Time to tell you a little bit about our coffee business

Wanderlust was incorporated 2 months ago, two weeks after we arrived in Romania. As we arrived and started meeting with the lawyer, with our shipping partners, gathering documents, paying fees, and I seriously reconsidered moving forward with it. The big move, the jet-lag, the impending holidays, the cold, the crazy driving. But we had merchandise in Taiwan, waiting for us to send for it. We worked as fast as we could, and it was daunting. The coffee industry is so mesmerizing and romanticized, but behind the scene lays the ugly work, mine to pursue, translate and mediate. Some people talked our ears off about what and how we should and should not do it, because people like to talk, but the important questions were not asked nor answered. I’ll get to that in a minute. The speed (and quantity) with which we were absorbing information was nauseating. We finally had a business license, a lawyer, a business bank account and an accountant, a shipping company, and a customs representative. The grinders were on their way before the new year started. We felt good about it. I created our own electronic tracking paperwork: registru de casa, facturi, chitante, raport de gestiune, nota de receptie, fisa de magazie. The shipment arrived nearly two months later by boat, and the customs process was smooth. We paid big bucks for the process. And on the first day we sold our first grinder. Yay!
But here is was the big question: should we file to be VAT paying company or not. There is a rule that if your business runs under 65k euros per year, you don’t have to pay VAT at a rate of 24% to the state. Sounds simple, right? Regardless, we had to pay 24% VAT at customs, at the entry value of the merchandise (cost + shipping). I asked our accountant what would be best as we can go either way: be VAT payers or not be VAT payers. He said not yet (“obviously”) And I didn’t question it further. It was 2 days before Christmas. The Romanian laws change often, so I said we will change our VAT status as needed when time comes. There is a lot of debate online about VAT … so much debate, disagreement and confusion. Anyway, that being said, I see now it was a mistake not registering to be VAT payers. VAT is a tax that can be deducted and charged forward, and it is especially beneficial to be VAT payer if you import goods and plan to wholesale to other businesses, otherwise the state basically charges the whopping 24% VAT twice for the same exact product. If you sell services or cookies, indeed VAT is best to be avoided. We live and learn.

So before Christmas we decided to move forward because we believe in the product and we see the demand an the need for quality coffee grinders. Also, if it was easy, everyone would do it. Conrad is SO good at this because he is passionate about the coffee industry, culture and it’s people. He thrives in it.

And what about me? I get some satisfaction when I do the background work, but I love the stage as well. I love to teach, develop, educate and create. This could be applied in the coffee industry to a degree. But I don’t want to blend in. I enjoy too much being different. At the end of the day though, if I am to get excited about something, to work hard, to make a difference, to create, I would love to do it for my own business, alongside Conrad.