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Royal Rugrats – Baking up some felt fun! {Giveaway & Promo}

January 10th, 2011

il_570xN.194590910 Welcome my friends to the wonderful and imaginative world of felt play food! Royal Rugrats had my daughter Lola and I baking up some serious fun with their beautiful felt kitchen utensils set. Lola is only 1 year old so she’s new to the baking scene, however that didn’t stop my little darling from diving in and exploring what each spatula and measuring spoon was like. She LOVED these and so do I!!

Royal Rugrats is a fantastically well stocked shop on Etsy featuring handmade felt play sets including things like vegetables, peanut butter sandwiches, strawberries, bacon and eggs, cookies, spaghetti and even sushi!! Lola received the precious kitchen utensils and some little sugar cookies designed for little fingers and big imaginations in mind. I fell immediately in love with the quality and beauty of each piece in her set, they are sewn with great care and I expect they will last Lola for many years of fun. I also loved the sizing of each piece in Lola’s set, they were perfect for her and I know any little child would be thrilled to have a play set of their own. It’s just the type of thing I would have squealed about when I was a kid. lolafeltutensils

Brooke is the owner and designer behind the Royal Rugrats products, she has a fashion design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC and a merchandising degree from Oneonta State University. Brooke began her business creating these soft play foods and sets because she didn’t like the hard plastic kinds available in stores. Then she discovered the beauty of working with felt to create her designs and became hooked, she now runs Royal Rugrats Yummies full time and the response to her store has been incredible.

We’d like to invite you to bake up some Felt Fun of your very own. This type of play is so wonderful for children, it broadens their minds and helps their imaginations to dance with creativity. Lola and I will be play baking again today, why don’t you stop by Royal Rugrats and join us. – XO Daria

GIVEAWAY:
We think these soft felt foods are the cutest thing going, but you don’t have to take my word for it! Royal Rugrats is giving away 1 Kitchen Utensil set (value $22) to a viewer in Canada or the US. Here’s how to enter. You can do as many of these as you’d like. Each one is worth one entry into our giveaway:

•Leave a comment sharing with us your favorite felt set of play food from Royal Rugrats shops
•Follow @royalrugrats on Twitter and Tweet about our giveaway and promotion
•Like Royal Rugrats on Facebook, and post to let them know Boutique Cafe sent you there

Include a valid email address for our drawing. We’ll draw the winner from the comments and contact her via email. Deadline: January 23, 2010 (midnight). The winner will have 24 hours to claim her prize or a new winner will be chosen.

PROMOTION:
Additionally they are offering a SWEET AS CAN BE Promotion for our readers – For a shop promo on either her Website or ETSY shop they will give the
3 Valentines cookies to anyone who makes a purchase!! Simply purchase your order and put “Boutique Cafe Cookies” in the message area on either site and they will be added to the order for FREE! This is a limited time offer good until February 10th, 2011.

The Sky is Falling – CPSIA Issue

December 17th, 2008

Article by: Heather Flottman
Owner/Designer
liliputians NYC

The sky is falling! Yes, I feel a like an overly dramatic Chicken Little. And I wish it were true considering recent congressional legislation is about to crush the life out of the handmade clothing and toy industry. I’m talking about H.R. 4040, the Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) signed into law August 14, 2008, and the ramifications it will have when it goes into effect February 10, 2009 (now being popularly referred to as National Bankruptcy Day).

Make no mistake. CPSIA was necessary in principle and has noble intentions, keeping our children safe and holding companies accountable for importing toxic toys. We all demand safety for our children and this is the intent of CPSIA; specifically to ensure safe levels of lead and phthalates in all products manufactured for children under the age of 12. Unfortunately this legislation lacks common sense, is ambiguous and fails to take into account the handmade industry.

What you see is not what you get with CPSIA. There is no distinction between big, small, or even micro one-person businesses. Whether it’s a large-scale manufacturer importing apparel to be sold in big box stores, or a work-at-home mom (WAHM) selling customs on ebay, the legislation applies the same to all.

Unit testing will be required on finished products, regardless if the components are natural materials or if you have documentation from a vendor stating that buttons, for example, are certified lead-free. As it stands, H.R. 4040 fails to recognize that textile products are inherently lead-free. Why then is an organic cotton shirt being tested for lead exactly?

Unit testing is extremely cost prohibitive to small business, but worse, it is unnecessary. In fact, it is completely redundant if the components that comprise the whole have already been tested and due diligence can prove they meet the guidelines.

