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DTR vs. Wholesale

There are two broad categories of publisher - wholesale and direct-to-retail (DTR) - differentiated by the distribution method used to reach the retailer.


Wholesale publishers distribute their products to the retailer via greeting card wholesalers or cash & carries. They work on volume sales and have a rapid turnover of designs. Many designs are used with a variety of different captions. Eg. a floral design may be used for mother, gran, auntie, sister.

Remember that the vast majority of wholesale cards are captioned. It is usual to leave a blank space on the design to accommodate the caption. While wholesale publishers were hitherto generally only interested in traditional, cute and juvenile designs, they now publish across the board including contemporary, humorous ranges.


Direct-to-retail (DTR) publishers supply retailers via sales agents or reps. The majority of greeting cards sold through specialist card shops and gift shops are from DTR publishers. This sector spans from the multi-national corporations such as Hallmark down to the small, trendy niche publishing companies. Direct-to-retail publishers launch series of ranges based on distinctive design themes or characters. Categories of DTR cards include contemporary art/fun, fine art, humour, children's, photographic and traditional.