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March 2015

« February 2015

The quickie Easter Egg Photo Competition! Win a £100 voucher

Posted 31/03/2015 at 12:00 Comments

Easter Egg Photo Competition

Usually at this time of the year we run an Easter Egg Hunt, but since we just had a mega-moving-sale that seems a bit daft. So instead I thought we'd have a super quick egg-based competition.

I don't know how many of you decorate eggs normally - I haven't since I left home, and its possible my artistic skills have declined somewhat since then, but you get the idea hopefully!

So here's the rules! (pretty simples)

1) get some eggs -  I tried for diversity but sadly only had mediums in the fridge.

2) Decorate them in lingerie! Bonus points for managing a KMD design (I did the Cherie, Ida and Sirena)

3) Take a picture.

4) Email it to us ( with permission for us to post it online or post it yourself to one of these:

Kiss Me Deadly Facebook
Kiss Me Deadly Instagram
Kiss Me Deadly Twitter
Kiss Me Deadly Tumblr
Kiss Me Deadly Pinterest

Tag us or or we won't know!

5) Wait for a winner!

This is just a quickie competition so you've got just over a week -  deadline is Wednesday the 8th April.

The winner gets a £100 voucher to spend with us!

Shoot Your Love

Posted 31/03/2015 at 10:41 Comments

Shoot Your Love Photo Competition

Back around Valentines I asked you all to Shoot Your Love, wherein you took a picture of something or someone you loved in KMD, and we got both the fastest ever entry and a huge array of pictures of varying degress of silliness! Here's the entries collated for your viewing pleasure.

People featured heavily, obviously. Mostly boyfriends. I have to say I think the boyfriends, fiances and husbands of deadlies are a game bunch and I can only hope they know what they're getting into!

I have a sneaking suspicion these two have been practising their poses.

Meanwhile, a familiar face from sunnier climes:

And in even sunnier climes, one deadly managed to get her very cheerful dad into one of our bikinis! I have to say I think it works delightfully with the hat.

At the other end of the age range was a deadly baby who had decided that peacock green was way better than peach. She'll go far!

Apparently you can fit two people into two suspender belts in more ways than one. Plus, I am reliably informed that "doing a Morgana is much harder than it looks".


These Deadpool costume character entries foxed me initially, but it turns out Deadlies love Deadpool so I was rapidly brought up to speed.

Deadlies also have a wide variety of much beloved (and variably patient) pets.

Dogs are easier to photograph than cats. but some of them seem to have a natural goofy face :)

Or they can go regal (this tiny dog is called "Fancy", by the way, which seems very approriate).


Bunny rabbits and cats both need Vargas Girdle capes.

Though can't be relied on not to stick their tongues out at you.

But how about snakes?!

Snakes in a m********** DeVille bra!

If you're into bras and breasts of course, then Amaryllis has you covered, with her excellent collection of Chickens. Chickens in Bras.

Or bra-nesting chinchillas. My mum was very confused as to what a chinchilla actually was.

A politely behaved Valentines cat, called Alcie.

However, I like to think of this as a series entitled "The problem with cats".

Miraculously the stockings appear to have survived.

Last but not least, cuddly toys! Unexpected but I do enjoy the notion of a piglet in a waspie.

Not to mention Quill the sophisticated velociraptor, who has excellent bedtime reading, and wears knickers. Which we know dinosaurs do.

So now I have to pick winners! Which are your favourites?


All change at KMD; why I'm moving, and what it means for you!

Posted 23/03/2015 at 16:52 Comments


All change at KMD; why I'm moving, and what it means for you!


I love Sheffield and I love the team there. But I've made a decision; we're moving to a fulfillment service. A fulfillment service stores, picks, packs and posts a stores goods, but isn't part of the company, instead we have a contract with them. This means you can lose some of your autonomy and integration between customer service and packing, but here's the reasons I think it's worth doing:


1) Rachel, Jo, Rose and occasionally Charlie work on three retail outlets and our wholesale. That means there's always competition for what needs done first.  That means sometimes choosing between picking parcels, answering emails, doing admin, answering the phone, marketing things, and everything else, when all are important. Moving to a fulfillment service should mean that even on a heavy email day, your parcels go out. Vice-versa, even on a busy post day, emails should get answered.

