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Fashion Junkie Fashion Junkie is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Selling to International Customers

Hi there - I run a clothing website and, at present, only sell to UK customers. I have received lots of overseas e-mails (mainly from the US) asking when they will be able to buy from us - and I don't want to turn their business away anymore! What do I need to do to be able to sell/ship internationally? Is it just a case of putting a new P&P charge on the site for international customers and filling in Customs forms at the POST Office? Please advise!
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Statler's Avatar Statler Statler is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 838
Hi,

You can get a lot of exporting help from UK Trade and Invest, which is the official government department that deals with export and import information, assistance, etc:

https://www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk/ukt...er/ukti/splash

HM Customs and Excise should also be able to provide you with good advice and information:

http://www.hmce.gov.uk/channelsPorta...ort_InfoGuides

Lee
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Fashion Junkie Fashion Junkie is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Thanks Lee - will check that out.
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Fashion Junkie Fashion Junkie is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Ah-ha, so I haven't gone mad. Not yet anyway......

I have looked at the two sites you recommended, and to be honest, I still find it quite difficult to understand. Is there anywhere I can look where info is broken down into idiot-proof plain English, or do you know of anywhere I could go to talk it through with someone face-to-face?
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Statler's Avatar Statler Statler is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 838
You may find the Business Link information is a little easier to read:

http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg...cId=1073858802

Also, your local Business Link will often have an adviser who specialises in exporting.

Lee
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Andrewgadd Andrewgadd is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 31
Hi
Just to add a few comments to the info already here.

Finding International customers is usually the problem. If you have them lining up already, you are very fortunate.
In my limited experience, the answer to your question is "yes".

However, (don't mean to tell you your business here, but) don't forget the (possible?) different way the USA and the UK size their clothing.

If you are Vat registered, you won't be able to charge Vat to customers abroard. If you suddenly start exporting a lot to the USA, the amount of Vat you collect will suddenly drop, causing Customs & Excise to (almost certainly) become suspicious - and they'll want to inspect your books. Not something to look forward to!

Does this help? Let me know.
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Fashion Junkie Fashion Junkie is offline
Entrepreneur
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 29
Thanks Andrewg!

I am lucky enough to have been contacted by several international customers already - which is why I can't afford to spend any more time turning them away.

Sizing of the garments is not a problem, having previously been a fashion buyer I am aware of the sizing variations between countries and display garment measurements on the website to make things clear for everyone. Thanks for your guidance anyway!

Thanks also for warning me about C&E - having taken so long to set the company up (I was VAT registered from the start), I think a visit from them may be imminent anyway......

I just feel like I have spent so long working alone on the business, and reading page after page of information on the internet, that I really need a human being to talk to face-to-face about my plans for expansion so that I can get feedback. Any ideas?
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Statler's Avatar Statler Statler is offline
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Join Date: Sep 2002
Posts: 838
Hi,

You may find it helpful to contact your local enterprise agency (http://www.nfea.com/index.htm?page=find_lea.htm), or, if you register with Shell LiveWIRE (https://www.shell-livewire.org/cgi-bin/register.pl), you will receive details of your local Co-ordinator, with whom you can arrange an appointment to discuss your ideas.

Lee
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