Yes, everyone has a testing reprieve through February 2010 but all children’s products makers are required to comply with the August labeling requirement even for batches of one item. You must have a sew in label listing specific information on your product by August 14, 2009.
I’m continuing to wade through material for a set of articles on how to comply with the CPSIA labeling requirements that should have been done by now. Part of the hold up is sourcing labels that people can print themselves for the tracking by batch component. Some vendors are really expensive, charging over $4 a sheet (25 sheet minimum). Eeek! I found one vendor who sells for considerably less but they have a one case minimum. One case has about 50,000 1″ x 2.2″ labels. The nice thing is these are perforated.
Unfortunately, it seems the only way I can make this work for the smallest of producers is if I buy the labels and sell it by the sheet. But I’d have to charge $1-$1.50 a sheet (@40 labels) with a ten sheet minimum otherwise it’s too much hassle (it’s still a hassle even with a ten sheet minimum). There’s four different kinds of labels. I’m thinking most people would want the softest labels for kid’s clothing and those labels are costlier. The inexpensive kind are those pellon type labels most often used for care and wash instructions. The latter could be used on utility items that won’t actually be touching the child (bibs, plush toys, slings etc). The problem for the smallest producers using the perforated labels is setting up the label fields and in any event, you can’t feed a partially used sheet into a printer without some waste. It may be that they will need to print even quantities of labels and use an indelible marking pen to hand write in the batch number (in the case of single units).
I’ve also been working on DIY labeling solutions with off the shelf components but wash testing results are not consistent; the label is useless if a consumer can’t read it after the item is washed. There’s a fixative compound one can buy to apply to the fabric for ink jet printers (that I haven’t tried) but that’s over $7 a bottle and requires total immersion and who knows how far it goes or even what chemicals are in it. Worse, if done on fabric, all outside edges must be finished or the label will fray off. That’s why I’m looking at a traditional garment industry supplier for these consumables. By the way, the garmento labels are designed for laser printers. I have samples coming which I could test on the ink jet I have at home but who knows what the status of that will be.
The last hassle of it all is having to flog it so I don’t get stuck with a bunch of blank labels I’ll never use. It’s not as though I’m set up to sell a myriad of components where it’s up front in people’s minds. Or should I just let it go and let people worry about their own solution?