2) With only Rachel and Jo fulltime, we're very prone to breaks in service caused by illness, holidays, family issues . . . all the usual things that affect people. Moving to a bigger organisation means they should be more resilient to such things and they are promising to ALWAYS get your parcels out - same day for orders before 2pm, day after otherwise.

3) With our relatively small parcel volume, there are things we just can't do, like accessing certain courier services that have effectively a Minimum Order Quanity, or being certain that if you ordered a courier or next day delivery it would happen. So moving should mean that we can improve the delivery options we offer you.
(Might take a while to sort out the software though, this is by far the trickiest bit.)


What stays the same:

The plain packaging and use of HSS Tariff codes; we know that many of you don't want anyone to know your parcel is full of pants. Plus, we had a decrease in thefts when we changed to that, so  it stays.

That the cost of postage keeps going up. Royal Mail are still the most reliable and they keep hiking their prices. We looked at cheaper options, but at least with Royal Mail they don't usually store post in your dustbin (garbage, for the Americans).

That sometimes you will get free postcards, flyers and so on.

There will still be someone to email and ring about your order - they're just not going to be in the same place as the stock.



What will change:

This does mean that I am, at least temporarily, waving a very sad goodbye to Jo, Rachel, Rose and Charlie. It's been a few years together now, which is longer than the average small business even manages to keep going, and while I fretted over it, the reality is that KMD should be able to offer a much better service to customers this way. Somehow I have a feeling that they won't totally vanish off the radar, either.

Mystery free gifts may well become a thing of the past; the new office say they are happy to look at it, but it's deeply unlikely they would be able to send them with as much insight as staff who Recognise Your Name. So I'll be looking at other ways to surprise and delight! Probably involving chocolate. We looked into tea, but it's illegal to export it to loads of places, oddly. More plausibly, we might have to specify free gifts on your orders.

Of course, as all of you know, moving is best done with as little stuff as is possible. So, this is likely to be the only time I put more than 50 items on sale, with frankly ridiculous discounts. We'll also be packing the first few orders with what's left of the mystery gifts, though I'm told that we have lots of smalls and very few in other sizes, so don't hold your breath.

The sale will end at the start of April, then we'll have a bank holiday weekend, and after that everything will be moving to it's new home - Bristol!


I'd like to take a minute here to thank everyone who has worked over the last few years in Sheffield - we've had temps and interns as well. Jo has been with me the longest and honestly, it's hard to know what a company looks like without an employee who wears armour in his spare time. As part of his redundancy package he is winning Henry the Hoover. Rachel, meanwhile, who is basically head of spreadsheets, will be having the computer. Rachel has amassed the most amazing amount of data over the last few years (indeed only today I discovered that she has the average weights of parcels sent overseas from the main retail site versus ebay IN HER HEAD), which has been amazing. Rose has been the person mostly answering your "where are my pants?" emails, working out what product you're envisioning (sometimes not even our own) and making changes and tweaks in the background to mean that you can get all the information without emailing us. Last bit not least was Charlie, who joined us last year as an intern. She was so good that in different circumstances I'd happily be having her back, but she leaves us with way more information about publicising a small largely online brand than a degree in marketing gives you - and an awful lot of free bras.

I know plenty of you have spoken to them rather than me at various points - and I hope you have some good memories to share in the comments!



We're recruiting! Customer Service Star and Marketing Assistant

Posted 17/03/2015 at 11:31 Comments

Next week I'm going to be telling you more about a fairly big reorganisation here, but in the meantime, I'm hiring.

The job is customer service and helping me with marketing and things. I'll think of a snappier title at some point, but given that our snappier titles tend to be things like Tyrant, you could well find yourself "Head of Dinosaurs", so I wouldn't worry about it.

The job would be full time or close to, working in the Playful Promises Offices in Bow, East London.


