This year’s BLE exhibition enjoyed the busiest days two and three on record, the organisers have announced.
Brand Licensing Europe 2022, which took place at ExCel London from 20th to 22nd September, attracted 230 exhibitors, including more than 30 first time exhibitors, and exhibitor and visitor numbers were also back to 80% of pre-Covid levels
Anna Knight, SVP of Licensing, Global Licensing Group, said: “It’s taken four days of sleep to recover, but what a show. This year was the best BLE I can remember in my seven years – it was just amazing from start to finish and I really do want to thank everyone who exhibited, visited, worked with us to fix things including the best group of contractors ever, and the whole BLE team. It wouldn’t have possible without the team. To say they go the extra mile is doing them a massive disservice.
“I am also delighted to say we enjoyed our busiest ever day three on record this year. When I shared the highlights video from our final day on LinkedIn, I confessed that it was one of my proudest moments ever.”
This year, day three of BLE 2022 was dedicated to sustainability, diversity and purpose to showcase the diverse voices and talent across the industry and to drive positive change within brand licensing.
“And that’s exactly what we did,” said Anna, “from the opening Peppa Pig case study with Hasbro, to the Culture & Unity catwalk in partnership with Black Lives Matter, which was just stunning and powerful from start to finish, to our Sustainability catwalk with those amazing Junk Kouture collections and the content from the UN’s Caroline Petit, and our keynote panel, which dissected how purpose can breed success.”
She added that none of it would have been possible without the shared vision of Helena Mansell-Stopher from Products of Change, Saphia Maxamed of Black Lives Matter Licensing and BLE event director Ella Haynes, who worked tirelessly to bring everything to life.
“The focus for day three wasn’t a tick box for us – we said it last year when we gave Saphia a platform to introduce many in the industry to Black Lives Matter Licensing, and we’ll say it again. This isn’t a one off. This is part of our DNA, and you can expect to see it every year. We believe in what we’re trying to do, and I couldn’t be prouder,” added Anna.
This year, the quality of visitors and conversations was stronger, with more decision-makers and people with an in-depth understanding of the industry attending (41% compared to 35% in 2019), while 4,575 meetings were booked through the online platform, a 46% rise compared to 2019. European visitor numbers (as a percentage of total attendance) were on par with pre-Covid levels in 2019.
Retail visitor numbers (as a percentage of total attendance) rose by 4% compared with pre-Covid levels in 2019, which meant that exhibitors were able to spend more time with more – and better quality – potential partners.
Retailers included Aldi, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Carrefour, Lidl, Morrisons, Asda, El Cortes Ingles, The Entertainer, Primark, Marks and Spencer, Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, H&M, Celio, Habitat, Matalan, Waitrose, ASOS, HMV, Wayfair, Harrods, Amazon, River Island, New Look, Bershka, Sainsburys, Ocado Retail, John Lewis, Moonpig, Don’t Call Me Jennyfer and Liberty
Ella Haynes, BLE event director, said: “Everyone I talked to commented on how busy the show felt, how the buzz was back to the BLE days of old and that makes me incredibly proud.
“I’d just like to remind everyone they can now watch all the educational sessions for free and on-demand in our online platform. The content was so strong this year; all of the sessions were incredibly well attended, and the Mattel keynote was literally standing room only, so if you didn’t get to see it on the day, don’t worry, you haven’t missed out.
“Next up is Brand & Licensing Innovation Summit in New York in November, Licensing Expo in May and BLE returns to ExCeL London 4th-6th October. We’re also sponsoring networking drinks at SiLC in London on 18th October, so we hope to see you all there, especially if we didn’t get a chance to say hello at BLE.”