Record Breaking Year for the Retail Mentoring Programme

Brand Licensing Europe’s Retail Mentoring Programme has closed for entries in record time. Here, License Global finds out firsthand, from Jessica Healey, junior buyer, New Look, why places on the Programme are so sought after.

Ian Hart, Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA

February 23, 2023

3 Min Read
Retail Mentoring Programme
Retail Mentoring ProgrammeBrand Licensing Europe

BLE’s Retail Mentoring Programme has closed for entries – two months ahead of schedule. 97 delegates from 26 retailers are signed up to take part this year, a record number, and 16 more than last year. New retailers include Dunelm, My 1st Years, Marie Curie, Longleat, HMV and Frasers Group. New Look and DFS return after taking part for the first time last year, and Ann Summers and Claire’s are both returning after a gap in attendance.   

Tesco, Sainsbury’s Tu, George at Asda, Morrisons, FatFace, and Marks & Spencer are sending large groups. More retailers from buying functions will be attending, with delegates from a wide range of categories, including apparel, accessories, homeware, toys, greetings, gifts, attractions, outdoor and electronics.  

Retail Mentoring Programme Case Study, New Look 

Ahead of the start of this year’s Programme, License Global spoke to one of the 2022 alumni, Jessica Healey, who is a junior buyer at New Look. 

“We had previously had success on licensed product and knew that there was so much more we could be doing to deliver license to our customer,” says Healey. “Keith [Pashley] approached us with the opportunity to send a delegate and this was a great opportunity to gain a better understanding of the industry and how New Look could establish itself in that space.  

“The whole experience was engaging and well organized and the communication from Keith and Laura was fantastic. We had two days of seminars in central London where we had talks from experts in a variety of fields on up-and-coming licensing trends, making the most of a DTR, the digital world and metaverse, licensors and licensing agencies and so much more. The seminar days also gave me the opportunity to meet and discuss licensing with other delegates from a variety of fields within the retail environment.  

“I then attended the Bulldog and Hasbro ‘host days’ – these gave me the opportunity to experience and gain a deeper knowledge of other aspects of licensing. Both days were well organized and informative, the teams ensured the days were engaging and we were able to have sessions with different business functions such as social, animation and marketing.  

“On the final day, we were able to put our knowledge to the test and develop and present back our own licensing strategy for an unexpected ‘brand.’ It was a great exercise – developed by Claire Potter from Metrostar – and interesting to see each team’s different approach to the task.  

“Following the Programme, we were able to set a new strategy for licensing at New Look. The connections made have also enabled us to expand and build stronger relationships with our supply base and improve networking within the industry. 

“We have reviewed how we are using our DTR and ensuring that we are making the most of the resources available and working cross functionally.  

“This year we are really excited to be sending four delegates from a variety of functions and levels across the business.” 

Retail Mentoring Programme 2023 

The RMP delegates’ first event will be Licensing for Retail Day, which launches April 19 at Convene, London where they’ll network alongside RMP alumni and BLE retail VIP attendees.  

The 2023 Programme concludes with attendance at

Brand Licensing Europe (Oct. 4-6, ExCeL, London) where they’ll enjoy a new and improved retail lounge experience. 

“We’ve worked so hard to understand British retailers in recent years and deliver content which complements BLE and really meets retail needs,” says Laura Freedman-Dagg, head of retail, Global Licensing Group. “We want to help them understand how working with licensed IP can make a massive impact on engaging consumers, driving footfall, delivering a point of difference in-store and boosting profit margins. We want to help them to capitalize on brand licensing as a dynamic strategy for growth. This year’s Programme reaching capacity in January and the amazing response we’ve had to Licensing for Retail Day is testament to the huge potential of brand partnerships.”  

With the Programme closed for entries for this year, a wait list has been opened for 2024. 

Click here to find out more about the Retail Mentoring Programme.

About the Author(s)

Ian Hart

Senior Digital Editor U.K. & EMEA, License Global

Ian joined the License Global editorial team in May 2022 as digital editor for the U.K. and EMEA, becoming Senior Digital Editor in April 2023.

Ian is a huge fan of sports and entertainment brands and, as a father, toys and kids' brands are a large part of his life!

He has been at Informa (formerly UBM) since 2018, where he was previously the editor of SHP, a B2B digital publication aimed at health & safety professionals.

Ian studied journalism at university before spending seven years in online fantasy gaming. Prior to moving to Informa, Ian worked in B2B trade print media, in the automotive sector, working on various publications aimed at independent automotive technicians and parts distributors.

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