Written By: Sabrina Mesa
The lady justice may not be the first image to enter your mind when you think of the event and wedding industry but law is something we cannot avoid.
At the 2012 BizBash show in Los Angeles this past June, Katy Carrier of Carrier & Associates gave a brief seminar on top things all event and wedding businesses need to think about when conducting business, or starting a new venture.
*Disclaimer: All information in this post is purely for educational purposes and should not be taken as legal advice. We are not lawyers. You should always consult a professional.
Protect your brand through trademarks
Did you know that you can file a federal trademark for several aspects of your business?
Most people think of only their name as the basis of their brand. If you want to be really protected trademark your logo, taglines you use, even slogans. Everything counts.
For more information on filing for federal trademarks check out the United States Patent and Trademark Office site.
Protect your business trade secrets
“Trade secret: something (as a formula) which has economic value to a business because it is not generally known or easily discoverable by observation and for which efforts have been made to maintain secrecy” Merriam-Webster
Katy has a great blog entry with examples of trade secrets in the environment of the wedding and event business.
- Financial information
- Customer lists
- Formulas and recipes
- Business plans
- Design specifications and schematics
- Pricing information
- Business methods
She gave some great tips and some do not cost a dime.
*If the document is private, label as CONFEDENTIAL. Use a stamp or add a footnote to important documents and/or emails.
*Password protect important documents on your computer: as a general rule you should change your passwords every 3 to 6 months.
*Do not be afraid of NDAs: Non-Disclosure Agreements can be a business’ best friend. This one will cost you some legal fees but it will protect you and your business.
Get it in WRITING
Contracts are one of the most important tools for any event or wedding company. If you are one of those florists who do everything verbally and only use notes, STOP! Get everything in writing; a lawsuit is an expensive price to pay for a mistake like never having a client sign a contract. Katy suggests that every change and addition be written down. It helps protect all parties involved. A contractor would never build a house without a contract and detailed plans; a wedding florist should never buy material and invest labor without a signed contract detailing all aspects of the wedding the florist is responsible for.
Contract law is Katy’s forte. If you want a small intro into contract law as it pertains to weddings and events check out her blog entry.
Law School for Wedding Professionals
If you would like to see Katy in person and learn much more about law and the event and wedding industry check out a class near you!