Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Safe Cosmetics Act 2010

In August of 2008 all of us indie bath, beauty and bodycare businesses were in a panic about the FDA Globalization act that was going to put us out of business. I blogged about it then. And for the moment we were saved.

But now comes the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010. And it's got the whole industry in another panic. Much like the earlier proposition, anyone who manufactures and retails soap and beauty products, no matter how big or how small, will have to put their products through expensive and rigorous testing in order to label every single element of every single ingredient in every single product.

Since current technology can literally detect parts per billion through scientific testing, this is going to be a huge undertaking. And it will take its toll on the small, woman-owned, cottage businesses the most. Only the biggest corporate manufacturers will be able pay for that kind of testing.

The intention of this over-reaching legislation is to "protect" people from dangerous ingredients. That sounds great. However, it's not so cut and dried. Natural ingredients are extremely complex, unlike much more simple synthetic ingredients. A plant compound often has so many trace elements in it, that when you break it down into parts per billion, there will be an element that on its own can be found on a carcinogenic or contaminant list. This element, when ingested in extreme amounts by rodent lab animals might cause cancer. But when found in its natural state, in combination with the rest of the elements in that single plant ingredient, might even be anti-carcinogenic, antioxidant, or anti-inflammatory. This new legislation goes so far overboard that many natural product makers will be just give up.

The Campaign for Safe Cosmetics is behind all this, as they were behind the FDA Globalization Act of 2008. They have quite a lot more lobbiest pull than any of us little guys. So we need to work together to petition against this proposal.

This post at Kayla's blog (Essential Wholesale) has infinitely more detailed information about what is being said, what is being done, and how you can help stop this.

And Anne-Marie (Brambleberry) wrote such an excellent, succinct and easy to understand list of reasons why this is going to hurt us, that it's a must read too.

Please sign the petition against it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Bellingham Arts Festival

If you live in Bellingham, you have probably heard about the Chalk Art Festival over the years. You register for a section of downtown sidewalk space, bring your chalk pieces and create your masterpiece for awards and prizes. The last couple of years, they've added art and craft booths to the mix. And this year it's even bigger and better. With a new name, Bellingham Arts Festival, there are now 60 art vendors, plus music and all kinds of activities.

This year the festival will feature:

60 incredible arts and crafts booths
Local food vendors
Terrific live music from local bands on the Main Stage
Chalk Art creations adorning the sidewalks throughout downtown
Horse drawn wagon tours from the Bellingham Senior Activity Center
Beer from Boundary Bay and wine tasting provided by Bellingham Bar and Grill in our ArtBar

When: Saturday, July 31st, 10am to 6pm and Sunday, August 1st, 11am to 5pm

Where: 1200, 1300, and 1400 Blocks of Cornwall Ave in Downtown Bellingham, Washington

Full list of Participating Artists

Chalk Art Festival part is Saturday, 7/31, 10am to 1pm.

Allied Arts Chalk ArtFest from ENW with Deb Slater on Vimeo.

I'll be participating this year in the art festival. My booth of soap goods is in the 1300 block of Cornwall, between Magnolia and Holly Streets. I haven't been to this one before, so I'm looking forward to a new adventure. Hope to see some of Bellingham fans!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Bellevue 6th Street Fair

Whew! The shows are fast and furious this month. I never even got around to announcing the Gig Harbor festival last weekend, but it was a good show. Weather was great - cool mornings and sunny but not hot afternoons. And I guess it's a good thing I didn't post my location either, because it all got shuffled around. Small mix up with the parking signs, and there were cars parked all over the street when everyone arrived to set up. I got moved around to 3 different places before I finally got a spot I could set up shop in. But it all worked out fine and sales were great.

Now this weekend is the whole Bellevue Art Fair hoopla. The museum show is at Bellevue Square. Plus there's the other show across the street in the Cost Plus parking lot. And then there's us - the Sixth Street Fair - which sets up on 106th, a block over. I'll be in my same space in front of the California Pizza Kitchen, under the trees. This is a really big event, drawing huge crowds.

And so many years it's been hotter than Hades - we're all wilting in the heat and everyone is running for the indoor air conditioning. But not this time. Because this year we are having the summer that never showed up. I'm sure that if you are reading this from the East Coast or other parts of the country you probably don't want to hear us complain about our chilly summer. The heat waves everywhere else are insane. But we are not having any of it. Overnight it gets cloudy and cool, dropping into the low 50's. We wake up to early spring weather. And if we are really, really lucky (maybe a dozen days now) we can get into the 70's in the afternoon if the sun breaks through. It's stupid. Which proves to everyone that I'm not a true Northwesterner. Because a lot of people around here love that. Me? I'd be happier with more sun, warmer temperatures, and an actual summer-like day or two. I have 7 tomato plants that are going nowhere. The 2 squash plants that made it past our freezing spring weather (in June) are now getting powdery mildew. I didn't even try anything else because it was just so darn cold all the time. It's nearing the end of July and I'm still wearing sweaters.

Back to the show this weekend:

Friday, July 23: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Saturday, July 24: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sunday, July 25: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm

Here is the map which lists all the other vendors and their locations. There is food and music too. Hope you get a chance to come over.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

West Seattle Street Fair

This weekend is the West Seattle Summer Festival. And it's going to be hot. Well, not East Coast hot, but warm for us.

I love hanging out at this show because it's such a great neighborhood and community event. Everybody knows each other, or runs into neighbors and friends they haven't seen in a while - grabbing tables at the outdoor patios of the restaurants on the street, or having drinks and watching the live music in the evenings. It's a big family party with kids areas (called the "Super Terrific Happy Fun Zone"), sidewalk sales, local business promotions, and of course, all of us with our tents selling crafts, wares, imports and all sorts of cool stuff.

My booth is in a slightly different location this time. I've got a nice corner booth just up the street a bit. I'll be in space #133, which you can find on the zoomable map. It's on the west side of street, closer to SW Oregon St - sort of near the liquor store, I guess.

I'm selling scrap bars of soap this weekend. Dings and dents, or ugly ones that got stuck in the mold. Some leftover older flavors too. They are $1.50 a bar, and all full-size bars too - a real bargain. Come early, they won't last long.

Vendor hours are: Friday 10-6, Sat 10-8, Sun 11-5, July 9th - 11th. There are live music concerts all day and into the evening, with a full schedule here. Hope to see you at the party!