My Etsy Shop

Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Etsy Shop Temporarily Closed

In my last post, I mentioned the new EU VAT regulations that will take effect from 1st Jan 2015. I thought it would be possible to carry on as normal as I only sell through 3rd party market places. This was after assurances from HMRC (the UK tax office) that if you sell through such a website then it will be up to them to pay the VAT and not the individual seller. However, there is conflicting and confusing information about whether this is true or not. Etsy have stated on their blog that as individual sellers are paid directly by their customers then they ARE liable for the tax. They have not yet decided what they are going to do to help sellers comply and so until then, we cannot decide what we will do either. One possible solution is to send the PDF files manually via e-mail, as this means they will not be subject to the tax laws. My Folksy shop already operates this way and so is unaffected. I have reluctantly decided that until Etsy makes its position clearer and offers possible solutions that the best thing to do is close the shop for a short while and have a think.
I am very sorry for the really short notice but this has been really badly handled by the authorities and the vast majority of sole traders who will be affected did not find out until about 6 weeks ago. As I said, the implications of the legislation are still being debated, even by those who are enforcing it, so you can imagine how stressful this is for those of us who need to know what to do. As soon as I work something out, I will let you know here on my blog. You can follow me on Twitter and find me on Facebook to get in touch and keep updated.
Here's the good news. My Folksy shop is as yet unaffected as they have no instant download facility. Patterns are delivered manually via e-mail and so the tax laws do not apply. You an find my popular Lindisfarne Celtic Geometry and Art Nouveau Rose patterns there, as well as others. You don't need to register with Folksy to buy anything there, you can simply pay with a credit or debit card without logging in.
The legislation will eventually cover ALL goods, whether they are digital or not so I need to look for alternatives. I have already found some potential long-term homes for my patterns and my plans to release new designs next year are unchanged.
Of course, a lot of this stress and hassle would be avoided if the EU put a reasonable threshold in place to remove the burden for sole traders and small businesses. Let's hope that 2015 brings some wisdom and common sense to those in charge (!) and I wish you all a happy, prosperous and creative year. 
To end with, here is a sampler I stitched a couple of years ago. I don't usually do pink so I'm not sure what came over me but I'm quite pleased with the results.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Time to Reflect

As I write this, we're just a couple of days away from the Winter Solstice, the shortest and darkest day of the year. This is always an important turning point for me as it means that the days will soon be growing longer and lighter again (very good for us stitchers!). It is always a time to reflect on the passing year and looking forward to the swiftly approaching new year. This time I have been reflecting on my first months of trading and making plans for my business in 2015.
I've already learned a lot about what has worked and what hasn't. I'll definitely be working to improve my photography and I will be opening a Flickr account to share more of my behind-the-scenes stuff, as well as my inspirations.
I'm very excited about the patterns that I'll be releasing next year. There are some Celtic designs inspired by ancient artwork; some designs inspired by the natural world, including my favourite bird, a colourful finch and his mate; there are some fun and quirky ones too. I haven't yet finalised the order in which I'll be releasing them but as soon as each one is ready, I'll be telling you about it here.
I'm also planning to create some one-off pieces. Not necessarily to sell but just to share my love of embroidery with like-minded people and to grow as an embroiderer. Although all of my patterns are either cross stitch or blackwork, I enjoy all kinds of embroidery and I want to make time to really enjoy the craft and learn new things. I'll be sharing my progress on Flickr when my account is set up.
The best thing about this year has been the contact I have had with other designer-makers on Twitter. It's lovely to know there are so many creative people out there who enjoy sharing ideas and giving each other encouragement. I am very happy to be part of this community. Working on your own at home can be difficult at times so it's good to know you're all out there.
You may be aware that from 1st Jan 2015, the EU have decided that anybody selling digital products to EU countries will have to pay VAT to whichever country the sale was made in. This is mainly aimed at large companies who choose to funnel their taxes through the countries with the lower rates. I have no sympathy at all with such companies and it's about time they were made to pay tax in all of the countries that they trade in. The problem however is that there is no threshold being applied so no matter how small the business, VAT will have to be paid. Businesses will also be required to collect customer data and store it for 10 years. This is extremely difficult for small businesses and will add a huge administrative burden as well as a financial one. It won't affect me as I only sell through third parties but I was planning to eventually trade independently. That will not now be possible. If you'd like to show your support for small businesses you can do so by signing this petition:
To end on a more cheery note, tonight I'll be watching my favourite Christmas film It's A Wonderful Life. Last year it inspired me to make an embroidered piece to hang in my room. So all that remains is to wish you all a Merry Christmas and thank you to everyone who has supported me.