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comment by elizabeth
elizabeth  ·  1493 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Pubski: March 2, 2016

2 days away from delivery deadline with Urban Outfitters (2k of revenue but most importantly, getting our foot in the door) but our shipment seems to be stuck at the border.

Damn it sucks to be Canadian sometimes.

I guess that's what I get for trying to do business with big corporations out of my crappy apartment (or actually Thailand at the moment). Really got in over my head with this one: all the operations managment lingo, new software and labeling systems and now importing goods to USA.

Scrambling to find a solution now, my sister's boyfriend might have the tax registration we need to clear customs, fingers crossed.

Edit: looks like my sister's boyfriend might have saved the day, the ball is in DHL's court now. I hope they just accept the info, clear customs and deliver in time. We did pay for express delivery and it was supposed to de delivered yesterday night.

In good news, we finally settled down for a little while in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The internet guy is coming tomorrow to give us a router directly in the apartment. I'll be spending the next few days catching up on video editing and I honestly can't wait :D Or visa is ending soon and we'll have to find a cost effective way to do a visa run, but I have too many worries at the moment to think about that right now.

Edit 2: Missed the Deadline, skrew DHL and Customs :( Urban was nice enough to extend the deadline. The process has been a bureaucratic mess and they could have just asked all the info 2 days ago instead of asking for a document at a time every 24h. Being in asia, not sleeping very much dealing with this right now. Sent some new documents today, hopefully it will FINALLY go through...

Hightlight of the day to keep it positive: rode a scooter for the first time today and it put a smile on my face for the first time in 3 days :)

goobster  ·  1493 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I do not envy the hell you are about to go through.

My degree is in fashion design, and I worked for a menswear manufacturer for a number of years. We decided we wanted to do some manufacturing of our products at an excellent factory in Vancouver, BC, but, after more than a year of wrangling we were unable to find a way to make the deal work.

Essentially, when stuff crosses the border it is taxed according to what it might sell for in the future. If it is a "finished product", then it is taxed (heavily) according to the full retail price... because the country that made it also wants to make money on the thing they made. Except... you are wholesaling your products when you sell them to a US distributor... so you are paying tax on the retail price, but only getting paid the wholesale price. BIG out-of-pocket costs.

You can get around this by sending "pieces" across the border, and completing their assembly in the USA. (This is what the American car manufacturers generally do... they have their parts made in Brazil, Hungary, Japan, etc, bring them back to the USA, and assemble them... so.... "Made In America".)

But those pieces are going to be taxed as well, only at a lower rate because... of reasons. But still, you have to pay the tax before selling the items, so more out of pocket costs that do not guarantee your product will ever make it to US shelves.

And then there are limits on what textiles you can import to the USA (no bamboo or hemp), and the original source of your raw materials. (Friends from BC were bringing a bunch of wooden pallets to burn at an event here in the USA, but the pallets were not stamped with FSC certifications, so the wood could not be "imported" into the US because it wasn't FSC certified. Their art project never made it across the border.)

Good luck with your efforts. It is not going to be fun.

elizabeth  ·  1493 days ago  ·  link  ·  

We're selling beard oil and have not really had any problems as of yet. However, I don't think the way we did things are 100% kosher (I don't really have a tax id in the states which I think i'm probably supposed to have). We've been getting away with i because shipments of 100$-1000$ value are not really worth the hassle for the IRS. Probably bit off more than I can chew but my thinking is that if we're successful enough to be spotted, we'll have the monies to pay some professional to get us out of trouble. Pretty reckless approach, but at the same time paying 1000$ for some registrations and all the mental headache was really not worth it when we started because it was all a big experiment that we only made about 1000$ profit on in 2015. If it gets more serious, i'm ready to deal with the headache.

goobster  ·  1493 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My beard approves!

And you are kinda OK in the US as long as your sales are under about $15k, and you have no bank transactions over $10k. At that point you trigger certain flags that bring you to the attention of the authorities.... if they haven't already noticed the products coming across the border. :-)

Good luck with it!

