EP 13: How to Legally Protect Yourself and Your Business with Reonna Green | Beauty Business Lawyer

Mary Harcourt  0:05  
Welcome to Ready Set glow, a podcast where I interview the person behind the brand. We're gonna talk about what it took to get started, the lessons learned along the way, and the advice they have for you on your own journey. I'm your host, Mary Harcourt, founder and CEO of Cosmo glow. She trademarks is a firm for the female entrepreneur. As a fellow member of the beauty industry and legal profession. She understands what it's like to be a visionary, while at the same time having ideas overlooked and disregarded. Rihanna is now the go to attorney for beauty pros. From trademark searches to business formations, contracts and educational webinars. Green is devoted to helping clients identify potential areas of risk and crafting custom solutions to protect their brand. She trademarks is only the beginning of how Greene plans on restructuring the business in the world in the favor of women. And we are here for it. Let's get started.

Rihanna, tell us about yourself. Who are you? And what are you all about?

Reonna Green  1:15  
I am a previous hairstylist now turned attorney. I have been in the beauty industry for oh my gosh, I've been licensed since I was 16. So been in the industry for a long time, did beauty work hair, all of that through undergrad law school, and then went off to do traditional law. I was a prosecutor. I worked for big insurance companies. And it was when I was working at big insurance companies that I started seeing a lot of Salon lawsuits or lawsuits against stylists, beauty pros. And that was when I was really like, wow, I, I have been here before I wasn't doing these things. And I really think that the beauty pros in the industry need to really know kind of what's out there and how to protect themselves.

Mary Harcourt  2:06  
Absolutely, I love that I feel like you and I are so similar that we got started. I've been licensed since I was 18. And we both are doing completely different things where we're connected to the industry. And it's a great way for us to reach out and help others. But we're not exactly doing services anymore. So I find that so fascinating. Yeah, it's

Reonna Green  2:22  
definitely come full circle, I will say because I stopped doing here when I got licensed as an attorney didn't think I was going to kind of step back into the beauty industry in this way. But like I said, it just kind of fell into my lap. And it's an area in an industry that I'm passionate about since I've worked in it and it just kind of came full circle.

Mary Harcourt  2:46  
I agree with that. 100%. That's amazing. So why do you think that most women in the salon industry aren't aware of how to be properly protected? Is it just something that we don't talk about? Is there too much to absorb going through school? Like what's the missing key of why this isn't brought up more?

Reonna Green  3:01  
I think it's a couple of things I would say the first thing is we're not taught it in beauty school, right? We're taught how to perform the services. We're not taught finances, we're not taught how to actually run the business. We're not taught the business aspect of it. So I think it starts kind of in that very beginning training. We're just not taught it. And then I would say, after that you get out you don't really know about business, but then a lot of us in the beauty industry don't really have a focus on the business side of it. Right? Like what we like to do is the actual service itself. And so business gets put on the backburner. And I think because the business gets put on the backburner. It's not something that's often talked about amongst other beauty professionals. So I think there are a lot of different factors that contribute to why it's kind of Hush, or why it's not something that is widely known or widely talked about. But I'm trying to change that for sure.

Mary Harcourt  4:01  
I agree. I love that one of your passions is to restructure the business world in favor of women. So what dive a little deeper into that,

Reonna Green  4:10  
from a business perspective, when you think about business owners, traditionally, I would say a typical person comes into your mind, right? And I think that it's not that beauty professional. It's not that women business owner, it's usually when I think of a business owner and entrepreneur, a successful one. I think of an older man, you know, in his 50s Usually, like well educated has like done a bunch of different things. That's kind of the immediate thing that I would think of. And so I think there are lots of resources, lots of groups out there for that type of entrepreneur for that type of business professional, but not the same thing for the beauty industry or not the same thing for women. And so when you're breaking that mold of being a visionary, right or being that new world entrepreneur, really taking a service based business and turning it into an empire. It requires different things. I'm trying to make those resources available for those type of people, and present it in a way that is not so stuffy and not so scary to make it as really relatable and easy to absorb and get the things that you need done.

Mary Harcourt  5:23  
When I think you bring up a good point, easily absorbed, there's so many things that you start reading, it's all lawyer talk, where you literally don't know what it means it's words on a paper and you kind of get a little lost and put it down walk away, where if you can break it into real people terms and real people like communications, you can read it and understand it. And I think there is a huge hole in the industry. So I'm happy you're here, we can talk about it and help others. What services do you offer? What's your typical client,

Reonna Green  5:50  
my typical client is usually the independent beauty professional, who has big goals, big dreams. So it might be the beauty pro who, you know, does lashes, or is a hairstylist, but it's also coaching other beauty professionals on how to market or how to build or technique. It's also the beauty professional who wants to start their own brand, or wants to start their own line of products or training or whatever. It's usually those type of beauty professionals who need that extra help on legal, maybe they need trademarks, maybe they just need coaching or consulting on how to actually set their business up the right way. Maybe they have questions about contracts or need custom contracts. Those are the type of services I provide. And really delve deep into the individuals business and what they need best.

Mary Harcourt  6:46  
I mean, you work with powerhouse women, that's great, amazing to be around that good energy of people that are doing things and that are going places, and especially if they reach out and want to protect their but it's wonderful to have you in their pocket to walk them through that process. So you brought up trademarks, explain what a trademark is.

