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A Year of Wholesale: Actions for Quarter One

In this post, I will help you plan your first quarter. Whether you’re a seasoned wholesaler or have added this to your plan this year, this article gives you the insights and actions to take, January – March.

A plan for selling wholesale to retail shops in January, February and March.

The main difference between the wholesale and retail calendar is that things happen a little or a lot earlier, depending on whom you’re selling to. A general rule of thumb is that the larger the retailer, the earlier they start their planning and selection process.

When do you start seeing ‘Valentine’s’, ‘Back to School’ and ‘Christmas’ ranges in the shops? For most, it is approximately 3-6 weeks before the calendar date, and for Christmas, it is significantly earlier; therefore, buyers will have bought lines many months back.

To help you plan out your year, here are a few key dates, month-by-month, with key actions. You can use the timeline to plan out any newsletters you might want to send and to give your buyers an idea of how to make your products a part of their collections/stories.


Most retailers will have started their January sales and will be focusing on clearing stock before they start placing orders for the new year. Large retailers and independents alike will have already bought stock to create stories around themes such as ‘New Year – New You’, ‘Healthy Habits’ and ‘Valentine’s Day’, however, some might have budget left to add in more products, particularly if they have had a good Christmas.

If you already have stockists, it’s worth making a health-check call to see how your products sold for them during the (hopefully) busy fourth quarter.

At the same time, ask them:

  • When will they be adding in new products?

  • What trade shows will they be visiting?

And inform them about:

  • About any new products you’re launching this Spring

  • If you’re exhibiting at any trade shows, which ones and where will your stand be located

  • If you will be offering any trade show offers

Buyers are likely to be looking for new lines for Spring/Summer to give their shop a fresh feeling. They will be planning various ranges/themes/collections/stories they plan on creating in their stores this year. If they already bought for ‘Valentine’s Day’ then focus on new lines, ‘Mother’s Day’ and ‘Easter’.

If you want to run any offers for your independent wholesale customers, consider a lower minimum order*  or a lower carriage paid*  as stockists might need some fillers from existing stockists before they bring in lots of newnesses that they found at the Spring trade shows.


As we move past Valentine’s Day and the January sales, retailers will start to change their store displays with new products and Spring themes. If they haven’t bought for Mother’s Day yet, they will start to place orders now.

February is a crucial time of the year to start talking to new suppliers and consider who they will buy from throughout the year. This is a great time for you to contact new potential stockists and make introductions. You might not hear back right away, but hopefully, they will keep you and your products in mind when they select their ranges for Spring and Summer.

If you attended trade shows, make sure to follow up with everyone, and thank them for visiting your stand. Use this as an opportunity to check if they have made any decisions or have any feedback for you.


Time to order last-minute Mother’s Day stock and to think about any Easter themes. Independent gift retailers might not buy in stock for Easter as it’s a relatively short selling period, but they might do a Spring theme and stock up on some extra treats such as posh chocolates and sweets.

Plan the first quarter of the year

Whether you already supply a bunch of retail stores and are looking to grow your wholesale business, or if you’re planning on making this the year you start to wholesale, take some time to plan what to promote and when to your stockist or potential new stockists.

Do this by:

  • Planning your newsletters for the first quarter.

  • Plan what potential stockists you should contact and when. For example, in the start of the year, you may want to focus on stores that will be busy in the spring such as garden centres, then you can move on to seaside towns that will start to get busy for the May bank holiday weekends.

Now that you have a clear roadmap for the first quarter, it's time to put your plans into action. Stay ahead of the game by reaching out to potential stockists, following up on trade shows, and aligning your product offerings with upcoming themes and occasions. With proper planning and execution, you'll set yourself up for success and seize the opportunities that each month brings. Get ready to thrive in the wholesale world and make this quarter your best one yet!

Start to wholesale masterclass, everything you need to know to start selling to retail buyers

A plan for selling wholesale to retail shops in the first quarter of the year


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