You look at the label of a bath and body product and see it is labeled improperly. Or, you have a conversation with another maker and find that they are not completely disclosing ingredients, are using a non-approved colorant or any other of many possible scenarios. A maker makes a mistake.
What do you do? Do you ignore it, hoping they will figure things out somewhere along the line? Or should you confront them and threaten to contact the governing body?
The answer of course, is, “It depends.” It depends on the persons involved, the offense and even your own personality. If the infraction is small and unlikely to affect the consumer, you might let it go, especially if you do not know the maker. On the other hand, you may feel the responsibility to either speak with the maker or even to report them.
Craft shows are a prime opportunity for discovering problems. You scan labels or speak with other bath and body or candlemakers and the problem comes to light. What to do? If the conversation seems congenial, it might be possible to point out the mistake or inform the maker where to find the regulations. If the other person sees you as competition however, you could be met with suspicion.
The same is true when we visit a store with handmade products; we examine the product and labels. What happens if we find something amiss? Perhaps we turn a blind eye, speak with the store owner or contact the maker directly.
We have several options to choose from, but it helps to
remember the adage, “It is easier to catch flies with honey than with vinegar.”
A confrontational attitude rarely brings about good results; but a person who
truly cares about a colleague, the public and the good of the industry is more
likely to have an impact.
We like to think that every maker wants to comply, and indeed, most do. Nevertheless, no matter how diplomatic you are, some makers will not accept help. Despite your best intentions, your efforts are rebuffed.
The worst-case scenario is to report the offender. Hasty reporting is a shame to the industry. No maker wants to live in fear that any small infraction may be reported, and it creates a negative atmosphere. Therefore, reporting should remain an emergency or last resort action.
What were your experiences? Did you advise a fellow maker, or did a concerned colleague help you? What would you do if you felt the public’s safety was compromised?
May all your days be filled with bubbles and wax.
Beth Byrne, for Making Soap, Cosmetics & Candles Magazine