Reonna Green  7:04  
So a trademark in the most basic definition is really ownership in your brand name, your brand, logo, slogan, course name in relation to the goods or services that you provide. So for example, you could trademark your business name, maybe it's lashes lashes, maybe it's you know, she trademarks, whatever it is that you're putting out there to the world to your audience that they associate with you and your services, you can trademark. So it's really the only way you can get brand ownership. If you get an LLC, not brand ownership, you've created a business structure, you've created a business entity, but you don't own that name. You can't prevent anyone else from using that name or that logo.

Mary Harcourt  7:50  
Interesting. That's some helpful information. So I asked every time we have a guest on Instagram for some questions, and I have a question that ties right into where we're at. So the question from Instagram is when you trademark your business, is it a blanket trademark for everything, including your logo brand brand colors, your brand training courses? Or is it just the name,

Reonna Green  8:09  
this is how trademarks work? You have to trademark every individual thing that you want to trademark so it's not a blanket like I'm trademarking my brand, you can trademark multiple different classes. So in my example, if your brand name is luscious lashes, and it's unique enough to get trademarked, you can trademark it for salon services, that would be one class, you can trademark it for education or entertainment like podcast, that would be another class, you can also trade market for products. So lash wash, tweezers, things like that, that would be another class, okay, but that would just relate to the actual word mark, which is what it's called have the words luscious lashes. If you also have a logo in association with that, you have to trademark the logo. In all of those classes that I just mentioned, if you have a course name that's different, you're going to want to trademark that in the same way. And so all of those things are different marks. So one business owner might own 678 Different trademarks registered in various different classes.

Mary Harcourt  9:12  
Fascinating. So let's break it down. How long does the process take? And how much does it cost if you're doing one name versus all of your courses, all of the different logos, all of that.

Reonna Green  9:23  
So it's taking a lot longer now than it used to it used to be about I would say 12 to 16 months to get your trademark from start to finish now because so many people have popped up being entrepreneurs, starting businesses, you know, due to the pandemic and things like that. They have seen such a big influx in people protecting their names and their brands that the USPTO and that is the United States Patent and Trademark Office. They're just overwhelmed. They have so many so now it's taking I would say more like 18 to 24 months to get your trademark approved, I have some trademarks that I submitted well, like early last year, that still have not made it all the way through the process

Mary Harcourt  10:08  
yet. Wow, we have Cosmo glow, I own the name Cosmo glow. And it took us about 18 months, which was way longer than I was expecting. But again, pandemic related, everything's bounce back. And I totally agree with you, I think more people are popping out and having the courage to do their own thing, because the majority of them lost their job. And when you lose your comfort zone, it's like, Alright, I've already lost it all. I'm already not working, I might as well try this. So good for everyone that took a pivot during that time and jumped up. And congratulations on that. That's a huge movement. I think we saw in the past couple of years, for sure.

Reonna Green  10:43  
And I think that it's great. I mean, I like the influx and applications, right? It means that people are protecting their brand, they are really making an investment in their business. The downside to that is that it came so fast that the USPTO can't keep up. But I did want to mention you asked earlier about the cost of it. So for trademark cost, how it works is if you are registering a word mark, and so I said that's like your business name, your slogan, whatever, that would be one mark individually, you have to register in every class that you want to be protected in, as we talked about. So if you've got three different classes that you want to be registered in, you're going to pay $350 for each class that you want to register in. And then attorneys fees, which usually range from like 1500 to 2500, on average for the application process,

Mary Harcourt  11:37  
okay, so it's a little investment, but also you don't want to be two or three years down, have built your brand, and then turn around and you don't have access to that name anymore,

Reonna Green  11:46  
right? Or get hit with a cease and desist letter after you have already started, like you said, building your brand. And now all of a sudden, they're like, hey, guess what, I own the trademark to this, I want you to stop using it. You have to rebrand. That's really expensive. You know, what, five grand, seven grand, 10, grand, maybe to rebrand, do all of that. But then if you want to fight for your name, you're looking at $25,000, minimum for trademark litigation. So when you think of it like that, but the proactive beauty Pro is really saving a ton of money, versus the reactive beauty pro who is going to have to pay 25 $30,000 to secure that name later on.

Mary Harcourt  12:27  
Absolutely. I mean, it's definitely putting your plan going, I know this is gonna work for me, or at least I'm gonna give it all I have and hope that it works. And I'm gonna protect myself now, rather than saying, Oh, I wish I would have done that. Why didn't I do that it was so you know, maybe not affordable, but it was doable.

Reonna Green  12:44  
Along those lines, I always say illegal isn't the sexy part of your business, right? So it's, I mean, it's just a fact, like, people would rather spend their money when they're growing a business and starting a business on different things. And I get it as an entrepreneur, you have to put money in so many different places. But the one thing about trademarks is it really can be costly if you don't do it beforehand. So if you're paying, you know, three grand on a coach to get you more clients, you're building your brand under a name, right? Maybe you pay two grand on a website to get your website done. And then maybe you pay a logo designer, you're doing marketing type things, you've now just put six or seven grand into your business, because that's the sexy part, right? That's the fun part, like oh, look at my new website, look at you know this, but if you're just gonna have to throw it down the drain because someone else comes in trademarks it, then it kind of puts it in perspective, like, Oh, this isn't the sexy part. But it's a necessary part. Because otherwise, some of this other stuff that I have done will be for waste.

Mary Harcourt  13:42  
Yeah, it's a great thing to mention, and let everyone pick your path. And think about what the future could be. If you don't go ahead and be proactive about it. Is there a way to search if something is currently trademarked or open and available?

Reonna Green  13:54  
Yes and no. So in loyally fashion, it depends. So there is a searching mechanism that you can do on the USPTO website. And you can go in, and you can type in your name and hit search. And it will show you if there are any direct hits, right. But the problem is, it doesn't have to be a direct hit to block your trademark registration. It just has to be confusingly similar to the public or confusingly similar to the consumer. So a good example of this is, you could go onto the USPTO website right now, you can type in Starbucks with two S's, right? Just add an extra s at the end of that name. You're not going to get any hits, it will come back with nothing. Now, if you went to try to file a trademark application with Starbucks with two S's, you're never going to get it through not for coffee, probably probably not for anything just because Starbucks is such a massive, you know, company, you're probably not going to get it through for anything. But if you did that basic search, you might think that it's available and you could do it. So similar. Willie, it doesn't have to be an exact hit as long as it's going to confuse the consumers. They're not going to know what the source of that product is from. Is it from your website, your brand? Is it somebody else's website, somebody else's brand? Is this service now being provided in Austin, Texas, the same salon that provides the same service in Los Angeles, California? So there are lots of factors that go into it.

Mary Harcourt  15:24  
Yeah, that makes total sense. And great example. I mean, everyone can relate to Starbucks, and they're such a massive company, I don't think they would let anything pass through. Do you think it's a good idea to trademark your name as a brand? It seemed to work for Ford, Valentino, and Gucci?

Reonna Green  15:39  
You can and it works. But it just kind of depends it? Absolutely like Gucci, Valentino, those are all name brand recognition. So that really is just a branding type. Question is preference, right? Do you want people to remember you by your name specifically? Or do you want them to associate your brand with something else?

Mary Harcourt  16:01  
For a solo lash artists just starting out? What do you recommend doing on a minimal budget to protect herself most have an LLC, is that enough to get started,

Reonna Green  16:10  
I would say, at minimum, there are three things I would probably say you should do to really kind of see why one, I would definitely get an LLC, it's easier to set up in the beginning, when you're starting than to have to change all your credit cards, change the way you're accepting payments, get a new bank account, all of that stuff. So LLC would be on the top of my list, lawyer drafted contracts would be second, because they really just protect you. So it really goes more towards enforcing your boundaries, protecting what you're going to accept and not accept, as far as clients go, and cancellations and things like that. I often get asked, like a contract for my clients, like what do you mean by that? That's like unusual, it's not really unusual. You have policies and you want them to follow your policies, but how are you going to enforce those policies, if you don't have your client agreeing, basically, to your terms and conditions? Right. So I think that it's really important to have a client services agreement contract that outlines what your policies are, what your cancellation period is, any additional fees that you charge. And then the third thing I would say, is professional liability insurance. And if you are a suite owner, or own your own salon, then general liability insurance for that premises or for that salon,

Mary Harcourt  17:34  
that's great advice, I want to touch on both of those. Let's start with the professional liability, what's a good example of something that could happen, and it could go wrong if you weren't protected and could go right if you aren't protected?

Reonna Green  17:46  
Okay, so let's say for professional liability insurance, you are doing lashes, let's stick with this one, because we've been using lash lash examples the whole time. So you're doing lashes, your client has a negative reaction to the glue, or in the alternative, and maybe something is faulty with that batch of glue. Okay, if you have professional liability insurance, it's going to cover you from basically a service that you should have done maybe a certain way. So in the example of the adverse reaction to the glue, the eyelash extensions, you probably should have done a patch test, right. But for one reason or another, you didn't do the patch test, and they had a bad reaction. So that professional liability insurance is going to cover you then because you basically made an Oopsie. Right, and that's what professional liability insurances for. The caveat to that is, depending on your professional liability insurance company, you may be required to use contracts, consent, intake forms, that type of thing. So that's why that's on my list of top three things. Because if you're not using it, your insurance company may say like, Hey, you were supposed to use an intake form, you're supposed to have them sign a consent, you didn't do that. And we're not going to honor this claim. Too bad. So sad. So that's kind of how it works. But it also works. Like if you got a bad product, batch, and no fault of your own, but you have product liability insurance as part of your professional liability insurance, or as part of your general liability insurance, then in that case, they're gonna pay that claim, because it's something that happened during your service, but it wasn't your fault and Oopsie. Right, and they're gonna help with that.

Mary Harcourt  19:27  
So we definitely want that. Let's dive into so if you have the professional liability, you also mentioned lawyer drafting contracts and client intake forms, what are some necessary things that you want to put on your client intake forms?

Reonna Green  19:40  
So for client intake forms, you want to know what type of medicine you know they may have that may have adverse reactions to any of the products that you're using. You want to know if they've had previous reactions to any glue, any extensions, any type of product that you use in your service. You want to know if they're Are any type of underlying medical medical conditions that may cause problems, you know, for example, in eyelashes, maybe they have watery eyes, well, that's going to affect your attention, right. Or maybe they have recently had pinkeye, or you know, something like that, you're going to want to know if they had it, because obviously, you're going to be cleaning your utensils anyways. But like, those are things that you should know, as far as the intake form is concerned, when it comes to consents, there's a whole host of stuff you want to have in there, but like your heavy hitters are going to be adverse reactions, you want to let them know that as a result of your service, these are the possible adverse reactions. And you want to list those out so that they can never say, once they have that adverse reaction, I had no idea my eye ball might swell up, and I might, you know, have this issue, or I had no idea that as a result of this facial, I wasn't supposed to go out in the sun for X amount of time, or else I might have certain type of burning, right. So those are the adverse reactions that you want to list out so that you're covered, if they do have that adverse reaction. Another thing that I see missing from consent forms a lot of time, and as service providers you're going to want is an arbitration clause, that basically means that if there is a dispute, so if something happens with your client, they're upset about the service, they're upset about a reaction, whatever the case is, they're not going to drag you to a jury trial. jury trials are unpredictable, they're expensive, you just want to avoid it, if you can, as a service provider, arbitrations are much more cost effective, they're usually quicker. And so it's going to save you money. And you also usually get people who are experienced in these types of claims. And so they're going to know what a reasonable amount is for any type of settlement or things like that.

Mary Harcourt  21:39  
That's a really key thing. I've never heard that being put into a contract or Terms of Service in the salon industry, but I have in almost every other industry. So it definitely makes sense to throw that in there. And I like that you bring up adverse reactions, because that was on an our intake form. And I had a salon and I was shocked how many people are like it was I think we asked three different questions that kind of meant the same thing. Have you ever had allergic reactions to lashes, have your eyes ever swollen after a service? Have you ever had this, that and the other and people come in and be like check off three, and you get to have a conversation of I just want you to know, if you have allergies, it could be a very clear possibility that the service we perform today is going to result in the same if not worse reactions. And then we'll have them kind of sign off again going if you if you want to try and we'd walk them through the whole process and what your options are. And if you do have a reaction what to do and call us immediately, that kind of thing. But it is always a safety blanket. Knowing that you had the conversation, you talked about the possibilities. And they signed off because they wanted lashes so bad, that they're willing to take the chance just to see if they're truly allergic versus them coming in and getting a service done. You didn't have the conversation, they lay on your bed the next day, they call you they go the emergency room, their eyes are swollen, and they call you blame it all on you. And here you are going, Oh my God, what do I do now? Because I never had them sign anything. Right. So

Reonna Green  23:00  
one of the things in any type of lawsuit for bodily injury and like in this case, when you have an adverse reaction or something like that the claim is going to be a personal injury, or personal injury, bodily injury claim. That's the type of claim it would be. But what they have to prove is negligence. One of the ways that you are protecting yourself from that negligence standard. And one of the negligence standard is reasonable care, you have to provide your services in a reasonable manner, having the proper due care for your client, reasonable, proper due care, if you're having them sign a consent form, and you're going over these adverse reactions, it's really going to be difficult to say that you didn't exercise due care in your service. Because guess what you did you talked about it? They said no. Or they said yes. And then they signed saying that they still wanted the service, or they signed saying they've never had any of these things. And so you had no way to know that they would react that way. Or you thought maybe they might but they have said that they still want it and they're aware of the side effects. And so that kind of limits that negligence.

Mary Harcourt  24:08  
I love that. That's great. Do you think the average service provider understands the correct protections they need in the in their business? Do you see that most people are aware or most people are not so aware?

Reonna Green  24:19  
I think most people are unaware. So people understand that they do need protections. But I think there's so much information out there that is incorrect. And I think that there is a lot of people in the industry that might be coaches or you know, involved in different Facebook groups or Instagram groups or online that are providing information and it might be information that they've been taught and they think it's correct, but it's actually incorrect. So an example of this that I see all the time is I'll tell somebody they need to get an LLC like you should get an LLC to protect your assets. And lots of times the response is, well, I was told to get an S corp or I was told I could be a sole proprietor my coach told me not to even worry about getting an LLC until I really start making money. And those are just incorrect one. So for the first example, an S Corp is a tax designation. So you are typically most small business owners, and most beauty pros would typically be an LLC. So that is their business structure, that is what's protecting their assets. And then they are being taxed as an S corp. So that is the tax designation that they are electing. Right. So that's like one just difference. The other one is they'll say, The coach said, I don't need one, I should just be an LLC, an S corp until I'm starting to make money. But if on your first client on your first week, on your first month, somebody comes in and has that adverse reaction we talked about, somebody comes in and slips and falls in your salon, and they are suing you for their injuries for their damages. Guess what, it doesn't matter whether or not you have a lot of money in your business, because your personal assets are up for grabs. So if you had $30,000, that you're saving for a little Tommy's graduation, college, fund, whatever. Or if you had $20,000 that you wanted on a down payment for a house, it's up for grabs now, because you waited to get your LLC until you are quote unquote, making money when an LLC should be one of the very first things you do for your business, because it does protect you in situations like that.

Mary Harcourt  26:18  
And so with an LLC, its limited liability corporation, or a limited liability company. Yeah. Okay, limited liability company. And when you sign up, it's a reasonable quick process, you can do it online, and you can get yours registered pretty quick. So everyone should do it. But what's the difference between someone that says I'll do it later, and someone that went and got their LLC.

Reonna Green  26:38  
So if you have an LLC, it's going to be protected. So if you get the protection on the front end, you just know that you're covered. If you wait a while and you get protection on the back end, it's still an easy process. But you have to now get your EIN, you have to get a new bank account that's associated with that LLC name, you have to switch over all your stripes, all your squares, all of that stuff. And so it becomes a little bit more of a hassle. And it's just really an easy thing to do to protect yourself early on.

Mary Harcourt  27:09  
So we definitely want to get an LLC, we definitely want to trademark our name. We definitely want to get the lawyer drafted content contracts professional liability, is that something that you and your business help with the content forms and client service agreements.

