Maido Stationary, a California-based company and officially licensed seller of San-X goods like Rilakkuma plushies, released the following statement from their official tumblr (emphasis mine):
Right before 2012 ended, there was some discussion that some of our items that weren’t following the regulations set by the CPSC (click to read about them!). It was determined that we needed to have certificates from our vendors saying their products are safe. While the American based companies have these certificates, the Japanese companies don’t.
To get this certificate, these companies need to use a third party testing service to further prove that the products are safe. These tests cost about $1000+ for EACH ITEM (the labs need 6 of each item to test them). So if it was just an Alpaca with a new hat or Rilakkuma with a cute bow, they all need to be tested. Our store cant afford to do testing on our own, so we asked the companies in Japan if they would be able to partake in the tests.
So far we aren’t sure which companies will be going forward with the testing. To avoid getting sued over these safety measures, we had to stop our orders from certain Japanese companies. This includes but is not limited to San-X / Amuse / Kamio / Crux / etc.
We are currently trying to see what we can do to fix this mess. As far as we know, San-X’s oversea profits are only 10%. As an employee of this beloved store, I don’t want to stop ordering Rilakkuma goods *ugly sobbing* While we can’t do anything about it, I’m sure a bunch of very disappointed customers can! What can you do about this?
You can email our higher up staff at: email@example.com
Tell them how much you would like to see Arpakassos or San-X products.
Also email: firstname.lastname@example.org
These are the people who deal with the sale of Rilakkuma and other San-X products outside of Japan. You could tell them how you can’t live without their products and how you would like to see them being sold overseas. With enough demand from you, hopefully they will be able to do the tests! Fingers crossed!
We wont be carrying San-X / Arpakasso goods for the time being. But that doesn’t mean we are loosing hope!
This news is pretty heartbreaking because Maido in San Francisco was actually the first physical store I ever bought Rilakkuma products (my first Rilakkuma was a gift). My sister and brother each got their first Rilakkuma plushies from Maido (a medium Rilakkuma like my first and a Marine Rilakkuma, respectively), so Maido has a special place in our hearts.
Broadly, I’m not quite sure what this will mean for other US stores. As far as I can tell, Maido is the only store that has reported this problem so far – we’ll wait and see how this affects other San-X sellers here in the States, but I haven’t heard a peep from anywhere else… though admittedly, I don’t keep track of official San-X suppliers beyond following a few facebook pages.
Hopefully, the Maido tumblr will keep us posted as well; I hope everything will work out for them!
In more personal Rilakkuma news, I pre-ordered the Lawson Aloha Rilakkuma plushie (the one with the shopping cart) – but he doesn’t get released/shipped until June 20 so it’ll be a while until I can actually get my hands on him. In the meantime, my Rilakkuma will just be playing make-believe: