Well, this is a very complex subject and unfortunately goes far beyond the boundaries of what I can cover in a short blog post, but I am going to do my best to cut through all the legal jargon and describe in laymans terms exactly what this means to our business as an apparel decorator and to you as a consumer, so grab a cup of coffee and settle in because this is truly another mind boggling bill that was enacted by Congress, in their infinite wisdom, and signed into law in August of 2008, and believe me, it can give you a migrain.
In short, CPSIA is an acronym that stands for Consumer product safety improvement act, of which the original intent was to rework the Consumer Product Safety Comission, giving them more authority and improving consumer product safety after high lead content was discovered in childrens toys that originated in China. The end result however, is straining nats and swallowing camels, and doing irrepairable damage to the screen print industry as well as many other industries that provide childrens products in an economy that can ill afford even more business opression. My comments here will be geared toward the screen print industry since that is what Artistic Apparel LLC does and what we know the best.
Please don’t misunderstand our concern for childrens safety. That is far and away our primary concern, and have done our best as a business to conform despite the heavy burden that has been laid at our feet for no logically apparent reason. In its original form, the CPSIA imposes Lead and Phthalate standards for childrens products being used by those children 12 years of age or younger, and backs up these standards by a mandatory third party testing and certification process. The mandatory third party testing must be done by a CPSC acredited lab. Currently these tests are costing between $50 and $150 for each instance, greatly adding to the cost of Childrens products. To further clarify my point see the etsy’s gallery of unaffordability to see how this is impacting small home crafters.
All of this sounds good on the surface, afterall, we do want to protect our children. The problem is, the bill is drafted in such a way as to require testing of anything that is put on a shirt for lead and sometimes phthalates ( for ages 3 and under ) that is not natural fiber, and this test must be performed on every new batch run and each additional component. ( Four different button styles, four different tests, three different colors of ink, three different tests. ) It is true that the CPSC has now said that component part testing is acceptable, but our ink manufacturer has told us that this is a physical impossibility since they manufacture between 30 and 40 batches a day and with a three to four week lead time for testing, creates a logistical nightmare that they do not have the space or means to confront. Now, here is the real thing that makes no logical sense, According to our ink manufacturer, there has not been any lead content in their screen printing ink for over 30 years, as a matter of fact, I personally have the test results in my office for the product I use and lead content is 0.00, but this is not acceptable to the CPSC because the lab was not a CPSC acredited lab, and the component parts of the ink were tested and not the final batch.
Why is this a big issue all of a sudden right now? Well, until December 30th of 2011 there has been a stay of enforcement on mandatory third party testing that has now been lifted. The bottom line here is that if you want new soccer shirts for your children 12 years of age of younger, don’t be surprised if you have a very difficult time finding them for any reasonable cost if at all, unless they have no logo’s, names or numbers. And don’t take this lightly, manufacturers that knowingly distribute childrens products without the proper testing and certification are subject to $100,000.00 fines per incidence and maximum of $15,000,000.00 with possible imprisonment of up to 5 years. Should you be inclined to do more study on this subject, the Consumer Product Safety Comission’s site is a good source, start here. http://www.cpsc.gov/about/cpsia/cpsia.html
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on Saturday, 23 March 2013. Posted in T Shirt Printing Articles
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T Shirt Printing Specialist – High Quality Custom T-Shirt Printing
The t-shirt business is tough because entry barriers are very low and this creates an ultra competitive environment. Coming up with a cute idea and producing a printed t-shirt sample is easy, but going the distance to build a business out of the idea is hard. This is why each decision you make is essential in increasing your chances of beating the odds.
According to industry standard the imprinted industry rate of success is 1%.
You can do it! – I am not writing this to discourage anyone. My intent is to encourage you to see each decision that you make, from this point on, as a strategic move towards a clear goals.
Starting with a very important choice of how to select your screen printer
Here are some tips:
1. Don’t see yourself as starting a t-shirt line. You are starting a business! A business needs plan or at least a business brief. A one pager where you will write your business vision and mission and define the purpose of your line.
In product development we always start with a document that covers these simple basics. We call it the Vision Document – It answers questions like ” What, why and for whom are we doing business for?