Reonna Green  27:23  
On my website, I have plug and play contracts, templates, consent forms, intake forms, they are grouped by specialty. So I've got like a pro bundle for lash techs, a pro bundle for hairstylist. And it really includes what I consider the top six contracts consents that you should have. So each bundle will include a client services agreement, which again is your policies in a written form, those are super helpful for chargebacks. Because if you charge a no show fee, your client doesn't come you charge that full price of your service, because that's what your policy says they dispute the transaction with their credit card or their bank, and you get hit with a chargeback. Well, credit card or bank is going to immediately withdraw that money until they can investigate why it is that you think you deserve that money. And so if you say like, Hey, I have a no show policy, they knew that they were required to pay the full service price if they no showed and they did. So I charged it. Okay, but how do you show agreement. So if you have a screenshot on your Instagram reels that shows what your policies are, if you are screenshotting it and sending it to them in a text after they book, okay, you're making them aware. But I want to know where the agreement is, and the credit card companies gonna want to know where the agreement is to before they issue those funds back to you. So client services are huge. The other thing that is in there as a COVID-19 waiver, we talked about this earlier, which is some people really love their services, and they are going to get that service at all costs. beauty services are mandatory for some like for me, I have to go I'm going I'm gonna get it. But they're really voluntary, right? So nobody's forcing you to go get that service done. And you want to make sure that if somebody contracts COVID Or is exposed to COVID at your salon, they understand their services voluntary, they're not going to hold you responsible. So COVID waiver, testimonial release and photo consent releases if you are going to put testimonials on your website, share them on Instagram, put before and after photos on your Instagram, as you're building your portfolio. You want to make sure that you have permission and that somebody is not going to come back and be like, Hey, you're using my face to market your brand. I want some money, or I'm going to sue you right? So those two are also very important and then your intake form and it's going to get all that information and it's usually required by your professional liability insurance and your consent form. Also super important to make sure that they understand the service to Cya and Good For Your insurance. Those are the heavy hitters the tops exe that I think everybody should have.

Mary Harcourt  30:01  
I mean, it's so helpful. And I wish I knew about you earlier to do the plug and play because we wrote all of our own. And I'm not a lawyer, I don't come from that background. And it was always in the back of my mind, I hope I didn't miss anything, because lawyers can find every loophole possible. And it was enough, because as you mentioned, everything like, Okay, I had that I had that I had this, I'm doing good. I'm doing good. We did it. But you know, it's also more of a sense of relief to know it's done, right. And you can save yourself time. I mean, we're not good at writing contracts, we would have gone to law school if we were so if you can go in there, pay a small fee, but know that it's done right, print it out. And now you have access to all of that. That's so So lucky for all those salon owners, and I highly encourage everyone to go do that. Um, so let's talk business. How long have you had she trademarks,

Reonna Green  30:45  
she trademarks really had its one year anniversary this past February. It's been fun, it's been very different. I originally started, she trademarks for the female entrepreneur to help them build their businesses, give them a space where they can come ask legal questions. And I'm not sitting behind some mahogany table and a stuffy Sue. And that's what it started as. And I actually did not pivot and really focus on beauty professionals until about July or August of last year. And I just saw the need for it. And I was like, this is just so aligned with what I've done and what I'm doing. And the type of cases I've worked and everything that I've seen. That's really when I pivoted towards the beauty professional. And it's been a fun roller coaster ever since.

Mary Harcourt  31:35  
Yeah, I mean, what a great pivot. And you're right, there is a huge hole in the industry. So we're so blessed and lucky to have you pulling for us. When you transitioned, what were some things that changed in your life from what you were doing into having your own business as she trademarks.

Reonna Green  31:49  
It is one of those things where in a traditional law firm, right, there is somebody who does marketing there is somebody who does admin work there is somebody who is doing the paralegal type work, there is somebody answering phones, there are somebody that's doing everything, you as the attorney or not the one that is wearing all the different hats. So being a business owner really building she trademarks, really trying to get the message out there to attract the right clients. All of that stuff is new to me, I've never had to do it. And it's a marketing aspect that I haven't done before. So learning how to do that. Also juggling time and time management, because I'm wearing so many different hats, trying to figure out how am I going to get these admin tasks done? How am I going to automate this system? How am I going to do this, while also doing the legal part while also being, quote unquote, the face of the brand, while also marketing, doing everything else, it's definitely been a transition to figure out what I do best and figure out where to outsource the rest.

Mary Harcourt  32:56  
Absolutely, I think that was a struggle for everyone. But when you can figure out what you love doing and what you're great at, and focus on that out everything else, it really does propel your business forward. So you're known for your grit, your resourcefulness and compassion. What are some of the experiences in your past that gave you these titles?

Reonna Green  33:15  
A funny story, I used to be a prosecutor for a really long time. So a trial attorney by nature been in the courtrooms been prosecuted many different types of cases. One of the things about being a prosecutor, you will find depending on what type of cases you're doing, is that people don't want to come to court, okay, there are witness to a crime and they do not want to come to court, you have to really be sometimes a PI, like a private investigator to find them, right. And so sometimes like resourcefulness going out there, when they don't want to come in to do the interview popping up at their house, like, hey, we have been able to get in contact with you, you know, or really kind of convincing people to come do what they need to do for their cases. I think that's where the grit and the resourcefulness comes in. I had a guy one time say he didn't want to come in. I said, he's like, What are you going to do if I don't come in? And I'm like, well, you're subpoenaed. And he was like, so what happens? I said, Well, I'm gonna have to ask the judge for a warrant. And he was like, oh, warrant. Okay, Miss green. I'll see you on Monday. So I think that that has kind of translated into this business as well like resourcefulness. I am not shy of reaching out for collabs. I think that people who are building businesses, if you have something that is beneficial to somebody else, don't be shy about it. So I will reach out and be like, Hey, you're having this convention? I think this would be good for your audience. Can I come speak? Or, Hey, you're doing this course. I think your students might get value from this topic. Can I come talk to your audience? And so that's like resourcefulness. Grit, I would say is just one of those things where sometimes you have to get down and dirty in order to achieve the goal that you want to do, and you have to put in the time And you have to work the late hours, I oftentimes will work until like two or three in the morning. It's not because I love doing work, but it's because it has to get done. So you have to have that grit and determination.

