Product Labeling Change: Physical Address Petition Filed

Earlier this year, the HSMG (Handcrafted Soapmakers Guild) filed a Citizen Petition with the FDA to allow the change of the current regulation that requires a street address on cosmetic products, to be changed to allow a PO Box as the place of business on a cosmetic label.  Their argument focused on the personal risk associated with putting a home address on the label and the fact that a PO Box should be sufficient. I strongly urge all of you to comment with a clear, concise, short and professional note to the FDA why this change should be made.  You can comment on this petition here.

PO Boxes are sufficient [Read more…]

California Regulation – Comment Period Open

The bulk of the text for blog post is from Professional Beauty Association

On July 27, 2012 the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) issued newly revised proposed regulations under its legislative mandate to provide for Safer Consumer Products through the use of “Green Chemistry” to replace chemicals of concern.  The chemicals of concern (COC) will be based on and include lists prepared by numerous domestic and international bodies that identify both existing and possible chemicals of concern.

Bottom line from Anne-Marie: The financial ramifications of this law have not been determined (see official notice re: determination of financial impacts here). It is unknown what the impact to small business will be. We would urge caution adopting the legislation into law without a full financial overview so the true impact of the legislation is known. You can comment on this until Thursday, October 11  (address and email below). My official comment will be sweet and to the point:

Ms. Von Burg,

I am writing to express concern regarding the newly revised proposed Safer Consumer Product regulations. Specifically, I am concerned about the impact to small business. The fiscal considerations for the proposed changes have not yet been tabulated. For the sake of businesses of all size, but especially small business, please be cautious in adopting regulation where the financial ramification on business is unclear.


Anne-Marie Faiola

Questionable Fiscal Reprecussions [Read more…]

From Washington to Washington

Wow, has it been a busy last 4 days. In the last 4 days, I’ve flown to Washington DC and back, made halvah from scratch and a from-scratch halvah cheesecake (yes, recipes will be posted! Until then, you can feast your eyes on this photo), spent a day with my family and participated in the annual Mastermind Business retreat. I am energized and tired, all at the same time!


Washington DC was an efficient, productive trip. Though there are no cosmetic-legislation bills that have made it out of committee this legislative session, it’s important to continue educating lawmakers and their staff on our handcrafted industry and urge small business exemptions for any future legislation. Lawmakers were receptive to the message that small business does not function like a large, mass-scale-production line and that it’s important to preserve over 200,000 jobs in the U.S. by including small business exemptions in any upcoming legislation. New to this issue? Lots of historical information at these blog posts here (going back over 4 years!). [Read more…]

Etsy Updates Policies on Cosmetics Making Claims

The Soap Queen Lab by SoapQueenLab on Etsy 2012-08-23 13-55-49

Etsy recently updated their policy on a variety of products that many Soap Queen readers and Bramble Berry customers make: products to help with acne (usually containing Tea Tree Essential Oil), anti-wrinkle creams and serums (often containing luscious ingredients like Tamanu Oil or Seabuckthorn Extract), diaper rash creams (often containing zinc oxide) and anything making anti-itch statements (often with additives like calamine or calendula-infused oils). This move has caused some confusion and frustration in the Etsy marketplace. Bottom line: follow the current, existing FDA guidelines for labeling cosmetics and you will be in compliance with Etsy’s new policy.

For the long post details, including actual languaging from FDA Warning Letters, links to the FDA site, statements from Etsy on the issue, continue reading by clicking “more”. [Read more…]

Business Insurance for the Handcrafted Industry

You have home owners insurance. You have car insurance. Should you get business liability insurance? Having business liability insurance is not mandated by law. If you wish to run a craft business without insurance, there is no governing agency that will force you to buy insurance. Your bank, should you ever get a loan, will ask you for insurance (they’d like to ensure they get repaid on their loans no matter what happens with your business). Buying insurance is a prudent choice to protect your family’s assets should anything go wrong in your handcrafted soap and toiletry business.

We live in a litigious society. People can sue or claim damages for anything and everything. If someone slips in the shower using your salt scrub, they could claim it was the fault of your scrub. If someone uses your soap and decides that the rash they developed the next day was from your soap, they can claim damages. They might not win a possible lawsuit but dealing with the issue would take valuable time away from you and your business. Additionally, any legal fees could be costly and put you and your family assets at risk. Finally, if your house were to (knock on wood, throw salt over your shoulder, turn around 3 times) burn or have fire damage, your business property might not be covered under your home owners insurance. [Read more…]

The NEW Starbucks Red Dye: Tomatoes Instead of Bugs

I’m sure you’ve heard the buzz about Starbucks serving up bugs in their beverages? I kid you not coffee drinkers. Because of the highly-publicized customer response, Starbucks changed their ingredients. Apparently it really “bugged” their customers (sorry about the bad pun, I couldn’t help that one). Not only is Starbucks a home-grown company (whoop whoop, Seattle!),  I admire Howard Shultz (read why in this great Fortune magazine article about him) and his latest venture: Create Jobs for USA. In this case, I respect how Starbucks listened to customers and changed the way they were doing things in a quick and efficient manner, showing that they really do care about the ‘little guys’. Hemi, over at Fooducate Blog, shared Starbuck’s response to the controversy. They were kind enough to let us share the blog post with our readers. I’m especially paying close attention to how Starbucks put the customers first and how that can apply to my business (and hopefully yours!). Thanks, Hemi! See original blog post here. ~Anne-Marie

In one of the quickest turnarounds we’ve seen in the food industry, Starbucks has just announced that it will be removing the red bug coloring from its Strawberry Frappucino and other red foods. A few weeks ago, a vegan Starbucks barista shared his discovery of carmine with vegetarian blogs, and the news went viral. Heck, even our post about it (with a close up picture of the red bugs) went viral. [Read more…]

Legislation Update


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. [Read more…]