_refugee_  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

$10k transactions at a bank, whether all at once or aggregate over a day, trigger the filing of a CTR (Currency Transaction Report) at U.S. Banks. This is $10k across all accounts you hold at a bank.

DO NOT STRUCTURE YOUR DEPOSITS TO TRY AND AVOID THIS $10K LIMIT. It will land you in a bigger world of trouble as it will look like you are money laundering and deliberately attempting to avoid the filing of a CTR.

There are also SARs (Suspicious Activity Reports) - if you look like you are structuring deposits (for instance, depositing just under the CTR threshold, especially over multiple days) - a SAR will get filed, because of AML (Anti-Money Laundering) issues.

elizabeth  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Thank you :) We assumed we were fine with the customs, big surprise it got stuck on a shipment of only 1k. Fingers crossed it doesn't all fall through.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    My degree is in fashion design, and I worked for a menswear manufacturer for a number of years

You keep surprising me.

goobster  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

That's my goal. ;-)

Actually, my weird past is what makes it hard for me to get a job today. People just can't figure out my resumé... they get confused... debt collector, fashion designer, computer engineer, writer, importer/exporter, database developer, etc, etc, etc.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1491 days ago  ·  link  ·  

...smokes. Why did you go through such a convoluted professional path? Is it curiosity? Knack for taking up challenge? Economical reasons? Bragging rights?

goobster  ·  1490 days ago  ·  link  ·  

My path has been weird because I have always been open to new opportunities. I have little interest in climbing a corporate ladder and getting incremental raises every year due to a schedule published by the HR department.

Fuck that shit.

I like to find some interesting, chewy problem, learn about it, solve it, and then move on to the next problem. That's why all my jobs have come from personal references, and not from Recruiters or LinkedIn, or responding to job postings on web sites.

Someone talks to someone else and says, "Dude. You need to talk to this guy I know. He can totally handle that project that is stressing you out right now." And then my phone rings.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1490 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Sounds interesting. Can you elaborate on the specific choices you've made?

goobster  ·  1489 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I wrote a big long rambling post recounting my life story, but deleted it so I would just get to the point.

Here's the thing; Talk to people. Listen to them. Don't just wait for their mouths to stop moving, and then fill the empty space with your words. Instead, actually listen to them. Don't express your opinion. Don't try and solve their problem for them. Just let them talk.

People have a lot of shit in their heads, and don't often get a chance to just talk without a specific agenda. When they feel the freedom to just speak to you, then they are very open, and vulnerable, and honest.

And, it's weird, but that makes them trust you. THEY open up. THEY express their feelings. THEY tell you things they have never told anyone else. And for some reason that makes them trust YOU.

Then, honor that trust.

People will ASK for help when they are ready for it. And if they trust you, they will ask you. They will open the door and let you walk in.

Every time a big opportunity has come to me in my life, it was because the person who opened that door was someone who trusted me. Someone who I had connected with in some way, and they wanted to help me out by presenting me with an opportunity.

That's the long and short of it, really. It is incredibly hard to do, and yet incredibly easy at the same time.

ThatFanficGuy  ·  1489 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I would still like to hear the big long rambling post, if you're up for it.

Thank you for the advice. It's something I've been wondering about for a long time. See, it's lessons like this that I'm in dire need of. The world is one giant mess of relationships between things, and it takes no effort at all to lose the way or to not find it at all, and I appreciate the fact that you've told me what you did.

AshleyR  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

    In good news, we finally settled down for a little while in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I've been reading a lot about this place lately. Looks like a good place to stop in if you're a digital nomad. I wanna do that soon. The only problem is that my bugdet is extremely limited right now and I haven't found something I can freelance in online yet.

elizabeth  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Yeah, i heard that too. I'm hoping to meet a couple cool people here!

AshleyR  ·  1492 days ago  ·  link  ·  

I hope so too! Wonder how it's going to turn out. :)