Mary Harcourt  35:13  
Absolutely. I mean, it does have to get done. I think grit is one of the strongest things a business owner can have. And it's just from doing all the things that don't feel good. You do them and you get over them. Because you know that after that is a better thing that you're working towards, and you kind of forget your feelings for a little bit and get that grit, I love it. What are the top five ways to legally protect your beauty business?

Reonna Green  35:36  
Top five ways to protect your beauty business from a legal standpoint is number one, get those trademarks we talked about, it's the only way for you to have brand ownership. And so super important. Number two, you want to create a business entity, whether that's an LLC, you can do a corporation, but you want asset protection. Number three, once you get asset protection, you have to run your business like a business. And so that's going to mean separate business bank accounts. So number three is business bank accounts, you have to make sure that money for the business is going into that bank account money that you're using to fund the business buy things for the business is coming out of that bank account. Number four is definitely going to be those lawyer drafted contracts that we talked about, to help enforce your boundaries to make sure you're protected from chargebacks, lawsuits, all of that stuff. And number five is going to be your professional and general liability insurance. So that in addition to all the other things that we've talked about to protect yourself, in the event that a lawsuit happens or a claim is filed, before you even have to use money out of pocket, you have that insurance policy in place, and they're going to take care of it. So those would be the top five things I think every beauty professional should have if they are running a beauty business.

Mary Harcourt  36:54  
Yeah, I mean, all great tips, I would have never even thought about the insured but not currently paying a policy versus the time of insured, you had the policy paid, but no longer you're not paying it. That's such a great point to bring up. And then I lost my train of thought because I had another one Ah oh. And then also as well as understanding what your due diligence is to have your butt covered during the insurance claim, because it is one thing to pay for an insurance. But there might be something that you also have to hold up your end. Because insurance companies at the end of the day, they are looking for those little loopholes to say you didn't do that meet and do this. So we're off the hook. Don't just make sure that I guess you read the fine print, you call and ask the questions. In this new world of COVID. What are some of the risks that we should be aware of now more than we ever have been before, I would say

Reonna Green  37:45  
in the new era of COVID. And the litigious nature of people in general, I think lots of people are becoming more litigious, they are ready to sue you, you really have to make sure that you're protected in your business, you should have them sign those COVID releases saying that they know that it is likely that they could contract COVID while getting a service done at your salon, you also want to have them make sure that you have the LLC in place so that if you get sued for a COVID related incident, you are protected with your personal assets.

Mary Harcourt  38:18  
That's great advice. I mean, you've covered so much. I feel like if all of us had this information in school, and then graduated school to start our careers, even whether you're working for someone or not, or starting your own business, it's so helpful to have all of these bullet point things of what we should do. I wish I hadn't. I learned a little bit more in the hard way of going to classes and sitting through stuff and learning all of this and be like, Oh my God, I don't have that. But I'm gonna run home and get it today. Do you have any stories we can talk about of people you've dealt with in the past? And how they got themselves into some sticky situations by not being properly protected?

Reonna Green  38:55  
Yeah, so I was a insurance defense attorney for a while. So I worked at a big insurance company. I remember I got my first salon case, it was kind of not necessarily the aha moment. But I was like, Oh, I definitely I can do this, like, what were they doing? What were they using, etc. But what I never knew as a beauty professional and didn't really know until I was working in the insurance company with this specific case was once they get a case, they're going to ask the beauty professional for intake forms for consent forms, any evidence that they have, that is going to help their case. So it would come across my desk, I would say hey, we need this discovery information. They would send in what they have. And one of my supervisors was like, Hey, did they send in consent forms or they send an intake forms? I'm like, No, they didn't have any they didn't use it with this client. She's like, Okay, well, this is a coverage issue. You need to send it up to our coverage department, our coverage attorneys, and see if they have insurance. It wasn't until then that I realized that lots of these insurers his policies have these underlying fine print rules. That's like if you didn't do a patch test, if you can't show that they consented to this service, the adverse reactions, we're just not going to cover your claim. And so in one case, while I was there, it got sent up to coverage coverage said it was required that they use this consent form, we're not going to cover this claim that medical bills alone in that case, were $45,000, that beauty professional had paid every month in to this insurance that they expected to be able to use. And then because they weren't using the proper consent forms, they weren't able to use it. That's a hard blow to get handed, right? Because you think you're doing the right things, but then you're not. So like, that's one example of a situation. In that case, I'm like, Well, I sure hope they have an LLC, because if not, personal money is up for grabs, personal savings, right? All of those things that we talked about. That's an insurance like coverage thing. I know that in other situations, it has worked in the favor of the beauty professional where somebody was suing them for adverse reaction to henna eyebrows, if I remember correctly, they had gotten, you know, tinted eyebrows. They weren't supposed to go in the sun. It had something to do with sons maybe wasn't the eyebrows, but they did some type of aesthetic service wasn't supposed to go in the sun, they were going to Jamaica, went to Jamaica, laid out in the sun got a horrible burn on their face, and we're trying to sue the beauty professional, but the beauty professional was like listen, you sign the consent form. It says that you got a copy of my aftercare. You said you were going to follow the aftercare procedures. And you didn't do that, like you knew this might be an adverse side effect. It says not to go out in the sun, you have your aftercare instructions, you didn't do it, it's not my fault. And in that case, guess what, it wasn't their fault. She didn't pay out of pocket insurance didn't pay out of pocket because she had the proper documents in place.

