BLE closes applications for Retail Mentoring Programme after record intake

Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has officially closed applications for its Retail Mentoring Programme (RMP) for the first time in its 12-year history, following a record uptake with 82 buyers from 19 different retailers. 
The annual programme kicked off last week when 78 RMP delegates attended Licensing International’s Licensing Essentials course in central London. This year’s programme will culminate at BLE after a day hosted by a brand owner or agent, and another licensing for retail conference in September. Hosts this year are selected from BLE exhibitors and include Acamar, Beanstalk, Bulldog, Bravado, Hasbro, NHM, TSBA, The Point 1888, Warner Brothers and Wildbrain CPLG.
This year’s RMP participants are as follows, including first timers Next, Pets at Home, DFS and New Look:
1.      Asda George
3.     DFS
4.     Fat Face
5.     John Lewis
6.     M&Co
7.     Marks & Spencer
8.     Matalan
9.     Moonpig
10.   Morrisons
11.     New Look
12.    Next
13.    Paultons Park
14.   Pep & Co
15.    Pets at Home
16.   Sainsbury’s
17.   Tesco
18.   The Entertainer
19.   Truffle Shuffle
Truffle Shuffle Brand Director Aby Sollitt-Davis says: “After 10 years working in licensing there is always something new to learn. Even if it is how to get a better deal. You have to know what to look and ask for in the deal memo to be able to make it work best for you. Business is a two-way street, and all agreements require both sides to understand what is at stake for both parties to come to a happy agreement. Finding creative freedom in a world of rules needs a course like the Retail Mentoring Programme to allow creative minds and business sense to come together in a fun and relaxed environment.”
A further 27 delegates, the majority RMP alumni from retailers including Tesco, Selfridges, The Very Group, Sainsbury’s, Groupon,, Pep & Co, Marks & Spencer and The Entertainer, were also in London on 12 May to attend the first ever Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy masterclass.
BLRA is a joint partnership between BLE and Licensing International and attendees heard sessions on children’s licensing from experts including:
·       Jenny Kieras, Chief Revenue Officer and Matthew Smith, Head of Industry Foresight at Insights Family
·       Gary Pope, Co-Founder and CEO at Kids Industries
Plus, a panel on toys featured Andrea Gornall, Sales and Licensing Director, 8th Wonder; Melanie Beer, Licensing Director EMEA, Amscan International and Richard Hollis, Licensing Consultant.
Head of Retail, Licensing at Global Licensing Group, Laura Freedman-Dagg says: “We’re delighted with the range of retailers on the Retail Mentoring Programme this year. It’s the biggest group we’ve ever had, and the buyers have already shown such enthusiasm for licensing. The Licensing Essentials Course was the perfect start to the programme, and I know that the licensor host days will once again be a highlight.
“It was also exciting to host the first Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy, which we launched in partnership with Licensing International earlier this year. The majority of the academy delegates have previously completed our mentoring programme so it’s fantastic to be able to provide ongoing learning opportunities in the lead-up to BLE. I’d like to thank all of the retailers who took the time to attend – we know how difficult it can be to secure time out of the office, but I hope they returned to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to discover their next big licensing opportunities.”

Brand Licensing Europe and Licensing International launch Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy

The all-new Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy is a series of six masterclasses specifically designed for experienced retailer professionals.  The year-round programme, developed by licensing industry experts Brand Licensing Europe and Licensing International, will feature leading licensing executives sharing their expertise, including how licensing drives enhanced customer engagement, key consumer insights behind licensed product purchase intent, and exclusive access to the data behind emerging industry trends.

The series will kick off with an in-person half-day event in central London on 12 May.

The BLRA programme, which includes a membership to Licensing International, is exclusively for retailers but space is limited, and participants are encouraged to enrol now.

“We are excited to launch this complimentary masterclass series developed specifically for senior retail professionals. Licensing International is rooted in retail and merchandising, and these classes are a natural extension,” says Maura Regan, president of Licensing International.

“This joint programme with Licensing International builds on our commitment to engage with retailers year-round and support them as they continue to develop their licensing expertise,” adds Anna Knight, SVP of Licensing, Informa Markets. “It is the perfect complement to our Retail Mentoring Programme, and we’re excited to further enhance our roster of opportunities for retailers to engage with the world of brand licensing.”

Interested retailers can register here.