Congress heard us!

February 10, 2009


In 9th grade I rated my Civics class as the most boring class of my high school life, and I couldn’t imagine that I would ever apply it to real life.  Little did I know how ignorant I was then, and how thankful I would be later that I have a voice that will be heard by my legislators.

The FDA Globalization Act of 2008, which was a discussion draft in Congress last year, has now become a bill in Congress – the FDA Globalization Act of 2009 – HR 759.  If the bill had passed as it was written in the draft form, it would have put us and thousands of other small cosmetic and natural bath and body companies out of business with its excessive registration fees and regulations.

A grass roots efforts to change this bill was started by Donna Maria Coles Johnson of Indie Beauty Network, then joined by other Indie business leaders such as Marie Gale of the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild, Kayla Fioravanti of Essential Wholesale, Anne-Marie Faiola of Bramble Berry, Jamila White of JBlossom, and Lela Barker of Bella Lucce.  These ladies visited Washington DC on behalf of Indie beauty businesses, and learned there that Congress had no idea that a micro cosmetics cottage industry even existed.  These leaders encouraged all Indie businesses to let their voices be heard by Congress, and to help in changing the draft to preserve our businesses.

OUR VOICES WERE HEARD!  The new bill will NOT require us to pay $2000 per year to register our businesses, and does not contain excessive regulations that would hinder our businesses.  It is a good feeling to know that all the voices have made a difference, and we can stay in business and continue to live our Indie Dream.

What small steps can make a difference?  Here is how we let our voice be heard:

1.  Contacted the offices of Senators Coleman and Klobuchar and Representative Bachmann, informing them of our position on the draft and asked for their support for small businesses

2.  Signed a petition that Donna Maria Coles Johnson took with her to Washington DC

3.  Wrote about the FDA Globalization Act of 2008 in our Newsletters to inform our readers

4.  Blogged about the issue to raise public awareness

5.  Our local newspaper featured an article, Proposed cosmetic regulations act concerns small beauty industry, about how our business, Good Thymes Bath & Body, could be affected by the FDA Globalization Act.  We were front page news!

A million thanks to Donna Maria, Kayla, Marie, Anne-Marie, Jamila, Lela, and all the other Indies, customers and consumers, for uniting together and lending your voice to the effort!

And thanks, Mr. Lund, for teaching 9th grade Civics!

7 Responses to “Congress heard us!”

  1. Maire Gale Says:

    It’s important to remember that the GMP are already defined in law for drugs and in rules within the FDA for cosmetics. They have been in place for years. The law is that the FDA can inspect for “adulterated cosmetics” and the GMP guidelines referenced are in place for those inspections – and that won’t ever change.

    So far the existing law hasn’t been a problem to very small cosmetics companies. We all want to ensure cosmetics made by anyone, regardless of business size, are SAFE. In working with the legislature, our position is to encourage them to to take very small business into account if they decide to promulgate new rules or regulations; we need to do so in a way that makes it possible for them (and us) to ensure that the cosmetics we produce are safe for the public.

    There will always be good manufacturing practices, and all business that make cosmetics should strive toward the best and safest possible practices.

    Marie Gale
    President, HSMG

  2. Cheryl Says:

    Joan –
    You have a very valid point, our work is not yet done. The Good Manufacturing Practices were put into place long before there was a micro cosmetics cottage industry, and need to be amended to reflect this change in industry, so that small businesses can continue to be productive without risking fear of noncompliance. This letter was recently sent to Virgil Miller by the Indie Beauty Network and the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild addressing some of these concerns:

    Click to access HR759-IBN-HSMG-Response.pdf

    We still need to keep abreast of this issue and advocate for more changes before this bill becomes final. I remain optimistic that we can make a difference, as I have personally experienced positive outcomes from advocating on other issues. Thank you for sharing a significant point!

  3. Joan Says:

    I’m sorry to put a damper on your enthusiasm, but there are parts of the FDAGA 2009 that are anything BUT small business friendly. I am very concerned because there is a VERY important aspect of the FDAGA 2009 that will be enormously burdensome, if not impossible, for the smaller crafter/producer to comply with and that too many people have overlooked.

    For example, in addition to registering with the FDA and submitting all ingredients in each product, ALL companies are also expected to comply with the GMP’s (good manufacturing practices) that were created for giant industrial processors. Here is a link to the FDA GMP’s for Cosmetics companies:

    Pay particular attention to what is required under items numbers 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. The FDA will be free to make an inspection of your facility at any time and, if you are found to not be in compliance with every line of the GMP’s, your product will be considered MISBRANDED and/or ADULTERATED.

    Do you still think that this is such a great law?

  4. Anne-Marie Says:

    Thank you for such a great post. This is a significantly better version than what was circulated last year and we feel very lucky that our Gov’t was so responsive to the concerns of very small business.

  5. Mindijo Says:

    Yeah! WAHOOOOOOOOOO!!!!! That’s really awesome and I am so happy for you.

    Seriously, you had Mr. Lund? I love it. You are obviously just a young pup, then.

  6. Marie Gale Says:

    Thank you for your post and all the things you did to help bring attention to the FDA Globalization Act. The new 2009 bill (HR-759) is currently in the House Energy and Commerce Committee. It’s hard to track what they are doing, but we are trying to keep on top of it. There are some changes that could be made in the bill that would help very small businesses – Donna Maria and I wrote a joint letter last week proposing these changes. When we hear back I’ll post it on the Handcrafted Soap Makers Guild Blog.
    Keep up the good work!

    Marie, President, HSMG

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