UK markets open in 6 hours 57 minutes
  • NIKKEI 225

    -81.48 (-0.29%)

    -87.32 (-0.49%)

    -0.48 (-0.63%)

    -2.10 (-0.12%)
  • DOW

    +152.93 (+0.45%)

    -69.03 (-0.50%)
  • CMC Crypto 200

    +4.49 (+1.17%)
  • ^IXIC

    -58.94 (-0.52%)
  • ^FTAS

    +9.65 (+0.24%)

“Sole” trader – how a successful shoe brand tackled new trading rules

Credit: Calla Shoes

Promotional feature from HM Government

Jennifer Bailey is the very embodiment of tackling a problem head on.

Frustrated that she could never find shoes to fit her slightly wider than average feet, and realising she was not alone, she decided she’d start her own shoe company making comfortable footwear.

In 2016, Calla Shoes was born in Warrington and one of her first tasks was to find a supplier.

“Europe is the place to get your shoes made,” she tells Yahoo Finance. “They're more likely to work with you and do the smaller quantities we needed when we first started out.

“I decided on Portugal because they have a history of making comfortable footwear.”

As Bailey is importing from the EU, she has had to navigate a number of post-Brexit changes to import rules that came into effect on 1 Jan 2022.

For Bailey, dealing with just one country made things much simpler. “The supply chain is all there – the shoes, the boxes, the tissue paper, everything is in Portugal,” she says.

She also decided the easiest and most cost-effective thing to do was to hire a third-party to handle everything: “I’m quite lucky in that I use a freight forwarding company and they deal with all of the new trading rules for me.

“Import rules are their specialism. They manage the deferred VAT and all the paperwork and I just pay them per shipment to do that for me.

“In terms of the cost, it's not that much in the grand scheme of things considering it saves me doing hours of paperwork and trying to keep up with how things are changing.”

If you’re a business owner looking to understand the new rules yourself, rather than hiring an outside company, one of the most important changes concerns rules of origin. These determine the national origin of products, which in turn could mean they can be imported or exported at preferential rates under the UK-EU trade agreement.

In order to comply with the regulations, you’ll need proof that goods you bring into the UK from the EU originate there. And to export, you’ll need proof that goods you export to the EU originate in the UK.

But don’t worry - there is plenty of help at hand. The Government has extensive guidance on how to find and obtain the necessary information.

Jennifer Bailey, founder of Calla Shoes

You’ll also need to find out the commodity code for your goods, their value, and if you can either reduce, or delay the amount of Customs Duty you owe due to the trade agreement between the UK and the EU.

The next step is to ensure everything is labelled correctly and then you’re ready to bring your goods from the EU through customs.

“There are some new rules around labelling,” says Bailey. “For example, when you see stuff come in from China and it says 'Made in China', it’s so the goods comply with the Rules of Origin.

“We now have to do that for our products as part of the new trading rules with the EU.”

Bailey had the below advice for businesses adapting to the new rules and although it is specific for footwear, other markets will also have their relevant associations that should be able to help.

“I would do the same thing I did; find people who have already looked into it for your specific industry because there might be particular rules for your industry that you're not aware of.

“That might be an association, or freight forwarders who are doing this day in, day out so they have to know the current situation.

“I work with the British Footwear Association who are keeping track of the changes on behalf of companies like mine,” she says.

The relationships she has built with her suppliers in Portugal have meant that Jennifer was able to quickly understand and implement rules of origin: “I work with small factories and visit them frequently, so I have more control and a thorough understanding of where my products come from.”

There is one more process that can make things easier – businesses can apply for authorisation to use simplified declarations, which allows the movement of some goods into a customs procedure without having to provide a full customs declaration with the EU.