Last Summer, I decided to start a new business designing and selling printables and digital scrapbooking supplies. The most obvious plan was to set up shop on Etsy, and I very quickly came to realise that this had been a good move as sales began to flood in. I’d found a satisfying creative outlet that was also providing a reasonable part-time income, who could possibly be annoyed by that?
The EU VAT nightmare
Well, it turns out the EU could be annoyed by that. As of Jan 1st 2015 the EU introduced new VAT rules that impact anyone selling to an EU customer, but especially impact tiny sellers like me. Very basically put, it introduces levels of admin and data collection equal to those enforced on large corporations like Amazon (the people this law was supposed to affect) and may small sellers either can’t comply with various requirements or no longer see it worth their time to do so. It also means that due to Etsy denying all responsibility, it’s currently impossible to legally sell digital products there at all.
Disappointed in the new laws, but extra disappointed in the way Etsy handled the situation, I made he decision to move to a separate site where everything is under my control. Welcome to the New Plan!
Selling digital items from your own site is also affected by these new laws, which is why EU customers are currently having a harder time buying my products, but this is a temporary situation. VAT-compliant services are popping up that will allow us to sell somewhat normally from our own sites, and internet buyers will no doubt eventually adjust to paying different prices depending on their location while buying. It shouldn’t be happening, but it is and we need to make the best of it for now.
The new Peculiar Printables website
If you were a previous Etsy customer, you’ll be happy to know that as of the time of writing about 95% of my products are now available on the site. All of your digital papers and collage sheets have been imported, most of the party printables are here, and the wedding printables section will be up and running soon. And then maybe I can get back to designing new things!
There’s still some work to be done, but once the new site is finished I’ll be hosting a big giveaway to celebrate getting back to being creative. Watch this space!
Is there anything I can do to help the EU VAT situation?
So far the campaign against these ridiculous new rules has in fact made some good progress. There’s still plenty to do, of course, and the best place to start is EU VAT Action. There you’ll find a lot of useful information on what exactly these rules mean for you, ways you can get involved in the campaign, and reports and updates on our progress.