Mary Harcourt  42:01  
I mean, it's stressful, whether you know, you're protected or not, you still want to, you know, obviously, we want the best for everyone, but things do happen. Cool. Well, let's talk about you a little bit. What is next for you? What do you think like, what are your biggest dreams for she trademarks?

Reonna Green  42:15  
My goal for she trademarks, and the beauty industry in general is to make legal more affordable for the beauty professional because I think the issue is twofold. One, we don't know that we're supposed to be doing the legal stuff. We don't know about the business stuff. We talked about that. But then I think the second thing is legal is an investment, legal can be expensive. And so I have really made it my goal to provide resources that are affordable for the industry. So for example, my templates range anywhere from like 140 to $300, that is very no one individual template. If I was to draft that contract from scratch, you're looking at 1500 to 2500 for a custom contract. So what I've done is I've created the template, I've made it plug and play, it's something that I would draft for an individual client, but I'm making that resource available at a fraction of the cost. With that goal in mind. I'm really trying to make it bigger than that bigger than the contract templates, but really more giving you access to an attorney for your quick questions. When you're like, oh, this happened in my salon, this happened with an employee? Like what's the legal thing I should do? Or what is my next step? Should I send a cease and desist? Should I do this? Whatever the case is. So I really have big goals of a membership type community where beauty pros can be enrolled, they will get monthly access to business and legal trainings on issues that are occurring in the salon occurring in the industry, how to tackle it, how to handle it, where they can ask those questions and get answers that are legit, instead of maybe asking those questions and Facebook groups and getting incorrect information for the most part, right and giving them access to that one on one with an attorney or with a community of like minded beauty bosses that do value the business side of their business and do want that protection. That's really where I see it going.

Mary Harcourt  44:20  
Well, I love that and it's so smart. Like what you're doing is so smart to break it down into a plug and play because I think anytime anyone hears legal we just think dollar signs like we know going into it no matter what you're gonna spend a ton of money, you may or may not see the value from it, but it's gonna cost you even just to have a phone call sometimes or to sit down and have a one on one consultation can cost you big money. But it's so great that you have these resources available. And if you can only buy one or two until you save up to buy the next rest of the set. It's still so much more valuable and helpful than trying to do it the right way and going to find a random guy. Not that we have phone books anymore but the phone book to draft up something for your business, it's just a smart way to handle it. And I think it's a great asset for people in the beauty industry.

Reonna Green  45:07  
I had a customer who purchased the template. And I will tell people, that template is not state specific. It is a general template, there is a clause in there where you say this contract is going to be governed by the laws of an insert your state here, right as part of your plug and play. So you will say governed under laws of California, Texas, wherever. But if people have state specific questions, I encourage them to take that contract to an attorney licensed in your state. I've had clients or customers that actually do that. One of the girls got a salon booth rental contract from me, she I don't remember what state she was in. But she went to her attorney had him review it. And she was like, one thing I noticed right away is he asked like, do you really need this in your contract? And she was like, Yeah, but he's not in the beauty industry. So it's not something he would necessarily think of. But then if you take a contract into an attorney and have them review it, you know, just to make sure it's not out of line with your state laws or whatever, that's probably going to cost you maybe one hour, maybe two hours worth of that attorneys time. So if you bought the template for 200 bucks, or somewhere around, there, you go pay him 350 For an hour of his time, you now have a lawyer drafted contract for your state for 550 bucks out of pocket, if you go to that lawyer in your state and have them draft it from scratch. 1500 2000 easy. So it really is a way to protect yourself at a fraction of the

Mary Harcourt  46:33  
cost. Yeah, I love it. It's so smart. And we talked about insurance the whole way through this, I feel like I just need to touch on it. Is insurance something you offer? Or are there companies you recommend or is that something they have to do research all on their own?

Reonna Green  46:46  
So I have been doing research on some of the different professional liability insurances, I have not chosen a one that I am like behind yet, I will give you some things to consider. So there are different types of insurance. One is basically if a claim arises, and you are covered, they are going to protect you. So if the claim was from a year ago, and you have insurance, that same insurance at the time that claim comes through, when they decide to sue you, you're protected. That is one way. But if that claim comes through during a time that you had insurance, but when they make the claim, you are lapsed, or you don't have insurance, they're not going to protect you even though at the time that the incident occurred, they had insurance, right. So that is one version of insurance. The second version of insurance is the one in which if the incident occurs, during a time that you are covered, during the time that you have an insurance policy, it doesn't matter if a year later, you don't have insurance when that claim comes through, because you are protected, because at the time that you had the incident, you had insurance, that is the one you want. So you want to make sure that it is going to cover the incident. If you had insurance at the time of the incident regardless of if you have insurance the time the claim comes through. That's what I will say regarding that. The other thing is you want to make sure that you're protected for different types of things. One would be products, you want to make sure that if there's something faulty with your product or your machine, you are covered, you want to make sure that you have bodily injury up to a certain amount of money, I would say like 1 million, 2 million is good. Lots of the ones I see online for beauty professionals are right around that range. And then you want to make sure that you really know what your policy is entailing and what you have to follow in order to be covered.

