Therese Ørtenblad, our Wholesale contributing expert, is on hand to help you plan your second quarter, whether you’re a seasoned wholesaler or have added this to your 2019 business strategy, this article gives you the insights and actions to take, April – June.
Spring is in the air which hopefully means that shops that have had a slow start to the year start to get a bit busier.
This retail year has had a tough start, the political uncertainty has left consumers more reserved when it comes to spending money and a lot of retailers are feeling this on their bottom line. Don’t let this discourage you, stores are still buying, and they are still spending money with their suppliers and taking on new ones, it might just take a little bit more convincing and patience so don’t give up.
Remember, you’re not contacting retail buyers to be a nuisance and that’s not how they see you. If you’ve done your research and you know your products could sell in their shops, you’re helping them discover your brand by reaching out and therefore doing them a service.
The retail buying calendar is a little bit different to that of the consumer, therefore I’ve set out some key dates and what planning and actions I would suggest you consider for this quarter below. If you missed the post in the first quarter, you can find it here.
After Mother’s Day, independent retailers will start to think of and prepare for Father’s Day. Really big retailers will be buying for Father’s Day already in January/February. The Spring Bank Holiday kick start the BBQ and DIY season and retailers might try to put a lot of similar products into their Father’s Day collections so they can have a longer sell period.
A great way to show your stockist how your products can fit into several different collections/themes is by including lifestyle pictures in your newsletter. Put together suggested ranges for Dad, the BBQ master and the DIY’er or break it up into several newsletters if you prefer.
During school holidays it’s always more difficult to get through to the right buyers. A lot take time off or work from home, complete as much outreach and follow up as you can before the holiday starts.
If you’re working over the Easter break, use this time to research retailers to contact and make introductions to and to plan out your newsletters for the next quarter.
Early May Bank Holiday kick-start the wedding season so if you make any wedding related products, get in touch with your stockists before the Easter break.
Garden centres will start getting a lot busier again around Easter after a quieter start to the year so if you stock them or would like to, make sure that you get in touch sooner rather than later.
1st April Fool’s day
7th World Health day
19th Good Friday
21st Easter Sunday
23-29th National Stationery week
23rd St Georges day
28th London Marathon
Wedding season come into full force and the Spring Bank Holiday at the end of the month kick starts the BBQ and Gardening season. Think outside the box and put together collections of your products that could be ranged with various outdoor, spring and summer themes. Help your buyers’ visualise how your products are relevant to what they are planning for their store displays.
Indies that has not bought for Father’s Day yet will be doing so now so you might want a send a newsletter with a ‘Don’t forget Dad’ theme to get some extra orders in.
Some of the bigger retailers will start to look for September/October stock already in May/June and this will continue throughout the summer. If you’re targeting larger retailers make sure you have your new product samples ready for this or have mock-ups that you can show them. Highlight any “Back to school” and “Halloween” products if’s suitable for the retailer or department.
2-5th Tour de Yorkshire
4th Star Wars day
5th Cinco de Mayo
6th Early May Bank Holiday
12th National Children’s day
18th FA Cup Final
21-25th Chelsea Flower Show
27th Spring Bank Holiday
National BBQ week start
28th Amnesty day
30 (May) -1st (June) Stationery Show London
June will be the last month you will find it “easy” to get through to smaller independent retailers for a while. I find that during the summer school holiday it’s very hit and miss if you can get through to anyone, make sure your existing stockists are fully stocked up for the summer season.
Focus on targeting towns that will be busy over the school holiday along the coast and other more touristy areas. Don’t forget theme and adventure parks and camping sites with retail outlets. They will all be very busy and if you haven’t targeted them yet make a last-minute push to see if they might have some gaps. The larger ones would most likely be all set but quite a few smaller ones might not be quite as prepared.
1st International Children’s day
5th World Environment Day
8th The Queen’s Birthday
16th Father’s Day
21st Summer Solstice (Longest day and the start of summer)
Bring your dog to work day
18-23rd Royal Ascot
26th Glastonbury start
29th Armed Forces Day
29 (June) – 2nd (July) Tendence (Germany)
This quarter is important as you have a few key themes that most retailers do repeat every year that you can sell for and it often gets very quiet in July/August even-though you will be busy setting up for the madness of Q4 so give it all you’ve got. The work you put in this quarter is important for your cash flow for the summer and for investing in stock for Christmas.
Having that cash flow for Christmas will help you keep your lead-times to a minimum and hopefully allow you to not run out of stock too quickly and therefore have your best year to date.
There’s still time to make 2019 the year you start to wholesale. Therese offers a 6-month mentoring program that is completely bespoke and suitable for those just starting out or those who want to level up their wholesale. In addition, you can book smaller packages and one-off sessions to help you define your next steps and gain some clarity or an audit of your email pitch template, catalogue or line-sheet.
From April the enrolment for Therese 12-week group training program will open, this will be for those who are serious about wanting to start to wholesale but who are unsure about where to start. To find out more, get in touch with Therese here.
After a decade in the home and gift industry, Therese founded the Small Business Collaborative to help small creative businesses navigate their journey to wholesale. Therese has sold a vast range of products to both independent shops and large high street retailers.
Seeing your products in a retail store might seem like a faraway goal, Therese will guide you and share her knowledge to give you the tools and confidence you need to reach your destination.