We have received a lot of worried calls and emails from customers over the past few weeks wondering if Soft Star Shoes will be shutting our doors in response to the new Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act. This new legislature goes into effect February 10th and requires anyone who makes children's products to provide independent third party laboratory testing (and official certificates) to verify that their products do not contain lead or other harmful chemicals. While the spirit behind the law is great, the actual implementation of it is ill-conceived and will result in the shut down of countless small businesses, including most home based craft business who simply cannot afford the thousands of dollars needed to test their products. As for Soft Star Shoes, we are working on obtaining the certifications by February 10th and unfortunately it will take a big bite into our ability to grow our business this year. Ironically, this law is dis-proportionally hurting the small eco-friendly businesses who have always been passionate about safe, chemical-free and fair trade products in the first place. The law was created in response to the large influx of lead painted toys that were discovered in the 2007 holiday season imported by multinational toy companies. Overall, the intent will ultimately lead to safer products across the market - but hopefully the law can be improved to save handmade, safe children's products.
If you enjoy handcrafted products and/or appreciate home-grown small businesses, you will be interested in this law and its impact, as well as ideas of what you can do to help. Many of the products we carry on our accessory page are made by small, eco-friendly home businesses which may be forced to close and have their products pulled from stores, websites and even E-bay. Click here for more information.