Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Swivel Sweeper

Swivel Sweeper - $39.99 regular price

If you have kids, pets, or hardwood floors this is a must have product for you! I picked this up at RiteAid for $39.99 although I could have probably gotten it cheaper online. And just before I returned it (impulse buy) I decided to try it out first. Guess what! I kept it because it actually did the job! I sure could have used this gadget when I was pregnant with my boys!! I am a stickler when it comes to my floors (laminate and carpet). I hate walking on crumbs. I also have 2 messy birds to clean up after. With the Swivel Sweeper I can sweep my whole house in less than 5 minutes WITHOUT BENDING OVER! No more dust pan for me! This product has 4 rotating brushes so it picks up crumbs from the front, back and both sides. The swivel action feels great as it glides along the floor. You can reach under tables, chairs, around rugs and in all those trouble areas. It does NOT have suction, it's just a sweeper, however, it does work on carpet if you are careful and hold the sweeper up so that the brushes skim the top of the carpet. Works great for my bathroom rugs that normally get covered in hair clippings and become tangled in the regular vacuum cleaner when I try to vacuum. This sweeper can get around the toilet and in other places that are normally hard to reach. I would definitely recommend this product. Battery has a long last and recharges so you don't have to plug it in. It is light weight too so I've already started my 2 year old in training!

FlexTune iphone Portable Speaker System

Okay - I'm a shoppaholic! I've been thinking of blogging about my favorite products for a long time now. Here is my first product entry:

Macally - Flextune Portable Speaker system for iPod, iPhone.

I'm a techy - as my blogname refers to. I absolutely LOVE my iPhone 3GS! I found this great product, the Macally Flextune at Fry's Electronics on sale for $42.95 from $69.99. Although it is not meant for the iPhone so far my iPhone works just great! An error message comes up on the screen that asks you if you want to put the phone in airplane mode - when I click no - the speakers still work just fine.

This unit is compact and lightweight. The speakers slide together for easy travel or storage. When you slide them apart it opens to create a great docking port for your iPod or iPhone. Plug it in either horizontally and vertically! I have a cover on my iPhone so if I want to plug it in horizontally (to watch downloaded movies and such) I'd have to remove the case but this is a great feature! Like a mini portable movie player! I cannot wait to take this on our first family trip. My kids listen to music or white noise while they sleep and now they can watch movies too!

Another great feature I found is that it actually charges my iPhone when it is plugged in as many other portable speakers systems I've found do NOT charge it when it's plugged in.

The sound quality is quite good considering how small and inexpensive it is. Perfect for an office, a small bedroom or on a camping trip. It can use an AC power adapter or 4 "AA" batteries. Haven't tried it with batteries yet so I don't know how long they last.

This product also comes with a remote control. And it actually works with the iphone! Fastforward, reverse, pause, play and volume controls all work with this tiny remote control.

This is a great accessory for your iPod or iPhone!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Okay, maybe I'm a bit crazy but I cannot just sit around and wait to see what happens with this mess. So I'm setting up a website which should launch tonight Please visit it often. I am hoping to compile everything I've read about HR4040 so that everyone will know what is going on. I am also working to find an attorney to help me draft a petition. If any of you out there is an attorney and is willing to do it pro-bono please contact me at My husband and I will hopefully post an online petition for people to sign so we can get this to congress ASAP! Until we launch the site tonight please read my additional posts here for more information. Including a letter that was drafted by some nice and very articulate women on Etsy for you to customize and send to your political officials. I URGE you to copy this letter and send it to everyone you know, family, friends, news stations, your governor and other officials that may fight for our businesses!

Don't let this flawed Act kill small business!!!

Sign our Petition NOW! Online petition - Reform CPSIA HR4040

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

CPSIA Change Letter

Dear (Recipient Name Here):
I am writing to ask your immediate help to deal with an urgent problem relating to the recently enacted Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) (PL 110-787).

The CPSIA legislation was an important contribution in efforts to strengthen product safety laws to make sure only safe and compliant products are sold to our nation's children. While well-intentioned, this legislation contains several provisions that impose new and burdensome requirements that increase costs at a time of economic upheaval but do not offer any improvement in the safety of children's products, including toys, clothing, and footwear. If left unchanged, such requirements, especially considering this dire economic environment, will have a disastrous impact on many companies.

I am writing on behalf of my self & other small manufacturers of children’s apparel & textile products throughout the United States to express our concerns regarding the lead & lead in paint standards as mandated by the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA).

We want to first emphasize that many of us are parents ourselves & care as much about the safety of our children as anyone. We welcome measures that will help to ensure greater child safety with regard to lead. I can assure you that these comments share the support of many others who, like me, want to continue providing necessary & safe products to American consumers. However, such measures are only effective if they target the real risks.

