Yesterday, the subcommittee on Health (Energy and Commerce Committee) held a hearing entitled “Examining the Current State of Cosmetics.” You can watch the archive here. Debbie May from Wholesale Supplies Plus testified on behalf of small business. She did an amazing job (photo of her in hearings is below). The written testimony she gave is here. Bramble Berry submitted written testimony that was included into the official record.
Here is a copy of our testimony:
Testimony before the Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health
For the Hearing Entitled “Examining the Current State of Cosmetics”
March 27, 2012
On behalf of Bramble Berry Inc, a small business serving 60,000 independent makers of soap and toiletry products across the United States, I submit the following testimony to the House Subcommittee on Health for their consideration as they hear “Examining the Current State of Cosmetics.”
Microbusinesses manufacturing handmade cosmetics produce exceptionally safe products. If legislation is considered in upcoming hearings, I strongly urge the Committee to include a small business exemption from crushing paperwork and fees.
Across America people launch small handcrafted beauty businesses in their home kitchens to help support their families and to create and sell a higher quality, more natural beauty product than you can buy at your drug store. Any member who has purchased a gift bar of soap at a holiday fair or bazaar has probably met one of our customers.
These small batch producers use familiar, typically food grade ingredients: sugar, sweet almond oil, olive oil, beeswax, etc. These are safe. These small producers are not in business to create new chemicals but to make safe, high quality products from tried and true ingredients for their friends, family and to sell usually in low volumes in their own communities. They work at very small (and often negative) margins. Many would have to close if faced with added regulatory and fee burdens. Some aspire to be the next Aveda (annual sales over $100 million) or Burt’s Bees (employing over 350 people) but will never have that opportunity if their enterprises are strangled in infancy by regulatory excess.
Yes, Aveda and Burt’s Bees started in their kitchens before growing. They are exactly the kind of innovative business we want to see in all our communities. They and others carry on a long American tradition of home based, or “cottage industries.”
Cosmetic safety is a core value of my business. As the CEO of Bramble Berry Inc., I devote a significant amount of time to ensuring our customers understand and follow current labeling laws, utilize GMP standards and use fully-tested ingredients in their small batch cosmetics.
Please ensure that the American Dream of bootstrapping a business from home remains alive. You never know where the next Mary Kay or Estee Lauder will come from. Keeping small business exemptions in any potential draft legislation is the vital to ensuring thousands of (mostly) women can continue to operate their small businesses.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this matter, so important to many of your constituents.
CEO, Bramble Berry Inc.
A bill associated with this series of hearings has been released. It is entitled: H.R. 4262, “The Cosmetics Safety Enhancement Act of 2012”. You can read a full version of the bill here.