Frequently asked questions from customers about products and services.

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  1. EU Customs clearance fees by postal serviceclick image for source and more info

    Information still clear as mud.  However I found this.  It basically says that anything sent via the postal service is charged VAT (and applicable duties) at the border but that the postal service is not permitted to add any extra fees.  This means that there will be no unexpected 'import charges' such as you might expect with couriers.

    Regarding courier packages - the aggregate service that I use, has made it possible to pay the VAT in advance with the cost of postage.  So there are two things to take away here.

    1.  For the time being, small orders will be sent to the EU using the postal service as usual.  These packages will have VAT added at the border.  As all our items originate in the EU or the UK, then there should be no duties payable.

    2. For larger orders over 2kg in weight where we use a courier, the VAT will be paid this end with the postal charge.  I have set our postal options to reflect the extra charge and will refund any excess paid via your payment method.

    On behalf of the potato heads in the UK who voted for this utter mess, I apologise. Our country is broken and now we are all trapped here!

  2. So the next phase in our nightmare saga called "Brexit" is "wading through all the info about VAT registration in the EU and finding out after spending several hours reading through several headahces, that it's all optional - at least I think it is".

    corsetry supplies at sew curvy

    I asked my accountant about the impending rule that UK businesses will have to register for VAT in one EU country, then apply VAT to EU sales, then pay that VAT to the EU every month.

    Nowhere in the 'official' information given out by HMRC - at least for us mere mortals - is there any suggestion that this is infact optional, but this is Brexit Britain where nothing is clear, least of all things that used to be perfectly simple.

    Nevertheless, my accountant did some digging and discovered the following.

    Option 1: Businesses can register for VAT in one EU country who will administrate the VAT responsibility for the EU VAT.  Most Brits are choosing Ireland because of language.  To do this, the business must appoint a 'specialist' (accountant) who will set up the system for a fee of around £2k, then charge a monthly fee to keep you right.  You also have to register on the online platform IOSS to help you do this.  So that's quite an outlay in addition to the monthly accountants fees and the VAT payments themselves.

    Option 2: Businesses can carry on as they are without registering for VAT in an EU country.  Packages sent to the EU will simply be taxed at the border, as they are now.


    We can therefore draw a few conclusions:

    1. The main reason for a business registering for VAT in the EU is for customer convenience - to save them having to pay customs on their packages before delivery.

    2. The set up fees and ongoing monthly fees and additional admin, is not sustainable for small and micro businesses

    3. The business turnover for EU sales must be over £10k - more to make it economically viable.

    Sew Curvy pays VAT from profits.  This is the case with most businesses in the UK.  Prices 'include' VAT but VAT is not added to the price of the product to start with - (it's complicated!).

    Obviously as I have reported before, our sales to the EU have dropped quite considerably since "B-day", and so for the time being, we will not be registering for VAT in the EU.  We will continue to send goods into those countries but these will be subject to customs at the border.

    sending corset making supplies to the EU from the UK

  3. English coutil fabric for Corsetry

    So over the past couple of weeks, you may have noticed that our regular herringbone cotton coutil fabric feels a bit different - a bit softer, a lot softer actually.

    First of all PANIC NOT!  This is not a bad thing. The thread count and quality of the fabric is still the same. The sizing has changed - what is 'sizing'? I hear you ask...

    Size is the glue product which is put onto the coutil fabric during the finishing process to make the material stiff and therefore suitable for corsetry.  In the past, to be honest, I think the fabric has been oversized which has resulted in a really cardboard like feel to the fabric.  However, this over-sizing did have benefits too  because it meant that you could dye the white herringbone with ease and the fabric would remain firm even after several washing cycles. 

    Now, we have a softer product but no less strong and certainly still the best fabric to use for making a corset.

    If you do wish to dye the coutil, you can still do so but will need to use starch in order to get a crisp result. 

    The new softer herringbone corsetry coutil allows you much more flexibility especially when it comes to fusing other fabrics to it (ie: silk);  before you would end up with a really stiff and bulky cardboard like fabric which would permenantly crease if you weren't careful.  With the softer base, this will not happen.

    For tips on fusing, click HERE

  4. We're 4 months into 'Post Brexit' and discovering all the things that could possibly go wrong, but for some unfathomable reason that I cannot work out, the operations which are suffering most as a result of the new customs arrangements everywhere, are the couriers!

    post to europe via royal mail

    Typically I used to use UPS for everthing going West - so USA etc., and DPD for everything going East of here - so EU etc.,

    DPD are a French company with a highly sophisticated digital tracking system and I have literally never ever had a problem with them in 10 years.  Now it seems they are in meltdown! I can't understand it.  I would have thought if anyone could cope, it would be DPD.  But alas no.

    I haven't tried UPS because my usual booking company has put them off limits! WTF I hear you say? It's a mystery!

    My EU custom had dropped right off in January as expected, but slowly my lovely EU customers are coming back.  Partly it seems, this is because the only service out of the UK who seems to be getting on with the job with absolutely no problems at all, is the Royal Mail!  I haven't had one single problem with anything going to the EU with the Royal Mail and there don't seem to have been many or any 'problems' with customs (touches as much wood as possible!!).  Customers all over Europe have been reporting safe, quick and free of customs deliveries. 

    SO, I have upped the postage rates for parcels which weigh over 2kg.  This is so that I can break larger orders into 2kg packages and send by Royal Mail.  It's more expensive I  know, but it's the only way I can guarantee you getting your stuff in the usual amount of time, rather than 3 months down the line, but as ever, any excess postage paid will be refunded.

    I'm sorry about having to do this but until the courier companies get to grips with the situation, this is the best we can do for our own service to our customers.