Buying Schedule for Retailers
Talk about a hot topic in the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group!
What better way to address a popular topic than to blog about it?
I love to tell about our experiences as independent retailers – as a reader sometimes you’ll be able to relate, sometimes you’ll learn a different perspective – either way, I hope you learn something whenever I tell a story.
When we opened our home decor boutique in 2015 we had NO experience with buying. Heck, we (me and my sister) didn’t have retail experience at all.
That’s the truth.
So as bootstrapping, DIY, learn-as-you-go entrepreneurs we did the best we could… we winged it!
Phase 1 – Wing it:
When we decided to open a brick and mortar home decor store, The Salvaged Boutique, we envisioned an eclectic yet curated collection of home decor accessories.
We were furniture refurbishers so we had plenty of pieces to sell – dressers, cabinets, nightstands, end tables, etc. And because we had been selling vintage items on Etsy for two years prior we had plenty of good vintage wares to sell too. But we wanted to incorporate some new home decor accessories.
By doing some research online we found a few new home decor wholesalers. We placed a few orders based on what we thought our customers would like and did our best at guessing how much we would need. Somehow it worked out.
Phase 2 – Order-as-needed:
After our grand opening, we spent the next two years placing orders as we needed but the demand for more new home decor accessories and gift items was growing.
We also determined that our ordering process was way too time-consuming and our vendor options felt limiting.
Phase 3 – Plan a Buying Trip:
Fast forward to the start of year 3 and we decided to it was time to level-up. We booked a trip to AmericasMart in Atlanta. It was time to create a full year buying budget and place orders based on the analytics from the past 2 years and what we expect for the upcoming year.
I understand that not everyone who owns a shop may be in the position to pay for a trip to AmericasMart Atlanta. It took us 2 years.
But the question that’s been asked on several occasions in the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group:
When is the right time to order for each season?
If you are in the position to buy, but you’re waiting for your business to grow before you book a buying trip, this is what I recommend…
HOME DECOR & GIFT ITEMS BUYING SCHEDULE:
- December/January: Order Valentine’s Day & Spring items
- February/March, Order gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads
- April/May: Order Summer and 4th of July items
- June/July/August: Order Fall and Christmas*
- September/October/November: Replenish/Order more Christmas & order New Year items
*Note: Many wholesalers suggest ordering Christmas items as soon as the beginning of the year because many holiday items sell out if you order after Summer
Pin the image below or save it for future reference!
Of course, you can tweak this but use it as a general guideline – it’s a great start. I wish someone would have shared this with us when we first started!
If you’re looking for more information on how to tackle AmericasMart for the first time, stay tuned! I’ll be offering a 5-part email series that will cover traveling, planning, preparing and more!
If you are looking to be a savvy business owner, this is the place for you.
Want to engage with fellow shopkeepers? Join the Savvy Shopkeepers Facebook Group. (A free group for women who own an online shop or brick & mortar store and would like to learn from each other.)
I look forward to sharing how I’ve been able to help build, market and manage a retail store with my sister—all on a budget. ~ Kathy