All retailing businesses have to comply with a certain amount of legislation, much of it to protect the rights of the consumer. The following is an overview of what might be relevant to you.
What licences does a needlecraft shop need?
There are no licensing requirements relating specifically to needlecraft shops.
Bear in mind though that if you want to play background music in your shop then it's likely you'll need a Music Licence from PPL PRS Ltd. There is an annual fee for this which you can pay online on the PPL PRS website.
Protecting original knitwear designs
You should be aware of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act. This gives copyright protection to original designs, including 'artistic copyright'. You can find out more about copyright law on the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) section of the Gov.uk website.
There is a range of legislation that applies to retail outlets (and online retailers) to protect the interests of the consumer. For example, goods and services must not be misleadingly described and the retail price of goods must be clearly displayed. You will be responsible for making sure that all goods or services are fit for their intended purpose and of satisfactory quality.
There is detailed information for businesses on many different aspects of consumer protection law on the Gov.uk and Trading Standards Business Companion websites.
If you plan to sell goods online - through your own website and/or through eBay or another e-commerce platform like Amazon, or through an online marketplace like Folksy - then you must comply with the requirements of distance selling rules and e-commerce regulations. Distance selling rules also apply to catalogue and other mail order sales. You can find out more on the Gov.uk website. There's detailed guidance on your legal obligations to consumers, and on the requirements when selling online, on the Trading Standards Business Companion website.
Carrier bag charge
A 5 pence charge applies in England, but small and medium-sized businesses (with fewer than 250 full-time equivalent employees) are exempt. You can get detailed guidance from the gov.uk website.
Retailers in Wales and Scotland must charge customers at least 5 pence if they supply them with a single-use carrier bag. This applies to all types of single-use bag, whether they are made of plastic, paper or plant-based starch. There is detailed guidance on the Gov.Wales and Zero Waste Scotland websites.
In Northern Ireland retailers must charge customers a 5 pence levy on all bags with a retail price of less than 20 pence (including any bags that would otherwise be free of charge), whether they are single-use or reusable.
Health & Safety, fire
Anyone employing staff must comply with employment legislation. Important areas of legislation include recruitment, employment contracts, pay, working hours, holidays, employment policies, sickness, maternity, paternity, discrimination, discipline, grievances, dismissals, redundancies and employment tribunals.
Insurance for a needlecrafts shop
Contact an insurer or insurance broker and explain exactly how your business will operate - they will then explain what insurance cover you must have by law, and other cover you should consider. This might include:
- employer's liability
- public liability
- premises, premises contents and stock (including any garments being knitted up by outworkers)
- goods in transit (for example to cover goods being collected from suppliers)
- business interruption
- product liability
- motor insurance (for business vehicles)
It is worth noting that the British Independent Retailers Association (BIRA) offers retail and business insurance services to its members.
When comparing insurance quotes, uncover the differences between policies by using an insurance comparison form.