She’s on a 40-year mission to make healthier baby products. The Biden-Trump tariffs are putting her dream in jeopardy.
Pioneering small business owner looks to USTR public comment process November 15-January 17 for potential relief
Asheville, NC, November date, 2022 – Becky Cannon, Founder and President of pioneering baby and toddler brand Green Sprouts, met with representatives from the US Department of Commerce to address the ongoing, damaging effects on American-owned businesses of the Section 301 China tariffs instituted by the previous administration.
Since its launch in 1982 as a mail-order business operated out of Cannon’s home in Asheville, NC, to Green Sprouts’ current global presence as a leading swimwear and baby care brand with $20MM annual sales, the company has operated with the mission to provide safer, healthier products for babies and children that help preserve the natural world.
From developing the original reusable swim diaper to becoming one of the first companies to eliminate BPA from its products six years before the FDA required them do so, Green Sprouts has been at the forefront of intentional design and safety. The company tests their products to the highest global standards, meeting new safety requirements as they are established worldwide. Their manufacturing partnerships in China have been key to Green Sprouts’ mission of maintaining the accessibility of their innovative products to as many families as possible; “That mission is in real danger” as a result of the tariffs, Cannon told DOC reps.
The Section 301 China Tariffs were put into place without warning: Green Sprouts received a surprise bill of $200k on a shipment already at sea, and has paid over $2M in tariffs since 2019—all while contending with the challenges of COVID-19, supply chain disruptions, and inflation. The company has kept lay-offs to a minimum, though growth initiatives, research into new and safer materials, and philanthropic efforts have all been stifled. After years of avoiding price hikes, the business has been forced to increase prices for all customers, and has seen a concurrent decrease in sales. As a result, families who rely on Green Sprouts’ baby and toddler essentials are suffering not only from paying higher prices, but also from lack of availability and increased reliance on less-safe alternatives from other brands. “When counterfeiters sell knock-offs of our products on Amazon, they undercut our prices, because they’re not coping with tariff charges or the cost of extensive testing,” says Cannon. “If anything, our intellectual property is less protected than ever.”
As Cannon told Bloomberg in 2018, moving manufacturing out of China is a challenging, costly process, particularly under the added weight of tariffs and ongoing economic uncertainty. The relationships Green Sprouts has fostered with Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) partners in China have enabled the company to develop increasingly sustainable products, like their proprietary Sprout Ware® plant plastic, while protecting workers’ rights; establishing similarly dependable partnerships and achieving the same quality of product would take years.
“We're a woman-owned small business with a 40-year legacy of helping families care for babies, care for themselves, and care for the environment,” says Cannon. “In the end, those families are hurt the most by the damage the tariffs are doing to our business, and we owe it to them to do everything we can to reverse this policy.”
About Green Sprouts
Founded 40 years ago, Green Sprouts provides inspiring, accessible products made from intentionally-sourced materials, empowering families to experience the joy and wonder of life with ease and confidence. Visit greensprouts.com to learn more about Green Sprouts family essentials.