I'm looking for someone who would love to help Deadlies with their queries and make them happy - which mostly come in on email, but sometimes phone. These tend to break down into "where are my pants?", "will this fit?", "something has gone wrong and I am understandably angry and upset", "what is this thing I am thinking of and where can I find it?", plus people trying to sell us things. You don't have to make the latter happy. You do need to identify information that helps customers and update the website with it.

This means you will need:

an unrivalled understanding of the postal system or ability to learn and explain to people where their local post office is and why they don't speak English.

insanely detailed knowledge of our products and related brands, or a black-cab-driver-like abaility to pick up this knowlege very fast.

customer service experience.

IT literacy in a way that isn't limited to systems you already know - at the moment we have our own shop software and use ebay, but that could all change so you need to be comfortable switching between systems and learning new ones.

All my current staff seem to loathe phones, so it would be good to find someone who doesn't give them the side eye.



The second part of the job is helping me, largely with marketing stuff.

This will include:

posting and scheduling social media stuff (currently we use our own blog, facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest and tumblr, but again - it could all change!)

starting to create content or organising content I've come up with

helping with photoshoots and organising them.

organising press loans and gifts

building relationships with relevant bloggers

spreadsheets. Sorry, they're just unavoidable.

This means you will need:

again, good IT skills as you will need to learn, and ideally identify, new social media as it comes along.

very good organisational skills

a very high level of literacy and communication

the physical capacity to handle shoots and running about on errands

being in line with the brand voice; body positive, preferably funny, gender binary opposing, disability binary opposing, LGBTQ ally, understand the terms "cultural appropriation" and "intersectionality", though you can leave scaring people to me, we've found. Geeky feminist cat owners are highly prized. Interesting and creative hobbies are a bonus.

being happy to be in pictures and video is very helpful, though not absolutely essential.

working with me poses some challenges. You MUST be able to work independently, mostly use email to communicate and expect to only see me in person sporadically - more like a VA than a PA.  Also, sorry, but because I'm a flake due to illness, my assistants have to be very reliable to make up for it.


So if there are any special unicorn customer service/marketing geniuses budding out there and willing to work in Bow, drop a CV and a covering letter to me at!


10 silly things about Karolina Laskowka

Posted 16/03/2015 at 09:21 Comments

10 Silly Things About Karolina Laskowska

This week sees a tiny, super exclusive collection from Karolina Laskowska joining us. I'm blaming you for it because for some reason recently you've bought pink things, so here's some more pink things. In deference to your normal preferences however, we have included some black things, some kinky things, and some pantograms.

1) It's all my fault. Seriously, all of it. Many years ago, I wrote a piece on a graduation project from the knickers, sorry, contour degree, Karolina read it, stopped training to be a lawyer and started on fashion. This is TERRIFYING. No-one should base their career on stuff I say.

2) This also means I've met Karolina's mum. Strangely, she doesn't totally disapprove of me.

3) Karolina started her own jewellery brand when she was 14, and began selling it herself on market stalls plus into shops. For some reason she didn't think this was enough to put on a CV to get a job. Pro tip. IT REALLY IS.

4) "Kinky sexy pants of joy" is a phrase she came up with entirely by herself as a joke, and I said I didn't understand why it couldn't just be her tagline.

5) She might as well face it, she's totally addicted to lace. Insanely expensive lace. She sometimes tempts even me, but more often our conversations consist of me going "but can you really justify this? I mean it's £250 a metre!" and her insisting she can . . .

6) She's a polaroid fanatic! Retro but I'm starting to see why.

7) Her hair is longer than mine, but she has not the secret to making it into a giant nautilus on her head.

8) She has her own specialist cake supplier. For subverting the male gaze.

9) She hates swimwear. Like, seriously for reals.

10) Her design studio, where she sews most of her stock, is in a former dentists office, and thus she takes naps on a large and immovable dentists chair, surrounded by rolls of incredibly expensive silk and complicated strappy things!

Catch her here for the next 3 weeks, visit her site for more choice and custom orders, and don't forget she has a selfie competition!


3 conversations I have in the lingerie industry that fill my head with dinosaurs

Posted 10/03/2015 at 10:40 Comments

3 conversations I have in the lingerie industry that fill my head with giant lizards.