Decorated t-shirts are life-enhancers, they are fun and they can change or influence culture. Your business can and should have a higher purpose. There is no reason why you can’t use your personal values to create a t-shirt line with a powerful purpose and thus creating a competitive advantage from the start.
2. Think Size. How big will this business be is something you should know from the start. Do you want to be like Patagonia, Juicy Couture or “Life is Good”?
Maybe you just want to have some fun and produce a few tees for your friends to wear? If this is your case, then you don’t really need to keep reading on. Just go ahead and search for www.CafePress.com or www.Shirtmagic.com. These online companies offer the tools to create and order t-shirts using your own designs, they don’t have minimum order restrictions and are easy to use for small orders that don’t require the best quality of personalize services.
For anyone else looking to build a serious business or the next big t-shirt brand do read on…
3. Investment. Having a clear vision of where you are going will help make confident decisions. You will have a base from which to know good from bad. A way to judge if a vendor offers all the elements you will need to reach your goals, a way to judge if a bid is low or high, if it is cost effective to select a local company or an out-of-sate vendor, etc.
If you are serious enough about your business you will realize that you are making an investment of time and capital to convert value-potential (your concept, your skills, relationships, vendors, etc), to value-produced (the end-product), to value-delivered (when you actually realize a profit).
One mistake that people make in the t-shirt space is to think that a t-shirt idea will help you make extra income. If your goal is to make extra income quick your chances of success will be measured in a fraction of a percent. You may want to re-think your idea.
Creating a t-shirt business requires a serious investment. To increase your chances of success you need to put on a Product Development hat and understand that you will go through a period of R&D (research and development). During this period you should not expect to generate profit.
It is a period of investment to produce the most valuable product. It is definitely not the time to think about cutting costs, saving money, pinching your vendors, cutting corners, etc.
4. Select your vendors. Selecting your t-shirt screen printing is a key decision because you are starting the most valuable relationship. Screen printers are no just service providers, they are assets to your business and a key partner.
Before I go any further, let me side-step to define “partner”. Some people approach screen printing companies hoping to “partner up”, meaning (in their minds) that the screen printer will print for free or sell at cost to help the client grow their business. Let’s agree that this is not what I mean.
Look for an Screen Printing that has the interest in your success but without you disregarding theirs. The way you extract value from your vendors is not by squeezing them out of business!
You extract value by associating yourself with the best companies that focus on quality more than bargains. Be aware of those who give it all for free, free screens, free set ups, free shipping. There is nothing free! You will end up paying a price somehow.
Put yourself in their shoes. The screen printing Industry is ultra competitive. And with products — becoming a commodity, delivering quality and customer experience is the only competitive differentiator left. Those who compete with prices will not survive and you don’t want to go with the weak.
Remember you are developing value and you need to operate with a mentally of abundance.
Think about adding, quality, reliability, consistency, service and not removing, cutting, replacing, etc. Later when you are a big and profitable company with real overhead you will need to think about cost-cutting and operations efficiency, but not now.
5. Valuestrong and long term relationships.
This matters to you because as a small company you can’t afford a full team, but you can gain value from your Screen Printer staff and their experience. By forming long term relationships you can add a huge advantage to your business. Think of it! Your Account Manager will know the in-and-outs of your jobs and will anticipate your needs. He or She will be able, to correct mistakes before they happen. The Office Manager will be able to order goods for you when you are busy or enable to find the items you need. You may be able to warehouse your goods temporarily. The staff at the floor will know you by name and will take extra care when your product is running through their machines and dryers.
INSIDE TIP: The smarter and most successful clients I have seen bring in beagles for the staff once in a while. They take the time to make a connection with the people that handles thier product.
Another good reason for forming and maintaining long term relationships with your vendors is that each time that you change vendors it cost you money. You may feel tempted to go with a lower bid somewhere else. But re-starting a relationship has a cost in time, headaches and in the very cash that you were hoping to save.
Most important you want to make sure that your screen printer will be there in a year or two when you finally get Nordstrom’s to place a big order. You need to be ready to fulfill the demands or distributors and buyers. You want to make sure that you invested your time and money with a vendor that can handle bigger responsibilities.
Searching is easy, selecting the best company for your unique needs requires more work.