To put a real dollar amount to testing one of my products, I solicited a lab quote. I was told it was $75 to test for lead per garment component and each substrate. Coated or painted items such as buttons are $100. So my Little Red Riding Hood Shirt, a 100% cotton knit shirt with an appliqué made from 7 cotton fabrics and 2 buttons eyes would cost $625 to test for lead. Flammability testing is also required and is either $50 for a certificate per component stating it meets weight code or $100 for actual testing. So add another $400-$800 for a grand total of $1,025-$1425. in testing costs for a shirt that retails for $40. If the shirt is offered in another colorway, the same testing is required despite the fact that the same fabrics are used throughout.

Small manufacturers have no way of absorbing the price of such redundancy. And all manufacturers will be required to test a finished component/item from each batch. Easy to do in mass production—simply pull one sample from a lot of thousands. But how does one comply when your “batches” are made-to-order batches of one? SKUs will also be required for each product with a permanent label on the item itself.

CPSIA will be retroactive and takes a guilty-until-proven-innocent approach with extremely hefty fines for violators. As written, any product used by children 12 and under (such as toys, footwear, carpets, clothing, bedding, luggage, lamps, toys, books, magazines, baseball cards, consumer electronics, school supplies, office supplies, jewelry, housewares, sports equipment and so on) without the newly required certification would be deemed hazardous, whether the item poses an actual threat or not. So on February 10, 2009, any unsold merchandise (in big box stores, the corner boutique, your fabric stash, Good Will donations, etc.) will be deemed “hazardous goods” and illegal to sell unless 3rd party testing proves otherwise. By the way, there are only 14 said labs currently in the United States.

Think you won’t be affected? I hope not, but the sad truth is that hundreds of thousands (if not millions) will be. Do you make children’s clothing, toys, jewelry, hair bows, accessories, furniture, artwork or anything else “intended for use by children age 12 and under”? Are you a retailer of children’s goods? Do you resell used children’s clothing or toys on ebay? Do you participate or shop at craft fairs? Do you donate used children’s items to needy organizations? Do you belong to a church that has rummage sales as a fundraiser? Does your child play sports and get their uniforms from a local screen print shop? Are you a consumer shopping for alternatives to mass-produced toys? If so, this law takes away that freedom.

Surely this legislation can be amended by incorporating some common sense and still make it possible to ensure our children’s safety without further hurting the US economy. According to the 2002 Economic Census (the last survey of its type), small U.S. clothing manufacturers (with fewer than 20 employees) contribute over $900 million dollars [consider: nearly $1 billion dollars] annually to the economy and comprise 68% of total apparel manufacturing in the U.S. This is clearly a vital and contributing asset to our economy. Multiply this fallout exponentially when you take into account the myriad other manufacturers, retailers and businesses that will be hurt or ultimately driven out of business.

So, why should you support amending this legislation?

Because the CPSIA isn’t fair and will not function as written. It inadvertently punishes American industries unrelated to toys and will ultimately result in fewer alternatives to mass produced merchandise made in China. The concept that small producers should be subject to the same rigorous standards but with lesser regulation (and common sense) has already been fought for and sustained in the food industry, which is why your local farmers market still exists. Now this same idea needs to be applied to children’s products.

What can you do?
1) Email or call the CPSIA - the office of the CPSC ombudsman 888-531-9070.
http://www.cpsc.gov/cgibin/newleg.aspx
Comments on Component Parts Testing accepted through January 30, 2009.
mailto:Sec102ComponentPartsTesting@cpsc.gov.

2) Email or snail mail your representatives.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476”>http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/issues/alert/?alertid=12274476

3) Call your representatives. For their contact information just enter your zip code.
http://capwiz.com/americanapparel/dbq/officials/

4) Make your voice heard by voting on this issue. The top 3 in each category will be presented to President-elect Obama.
http://www.change.org/ideas/view/save_handmade_toys_from_the_cpsia

5) Sign the petition.
http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html”>http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/economicimpactsofCPSIA/index.html

6) Spread the word! Write about this on your blog. Tell others about this issue and encourage them to do the same.

7) Join others in fighting this cause.
Facebook group
Twitter search
“>http://cpsia-central.ning.com/notes/Notes_Home

8) Join the etsy community in the virtual chat with CPSIA Small Business Ombudsmen or send a handmade children’s item that will become “hazardous goods” as of 2/9/09 to Bobby Rush, founder of H.R. 4040.
http://www.etsy.com/storque/craftivism/handmade-childrens-items-unintended-consequences-consumer-pr-3056/
Etsy Thread

9) Read more about this legislation and its ramifications:
Fashion Incubator

Handmade Toy Alliance

National Bankruptcy Day

YouTube video

YouTube Video

YouTube Video

5 Minutes for Mom

Cool Mom Picks

The Smart Mama

blogher

Apparel and Footwear.org

Toy Association.org

Cafe Mom

Safety and Compliance

Zrecommends

SleepingBaby.net

Freshly Baked Blog

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