EP36 - How to Land Your First Wholesale Account Without Attending a Trade Show

fashion business fashion wholesale how to start a clothing line how to start a fashion business trade show wholesale Aug 26, 2020
How to Land A Wholesale Account | Fashion Brand Podcast
Image by purplegillian from Pixabay

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How can I open up my own wholesale account?

With trade shows closed, what should be my next step?

Is it still worth it to go to trade shows?

In this episode of the FastTrack Your Fashion Brand Podcast, I launched my new segment, Fashion Biz Breakthrough and answer Rachel Wheatley’s question about trade shows and wholesale account acquisition.

Rachel’s a mama with two darling boys and during her second pregnancy, she realized the need for swimwear for expecting or post-partum mamas. So she then developed her first line of swimwear and is now working on her second!

Rachel’s question is one that I think many of us in the fashion industry have been grappling with over the last several months, that is, “What’s next?” Rachel was planning on attending and marketing to wholesale retailers at trade shows this year in Australia. And suddenly, those shows aren’t happening now and she’s wondering how she can land her first wholesale account without those contacts! Well I’ve got good news—trade shows aren’t the end-all-be-all... In fact, with the pandemic, we now have an entirely new playing field when it comes to landing those wholesale accounts.

In this episode, I help to unpack Rachel's questions surrounding what we can do to land the accounts we need to keep designing and get our products into the hands of our customers. I go through what it means to utilize the virtual fashion show models, old school methods for connecting with buyers, and how to expand your opportunities. If you're someone who's really eager to know how and where to land your first wholesale account, then this is an episode you don't want to miss! There are so many practical ways to set your fashion biz up for success even in this uncertain season!

Don’t forget to submit your own fashion biz questions! I myself will answer that and help you discover your own breakthrough. Simply go to Fashion Biz Breakthrough and fill out the question form!


  • The reality of trade show expenses
  • Where to land your wholesale accounts
  • Getting those touchpoints with buyers
  • Creating an action plan for getting your first wholesale account

Are Trade Shows Worth It?

The amount of effort and expense that goes into attending a tradeshow is definitely worth reevaluating.

Although trade shows are a traditional and sometimes highly effective way to get people interested in your product, most of the time, the results can be a mixed bag. I remember going to trade shows early on and thinking “Everyone is going to flood to my booth to see my product...” Unfortunately that wasn’t always the case. In fact, most of the emails you receive in your registration list are actually incorrect—especially the big buyers, it's more of just admin emails.

The reality is, trade shows are great for getting the list of wholesale accounts and buyers that you want to market to. That list alone is powerful. However, landing a wholesale account from a trade show is pretty unlikely. You have to do the work to follow up with those accounts, buyers and spend the time building up the relationship that you started at the tradeshow. So depending on how big your budget is and how much time you have to devote to building those relationships is really something to look at before going to a trade show.

So If Trade Shows Aren’t an Option Now... What Should You Do Instead?

I’m so glad you asked!

Look at virtual fashion shows and wholesale accounts that are partnering with brands and start to research different platforms that might be linked to them! B2B platforms can really help you get started on connecting with wholesalers. Platforms like NuOrder and Faire, can help you identify and get in touch with wholesalers that are registered and then you can send them your line sheets or catalogues! Use the budget that you would from a trade show to, instead, invest in getting contact information for the wholesale accounts you really want to land.

Don’t be afraid to get old school with this too! Cold calling is actually pretty easy and can create another opportunity to represent yourself and your brand. Just remember to keep moving forward and making strides in the direction of landing the accounts you really want to build for your brand.

How to Develop an Action Plan

You know how much I love a To-Do list! So get ready for yours...

  1. Create a list of your top ten dream retailers. This will be your sales list. Ask yourself, "Which accounts will I be so excited to land as wholesale?" Start with ten then you can just expand this list in the future.
  2. Find out how you can send a catalogue or line sheet to them. There are so many ways to connect with people these days. LinkedIn is a great place to get these names and contacts.
  3. Make the call! Calling can be scary, and you might not get all the right information all the time, but you will be making steps to get your designs in front of the right people. This could take 5-7 touchpoints and that's okay! Don’t be discouraged, just continue to follow up and create a relationship by keeping things short and sweet.
  4. Create an ATS (Available To Sell) sheet. This can help retailers in uncertain times depend on your product and know that you have options for them if they need a new product quickly. Most retailers aren’t able to see past these next couple of months because the world is changing so rapidly so let them know what you have available!  

These are just some quick little steps to get your brain working on how you can make things easy for the buyer and land the wholesale accounts of your dreams!



01:05-05:15 Introducing Fashion Biz Breakthrough Series

05:20-09:45 - Will Trade Shows Help You With Wholesale Accounts?

09:50-12:45 - What Other Options Are Out There?

12:50-23:30 Developing an Action Plan!

23:35-28:15 - Recap!


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The Podcast covers the TOP QUESTIONS from Fashion Business Entrepreneurs. 

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