Mary Harcourt  48:40  
Yeah, I mean, all great tips, I would have never even thought about the insured but not currently paying a policy versus the time of insured, you had the policy paid, but no longer you're not paying it. That's such a great point to bring up. And then also as well as understanding what your due diligence is to have your butt covered during the insurance claim because it is one thing to pay for an insurance but there might be something that you also have to hold up your end. Because insurance companies at the end of the day, they are looking for those little loopholes to say you didn't do that meet and do this. So we're off the hook. So just make sure that I guess you read the fine print, you call and ask the questions for sure.

Reonna Green  49:19  
Another thing I will say is, there's a difference between professional liability insurance and general liability insurance that some people don't take into consideration. So your professional liability insurance is going to cover you for things that happen as a result of your services, right, those adverse reactions, allergic reactions, that type of thing. Your general liability insurance is going to be what covers you for the slip and falls or somebody getting off of your lash bed a certain way and they tip over and fall down and now they've hurt their hip, their knee, whatever that is going to be covered by your general liability and not your professional liability. So if you're a suite owner, a salon owner you want both

Mary Harcourt  49:59  
items. So glad you clarified that, thinking back to when I had my salon, I did have both, but I don't think I ever realized it because people say, Well, you need this go get it. But I love how you broke that down because it is so true. And at the end of the day, you do want to make sure that you are protected. So you have a monthly legal membership thing coming up. And it's not launched yet, but it's launching, let's talk about that. How is it going to work? What's it going to cost? Who needs it?

Reonna Green  50:22  
Oh, I'm so excited about it. It is basically your all access to me? Almost right. So at the very basic level, you are going to get one monthly legal training or business training a month, it'll be live. So we'll have question answers I'll take from the community. So if I see that people are having a certain type of problem, certain type of questions, we might make that the monthly lesson for that month. So you're gonna get that you also will get access to Office Hours, twice a month. So if you have questions that are going on in your business, or legal questions that are coming up, or how to do something, how to prevent this copycat how to get instagram content taken down that someone has stolen from you those types of things you can ask at office hours. In addition to that, you're gonna get access to templates. And this is one of my favorite things is that there are the templates that you need when you have a legal problem. So it's not necessarily the contracts or the intake forms that we talked about before. This is templates that somebody is copycatting you, and you will have a trademark, you want them to stop using your brand name, you know that you need to send a cease and desist, but you don't know how to send it, you don't know where to send it, you don't know what it should entail. So you'll get access to plug and play templates for that. Or maybe you have an issue and you don't know what the resource is, there will be a quiz that you can take answer some simple questions and it'll say, Oh, sounds like you need to send a cease and desist sounds like you need to send a demand letter, and then you'll get access to that template. So it really is creating the environment for you to have the legal resources and access that you need. That's on the most basic level of the membership, the medium level or that middle level is going to get everything from the first. But in addition to that, you're going to get access to me via the platform, but basically, like DMS so if you have questions that you want, that are specific to you, you can send me a DM, I will answer them, you also are going to get 15% off additional legal services. So maybe you need to get your trademark done, you've been holding it off, you'll get to do that. So that comes with the middle of membership. And I forgot also, if you create that template for that cease and desist or that demand letter, or that DMCA takedown in the middle tier, you get to request attorney review if you want it. So you'd be like, Hey, I filled it out, I did the plug and play but can you just take a look at it and make sure it's good to go, I will do that. And then on the third level of the membership, you get access to everything in one and two, plus you get monthly a 30 minute one on one with me for business consulting, or anything that is related specifically to you, you get that one on one FaceTime, and you get 20% off legal. And then after three months, you get access to the pro contracts bundle of your choice. And after six months, additional contract templates are included.

Mary Harcourt  53:16  
That's amazing. And so what is the price range for your three tiers.

Reonna Green  53:20  
So for the first tier, it's $97 a month, for the second tier, it's 197. And for the third tier, it's 297.

Mary Harcourt  53:29  
So affordable. And I don't know that's part of your mission to be affordable for people in the industry. I love that you're doing that I love that people have a source because we really as females in business are learning so much all at once. And it can be kind of overwhelming. And it's nice to be able to talk to somebody that comes from that field, to know what we should do, which we talked about how to set your self up for success, how to protect yourself, and then also who to go and talk to when you do have an issue because that's the other scary thing is when these phone calls or these letters come in, sometimes you don't quite know who to reach out to. So it's amazing. I'm so glad we had you on the show tonight to talk about it and put kind of a name to the face. And let people know that you are a source of voice in the industry that knows what to do or how to how to handle the situations, how to give plug and play little documents they can download and that you're going to offer this new program that you're launching. If people are super interested. They're listening and going oh my God, I need all of this right now. Where can they go to find you?

Reonna Green  54:30  
They can go to sheet trademarks on Instagram. That is my primary platform. That's where I give all kinds of good tips tricks and legal info. And then also my website Xi trademarks.com. And that's where you can get any of the contracts we've talked about. That's where you can sign up if you want to do a one on one consulting I do what's called Beauty boss legal. And it's a 45 minute question and answer so you can really come and ask those questions that you have pertaining to your business. And trademark services are also available on that website. So if you You want access to me or any of my services, that's the best place to go.

Mary Harcourt  55:03  
Awesome. Well, thank you so much for being a part of this tonight. I think we added a lot of value and a lot of people are gonna at least do an inventory of what they haven't don't have in their business so they know how to protect themselves in the future,

Reonna Green  55:15  
for sure. Thank you so much for having me. I was really excited to come on the show and talk to you and I'm so glad we did this.

Mary Harcourt  55:22  
That wraps up today's episode. For more information on our guests. You can find them at Mary harcourt.com under the episodes tab. You can always find me on Instagram at Mary Harcourt underscore and at the cosmic low light. I hope you enjoyed today's episode and many more to come