Many crafters in the United States sell their handmade items without being aware that there are labeling laws requiring them to attach certain labels to most textile (includes made with yarn) items that they sell. These labeling regulations are not only for the large manufacturer; individual crocheters selling their items are also required by the government to follow these labeling laws. Anyone who has a handmade business, however small, should make themselves aware of the regulations that may impact their business.
This guide provides an overview for labels on handmade goods.
Laws Apply to Items Made for Sale
Note that these are regulations that apply to items made for sale. If you're only handcrafting gifts for your family or friends and not selling any items you have made, then this page does not apply to you. Only when you're selling your handmade items do you need to label and register, where required. This is an important distinction; as soon as you start selling items then it becomes very important to start paying attention to these laws.
What Needs to Be Labeled
Textile goods, including handmade crochet items, typically need to be labeled if they are for sale to consumers. This includes clothing items, accessories and many home decor items. People who sell items as diverse as crochet scarves, hammocks and cushions all need to comply with the labeling laws. See what's covered by law to make sure that you are properly labeling any crochet items that you sell.
Types of Labels for Handmade Goods
As depicted in the attached photo, there are several different kinds of labels that might be required when selling handmade goods. These include:
- a content label stating what type of material the item is made from (acrylic, cotton, wool yarn, etc.)
- a care label explaining how to care for the item (hand wash it, dry clean it, etc.)
- a country label describing where the item was made; a requirement for textile items, including crochet (labeled with something like Made In USA)
- a company label with the name of the company that made the item (which can be a business name or the name of the individual crafter if the person has no business name
Let's look further at each of these different parts of the label ...
A Note on Fiber Content
The general rules discussed throughout this article relate to textiles of all kinds. However, there are specific rules for wool, which is something to be aware of if you use any wool yarn in your handmade items.
A Note on "Made In The USA"
The standard for a product to be called "Made in USA" is that all or "virtually all" of the significant parts and processing that go into the product must be of U.S. origin. If your product is crocheted entirely of imported yarn, you wouldn't be able to use a simple "Made in USA" label on that product but would need a different type of label. If you're not sure what your label should say for the origin of materials you are using, contact the FTC. It is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to labeling regulations for your business.
Labeling Laws Vary by Country
The information on this page regards labeling laws in the United States but many other countries have similar laws.
Crafters from other countries who are reading this and who are considering selling their handmade items may wish to do some of their own research on the requirements for the country in which they reside.
Get More Information About Clothing Label Requirements
This article just skims the surface of what sellers of handmade goods should know to be in compliance with all laws. People located in the United States should refer to the FTC guide called "Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts" for more comprehensive information. There is a lot of terrific information on this page, which the FTC summarizes succinctly by saying,
"Most textile and wool products must have a label listing the fiber content, the country of origin, and the identity of the manufacturer or another business responsible for marketing or handling the item. Read this guide to avoid a “tag snag.”"
The FTC has additional information in an article titled: "Clothes Captioning: Complying with the Care Labeling Rule". The information combined in these articles will be useful for anyone running a basic business selling crochet.