In the world of fashion, navigating legal complexities is crucial for successful business operations. Having a basic fashion compliance program allows for internal controls and procedures that implement compliance measures for laws and regulations governing day-to-day operations. This information needs to be in written form and regularly updated so that new and existing employees can understand the current protocols that keep the company in compliance with the law.
In addition to lawful operations, if your business is audited, a fashion compliance program is the first thing a federal agency wants to see for assessing your awareness of their rules. The agency will also evaluate if you have been following your own procedures, identifying errors made and correcting them, or if instead your practices have been sloppy, leading to what they view as violations of their rules.
The best way to maintain information about your fashion compliance program is by creating a manual. To get started you will want to draft a manual that sets forth your basic standard operations and, if you are also an importer, include the details around your import procedures. Information contained in your fashion compliance manual should:
Include a basic description about the business and its product lines,
Identify the vendors who you buy products from and who service the business,
Describe your standard protocols for ordering, invoicing, and shipping, and
Have separate sections relating to each federal agency with details about how its laws apply to your products, and how you have implemented procedures to exercise diligence and be compliant with them.
Remember, a fashion compliance program is not a one-size-fits-all. It is important to put together a compliance program that fits your company. To be an effective compliance program, internal controls and procedures need to be actively implemented and revised.
Having an effective program is further strengthened when there is a culture of accountability in which individuals understand the concept of compliance and their role and accompanying responsibilities within the compliance chain.
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