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.
Kelly Ann Taylor says
“Some aspire to be the next Aveda (annual sales over $100 million)…Yes, Aveda and Burt’s Bees started in their kitchens before growing….”
Oh yes, thank you for being a voice in this for us. We are so appreciative, Anne-Marie!
Hugs from Texas!
And thank YOU for your business; all of your support enables us to help keep an eye on the situation =) It’s a win-win!
Andrea Cranford says
I feel well-represented by your testimony. It’s good to have suppliers like you and Debbie May to speak for small soapmaking businesses!
Thanks! We love our industry and know that lawmakers wouldn’t intentionally want to put 200,000 small women owned business out of business so we’re hopeful for exemptions and small business considerations.
Thank you for looking out for us. It’s just one of the many reasons we love Bramble Berry!
I wonder who is really behind this bill and how hard our elected officials are being lobbied to pass this.
That’s a good question – and it could be just a desire to update the cosmetic regulations (they did food last year). I’m curious about that question as well but ultimately, it ends up being the same end result for us: we need a small business exemption to help foster small business innovation and job creation all over the nation.
$500.00 to register the first year and registration will lead to inspections of facility and by facility I don’t think that working out of your kitchen will meet the new standards – I see a lot of people going out of business when this bill is passed.
Just keeping up with the paperwork sounds like a full time job. Not worth it to me!
I agree; $500 is high for a home based business and the paperwork would not improve safety but instead, would tie small business up in red tape.
Interestingly enough, out of 13,000+ bills that are introduced yearly, only 2.5% of them are ever passed.
So, while I am on high alert re: this legislation and any developments, the chances of it passes, as is, are slim.
That said, I want a small business exemption written into the bill for sure!
Thanks for submitting your testimony for all the small businesses out there! It is very important to keep the American Dream alive and your letter makes some great points!
After all, who knows where the next Proctor & Gamble will come from? They were, after all, soapmakers to start with!
Thank you for all that you are doing Anne-Marie.. we appreciate it 🙂
Thank you Anne-Marie for the important work that you, Debbie May, and others in our community are doing to protect our livelihoods!
Debbie did great on camera. You should watch if you get the chance =)
Nicole Thompson says
Tried listening to Debbie May’s presentation… alas, she did not speak into the mic. Thankfully I was able to READ her presentation, and I thought it was great. I believe all the presentations (written and oral) from the indie cosmetic industry seem to have underscored some of the same vital points, including the unnecessary and unproductive burden on small business.
We pray for good, sensible decisions to be made…
Debbie did a fantastic job. I was moved by her testimony of how soap saved her family from foreclosure. Yes, it’s nice that there is an option to read the testimony for sure!
The bill isn’t out of committee yet. There is a chance it won’t go anywhere this year. So, we’re just watching it and advocating strongly for small business exemptions and considerations.
Thank you Anne Marie for being one of the voices speaking for us!