or sued at anytime.” Read more.
  2. Hands and Hearts. This company in South Carolina closed because it could not afford to test its home school supplies. In announcing the closure, the owner said, “We know that these kits have blessed thousands of homeschoolers around the world, and we have prayed, wracked our brains, and sought council in hopes that we would not need to take this step.” Read more.
  3. A Kidd’s Dream. The owner of this store in Arkansas closed the day before CPSIA became effective. In closing, she said, “The only [businesses CPSIA] is not going to affect are the ones who were importing from China in the first place.” Read more.
  4. Doll Shop. A mom making handmade dolls in her Hawaii home was forced to close when CPSIA became law. She had sold the dolls to help pay the medical bills of her 8-year old daughter who suffers from Russell Silver Syndrome. Read more.
  5. Whimsical Walney. This etsy shop closed due to CPSIA. Read more..
  6. Baby Sprout Naturals. In a post entitled, “Death By CPSIA,” the owner of this business that offered organic baby apparel and educational toss announced she was closing her doors. Read more.

Exactly one month after CPSIA became effective, Amazon removed 2,500 products that were not compliant with the new law. I’m sure many of them were safe products made by moms and family-owned businesses that simply couldn’t afford the testing.

Listen To My Interview Of People Who Went Out Of Business!

In case you’re wondering what these stories and CPSIA have in common with SCA 2010, I invite you to click here to open up a window that will allow you to listen to my February 9, 2009 (the day before CPSIA became effective) Indie Business Radio Show interview with Michael Kushner, Esq., the one-time class action attorney for several businesses shut down by CPSIA. The audio is about 50 minutes long, and includes my one-on-one discussion with women who were shut down as a result of the law, which required companies making and selling toys on a small scale to comply with unduly burdensome and cost prohibitive testing requirements — testing for things they did not use in their products.

HR 5786 would have the exact same effect on small, woman- and mom-owned cosmetics businesses.

Question: Of course consumer safety is important, but are there ways to achieve it without imposing requirements that small companies cannot afford and which would not ensure safety anyway because the companies are already using ingredients that are known to be safe in the industry? I look forward to your thoughts.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Ann August 13, 2010 at 3:06 pm

Very sad and scary, this could well happen to a lot of us. To see businesses like these close, to see such dedication and drive for what you believe in and put your heart and soul into, disappear. Law makers need to take a step back and remember what this country is made of, talented caring individuals sharing with the world what they love.


2 Katherine August 13, 2010 at 7:13 pm

Legislators also need to realize that we are a nation of entrepreneurs and innovators. Pass this bill and both will die! Legislators have clearly forgotten that this is a nation for the people, by the people and of the people. Stop treading on the constitution please, we do not need big government telling us how to run our lives or to give support to those that feel government should control all aspects of our lives.


3 Kayla Fioravanti August 13, 2010 at 9:44 pm

Thankfully we have the advantage of more time on our side than the handmade toy industry had. That doesn’t mean we should wait and see…we need to take every second to defend our industry now. Thanks for all that you do.


4 Donna Maria Coles Johnson August 13, 2010 at 11:27 pm

Yes, what a blessing that we are on the front end, and you’re right, no time to just watch and let the chips fall where they may. We must be proactive and positively impact the process now so our voices are heard. Thanks in large part to you, that’s what’s happening.


5 Donna Maria Coles Johnson August 13, 2010 at 11:29 pm

… and especially in a time of recession, and in an era in our history where more people are required to have something other than a traditional job (where someone hires you) in order to make a living. More and more people must create their own jobs now, and the people who have created cosmetics jobs on a small scale already make safe products. They should not be regulated out of business because of knee-jerk reactions based on faulty science.


6 Donna Maria Coles Johnson August 13, 2010 at 11:30 pm

Through your efforts and the efforts of others like you, that is what is happening. We are letting them know and participating meaningfully in the process!


7 laureyssens November 15, 2010 at 6:03 pm

the big american corporations /,the big importers were duly informed that the paint contained lead Why did they nothing ????..because of big retailers ????……always the same thing .and naturaly the government has to make a crocked law . ……in place of :ban and fine this corporations


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