Sometimes, in my head, dinosaurs run round in lingerie.

Obviously that's partly because I might be just a tiny bit prone to surreal metaphors and well, being a bit odd, but frankly if you spend 10 years in chronic pain and dinosaurs on the brain are your biggest worry, that's quite a good outcome. But at the point where I've said things about it often enough that a friend commissions a sketch from Chris Wylie to represent it, it seemed like I should probably explain what on earth my thinking is, before it leaked out.

There are three main conversations I have in the industry that make me start wondering about how exactly a stegosaurus would manage knickers. Feel free to criticize my inexact understanding of giant lizards in the comments!

1) Everyone is out to kill you

In my last Proper Job, the people I ended up bidding against to run services for survivors of domestic abuse (the rather wonderful Islington Women's Aid) were also the people who referred me the most clients. When they won a contract for a service we'd piloted, we met up and they copied our notes and resources. When it happened the other way round, they supported us. Both agencies had public data, because the important thing in care work should be the wellbeing of the people you are working with.

It came as something of a shock to move into an industry where everyone refuses to discuss anything, no-one talks real figures except as press releases (and one day I will explain in detail all the tactics that go into making those stats complete rubbish), and the retailers fight the suppliers fight the factories fight each other.

I vaguely remember dinosaurs being portrayed to me as a child like some sort of stepladder of competitive eating, kill or be killed, and I'm as out for survival as the next person (probably more so; employment and financial outcomes for people as ill as me aren't good), but as an adult looking at ecosystems it's pretty obvious that some relationships are symbiotic. We have to rely on each other sometimes, and keep talking. Particularly at the tiny dinosaur end of the spectrum, we surely do better at working together than we do fighting for scraps.
Plus it does my head in pretending to be a business predator, so I gave it up as a bad job ages ago. The knives are just for show!


2) Lets have an extinction event!

Here's a rough version of a conversation I have had with literally everyone from tiny to massive department stores in the last 12-18 months or so. In fact, the first sentence is as close to verbatim as I can get, though I've used the word beige rather than nude, because what they mean is beige:

“People are spending less, so where a woman use to buy a black bra, a white bra, a beige bra and a patterned bra, now she's just buying that beige multiway because that can go with everything. So what we're really focussing on is making sure we have that beige bra market, the really great basic product.”

“We just want to focus on continuity lines, so we just want basics in black, white and beige. Because those will always sell. They sold before so they will definitely sell again”

(Logicians will notice that this is not terrifically good reasoning).

Congratulations! The effect of this is to take a thriving and diverse system with more species than we've ever had before and lob a flipping massive rock at the middle of it from unimaginable distances. Been wondering why so many of the brands and products you see at shows never make it into stores (and thus, never make it at all)? Well, now you know.

This Agata set by Karolina Laskowska is very unlikely to ever be widely available.

And this is also why all the tiny dinosaurs will evolve into birds and fly away. Yes, I know actually T-Rex was a therapod and thus turned into a bird too. Shhh. You're ruining a fun metaphor.


3) Failing to adapt to new conditions.

Alternatively, you can see that flipping great meteorite as the internet. The internet happened. It won't unhappen. You can fight that as much as you like, and maybe waste some time combining that with viewing everyone as your predator, but it'll be about as much use as knickers are for a T-rex. The same thing will happen with 3d printing. You can throw your retro footwear in the machines all you want, but technology doesn't go away.

Thus, I would quite like to stop hearing “but running a website is impossible” “how on earth do you handle returns” “why do I have to do social media?” “oh but the site we have had forever worked just fine for the first 5 years so the problem is something else”. Our website is out of date, I grew up before email was invented, yes, it's really hard, I'm knackered too and lord knows I hate smartphones, but it's learn to use instagram or dusty scaly death. And even Deadlies don't want Dusty Scaly Death, it's the wrong sort of morbidity, entirely without glamour. Join us! Come to the dark side of technology! Help us annoy facebook and take over pinterest!

Together we could all be therapods and survive as interestingly colourful birds with dancing and unique idenitifying noises. Bagsy the corvids.

