27 Mar, 2021 @ 11:15
1 min read

OPINION:“Brexit has brought complications and uncertainty to my business in Spain”

Nest boutique Nadine Walker Brexit business
Nest boutique Nadine Walker Brexit business

The end of March marks three months since the transition period ended and Brexit rules kicked in. The Olive Press spoke to people around Spain about their experience of how things have changed, and needless to say, it’s not been for the better.

Nadine Walker runs Nest, a gift boutique in one of Madrid’s coolest neighbourhoods but her business has faced obstacles in the three months since Brexit.

For thirteen years her shop has become the place for discerning shoppers to find cool greeting cards, funky wrapping paper, handcrafted knick-knacks and unique gifts that have been carefully chosen by Nadine and imported from the UK.

Nest boutique Nadine Walker Brexit business
Nadine Walker outside her boutique Nest in Madrid’s Malasaña

“Since Brexit I have had huge problems with deliveries. Orders used to arrive within three to seven days but since the New Year, I’ve had deliveries go missing, packages that have been turned around and set back to the UK and had to be resent, and I’ve had to pay couriers cash on arrival to cover customs duties that weren’t included in the original price.”

When you run a small business with narrow margins, this is more than a mere annoyance.

“At the beginning of January, I made a big order of cards and gifts for Valentine’s Day but it didn’t arrive until well after February 14, so I lost out on all that trade,” she said.

She now has to pay between 10 euros and 50 euros extra on each delivery and often has to struggle to get receipts so that she can claim it against tax.

“My margins have become smaller, and I’m trying to source things from elsewhere within the EU such as Ireland, but I set up the shop specifically because there was a gap in the market for the sort of things I could find in the UK but not here.”

She hopes that these are just teething problems that will be sorted out in the coming months.

“The big problem seemed to be that no-one knew what the new rules were, especially the courier companies. I’m already worried about Christmas which is when I need to rely on deliveries coming in on time.”


Fiona Govan

Fiona Govan joined The Olive Press in March 2021. She moved to Spain in 2006 to be The Daily Telegraph’s Madrid correspondent and then worked for six years as Editor of The Local Spain. She lives in Madrid’s Malasaña district with her dog Rufus.

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