What kinds of clients do you serve?

Design & Luxury (DeLux) encompasses a wide array of industries, but they are all driven by creativity, authenticity, and innovation. Lewis Rice’s DeLux practice group primarily works with fashion, apparel, beauty, home goods, textiles, jewelry, and accessories companies. However, we understand that creativity, authenticity, and innovation can take a variety of forms. If your business involves any of these components, our DeLux attorneys can provide legal support to help ensure your success.

Do design and luxury companies need to go to cities like New York and Los Angeles for legal work?

No. While there are reputable New York and Los Angeles law firms that specialize in this area, their services are often very expensive, particularly for entrepreneurs and businesses that are just starting out and based in smaller cities. Because Lewis Rice is headquartered in St. Louis, you don't need to pay big-city prices to receive the highest quality counsel from experienced attorneys who understand your industry. Our DeLux attorneys work with local, regional, national, and international brands based in and outside of St. Louis.

With an economic impact of more than $3 billion, St. Louis’ fashion industry is more robust than many people realize. There is a concerted effort to continue establishing St. Louis as one of the most vibrant fashion cities in the United States by nurturing talent, supporting emerging brands and industry related businesses, and attracting more manufacturing and production.

How do you advise entrepreneurs who want to start a business?

We typically begin by examining intellectual property issues related to your design, product, logo, or brand name. This helps to determine if it already exists, how different it is from others that are already on the market, its potential for protection, and any infringement risks. As a full-service law firm, Lewis Rice has an Intellectual Property Practice Group that collaborates with DeLux attorneys on these efforts.

Many entrepreneurs start their businesses without taking this crucial first step, which can lead to significant setbacks down the road. By conducting a careful intellectual property analysis at the outset, we can figure out if your idea is viable or not, which will save you time and money as well as ensure that you are building a strong legal foundation for your business and protecting your investment in your business with intellectual property assets.

What is the next step after the intellectual property analysis?

We usually proceed by helping you choose how to structure your business, whether it is a limited liability company, sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation. We’ll explore the advantages and disadvantages of each option. If needed, we can also connect you with tax attorneys and accountants to address any financial matters.

Then, we proceed to draft the required documentation, which can vary depending on your product and how you want to sell it. For example, if you plan to open a physical store, we can draft, review, and negotiate your lease agreement. If you aim to operate online, we will help ensure you are complying with all the legal requirements for online sales and data collection by working with attorneys from Lewis Rice’s Cybersecurity & Data Privacy Practice Group.

Because every entrepreneur and business are different, we do not take a one-size-fits-all approach. Our services are tailored to your unique circumstances and goals.

What are some legal strategies established businesses should employ to protect themselves and maximize success?

Established businesses face different challenges than start-ups. Once all the necessary building blocks are in place, we focus on helping owners scale and grow their companies. Depending on your goals, the services we provide may include negotiating with third-party logistics providers, reviewing and advising on agreements for new technology and exploring opportunities such as forming partnerships with other businesses and creating co-branded lines.

What are some prominent trends that design and luxury businesses should be aware of?

Some of the major developments impacting the industry include:

  • Greenwashing: Companies engaged in greenwashing overstate the environmental impacts of a product or service. Due to a growing emphasis on environmental sustainability, there is more scrutiny on advertising practices and transparency regarding eco-friendly claims than ever.
  • Counterfeiting challenges: A rise in counterfeit goods is presenting challenges for businesses aiming to protect their intellectual property.
  • Evolving data privacy laws and heightened security concerns: Given the constantly changing landscape of data privacy regulations, business owners must remain abreast of legal requirements and quickly and efficiently fulfill these everchanging requirements. Additionally, as online commerce becomes more prevalent and the collection of customer data increases, more robust cybersecurity measures are needed to safeguard sensitive information.