Small Businesses Need Love Too

Creative entrepreneur Jamila of the awesome little-bella product line j. blossom contacted me today about an issue that directly affects her, as well as so many of the up-and-coming beauty product businesses I love.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration is trying to draft a law that would have every handmade cosmetic product treated basically in the same way that a drug like Tylenol is. That would mean that all of the body butters, hair conditioners, lip balms, and shower gels produced by up and coming businesses would have to get approved by the FDA before they can be sold. To do that, these companies would have to purchase licensing and registration fees, which can cost up to $12,000. For a brand like Motions or SoftSheen Carson, that’s chump change. For a bella who makes her own shea butter hair milk in a lobster pot on her stove, that’s enough to put you out of business and put your bill paying abilities on the line. I don’t think that’s cool at all.

As Jamila pointed out, “many cosmetics companies that are “big” today — Carol’s Daughter, Burt’s Bees, and Estee Lauder — pretty much started at someone’s kitchen table.” So if this legislation existed way back when Lisa Price was mixing up Marguerite’s Magic at her crib, she probably would have had to shelve her Carol’s Daughter dreams. And then where would product junkes like you and me be?

The Indie Business Blog has a petition to stop the FDA globalization act of 2008, complete with a YouTube video that breaks the whole issue down. If you want to understand the issue even more, click here to read the government’s discussion draft.

If you love up and coming beauty businesses too, click here to sign and support the cause — these entrepreneurs need to get 2,500 signatures before 9 a.m. Eastern time on Tuesday, August 5. That’s tomorrow morning, and Jamila and IBN’s president Donna Maria Coles Johnson, plan to essentially having a “five-woman March on Washington” to present their cause.

Go ‘head, Jamila! I admire entrepreneurs with initative, and you have my complete support.

Oh, and bellas? If you’ve been looking for a beautiful gift for the little bella in your life, check out j.blossom’s new ballerina doll gift set~ $49, and you get a beautiful ballerina doll, and 3 special beauty products all with images that your little one can identify with. Adorable!!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Comments

  1. Thank you for posting this, I had no idea. I have forwarded this on. I think this is not only ridiculous but quite scary. My husband & I are always talking about the FDA wanting to do the same for growing herbs and food in our own back yard. Where is the limit!!!

  2. really! i just forwarded this to every one of my friends. i make my own lip balm, which i’ve so far been selling it here and there every time i need some extra pocket change, but plan to take the next step into the worldwide web. i really would need to start playing the lottery everyday! but, also, can you imagine the possible consequences if you did decide to just go ahead and sell under the table anyway but got caught?! scary! i can understand the whole quality control thing, but still. there needs to be another way, especially for smaller businesses that don’t make huge profits.

  3. Wow. That’s crazy. The gov’t is always trying to ruin everything! I’m def signing the petition.

  4. Thanks for the heads up! I signed the petition. I need my Oyin. This is ridiculous.

  5. Ugh, the nerve. Some of the stuff the FDA has actually approved makes me question the whole damn organization! I support what all of you self-made ladies are trying to do so I have signed the petition.

    Some of the best products I’ve used on myself and my little girls were made in someone’s kitchen and sold online.

  6. How ludicrous! I am from the UK but still feel this is a damn shame! The rich are getting richer and the not so rich are not given the chance to build themselves up without the govt./ taxman trying to cut ur money! It’s the same in all the so called developed countries. God help us!

  7. I’m in the course of starting a cosmetics business. Although this legislation can seem discouraging, I think the issues are much more complex.

    1) It will shift small cosmetics businesses away from home manufacture to contract manufacturers. If you read the bill, it says that any facility that manufactures, packs or holds cosmetics will have to register annually for $2000 and importers of cosmetics will register annually for $10000. If you own your own company, you can get around this by using a contract manufacturer, which is something you’d have to do anyway as the volume of your business grows.

    Furthermore, more companies are using what is called “drop shipping”, where the product goes directly from the manufacturer to the retailer or shipper and you no longer have to label and ship the product yourself. In this sense, the government is ahead of the trend

    2) Don’t forget that small businesses are already subject to existing laws that limit the claims that you can make about the clinical effectiveness of any product. This goes beyond making false claims about whether your product works. You aren’t allowed to say that XYZ ingredient has a particular effect unless you have run registered clinical trials. So any small business will already have an uphill battle to demonstrate that their product deserves to be on the market. If anything, paying for this registration creates a seal of approval that can differentiate your small business from the guy selling oils on the corner.