Saying all that, I do think fishnets are a terrible choice for a creature with claws, and it probably had an assistant to get into the bra, right?

So it's just me that thinks about knickers on lizards?

Well, damn.

How I nearly got our entire facebook deleted by posting about Leonard Nimoy!

Posted 03/03/2015 at 18:00 Comments

On Friday I thought my day had ended with some XL size fittings with Anna at Paolita (inadvertantly made extra ridiculous because I was wearing 1890's reproduction boots that take so long to remove I kept them on, even with Mexican/Tropical strappy bikinis. Worked well with the monochrome suit though!).

But then I got home and saw the new that Leonard Nimoy was dead. I grew up with Star Trek - the only things I watched religiously as a teenager were Star Trek (Next Gen), Babylon 5 and Blossom. I hold a special place in my heart for Spock and was terribly disappointed when my partner a few years back didn't spot his voice, and indeed Tremendously Significant Phrase, in the Transformers Dark Of The Moon (a film with very little else to recommend it). Clearly, we were doomed.

Possibly because I'd just spent the afternoon being the only XL person to hand, which happens to me quite often in a work context, possibly Amanda reminding me,  I posted about one of the huge list of awesome things that Leonard Nimoy did that were great for women rather than great for sci fi. Specifically, large women. He was a photographer his whole life and one of his series is the Full Body Project, pictures that were of women way beyond standard US fashion model size.

I posted this link, which I later screen shot and obscured the apparently extremely dangerous nipples. As we know, women's nipples are the thing that will pitch the world screaming into darkness. That's how powerful we are.



And then everything EXPLODED.

First off, nudity.

In retrospect I should have known that anything nude would cause problems, but a few things:

a) Naked bodies are not quite so taboo here in Europe as in the USA

b) Being naked doesn't make something sexual or pornographic.  Naked people alone are not inappropriate for children to see, there's no evidence at all that naked people cause damage to under 16's. And YES I can say that because unlike most folk, I spent 8 years working in statutory regulatory framework designed to protect children, so lord only knows I can argue the toss for hours about, for example, the ridiculous rulings on smacking in the UK and so on.

c) I post pictures like this quite regularly:

Strangely even though they are quite clearly more sexual than Nimoys, no-one has ever reported us nor has facebook ever removed them. You'd have though women being happy in the buff would be less problematic, but apparently not.

Facebook also do a terrible job of clearing full blown penetrative porn posts off our "posts to page",  so one of my less glamourous jobs everyday is getting some brain bleach and doing it myself. Algorithms. They have problems.



Second off, on being  fat.

I'm using the word fat because it's the word the women in the pictures use, because there is a train of thought that it doesn't help to make the word fat taboo.

People argued that pictures of fat people shouldn't be shown because it's unhealthy and because it encourages people to be OK with being fat.

So lets unpick that a bit.

a) In just the same way you can't diagnose an eating disorder off the internet, you can't diagnose anyone's primary health issue from a photograph. I'm a little fat. I'm a lot ill. A little fat is the LEAST of my health issues and is probably protecting against some of them and increasing the risk of developing others. Weight is not health, health is not weight, fat is not the only health issue.

b) There are health risks associated with being fat. There are health risks associated with all sorts of things. Why are we so fixated as a culture with the ones to do with weight? Additionally, those health risks often cross over into the health risks associated with being stigmatised and societally discriminated against. So that could be causing a few issues.

c) There is NO evidence that making someone's body invisible in the media encourages health behaviours. There is no evidence that shaming people makes them choose healthier behaviour. There is in fact evidence entirely to the contrary. Stigmatising and shaming people is bad for their health.

d) Why in the name of all that is pants based are we basing peoples value on their health and weight. I do so enjoy people telling me that I shouldn't show pictures of fat people, because it's unhealthy. I could barely walk up a flight of stairs last week, shall I just hide myself until I have an effective treatment?

e) How about we stop thinking there's just one way to be attractive or that if someones aesthetically pleasing then we automatically want to look like them? How about we go for a bit of mutual admiration?

