Legislation Update

Anne-MarieandJay.warehouse

We were delighted to host Jay Inslee, former Washington State Representative, at Bramble Berry last week. Jay resigned his seat in March to run for Governor of Washington State. I was particularly excited to get a chance to talk to Representative Inslee about his work for the Energy and Commerce committee, the same committee that works on legislation relating to our industry.

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Just this last week, a new bill (HR 4395 – Cosmetic Safety Amendments Act of 2012) was introduced by Congressman Lance that would change cosmetic labeling and reporting laws for our industry. Main points of the bill include:

  • Mandatory facility registration within 60 days for businesses
  • Ingredient statements, using INCI names, for each product (note: it would not be for each fragrance or EO blend; just for each type of product)
  • GMP becomes mandatory
  • Labels need a phone number and a registration facility number

You can read the track the bill and find links to the full language here.

We continue to see bills introduced that would restructure how the FDA deals with cosmetics. Like all of the other bills, we are following closely, giving input where we can and continuing to educate lawmakers about our small, handcrafted industry. This bill does not have a small business exemption. We continue to advocate for a small business exemption from fees and paperwork. When you are building a business, there are only so many hours in the day and filling out forms takes away from building customer relationships, manufacturing and formulating. Mary Kay, Estee Lauder and Burt’s Bees all started from kitchens. Let’s give small business a break on paperwork and fees to ensure that the next Aveda (formulated his first product in his kitchen sink!) has a chance to thrive.

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Jay Inslee asked a lot of great questions during his tour – and much to my delight, proved he had done his research about Bramble Berry when he asked me about my first business: breeding angry Russian Dwarf Hamsters in high school. We were honored that he came to visit us to ask what more government could do to help small business. My strongest feedback for him was around regulation and over regulation. It is not a good measure to judge politicians by the number of laws they pass; that’s how we end up with confusing laws on the books that are difficult for everyone to comply with. We loved our visit with Jay Inslee and would welcome the chance to share the Bramble Berry story, and the stories of our customers, with other elected officials.

19 Responses to “Legislation Update”

  1. Kunwar Anand says:

    I think a phone number on the label is a good idea. Let the world know that we are a genuine manufacturer and can be contacted for complaints and suggestions and for orders, of course.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      A phone number is a great idea – as is a website. After all, from a marketing standpoint, you definitely want people to find you again =)

    • elaine says:

      I’m not sure how I feel about having a phone number on the label…definitley a website and/or email address. I personally am much better communicating w/ emails than phone calls…and many small business owners (like myself) do not have dedicated business lines/phone numbers. I do not think I’d feel comfortable having customers call my personal/home phone. Just my thoughts:)

  2. Kerry says:

    This is what we have to do in the UK when selling products. It’s a very good idea and only fair

    • Anne-Marie says:

      I’ve heard that about the EU and studied it a bit. How many hours do you estimate you spend doing paperwork? Either weekly or monthly? Or if it varies based on new products etc…. I’m intensely curious how small businesses are doing with it over there. Thanks for popping in!

  3. Amy Young says:

    I agree there should be some form of contact information on the label, and our label has always had our address and our web site, and I’d be happy to add an e-mail address. I really think telephone numbers are a terrible way to contact a business, though (among other things, you have no record of what you said to them!), and adding a phone number to the label seems sort of silly.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      Currently, the law states that you must have your legal name and your city/state where the products were manufactured so that a consumer could contact you (looking you up in a phone book or online search engine) so this just takes it one step further. I really think it’s in the best interest of the manufacturer to have that information on the label anyways; after all, we want customers to know how to buy more of our product!

      • Amy Young says:

        Absolutely we do! I want people to be able to find me! But I’m just not sure what good it does to have a phone number specifically – if a customer called me with a complaint, obviously I would do everything I could to help, but I can guarantee I would have much more luck in tracking the problem during the solution process if it came in already written down so I could just flag it appropriately. Same goes for orders, really – I’m very likely to be at my other job, or at a show, or at the grocery store, even, when I take a phone call, and if someone calls with an order I’ll have to hope like mad I can remember it until I get to somewhere I can write it down!

        Basically, I absolutely don’t want to be hard to find, but I also don’t want the contact information that is pretty much guaranteed to have the most possible points of failure to be the form of contact that customers might think I *want* them to use based on what’s on the label, is the point I’m trying to make.

  4. Crystal says:

    I include my website on my lables as well as my invoices. I also include my address on my invoices too.
    As far as being a small buisness that works out the home, I am not sure if I like the phone number.

  5. Hi,

    In my country,Indonesia,which has 200 million people, doesnt have a very good internet networking in most of sub city. so, the best way is to put phone number, website and blackberry pin on brand label.

    we prefer to call and get more information in person or from black berry rather from in front of computer. If they interested to our product, they will call and ask a lot of question. we love to get direct response from supplier.

  6. Cris Brazil says:

    Where do we have to register? and at what point are we considered a small business? I just started selling soap in january and so far the most I have sold via etsy is $131 in one month. I’m not sure where I fit in this new bill.

    • Anne-Marie says:

      You do not currently have to register. This is not a current bill. It is no where close to being law. It is only an update to potential legislation out there. =) If anything changes, I promise to make sure everyone knows about it well in advance. =)

  7. Alissa says:

    Up here in Canada, we have to register every product that we make available to the public with Health Canada. It’s a simple PDF and is free to file, but must be done within 10 days of being made available for sale, this goes for any product that is to be put on the skin including soap as it is considered a cosmetic in this country.

    I think this is a good thing, as when you register your product you must include all of your ingredients in the formula section (only general ratios ex: coconut oil more than 30% less than 50%) and if anything (allergic reaction, etc) should surface they know where the product came from and what was in it.

    This is not required for every batch, just every formula that goes into production.

    http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/cps-spc/cosmet-person/indust/index-eng.php

    Here’s is a link to the health Canada personal care regulation site.

  8. Lisa Martin says:

    Putting a phone# on our label and more paper work is a small matter compared to registering our facility. I can only imagine it’s going to cost money to register! Next it will give them a foot in our door to come in and inspect too. Anne Marie I’m so glad you are able to articulate what it will mean to us as small business and that it is more about expanding regulations.

  9. Update: this bill died in committee. source: https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4395
    Thanks goodness.

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