The August 14, 2008 legislation included a new ban on lead in children's products (no more than 600 parts per million (ppm) by weight of any part of the product). According to the CPSIA, the new lead requirements take effect beginning February 10, 2009. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has determined that this new requirement will apply to goods in inventory, as well as goods made on or after that effective date. This ruling effectively makes this new lead requirement retroactive. This means that product that produced several months ago, & which is safe & legally compliant today, will not be able to be sold on February 10. This seems unfair, as it means we are being held responsible for a standard that didn't even exist when those goods were made. Moreover, it will be extremely difficult - & in some cases impossible - to retroactively certify that individual goods already in the warehouses & on the store shelves meet the new lead standard. In short, the ruling puts at risk millions of dollars of inventory.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has so far failed to provide significant guidance or issue regulations on how the new lead rules should apply to children’s products, even those that are inherently lead free. While the CPSC recently released four proposed rulemakings addressing testing exemptions for products & materials that are lead free, these rulemakings do not go nearly far enough. As February 10 quickly approaches, guidance has thus far been provided in a piecemeal approach while the CPSC wades through a backlog of information requests & juggles multiple new rule makings with limited resources. Because of the incomplete guidance, companies are being forced to undertake duplicative testing of components or to test elements of children’s products that are either inaccessible or that are inherently lead free. While testing forms an important validation, these conflicting & burdensome requirements - especially for products & components that are inherently lead free – do not advance children's safety. In fact, the current system, if left unfixed, undermines our public safety system by shifting focus away from risky products.

What happens to us will effect the U.S. Economy

Based on 2002 U.S. Census data, which is the most current available for the apparel manufacturing industry, the Cut & Sew Apparel Manufacturing industry, which includes most categories of small manufacturers of infant’s & children’s apparel, is comprised of more than 40,000 companies. Of these, almost 28,000, or 68%, are sole proprietors contributing a total of $900 million to our nation’s economy. Thus, while our businesses are small, they comprise well more than the majority of the apparel manufacturing businesses currently operating in this country.

By exempting this rulemaking from the requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act & the Regulatory Flexibility Act, which would require the CPSC to prepare & make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the lead content testing rule on small apparel manufacturing businesses, Congress has circumvented the public discourse necessary to truly ascertain the CPSIA’s impact on small business. As written, the CPSIA ignores the wide variety of small business models that comprise the children’s apparel manufacturing industry & the fact that the majority are indeed small businesses.

Lead in children’s apparel & other textile products pose little risk

There is very little research to support the notion that lead in textiles presents a significant risk to children. On the contrary, Mr. Hardy Poole’s presentation to the May 13, 2008 Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) roundtable, he makes the argument that the lead content in textiles is actually very low. Mr. Poole, president of the National Textile Association, is considered a leading expert in the textile industry with than 30 years of experience including working with the CPSC on fabric flammability standards. Mr. Poole cited dyes, dyestuffs & pigments used in coloring fabrics as the primary source of lead in textiles & pointed out that the dyes produced by the major suppliers to the U.S. textile industry are already required to comply with the standards for trace metal impurities.

Without prudent regulation & clear guidance from the CPSC, the CPSIA will result in unintended & devastating consequences to manufacturers of children’s products that pose little to no risk of lead exposure to children.

The costs of unnecessary testing & its impact on our businesses:

Requiring expensive tests on inherently lead-free products to verify that they, in fact, don’t contain lead will only add financial burdens to small manufacturers & ultimately consumers – most of whom are already suffering from the current economic climate – while providing no improvement in consumer or product safety.

We recognize that some types of children’s apparel contain components that may contain lead. However, metal, painted plastic, & vinyl components in children’s apparel (painted &/or metal buttons, snaps, zippers, decals, etc.) are adequately regulated under the requirements for third party testing for lead in paint.

The CPSC has the authority to exclude components & classes of products from the lead ban. Accordingly, we urge the CPSC to issue guidance that makes clear that textiles & apparel are only subject to the lead & lead in paint requirements to the extent that a component presents a risk that it contains lead.

We are also concerned about the apparent requirement to test the component – both as a stand alone component & also as an element of the entire garment. This redundancy greatly multiplies the cost associated with testing.

For example, the cost of digestive testing for lead is in the range of $130 to $180 per test. A garment with two metal component parts, such as a zipper & snaps, would have to test each component separately at a cost of $360. Previously, a small manufacturer might have been spread these costs out over several styles by incorporating the same zippers & snaps into several styles. If a manufacturer produces 10 styles the new regulations require testing of each component part after it is removed from a sample garment, one in each style, increasing the costs to $3,600.

These costs multiply exponentially if companies are now required to test fabrics & threads for lead, or if different dyes also trigger their own lead tests. Going back to the previous example, if each style contains six components – body fabric, lining, knit cuff, thread, snap, & zipper, as well as 5 possible dye options – the number of tests increases to more than 300, or $108,000 to for just 10 styles in addition to the actual costs of production. Any small manufacturer that survives these costs – & there aren’t many of us that can – will necessarily have to pass them on to our customers. So, consumers end up on the losing end, too.

