Real Business talks to James McGoldrick, co-owner of Bradfords Gifts, about how the company is navigating Brexit to ensure a smooth transition.
About: Bradfords Gifts operates Bradfords Bakers, Send Them Balloons and Send Them Cupcakes.
Years in business: 14
Number of employees: We currently have 12 employees and will need to hire more over the festive period and potentially for the foreseeable.
Outlets: We operate one physical location, which is our Headquarters and three e-commerce locations, which includes Send Them Balloons, Send Them Cupcakes and Bradfords Bakers.
What percentage of your business/product comes from the EU?
We buy 25 per cent of our products from the EU, this mostly involves packaging and certain wines/chocolates.
What percentage of your business/product is shipped to the EU?
3 Per cent of our business comes from, and is shipped to, the EU.
What are you doing to prepare for the January 2021 deadline
We ve already started the transition to local suppliers for some of our packaging needs. Being a gift company means we need a large variety of boxes and with a potential import tax coming through soon, we felt it was the right call to make.
We re keeping updated on any new tax/VAT tariffs and declaration of import/export goods regulations, not only as a business but also to ensure that this is in place with the couriers we use.
We are also already implementing new labelling in order to match the rules for exporting food from the EU and have organised an EORI number, so we are able to import and export goods.
Do you have a plan B?
Because Covid has already impacted us, mostly in terms of the supply chain being disrupted, and we are still getting the ripple effect from that. So we have to work with suppliers as best we can, which means being as flexible as possible.
We have also had to stop exporting our products to Canada after they introduced an extremely high import tax. Canada were charging approximately $25 Canadian Dollars for one individual £30 hamper, and the recipient was being asked to pay for that as a customs charge. It didn?t make sense to expect that from customers, so we ve had to stop sending to Canada, for the time being.
But we stay fluid and respond to how the world moves, this could always change.
What are your thoughts on how the Government has handled the transition?
I look at the government and think, the departments in charge have handled it the best they could in the circumstances. We are a small business so it’s a little easier to keep track of what needs to be done, especially now with HMRC being able to digitally track businesses like us, which also helps keep us updated.
About James McGoldrick
James McGoldrick spent his years learning the trade of computers and IT. After a long and successful career, he started his journey at Bradfords Bakers as an Office Manager. He met his wife Claire Bradford here and together they started Bradfords Bakers e-commerce site, before officially becoming co-directors for Bradfords Gifts Ltd, which they have developed and built on since 2006.