Opening an Etsy store can be a great option if you want to start an online business with low startup costs, easy to use promotional tools and access to a built-in global audience of buyers.
Before opening your own Etsy store in Australia, there are several important things you need to know before getting started. From registering for an ABN to choosing a business name and trademark, and even purchasing insurance, there are legal and practical considerations that you need to keep in mind to ensure the success of your Etsy store.
Here are some key things to keep in mind before starting your own Etsy store in Australia:
1. Register for an ABN
An Australian Business Number (ABN) is a unique identifier that every business in Australia must have. If you plan to sell on Etsy as a business, you will need to register for an ABN. This will allow you to legally sell your products, pay taxes, and receive payments for your sales. You can apply for an ABN through the Australian Business Register.
2. Choose a business name
Choosing a business name is an important step when starting your own Etsy store. Your business name should be unique, memorable, and reflect the products or services you offer. Before you choose a name, it's important to conduct a business name search to make sure your chosen name is not already in use. You can register your business name with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) online here.
3. Consider trademark registration
If you want to protect your business name, logo, or other intellectual property, you may want to consider registering a trade mark with IP Australia. A trade mark gives you exclusive rights to use a certain name or logo in connection with your business. Trade mark registration is not required, but it can help prevent others from using your brand name or logo without your permission.
What is the difference between a business name and a trade mark?
A “Trade Mark” is a badge of origin that you use to identify your company or a particular product or service with like its name, logo or slogan. With a registered trade mark, you can prevent others from misusing your business, brand or product name. Whereas, a “Business Name” is the name you legally identify your business with on your website and other company documents such as letter heads and invoices. If you want to use a Business Name that is different to your legal name (eg Lucy Lemon v Lemon Aus Pty Limited) you must register this with ASIC.
4. Make sure you don’t infringe someone else’s Intellectual Property
Sellers on Etsy Australia, like other sellers in Australia and around the world, are responsible for ensuring that they have the right to sell the items they list on the site. They must not infringe on the intellectual property rights of others, such as trade marks or copyrights. The best way to ensure you don’t do this is to develop your own original works and run appropriate searches to check trade marks or proposed designs do not infringe existing intellectual property rights of others. You can do this on IP Australia.
5. Sell quality, compliant goods and if using a manufacturer, ensure they are reputable
If you're planning to sell products on Etsy, you'll need to choose a manufacturer to produce your products. It's important to choose a reputable manufacturer who can produce high-quality products that meet your specifications. You should also make sure that your manufacturer is compliant with any relevant laws or regulations.
Etsy Australia has a list of prohibited items that cannot be sold on the site, including items that are illegal, dangerous, or harmful. Sellers must ensure that their listings comply with these guidelines.
In addition, certain types of goods in Australia (such as food or hygienic goods) may carry specific regulatory requirements you should be aware of and comply with.
6. Understand consumer guarantees
Sellers on Etsy Australia are required to comply with the Australian Consumer Law, which provides certain rights to buyers, including the right to a refund or replacement if an item is faulty or not as described.
The Australian Consumer Law (ACL) provides certain consumer guarantees, such as the right to a refund or replacement if a product is faulty or not as described. It's important to understand these guarantees and make sure you comply with them. You should also have a clear refund policy in place and communicate it to your customers by way of terms and conditions.
What warranties and guarantees do I need to note?
Under Australian Consumer Law, consumers who purchase from a business have protection under consumer guarantees. It is against the law to make misleading statements about consumer guarantees. At a high level, your business should guarantee that your products are of acceptable quality and match your advertised description.
7. Returns and Refunds
Sellers on Etsy Australia are required to comply with the Australian Consumer Law, and must have a policy in place for handling refunds and returns.
You should develop clear terms and conditions for your Etsy store that outline your policies on payment, shipping, returns, and other important issues. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes with customers. Your terms and conditions should be easily accessible on your Etsy store and should be communicated clearly to your customers.
8. Purchase insurance
It's important to consider purchasing insurance for your Etsy store. This can protect you from liability in the event of accidents or injuries caused by your products. You may also want to consider product liability insurance, which can protect you if a customer is injured by a product you sell. Talk to an insurance broker to find out what type of insurance is right for your business.
- Understand and comply with Etsy Australia’s Terms and Conditions
Etsy Australia's terms and conditions can be found on the Etsy website, and they apply to all users of the site, including buyers and sellers. The terms and conditions cover a wide range of topics, including intellectual property, prohibited items, fees, and dispute resolution. Here is a summary of some of the key points:
- Fees: Etsy Australia charges sellers a fee for listing items and for each sale made on the site. The fees vary depending on the price of the item and other factors. Sellers must pay these fees in order to use the site.
- Dispute resolution: Etsy Australia provides a system for resolving disputes between buyers and sellers. If a dispute arises, both parties are encouraged to work together to resolve the issue. If they are unable to reach a resolution, Etsy may step in to help mediate the dispute.
- Privacy: Etsy Australia is committed to protecting the privacy of its users. The site collects personal information from users, such as names and addresses, but this information is kept confidential and is only used for certain purposes, such as processing orders or providing customer support.
These are just a few of the key points covered in Etsy Australia's terms and conditions, in addition to matters of Intellectual Property, Probited Items and Returns/Refunds which are addressed above.
It’s important for both buyers and sellers to read and understand these terms before using the site. By doing so, they can ensure that they are complying with the site's guidelines and that they are protected in the event of any disputes or issues. For further detail view the Terms and Conditions here, noting in particular “Our House Rules for Sellers”.
In conclusion, starting your own Etsy store in Australia can be a rewarding and profitable venture. By taking the time to understand the legal and practical aspects of setting up your business, you can ensure that your Etsy store is a success. Remember to:
- register for an ABN
- choose a unique business name
- consider trademark registration
- understand consumer guarantees
- purchase insurance
- use a reputable manufacturer and comply with any regulations applying to your products;
- read and comply with Etsy’s terms and conditions; and
- develop clear terms and conditions of your own.
With these steps in place, you'll be well on your way to building a successful Etsy business in Australia.
For assistance with setting up your own Etsy Store or selling products online, contact Essia Law!