I'd love to give you the answer yes here but, unfortunately, it's a no.
It's nothing to do with you guys out there in the US and nor is it to do with the way Mike or I want to run this business. It's to do with the laws the FDA put in place.
Reusable menstrual products are classed as 'medical devices' in the US, this category also includes things used for surgery, items used to administer medicine (like syringes) and wound dressings. Crazy, I know. Crazy that an organisation as well respected as the FDA would choose to put a medical spin a very natural, normal process. However, no matter what I think about it, I cannot change it.
If I were to begin the process of registering with the FDA as a 'medical device manufacturer' then I would have to fill out a number of forms, potentially have an inspection of my 'premises' (i.e. my dining room or wherever in the house I decide to plant my sewing machine for that particular session) and, now here's the big one, pay almost $4,000 every year in registration fees. If you want to talk numbers with me, then, as things currently stand, I would be in a heck of a lot of debt if I chose to embark on the process of legally shipping to the US. In the future? Maybe it might be an option but, considering the size of House of Callaway at the moment, it's a long way off.
What about loopholes? Can't you pretend it isn't cloth pads in the parcel? Can't you lie? These are questions I hear a lot from people who'd love to buy from me and, yet again, the answer is that, no matter what, unless I pay the fee, I cannot ship to the US. Why? Because if I get caught shipping a restricted item across the boarders then I will be in an immense amount of trouble. That's not something a 21-year-old wants to mess with, especially when I've heard stories of other cloth pad makers one day receiving a letter in the post fining them an extortionate amount of money, far beyond the almost $4,000 they would have paid if they'd legally registered.
What I would like to say in addition to all this is, regardless of the fact some reusable menstrual product companies may be advertising as ‘FDA approved’, it does not make them safer than someone who is putting in the love and care into each product within their own home. These people may simply be unable to afford to register and pay the fees and the lack of a stamp of approval has no reflection on the quality work they produce.
It disappoints me to have to write an article like this because, if I had things my way, I’d allow everyone to freely ship harmless crafts around the world so everyone can experience handmade workmanship directly from the makers. I honestly hope that one day, we’ll be able to expand the shipping to the US but for now, we’ll just have to continue providing a great service to our friends and supporters in the UK and Europe.