So that was my Friday evening. That and explaining to people that even if you disagree with someone, if they're talking to you, there's a fairly high chance they might listen, but only if you don't resort to calling them a douche.

On Saturday, I and every other admin on the page (it's me that deals with it, but quite a few people have access just in case) found  we'd been logged out, and when we logged back in again, we had to go through several pages of dire warnings about facebook nudity issues, requests to check every bit of content we'd ever posted anywhere, and a request that we might delete the page entirely while we went home and stood on the naughty step to think seriously about what we'd done. Naturally I did none of these things.

Meanwhile deadlies found themselves unable to repost the original link.

So here's my questions for you:

Just how great was Leonard Nimoy? Like, really great, right?

Just how many of you will post one of the many, many links about his Full Body Project on facebook and elsewhere? I mean seriously, even the Daily Mail have covered it.

How many of you are starting to think that some people might have some real serious prejudice about weight?


9 things you might not know about Value Added Tax - and how it all works!

Posted 02/03/2015 at 22:21 Comments

In the history of posts about the boring bits of the knickers business, I suspect this might possibly be the most boring, but a surprising number of you asked for it, so  . . . OK. But you only have yourselves to blame.

VAT  - Value Added Tax - is a tax on consumption, on goods and services at the point of sale. Apparently the French invented it, but the British had a go at taxing luxury products when Pitt-The-Younger was in charge, and went after stuff like hair powder and perfume. Hair powder was a big deal in the late 1700's here!

Swear to god, that's the Younger Pitt.

VAT is sufficiently like a sales tax as to totally confuse people, because it's not exactly the same. The main difference is that VAT is added or taken away at every stage of the sales process.

So, the fabric suppliers charge the factories VAT, the factories charge us VAT, we charge you VAT,  and we charge some shops VAT. Except when we don't . . . . and everything has to be written up and we can pay and reclaim vat, which makes ALL the paperwork, and this really seems to confuse folk in the USA. But their buyers-state-based-sales tax does our heads in though, so hey.


Happily we didn't have to pay VAT on hair powder, because we borrowed the wig from Prior Attire instead!


Generally it's when and to whom we charge VAT to that really starts to throw people, not to mention the admin. Here's how it works.

Any UK business over the threshold (£81,000 a year turnover at the moment) has to be registered for VAT.

If you are a UK or EU customer buying from us for personal use, we charge VAT (at 20%) on top of the product cost.  Unless it's a voucher. Technically we charge the VAT on a voucher when you use it on actual products, For Reasons.

But a 20% VAT rate doesn't mean 1/5th of all your spending is going to the government. It's added onto the product price, so it's actually about 17% of the cost - and only of full rate products, on which more later.

If you're a UK shop buying from us to sell on to people, then we also charge that VAT. But we format your invoice in a totally different way, because There Are Rules.


Wholesale; we have to show the customer VAT number and we have to show the price without VAT and then the VAT seperately on each product.


Retail; we show the VAT rate, the price including the VAT.



All of that? Legally required. You should find it on all your receipts and invoices. We once made a mess and changed our invoice printing without remembering to stick it on, it was a nightmare!


If you're in the EU outside of the UK and you're a business buying to sell on, we charge VAT. UNLESS you have a VAT number, in which case we don't. Instead we send a form off to the EU every 3 months to say who we sold how much to and what their VAT number was - which we would have done for the order above.

Someone, somewhere in an office presumambly buried in paperwork, checks every single one of those forms and every single one of those transactions in detail. If we get our sums wrong or we use a wrong VAT number (you can check them here), we get a threatening letter and have to sort it out. I've never got past the threatening letter stage, but they can fine you and so on for errors. 

In my head, that office is straight out of a Kafka novel. It might be staffed by robots, I don't know.

I do know it's unlikely that the staff there get happy postcards the way we do.


Then we also submit, every 3 months, a detailed report to the government online about what VAT was charged and what we paid VAT on,  and then either pay the government the balance or they pay you the balance. This is why I go really quiet once every 3 months, and sometimes cry. Or write up All The Things We Spend Money On. And then cry.

