Hi, I run an eCommerce site and import stuff into UK from the EU, US and Far East so might be able to help. You're right that there is import duty to pay when importing goods from outside EU as well as VAT but if you are VAT registered of course you can claim back the VAT. I registered for VAT because of this even though my turnover won't be at the threshold for a couple of years. Within the EU, you need to pay VAT but if you are registered for VAT you can provide your VAT number to the wholesaler and there is an inter-country arrangement which then means that you don't have to pay the VAT.
I also found it hard to get any advice from my accountant on inter-country imports/exports, most have country-specific knowledge.
Regarding insurance, I opted for a "Work at home" policy as it's cheaper but I needed to specifically include selling second-hand or "vintage" goods and selling to to the US and Canada so watch out for that. Probably depends on insurer though.
I think the suggestion of trying to sell a few things first is a good idea - this can be done on eBay, Etsy or Amazon before you go the expense/effort of setting up your own website. You can see from there how many people are even looking at your products as well as buying.
Loads of info on the commission website. From where I am (NL) there are cross border arrangements within EU meaning that my uk counterpart is responsible for paying vat. Also here there is no option for me NOT to be Vat registered.
I've worked for a local accountant and was disappointed at their knowledge of anything outside bookkeeping tbh! Are they best placed to know the ins-and-outs of imports/resale laws?
I've found out about insurance and it's pretty easy and cheap (thank god).
As for the gap - there is one but the figures I've trawled online for may not be realistic i.e. real people may not actually pay those sorts of prices, which is why I want to dip my toe in first. The nagging doubt is I think the products would sell better if people could feel and touch them - online buyers tend to buy something they've already decided they want (at least I do). I'm trying to sell something a little out of the ordinary for lots of French mums....
First two things you need are an accountant and insurance, the accountant will advise you on many things. Buy some stuff and have a trial, see what sells before you put too much time and effgort in to it. If you see a gap in the market is it because it cant be filled due to no money in it?
I've never sold stuff before, so have little idea about anything really. I'm living in France but I think the same stuff applies to UK wrt imports etc. I'm thinking about setting up selling baby stuff vaguely new-agey. Slings, soft leather shoes, washable nappies. I feel there is an untapped opportunity in France atm for various reasons.
Anyhoo, what financial/legal things do I need to consider? I'm looking at buying stock in UK, Eastern Europe and good old Far East. I believe there are import duties if I buy from outside EU? Is there any VAT to pay from goods from UK? (sorry if this sounds naive) is there anything stopping me buying second hand and selling on?
Selling the product presents the biggest headache however. Postage costs are more expensive than the UK so I fear an online boutique may not work very well. I would need to be turning over at least 200 euros on a morning market to cover costs and make it worth my while... Any ideas would be most welcome!!!