Small Businesses Share Impact Of HR 5786, If Passed As Written [Audio]

by Donna Maria on August 17, 2010 · View Comments

My guests on yesterday’s Indie Business Podcast were Ann Wooledge, Valerie Reed and Vanessa Nixon Klein, each of whom owns a small cosmetics company and is a former signer of the Compact For Safe Cosmetics. On the show, they shared their entrepreneurial stories and offered practical insights on how HR 5786, as drafted, would impact their businesses without providing consumers with additional safety benefits.

Scroll down to the bottom of this post to click the play arrow and enjoy the audio. If that link does not appear, click the blue arrow here at our FaceBook Page to listen to the show. Here are my featured guests and some of the things they shared:

1. Ann Wooledge. Ann, a registered nurse, is the owner of Wingsets in Lincoln, Nebraska. Her business is more fully described in this post.

Ann discussed how the requirement to test essential oils and list their trace elements on labels, and to report the names and contact information of all of her suppliers would burden her business without any benefit to considers. Ann shared that, since essential oils are natural, the trace elements vary from batch to batch, and having to change those labels and re-test from batch to batch would not help consumers, but would divert her attention away from safe cosmetic manufacture. Ann also shared that she was recently able to redesign her entire website with grant money awarded by a federal government program that supports research on locally harvested botanical materials, in this case, yucca root. Ann’s products are sold online and at local farmer’s markets.

2. Valerie Reed. Valerie owns Valana Minerals in San Marcos, California. Her business is more fully described in this post.

Valerie says that she uses only a small selection of ingredients in her cosmetics, and she researches them for as many as two years before launching a new product. She only uses ingredients that are already tested and shown to be safe in cosmetics. Valerie’s products are vegan and she believes she is filling a huge void in the market for natural foundation for women of color. Valerie sells her products online and in Whole Foods Markets.

3. Vanessa Nixon Klein. Vanessa of Herbs of Grace in Mossyrock, Washington. Her business is more fully described in this post.

Vanessa, pictured here with her husband, started her business in in 1997, at first selling handmade soaps and other bath and body products. When she launched her mineral makeup line, it’s sales surpassed the sales of all other products in the first six months so she eventually phased out everything other than mineral makeup. Vanessa has Material Safety Data Sheets on all of the ingredients used in her cosmetics, and, like Valerie and Ann, Vanessa does extensive research before launching a new product. Vanessa is proud that her business has allowed her to engage the services of young college-aged women in her town. Vanessa has actually helped some of them start their own small businesses, and this mentoring mission is a big part of Vanessa’s commitment to “give back” in a tangible way to her community.

I enjoyed hearing these amazing women share how their businesses started and how they are growing. It’s inspiring to see them make such valuable contributions to the industry they love, and do so in safe ways that so clearly benefit consumers. I hope you enjoy the show! Here are some things you can do to advocate for more reasonable cosmetics law reform:

  1. Please sign the Petition Opposing the bill. (You do not have to sign in to sign the Petition.) The petition is easy to understand, with 7 bullet points quickly describing how this bill would hurt my business without any benefit to you, my customer. As I write this note to you, over [insert number] companies, customers and other interested parties have signed the Petition!
  2. If you are on Twitter, please follow the #OpposeSCA hashtag. This is an easy way to keep up with the latest news and blog posts on the issue. I hope you will comment on some of the posts written by me and my beauty industry colleagues, and even ReTweet us from time to time we advance our interests together.
  3. Vote “Opposed” in the Open Congress poll. This poll is maintained by a non-profit organization, and it housed on a page displaying the image of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a co-sponsor of the bill. You do have to sign in the vote, but it only takes a second, and our elected officials look at these poll numbers so every poll vote counts!

Question: What do you think of the experiences my guests shared?

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

1 mary August 22, 2010 at 12:25 am

Have you posted this around the Etsy forums? I’ve looked around and it seems like not enough people know about this. Lots of people make and sell bath and body products and cosmetics thru etsy, I bet this would get alot more attention if they knew.

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