Many of us operate on extremely small margins. We cannot sell the merchandise we currently have in stock that we made prior to the standards ever having been approved, nor can we afford the testing required for each & every component of a finished product on top of the cost for testing the finished product – the vast majority of which are inherently lead-free or only present trace levels of lead, well below unsafe or regulatory limits. Requiring us to dispose of all our inventory & imposing huge testing costs on producing new inventory to replace it will force many of us to shut down our operations for good.

We urge the CPSC to issue guidance that makes clear that textiles & apparel are only subject to the lead & lead in paint requirements to the extent that a component presents a risk that it contains lead.

I respectfully request your help ensuring that the CPSC institute rulemaking to clearly define the scope and applicability of the new lead regulations and testing requirements for apparel and footwear products. I also urge that CPSC announce and implement an orderly enforcement schedule that focuses initial phases on education of these new requirements. Finally, I believe the decision by the CPSC to apply the lead ban retroactively needs to be reconsidered as soon as possible since the practical impact of this decision, in today's economic environment, will have an adverse effect at a time the government is spending billions to stimulate the economy.

(Your Name Here)

D day for my Wonderful Business!!

Could CPSIA mark the D day for Baby Sprout Naturals and my wonderful new Wuggli I so lovingly made to sell for babies? I sure hope not. I pray and pray and pray that this law will be changed before our lives are changed FOREVER!!!

The SHORT version:
Bush passed a law in August 2008 called the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA). It requires the testing of all products for children 12 years and younger for lead and phylates. All products must be certified - each batch separately tested and certified. Everything baby or child related, from toys to clothing to furniture has to be certified. And this law is retroactive meaning everything produced before the law must comply by (GET THIS) February 10th 2009!!!! It's ridiculous because much of the product - like fabric - already meets government standards for lead and dyes used. This law requires additional testing of manufactured products even if there is no chance that the product contains these chemicals. So I am currently trying to get certification letters from all of my vendors. Hopefully these certifications will cover my current inventory. If not - I'm bankrupt.

This is an outrage. This is as bad or worse than the Mortgage Nightmare or the Car Industry Nightmare. This will effect thousands of retailers nationwide and will put most small businesses out of business. All mom's making home made products will no longer be allowed to. My 100% Organic baby lovey (Wuggli) will never be sold if I have to send hundreds of dollars on testing when the fabric itself is alreay safe! It is so much an outrage because the law has circumvented prior laws that would help protect retailers or manufacturers like this. Prior law required that the CPSC prepare & make available for public comment an initial regulatory flexibility analysis that describes the impact of the lead content testing rule on small apparel manufacturing businesses, Congress has circumvented the public discourse necessary to truly ascertain the CPSIA's impact on small business. As written, the CPSIA ignores the wide variety of small business models that comprise the children's apparel manufacturing industry & the fact that the majority are indeed small businesses.

I need your help. I found several blogs regarding this issue. (See attached Word Document)I have compiled a letter, from letters I found that were meticulously drafted with educated information regarding the impact of this law,and sent it to Dan Lungren, Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, but I want to do more. I want to get this story to the Press, to all News Stations (locally at least), to the Governor if possible and even to Obama if at all possible. So many professional vendors are only just now realizing that this law affects them too. I think that's why there hasn't been much talk about it. It is an outrage and it is going to kill the already spiraling economy.

If you have any way to find out EXACTLY who to contact regarding this mess I would really appreciate it. If you know any politicians PLEASE send them this information or let me know who they are and I will. I want EVERYONE I can to find out about this. We must stop this before it puts thousands of hard working mom's and toy makers out of business!!!! See my next article for a very well written letter you may copy and send to whomever you think can stop this ridiculously flawed act! Send it to news stations, newspapers, politicians, friends, family. Get this in front of our new President, Obama. Maybe he will support us and help save our businesses!

My business started out of my passion for change, for improvement and for children. If my business dies, a part of me will die along with it.

Dawn LaPolla
Current and Hopefull Owner of Baby Sprout Naturals.
"Saving the baby product industry, one letter at a time!"

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The biz is busy!

Well, I haven't written for quite a while since I have been working on my new business venture Baby Sprout Naturals ( When Alex was about 3 months old I started learning about cloth diapering and I became HOOKED! We switched him to cloth diapers at 4 months of age and he is almost 13 month old now.

So I've started on my new mission, to sell natural baby product like cloth diapers, organic clothing and other items that are non-toxic and earth friendly. There are so many children with diseases these days that I personally feel are preventable, such as, allergies, asthma and even autism!! Our society and all the manufacturing companies have lost site of what their products can do to harm our environment and us!

We need to be much more critical in the selection of products we choose to buy on a day to day basis. Pesticides, unnatural and man made chemicals, even vaccinations should be looked at closely and with a critical eye. Should we be using these things? In the long run, will they cause us more harm?

I hope my business does well. It is my dream and I hope it comes true. Right now Nick and I are business trying to market the e-store and hopefully within a year it will really be rolling. Then someday I can open a storefront. That would be amazing!! But it may be too late by then if Wally mart and Targ et start carring better products. Whow to the small businessman who sits in the shadows of the large conglomerates!