Dealers Jenni and Kevin Hairsine pictured at their marquee at IACF Ardingly where they will be exhibiting at the next antiques, vintage and collectors’ fair on November 2-3.

Enjoy unlimited access: just £1 for 12 weeks

Subscribe now

IACF Ardingly is welcoming back overseas dealers who are returning to this big event at the South of England Showground.

The next is on Tuesday and Wednesday, November 2-3, where visitors can seek out decoratives dealers Robert Mahon from Pas de Calais and Leslie Smith who is based in Eschweiler in Germany. From Hungary comes Josef Sztoika and Jan van der Vlist of Antiek & Brocante in the Netherlands will also be there setting out a stall.

Customs conundrum

Ardingly regulars Jenni and Kevin Hairsine are decorative dealers in stock which they source themselves in France. When the UK left the EU, they and many other dealers were faced with negotiating a minefield of new customs formalities.

So they seized the initiative and earlier this year launched their own niche intermediary service to guide and support the trade through the blizzard of regulations.

Jenni says: “We have been decorative dealers for just over a decade – and continue to be so – but importing our own stock from the EU became very challenging in the wake of Brexit legislation, which has thrown up no end of rule changes and hurdles to jump when crossing this newly created border.

“So we developed and trained in customs compliance so we could export (from the EU) and import (to the UK) our commercial goods correctly and cheaply.

“Most customs agents won’t go near sole traders like ourselves. Because our peers and colleagues were also in the dark about how the formalities affected them, the need for the advisory service arose.

“So our customs clearance business has two strands: the advisory service and the clearances (this means processing UK import declarations for clients who have opened an account with us).”