    3) How many times have we bought products that don’t work or irritate our skin or have harmful or unlabeled ingredients? Considering how much money we spend on hair and skin care looking for a miracle, this might actually protect us.

    4) You can include this registration cost in your business plan when applying for small business grants and loans. There are lots of these available for small businesses owned by ethnic minorities and women. You have a business plan, right? :)

  8. Mrs.Mckinzie says:

    This is so wack.Uncle Sam always need his cut of the paper.I’m going to sign the petition right now.

  9. Noshua,
    it’s great to hear from someone with a different perspective on the issue. I will admit, I read the petition, watched the YouTube video, but didn’t fully read the draft itself. Nevertheless, there obviously are quite a few small business owners who fear the FDA getting their fingers in the pie. I’m going to educate myself some more on this issue before I chime in again.

  10. 2bnatural says:

    The FDA is in no way trying to protect us from harmful ingredients. If that was the case half the hair products in the store, containing proven carcinogenic agents, would not be there. So registration with them is no real seal of safety in my opinion.

    Also everyone does not make enough product to use a contract manufacturer yet or they may want to keep it a smaller family oriented enterprise. But having to pay $2,000 or $10000 in certain circumstances is definitely jumping the gun for some of these businesses.

    Yes, grants and loans do exist but the majority of small businesses will not qualify/receive one especially during a recession. And we will be right back where we started.

    This is about big business being scared of thousands of small businesses with better products getting their customers. And the best way to get rid of this competition is to cripple the fledgling and small businesses financially before they can get a stronger foothold in the so-called free market.

  11. Thanks for posting this Afrobella. I am a HUGE J. Blossom fan. I love the products.

  12. edessedesigns says:

    Given that I am a small business owner, I should be outraged, but I am not. Do you know how many potential lawsuits could be had if some of the stuff you mix up at home turns out to be less than suitable?

    All of the other big box companies have to do the same so why shouldn’t smaller businesses? I don’t see the evil in this.

  13. warrior11209 says:

    I signed the petition – this is ridiculous!!!!!!

  14. I missed the petition deadline. Dang! I support small business so much. You know, the FDA has bigger fish to fry w/all these large companies engaging in poisoning the unsuspecting on the regular. This will effectively level small business.

    If they are going to pull this, then they need to lower the licensing fees for small business owners. Period. I understand the FDA has a job to do, but the financial costs are too high.

    http://realsimpleliving.wordpress.com/

  15. Afrobella — THANK YOU for spreading the word about this important issue, and for your continued support of j.blossom’s mission!!

    Clarification for Nashua (who sounds awfully like a lobbyist or PR person for the companies who support this legislation) — using a contract manufacturer would *not* exempt you from the fees. This is one of the questions I raised directly with the legislative aide who is writing the draft of this legislation when we met *in person* on Capitol Hill last month. The current language in the proposed law is for “manufacturers, packers, holders AND DISTRIBUTORS” — meaning that anyone who SELLS OR DISTRIBUTES any cosmetic product — hair salons, corner stores, independent Avon and Warm Spirit sales reps — would be subject to the fees *in addition to* the company who actually manufactured the product, and any middlemen — wholesalers, distributors, warehousers, etc. would pay the fees as well.

    Let me give you an additional scenario that I asked about during our meetings on Capitol Hill…

    Let’s say I want to make and sell shea butter lotion. For that privilege, I pay $12,000 per year. Let’s say I need to get the shea butter from an importer – she pays her $12,000 a year (shea butter has to be imported because the karite tree that it comes from does not grow in the U.S.). And I need to get the essential oils and fragrance oils from Acme Botannicals — they pay their $12,000 a year, because many essential oils also come from plants grown on foreign soil. Then I sell my lotion wholesale to a Black hair salon, who has paid $2,000 to be able to sell shampoo and conditioner and other hair/skin products to their customers… How much do you think one small bottle of lotion will cost you, the consumer, after all of those fees being added down the entire supply chain??

