Oh dear… I’m afraid that I can not give you any concrete answer on this yet as we are still figuring out details.
It has already been mentioned here that VAT is the core problem - there is no customs tariff on mobile phones (or laptops for that matter) from USA, but everything has to go though VAT which gets added import as import VAT. Businesses can get this reimbursed, private consumers can not.
So even if we had a Purism Europe branch of some sorts, VAT would clearly need to get collected from private consumers, even if this Purism Europe thing would get it reimbursed after import - but it would also have to pay it again when shipping the devices to consumers since it must not happen that non VAT taxed goods get into consumer circulation. So from my standpoint, even if we had a Purism Europe entity of some sorts we would still need to collect VAT for European customers - either we (Purism) do it or the carrier on behalf of the authorities or they do it themselves at import. There is no way around it.
Since the campaign price was without VAT I’m afraid all backers that live in an area which has requirements on VAT like Europe have to come out of pocket for that. (BTW this is the same for most of this type of crowdfunding campaigns like on Kickstarter etc.).
Once we spin up something in Europe then our shop will automatically, based on the place of fulfillment add appropriate taxes that the appropriate fulfillment facility will then properly declare and pay. So also no saving here, I’m sorry. All savings would mean that Purism would have to pay for all arbitrary taxes and fees in all the different jurisdictions which is of course not possible.