Open Letter to crafters, small businesses, and supporters of handmade (please feel free to post this on your own blog):
You may already be aware that the Handmade Toy Alliance has become a non-profit organization with a mission not only to continue to work toward change in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, but first and foremost to support crafters and small businesses in the children's industry on an ongoing basis. Or maybe you have yet to learn who we are. If that's the case, you can learn all about us at handmadetoyalliance.org.
Joining the HTA is not just about fighting the CPSIA; it's about you and growing your business. As makers and sellers of small batch products for children, we came together out of an imminent need to fight for our right to remain in business. Along the way it became clear that no organization existed to support people like us. So we thought- "Why not be that support system?"
At the start we were ignored by the CPSC and Congress. Nevertheless, our energy and commitment remained steadfast, and as our numbers grew, our collective voice became and continues to be important and respected in the CPSIA debate, proving that a small group of concerned citizens really can change the world. It's only natural that we use that voice to continue our work, and offer valuable resources to your business.
There are a number of ways that HTA membership can benefit your business, all of which are listed here: http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/join-the-handmade-toy-alliance/ In this post, I'd like to talk about my favorite, and in my opinion--hands down--the most important tangible benefit.
Sure you'll help in the fight for a better CPSIA by joining the HTA, and your support is greatly needed and appreciated. But did you know that membership also includes built in marketing for your business? For my small business, this alone makes the membership dues well worth it. Dues by the way, can be as low as $35 a year.
As a small business owner, I'm sure you're well aware of the ever rising costs of PR and advertising. As an HTA member you'll benefit from a low cost approach to growing your business. You'll receive a profile page on the HTA website, with a description of your services, and photos of you and your products, linked to your own website. The site is regularly visited by members of the press as well as parents and others interested in handmade products. Your inclusion will improve search engine rankings, and open up the opportunity for members of the press to learn more about you, as well as increase your pool of potential customers.
In addition to your profile page, you will be given the opportunity to participate in affordable cooperative advertising, as well as a featured business write up on the Handmade Toy Alliance blog. As we grow there will continue to be new marketing ideas and you'll be on the ground floor.
We are all part of a small and still largely untapped niche in the children's industry. Every day millions search for unique gifts and other items for their children. By joining the HTA you become part of an alliance of innovative businesses ready to serve this unique segment of the market.
Since its inception, the HTA has been member driven. Rather than act as a large untouchable force, we want to continue to be approachable and accessible as peers. HTA members hold a diverse range of talents and knowledge, and we've been quite successful at tapping into this pool for the benefit of us all. As an HTA member, you get to both give and receive, thus you become a part of the process that shapes the future of this alliance. But rest assured if you're too busy to be involved in this process. Participating in the development of the alliance is optional. You decide how much or how little you want to be involved, if at all, while still reaping the benefits offered.
Please consider becoming a member of the HTA . More information and a sign up form can be found here: http://www.handmadetoyalliance.org/join-the-handmade-toy-alliance/ For the low cost of membership you'll be joining with a unique group of businesses that hold in common the fact that we all offer something truly special to the children's industry, and a unique talent for working together to bring novel ideas into fruition.
President, Handmade Toy Alliance