I’ve had a lot of recent requests to ship Flaparaps to the USA and Canada, and I would love to oblige!
So let’s see if we can make this happen…
If you live in North America, you can pre-order Flaparaps until Sunday 18th October 2015.
If, by midnight PST on Sunday 18th October I have enough orders to make a go of it, I’ll jump through the legal hoops and start shipping!
Please read the rest of this blog post to understand what that entails.
Come On, Already! What’s Taking So Long?
Until now, the legal side of importing baby products into the US has been slowing me down, and I’m afraid Canada gets caught in the crossfire.
But I’m now confident that I can satisfy all the legal requirements (Hurrah!) and it’s simply a case of stumping up the cash and hitting ‘go’.
To set that in context, I’ll explain what’s involved (and for those who are curious, I’ll give approximate prices in US dollars so you don’t have to keep converting from pounds sterling in your head 😉 )
There are several considerations when exporting goods to the USA.
1) Product Specific Requirements
Firstly, there are the product specific requirements, including labelling formats and CPSIA (Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act) certification to prove that Flaparaps are not contaminated with lead.
Labelling is do-able, and I’m now in touch with a laboratory in the UK who can test lead levels for me.
Good news! For $200 we can tick this one off the list.
2) Product Liability Insurance
Then there’s the overarching insurance requirements.
All products imported into the USA must be covered by product liability insurance. Unfortunately, UK insurers get cold feet when faced with exports to North America. They place stringent quotas on the level of stock that can be sold to the USA vs the rest of the world and they have high minimum premiums.
My insurance for worldwide sales excluding North America is about $60.
If I apportion 20% of those predicted sales to the USA, my premium increases by 2000% to $1260.
As you can imagine, there’s not a lot of margin on a diaper, especially one made in the UK using an ethical factory. Which means I need to make a lot of sales to the US to cover the additional outlay, before I can make any kind of a return. (I explain the principles behind Flaparap packages and pricing in this blog post.)
The ec market on the whole isn’t that big, and even when people are dead keen in principle, not everyone decides to buy in practice. Hence this ‘genuine orders to prove the market’ approach.
3) International Delivery (including Clearing Customs)
Lastly, there’s the problem of delivery. I needed to find cost effective, fully insured shipping, and I needed to understand the customs process.
As of this week, I’ve taken care of the shipping, but I’ll need to buy a thermal address label printer to get the good international rates ($300).
Ready To Buy? Then I’m Ready To Sell!
These things aren’t insurmountable barriers, but they’re all part and parcel of making an informed decision – both for you and for me.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to roll?
If you’d love to have Flaparaps on your side of the pond, now is the time to make your move.
With comparatively high upfront costs (relative to my profit margins), I need to know that you’re really going to buy if I make the investment.
So, I’m going to test the water before I jump with both feet.
All North American orders taken until midnight Sunday 18th October 2015 (PST) will be considered pre-orders.
If I get enough orders to prove the market, I’ll spend the following week buying lead tests, labels and insurance.
Then on Monday 26th October I’ll start shipping.
If there isn’t enough interest, all US and Canadian buyers will be refunded.
(If you live elsewhere in the world, the shop is open! Buy whatever you like )
Importing Cloth Diapers for Personal Use
Customs processing fees, import duty and local taxes are always the responsibility of the parcel recipient. So please be prepared for what might come your way.
I’ve summarised what I found out about importing to the USA and Canada, below. If you live elsewhere in the world, ask dutyCaluclator.com what you can expect from your customs service.
If you’re in the USA, by far the easiest option is to ensure that your order doesn’t cost more than $200 before shipping.
If it costs more than $200 before shipping, you’ll have to pay a Merchandise Processing Fee of between $2 and $9, and import duty of somewhere between 8% and 16% depending on the category of the goods.
I’m having trouble figuring out which class Flaparaps belong in, but all the info is here if you’d like to have a bash for yourself. Duty rates on diapers are complicated and depend on the fabric content and construction of every fabric used in the diaper or absorbent layers. The country you’re importing from also features, and possibly the country of manufacture.
The customs website isn’t as user friendly as it might be, so all in all, I don’t have a definitive answer.
Canadians, you only get a free pass on orders up to CAN$20, but import duty on cloth diapers is 0%.
GST is province dependent but if there’s any tax to pay, you’ll also pay a processing fee of CAN$9.95.
Yet again, it’s complicated.
Do You Know About This Stuff?
If you can help me provide more information about import duty, customs fees etc (from personal experience, or internet research, or links to useful websites) please let me know.