May 17, 2022
Brand Licensing Europe (BLE) has officially closed applications for its Retail Mentoring Program (RMP) for the first time in its 12-year history following a record uptake with 82 buyers from 19 different retailers.
The annual program kicked off last week when 78 RMP delegates attended Licensing International’s Licensing Essentials course in central London. This year’s program 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 were 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:
Marks & Spencer
Pep & Co
Pets at Home
“After 10 years working in licensing there is always something new to learn,” says Aby Sollitt-Davis, brand director, Truffle Shuffle. “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 Program 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, character.com, Pep & Co, Marks & Spencer and The Entertainer, were also in London on May 12 to attend the first-ever Brand Licensing Retailers’ Academy masterclass.
Brand Licensing Retailers Academy (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, industry foresight, Insights Family
Gary Pope, co-founder and chief executive officer, Kids Industries
Plus, a panel on toys was chaired by the editor of Toy World, John Baulch, featuring Andrea Gornall, sales and licensing director, 8th Wonder; Melanie Beer, licensing director EMEA, Amscan International and Richard Hollis, licensing consultant.
“We’re delighted with the range of retailers on the Retail Mentoring Program this year,” says Laura Freedman-Dagg, head of retail, licensing, Global Licensing Group. “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 program, 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 program 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.”
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