Is it legal or ethical to call my business “Charity Boutique” if I do not have nonprofit or charitable status? The whole idea of my business is helping local nonprofits on a regular basis since 10% of sales benefit local nonprofits the buyers select.
I am not aware of any legal reason you could not call your business Charity Boutique and I don’t see anything unethical about it as long as you don't represent your business as a charity. Your business model (irrespective of the company name) raises, however, very interesting and difficult questions about whether you may have to register under any applicable charitable solicitation registration statutes, either as a “charitable organization” because you are selling with a “charitable appeal” or as a commercial co-venturer because you are providing a percentage of your proceeds to charitable organizations. Misrepresentation, whether or not you should be registered, can get you in a lot of trouble. Check with a sophisticated lawyer to whom you can explain the full context of your operations. (See Ready Reference Page: "Co-venturing Can Benefit Both Business and Charity But May Be Regulated By Disclosure Laws")