If you’re ready to turn your craft or hobby into a business, you’re probably considering opening an Etsy shop. That’s a great idea. The e-commerce website generated $2.6 billion in 2022 alone. Independent sellers appreciate how easy the Etsy platform is to use. You can have your own store up and running in a matter of hours without the cost or frustration of building your own website.
While an Etsy store is easy to set up, making sure you and your brand are legally protected takes a bit more effort. Consulting with an Etsy shop attorney will help get your business off to a strong start.
4 Legal Considerations for Opening an Etsy Shop
Launching a new Etsy shop is exciting. The thought of people all over the world seeing your product on such a popular platform is enough to tempt you to dive right in.
But putting yourself and your business on the World Wide Web without adequate preparations could be a mistake. Unless you are well-versed in topics like intellectual property, tax law, and corporate legal structures, it’s wise to speak with someone who is before you jump in.
1. Protect Your Brand
Is the product you’re selling your intellectual property? If you’re not sure how to answer that question, a business attorney can help. Protecting your brand refers to the following:
Building a business depends partly on customers recognizing your brand on sight, especially on a competitive platform like Etsy. Artists who are selling their original artwork on Etsy need to be especially careful about protecting their property. Without the right protections, you could lose business to copycats who take advantage of your hard work and creativity.
2. Create an Influencer Agreement
If you plan on partnering with an influencer to promote your brand, it’s wise to take advantage of an influencer agreement. This is a legal structure that can provide protection and ensure that each side’s obligations are clear, including details on deadlines, payments, and what type of work is to be completed.
This will help protect your brand — if the influencer participates in false advertising or breaks your agreement in other ways, it will help you recoup any financial losses caused by the resulting damage to your brand.
3. Choose the Right Business Structure
Do you know the advantages and disadvantages of forming a limited liability company (LLC)? A business lawyer does. Selecting the right legal structure for your small business will help prepare you for the type of growth you’re seeking.
Most Etsy sellers operate as a sole proprietorship or a partnership. However, becoming an LLC or a corporation could be the best option if you foresee a future need to raise capital from investors.
Understanding the liabilities and responsibilities involved with different business structures is easier when you have an experienced attorney on your side.
4. Avoid Copyright Litigation
It’s easy to look at other sellers who are producing Disney- or Marvel-themed items and come to the conclusion that this is an acceptable business practice. But the truth is that thousands of products are sold every day that break copyright laws. And with copyright law as complicated as it is, it’s all too easy to inadvertently and unintentionally infringe upon the rights of others.
Speaking with a lawyer can help you avoid an expensive copyright lawsuit that could force your Etsy store to close and land you in significant debt.
Get Your New Etsy Shop Started Right
Opening an Etsy shop is an exciting adventure that could help your business become a globally recognized brand. Meeting with a business lawyer who is experienced in the legalities of e-commerce will help you build a strong foundation for success.
The Sul Lee Law Firm in Dallas, TX, can provide the assistance you need to start and maintain a thriving Etsy store. Reach out to our team today.