What’s It Worth To You?

Today’s guest post is by Dana from Whimsical Walney. With her blog The Adventures of Whimsical Walney, Dana is a dedicated advocate for amending CPSIA legislation. For those unfamiliar with the cause, countless small business owners, including Dana, have been forced to close their doors (in this recession, no less) due to the CPSIA’s very broad mandate of third party testing of children’s products.

We know you are just going to love her story. Thank you, Dana, for Helping Some Mothers Out!

It seems like such a simple, straightforward question, but it is isn’t. There are just too many ways to assign value to the multitude of tangible things that surround as well as the relationships and the community we cultivate.

Sometimes, however, we are forced to find answer. In May of this year, I had to close my business because of the Consumer Products Safety Improvement Act (CSPIA). All of a sudden, I was faced with this question as it relates to the remainder of my business assets and I found that I didn’t have an answer at the tip of my tongue.

Like most, I immediately started to determine how I might recoup at least some of my start-up capital; but the question kept nagging at me.

What’s it worth to you?

No magic number came to mind. My Use Your Words™ t-shirt line was the result of a passion for childhood education and a lot of hard work. How in the world does anyone truly quantify that? You can’t.

Still, the voice in my head asked, “what’s it worth to you?”

And then the answer became clear: my clothing is most valuable to me when worn by a child. My wish has always been that my shirts became one of a child’s all-time favorites.

When I finally put it in its proper context, I realized that there is no value to me when I attempt to haggle with a prospective buyer at the flea market. There is no value to me when I create a listing onEbay or Etsy in the hopes that I move 10 or 20 more shirts before suspending sales all together. That’s just wasted time, really, when a child in need could have a new shirt all his or her own.

I had always intended to donate some of my product, but didn’t understand how strongly I felt about it until confronted with the challenge of closing my business. So after some great conversations with the ladies at Help a Mother Out, I had a local contact at the San Jose Family Shelter and a weight was lifted from my shoulders.


I was so excited about making a donation to this wonderful organization, not only did I hand-pick a selection of almost 80 baby and children’s shirts, but I also went through my own closet to see what I could donate to these families. Oh and of course I couldn’t arrive without a couple packs of diapers!

After dropping off the goodies and touring the facility, I drove away daydreaming (and still do) about a child who will finally have a new shirt of his own to wear on his first day of school, or a mom excited to have a never-worn bodysuit for her baby.

It feels like my own Mastercard commercial because this experience was priceless.