If you export plenty, you can end up with a VAT refund, or if you bought lots and for some reason didn't sell in in the same quarter. Bigger or different companies do their VAT in different ways as there are some methods that can reduce the administration or be more cashflow effective depending on what the business does.

Now, all our products are at the full VAT rate. But there are zero rated products - like childrens clothes and basic foodstuffs -  and a 5% rate for things like gas and electricity. Once a product has had VAT put on, under EU rules, you haven't been able to remove it, though I read somewhere that this might be changing.

One of my cats once did a wee over my box of VAT paperwork. I really did cry. Probably my accountants did too. God, it was horrible. I wouldn't mind but the boxe was 5 foot in the air on shelves. That cat hated me that day, I don't know why.

So . . . that's the mechanics, which seem simple right up until I start explaining them to people and then I remember why we have an accountant.  What are the possibly interesting or maybe even amusing bits of VAT?

1) Many people get terribly annoyed that VAT is a "luxury" tax and yet menstrual products like tampons and towels are charged VAT on, because patricarchy (men's razors are zero rated, for extra annoyance). It was reduced as far as it easily can be a few years back. A radical way to oppose this is to just go cost the givernment money by bleeding on their stuff. As someone with a haemophilia disorder, I've already cost them a great deal on that score, and probably a few of you can have my extra credits.

2) More annoyingly from my point of view, in theory disability aids are zero rated, but you have to sign some paperwork saying you're definitely disabled (there's no such thing as registering as disabled anymore). Problem is, making things for specific disabilities is pretty tricky, and mobility aids for the elderly are VAT-able . . . so there are very few "For disabled people" products, because anyone making things wants as big a market as possible. My special chair that lets me work longer hours? It's sold as a posture/generally fabulous chair. My walking stick? It's just a walking stick. Breathable fabric knickers to help with vulvodynia? They're just healthy! And my most beloved and essential item is my mac air, because its light and easy to use and believe me, when you are functionally 900 years old, every reduction in tiny repetetive movements helps. Yeah, don't even talk to me about the VAT on that.

3) Biscuits do not have VAT, but cake and chocolate covered biscuits do. This has meant some EPIC court cases about teacakes. This was possibly the most British Thing to have ever happened in the courts, especially as it involved traditional British brands Marks and Spencers and Jaffa Cakes.
For the Stateside people reading, biscuits=cookies. We don't even know what those things you'e calling biscuits are. Good grief.

4) There are new rules for digital products, because apparently everyones governements needed to make sure they were getting some money from intangible things. They are insane. We are never selling digital products, ever, because there is no way in hell I am going to attempt to get two forms of proof off each of you as to where you are exactly at the time of purchasing something from us. I've met some of you, and the key thing is you all seem to travel. It's just asking for trouble!

If we start selling patterns you'll be getting them in the post, not email. Because VAT.

5) Tax rules are so complicated that lots of software can't account for them, so quite often you'll get charged the full including VAT price even if you're outside the EU because it's just easier!

6) Some companies run sales from peculiar places like The Channel Islands just so they can avoid VAT. But when we deal with Ava Corsetry, even though Guernsey is just off the coast of the UK, the tax is a flipping nightmare!

7) Generally speaking, the poorer you are, the higher the percentage of your disposable income that goes on VAT. Most shops give VAT receipets so you can even tot it up for yourself if you are interested. Is  that fair? Or is it a good tax because the more you consue the more you pay?

8) As you may have noticed, there's a fair bit of work involved in VAT for me. It's the only tax where the administration costs falls heavily on small businesses. We're effectively tax collectors for the government, which is not a position I ever expected to be in! In the UK small and medium sized businesses are the most economically productive, but end up using more resources on this (think percentage terms) than large . . . is this a useful thing for us to do?

9) VAT is the third biggest source of the UK governments income, so don't expect it to go away any time soon!


I am guessing I have amde some mistakes (honestly, tax isn't my forte, that's why we have accountants), so critique away in the comments - do you know how much you spend on VAT? Do you think it's fair? Does the tampon tax drive you absolutely round the bend? :)