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How To Build Your Future Wholesale Business The Right Way - Part Two

 
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Welcome to PART TWO of How To Build Your Future Wholesale Business The Right Way. If you haven’t had a chance to read PART ONE I highly recommend you spend a few minutes to read and understand that first before continuing because PART TWO is going to assume that your production process is running like clockwork and your supplier is your new best friend!

So, based on those assumptions being true it’s now time to help you understand the time-traveling concepts of retail buying patterns and seasonality.

Having been in the industry since I was a teenager I’ve just become accustomed to always thinking one season ahead. But from the outside looking in the best way to decipher the fashion retail calendar and buying patterns is to refer to something we all notice, which is when Christmas decorations start appearing. This typically happens in stores 3-4 months prior to Christmas in say August or September when we might still be rugged up! Likewise, you’ve probably noticed that hot-cross buns start appearing in your local Woolworths in January, straight after Christmas and way ahead of Easter. The reason for these extreme timelines, my friend, is the crazy retail calendar which affects supermarkets and traditional fashion retailers alike.

It can take a while to get your head around this time-shifting concept, but it’s crucial that you have a good grasp of it if you’re to work with retailers who will expect deliveries of seasonal dependent collections. Why? Because understanding retail buying patterns will help you to construct your design timeline and make sure that you never miss an opportunity to sell the right products to buyers at the right time!

So, what are the all-important seasons that you need to know about? Well, there are three main collections that retail buyers will allocate budget for: SPRING / SUMMER, HIGH SUMMER / RESORT, and AUTUMN / WINTER. Buyers will be looking to deliver stock purchased from these seasons at particular times of the year.

SOUTHERN HEMISPHERE SEASONS
Here in the Southern Hemisphere retailers will buy and sell seasonal collections as follows:

SPRING/SUMMER
RETAILERS BUY IN - FEB/MARCH/APRIL
TO SELL IN STORE - JULY/AUG/SEPT

HIGH SUMMER/RESORT
RETAILERS BUY IN - MAY/JUNE
TO SELL IN STORE - OCT/NOV

AUTUMN/WINTER
RETAILERS BUY IN - JULY/AUGUST/SEPT
TO SELL IN STORE - FEB/MARCH/APRIL

NORTHERN HEMISPHERE SEASONS
Our retail friends in the Northern Hemisphere will buy and sell seasonal collections in the exact opposite order to us. 

SPRING/SUMMER
RETAILERS BUY IN - JULY/AUG/SEPT
TO SELL IN STORE - FEB/MARCH/APRIL

HIGH SUMMER/RESORT
RETAILERS BUY IN - MAY/JUNE
TO SELL IN STORE - NOV/DEC/JAN

AUTUMN/WINTER
RETAILERS BUY IN - FEB/MARCH/APRIL
TO SELL IN STORE - JULY/AUGUST/SEPT

You may have noticed that the RESORT season is similar in both hemispheres with the only difference being in the selling period which is slightly shorter here in the south. This is because in the southern hemisphere, Australia in particular, consumers hit pause on fashion spending from around mid-November until the pre-Christmas / Boxing Day sales start. The Northern Hemisphere, on the other hand, has not been tarnished with the same bargain hunting brush and in fact, RESORT is regarded as the most lucrative season of the year as consumers in this part of the globe shop for both coats and swimwear for their various holiday destinations. In most cases stock delivered into store as part of a RESORT season will never go on sale. 

I hope this in-depth look at fashion retail patterns has given you a greater understanding of what and when retailers want to buy. Armed with this inside knowledge you can start planning your design timelines to ensure your new sample collection is ready when retailers like to buy. You will also be able to work in advance with your supplier to ensure they can deliver your production orders when the retailers need to receive their stock for the new season.

With the southern hemisphere AUTUMN/WINTER 2018 buying season just around the corner you should already be planning to show your sample collections from this July/August onwards and that means you also need to start building what I like to call your WHOLESALE BRAND KIT. This is a collection of important documents and brand assets that will help you portray your collection in its best light and provide buyers with all the right information they need to place that all important order with you.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry, I’m here to help with that too and will be covering the WHOLESALE BRAND KIT in PART THREE of this special series, so stay tuned and make sure you’re following the blog through BlogLovin’ or your preferred RSS reader!

Alternatively, if you’re engaging with retail buyers soon you can fast track to building your very own personalised WHOLESALE BRAND KIT by securing a mentoring session with me right here.