We’ve all been there.
Your business is getting up and running, you have consistent sales, and everything's just peachy!
Then you get a Cease and Desist letter in the mail.
Someone is accusing you of copying their work.
But you know you haven’t in your heart and soul.
You’ve created that piece from your own unique source of inspiration. Plus it’s totally aligned with the rest of your collection and brand…so wtf?
Yeah. I know the feeling, this actually happened to me a few years ago.
I was selling in the Sundance Catalog when all of a sudden some designer accused me of infringing on their copyright…and I hadn’t.
So we need to know how to protect our businesses.
Cause when something like this happens, it can be a total buzzkill.
I have two ladies on the show with me who are so kind and totally not scary. Surprise! They’re both attorneys!
Lisa Fraley and Genevieve Shingle Jaffee are the co-creators of the online legal course Damsel Goes Bare. Their mission is to make the law approachable for small business owners, with a special emphasis on helping women.
So it’s fantastic that they agreed to come on the show for us today!
We’re going to cover all the info you need to help you make better legal decisions about your business!
Now, I always say, I’m not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV…so this is more for informational purposes. If you have questions definitely talk with an attorney.
Okay. Enough disclaimers, or as I like to say “cover your butt” statements!
Let’s get into the show!
Online v. Brick and Mortar
Running an online business means a few legal documents should be in place right away to protect yourself. Since you’re reaching people from all over the world. You need to plan for every scenario to be 100% covered.
Don’t let this scare you! It’s simple to set up these 3 key documents to get yourself started out right. Find out what they are by listening now!
Selling jewelry in a brick and mortar store meas it’s more likely you will need things like insurance and clear return policies.
Check out what Lisa and Gena have to say about it on the show.
When to Get Legit
Money is tight at the beginning. Spending a ton of money on legal fees, documents, registration, and filing isn’t for you if you’re bootstrapping. Lisa recommends setting up your business entity once your business hits $50,000 in revenue (not profit) each year.
There are a few to choose from, so how do you decide? That depends on your business and how much revenue which Lisa and Gena cover in detail.
If you’re ever renting space for a live event, tradeshow, or conference it’s a good idea to get insurance. In fact, some spaces won’t allow you to host unless you have some sort of liability insurance in place.
Copy Cat Killers
I see this happening a lot. Someone sees something similar to a design of theirs and immediately goes on the defense. Truth is, trends in the industry happen and that doesn’t always qualify a copyright infringement.
People have lost a bunch of money taking people to court over something they actually don’t have legal rights to. So if you have something in your business you feel needs to be protected, a name, logo, phrase, or setting look into getting the copyright or trademark.
What’s the difference? A copyright protects original artistic expression, while a trademark protects names, logos, and phrases to prevent brand confusion.
Or at least that’s what I learned from Lisa and Gena! If you’re fuzzy on this, their course takes legalese and makes it legal-easy!
You’ll want to listen to the examples they give to get a clear picture of what you need to stay original and get legal with it!
I hope you enjoy today’s show!
Curious what other designers have done in their business? Head on over to our Free Facebook group, The Jewelry Business Incubator!