    I used this exact example when I asked the legislative aide about the intent of the language in the proposed law, just to be sure I understood him. He said this would be the correct scenario.

    If this sounds crazy, it’s because it IS crazy!

    Did you know that most small businesses, whether cosmetics or not, are NOT funded by grants or small business loans? So your point about “just put the cost into the business plan” is rather ridiculous. (And once against makes me suspect you are a lobbyist, or at best someone who is incredibly naive about starting a business.) As a 13-year full time entrepreneur who has successfully started and run *three* different companies, every last one of them was funded primarily by ME. The first biz I also borrowed money from family and friends.

    And by the way, on your point about “protecting” consumers from unsafe products: First, anyone who makes cosmetics is *already* regulated by the FDA and must comply with their current safety standards and labeling requirements. Second, the proposed FDA Globalization Act of 2008 does not have one SINGLE new safety standard for cosmetics listed anywhere in the whole Act. If passed, this law would do NOTHING to protect consumers from any cosmetics products that are unsafe. All it is is fees and paperwork.

    Here’s the real deal: Consumers are now demanding products that are more authentic and more natural. Small, innovative companies have dominated the natural and niche markets for decades. It used to be “small potatoes” in these niches — not much money to be made and natural products were very hard to find a decade ago — but as we all know, Natural products are now mainstream. The big companies haven’t been successful in introducing natural products on the market but they want a piece of this HUGE marketplace $$$ (Burt’s Bees is now owned by Clorox!). So who does it benefit to knock all the small companies out of the running? The big companies.

    Do not be fooled. This is all about money and corporate greed.

    Folks, if you care about this issue — and I hope you do — I urge you to contact your Congressional representatives TODAY (http://www.house.gov and http://www.senate.gov) and let them know you OPPOSE the FDA Globalization Act of 2008, that you support small businesses, and that as a consumer you want the freedom to *choose* products other than what’s on the shelves at Wal-Mart.

    THANK YOU!!

    Jamila White
    Chief Joy Officer
    j.blossom and co.
    http://www.jblossom.com

  16. Ah, Jamila, I have been reading about the 2008 G-Act; how it will affect herbalists,new cosmetics start ups and small businesses.

    I make my home remedies and products; my friends urge me to sell them and I’ve been mulling it over for several months, but I hesitated after finding notices posted about the G-Act of 2008, because if this passes, why bother?

    I’m a single mom, college student, working woman and to do this part time on my stove top is how my business would begin. I cannot afford to pay a 2000.00 fee. My kitchen is a place to use for play and work and dinner. Don’t know if I can keep it lab perfect. I’m looking at the side business as a way to supplement my income by creative processes; something I enjoy. The fees and regulations going through would stop me in my tracks before even getting started!

    Thank you for being the voice of reason. I search all over the web and read all the blogs about this, but where do we stand now? Does anybody know just exactly when we will know if this will come to pass? Is today, Nov.4, 2008 the day it is all to be decided? Through whose vote? Has the government listened to You Fine Women who went there??

    Thanks, sorry so long winded, but really, really worried! Blessings,Kate =^,^=

  17. I see the benefit of being FDA approved. Remember that perm that was supposed to be so mild you could eat it? Damaged countless women’s and children’s hair because its claims could not be proven. The smart entrepreneur should build the licensing costs into the amount he/she is asking for funding. A lot of times, we think government regulations are just out to stop the “little guy” from competing with the big guns but it’s often for the consumer’s protection. All it takes is for one unscrupulous company to put out an unsafe product for the government to step in.

  18. Keep it simple and don’t try to spread your investments in too many different areas. Trading too often can cost you fees or you may lose because you aren’t
    there when the long term profits pay off. Day trading is too
    risky, so always do your homework and invest in things that have stood the
    test of time and are reputable.
    __________________________________________________________________________

    My Blog secret stock picks

  19. In order to find the most popular Christmas gifts for 2010,
    it may bee necessary to do some research to find outt what is going over well with the younger sset this year.

    If you are looking for Christmas stocking stuffers for the special ladies in your life
    - may it be your wife, a daughter, a sister or
    your mother, here are some ideas to help you get started.
    Keep in mind that you do not need to stick to the customary run of
    the mill Christmas presents with so many options.

Speak Your Mind

*