Dear Democratic Candidates,
My name is Katie Zivalich and I am worried about the future of my family’s small business, The Magic Weighted Blanket. My dad, Keith Zivalich, invented the weighted blanket in 1997. My mom sewed the first prototype at our home in Valencia, CA and we sold it to a family friend who happened to be a special education teacher for young children. When she told us how much it helped calm her students down, we realized that we had stumbled upon an important product for the mental health community. We contracted with a factory in nearby Los Angeles and have been selling weighted blankets ever since. Unfortunately, after over 20 years of steady business, we are now worried about losing our company due to competition from big corporations that produce cheap knockoffs in China.
Large corporations like Walmart, Target, and Amazon now sell weighted blankets at half the price that we can afford to sell them at, since their blankets can be produced at a far lower cost in China. While we believe that the quality of our product is superior to those produced in China, it is difficult to find people willing to pay more for a product in today’s economy. We have always been proud to make our blankets in America, but lately it seems like our government doesn’t care about small businesses or American workers. As long as the government continues to allow large corporations to manufacture products in China and other countries with less stringent regulations and labor laws, small businesses like ours will struggle to compete.
We are posting this open letter to the Democratic candidates for president because we want to know how each of you plans to help American small businesses. It’s great that you want to defeat Trump (since he’s the worst) but, after you get elected, what is your plan to help small businesses like ours? Large corporations have been exploiting labor laws in China long before Trump was elected, so we don’t believe that going back to “business as usual” is enough.