NUE Hoops Continues to Ship Hoops, Charms & Huggies to EU and beyond
March 8, 2021
If bejewelled hoops and tiny 18-karat gold huggies ring a bell – perhaps you know NUE Hoops. Set up by a mother and two daughters, each with their own individual style, the mission behind the brand is to create jewellery that has a sustainable concept, is easily personalised and fun, as well as made to a high quality at an affordable price point.
So, how has the year been for this SMB in light of Brexit and the changes it has brought?
Emily Robers (right) Operations and Finance Director, took time out to answer a few quick questions about serving their customers in the EU outside of the single market:
1. How has Brexit impacted your business: operations; orders; fees; admin; anything?
It’s been tricky! We’ve been extra careful about not overcharging customers (which many others seem to be doing). Managing customs charges accordingly so the customer doesn’t pay twice in Shopify has been the route we’ve taken. We’ve been aiming not to put people off with slow delivery due to hold ups at borders but this has been tricky, so regular communications on a one to one basis with concerned customers has been our best solution. Even so, we’ve seen a slight decline in European orders because we’re still finding the best ways to work out customs charges before communicating more broadly.
2. What steps have you taken - e.g. changes to set up; customer comms - and where are you still stuck/solving?
We’ve adjusted our systems accordingly so that VAT is charged correctly depending on where the customer is located. We found out bigger more established businesses have been able to handle the customs charges more smoothly via shipping partners, but this is not something the SMB community was immediately aware of.
Since looking into this, we are hoping to appoint a customs intermediary who will help us provide a smoother operation so we can continue to send our orders to the EU without worrying our customers with unpredictable customs charges.
Our broader customer comms have been limited, largely because we’ve been working to sort out the issues before announcing changes on a mass scale. Of course, on a one-to-one basis we have good relationships with our customers so we’ve been able to work with them individually to piece things together. Once we have found a solution we’re happy to roll out more broadly we’ll send targeted communications to our European customers and our hope is that things will pick back up again.
3. If you have taken any steps, did you DIY or did you pull in help to try and solve?
Shopify Help desk has provided some helpful resources, we have some very useful finance contacts, and found some great resources via Avalara. All have been instrumental in us adjusting to the changes in the immediate aftermath, before settling on the best solutions for the long-term. So, it’s a work in progress!
4. What resources would have been / would still be helpful - topic; themes; expert input; clarity on rules; services, etc
I think international shipping partners could have provided more help to SMBs. For example, it would be helpful to have a list of which countries are charging what, on imports.
We have done a small audit, asking our European customers about their experiences with customs and delays and there has been very little consistency - even in the same countries.
It would be really helpful to have a reliable way to tell in advance what the charges will be or if there even will be any so we can manage customer expectations.
Our thanks to Emily for taking time to share her experience!
For more Q&As and information about how SMBs in the UK are navigating Brexit, subscribe to the Brexit Bulletin.
Photo credits: Samuel Churchill.