Brand Licensing Europe (BLE), the largest and most prestigious licensing event in Europe, has announced that over 50 buying professionals will take part in its Retail Mentoring Programme this year, as Marks & Spencer, Halfords and The Entertainer all confirm their participation in the scheme.
Delegate numbers for the six-month programme have almost doubled in a year and it is still the only scheme of its kind in the UK. Run as part of BLE, which is organised by UBM and sponsored by the International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA), the programme is designed to give buying and merchandising professionals a deeper understanding of the licensing industry. It has also already confirmed delegates from Sainsbury’s, Blackpool Pleasure Beach, Claire’s Accessories and Matalan.
Pippa Smith, Children wear Licensed Character Coordinator at Marks & Spencer said: “At M&S we understand more and more the importance of all aspects of licensing and think it is vital for each of our buyers, merchandisers and designers within licensing roles to have a thorough understanding of the ins and outs of the industry. It is imperative that our colleagues are equipped with the tools to understand licensing and that we move forward with one key strategy. The Retail Mentoring Programme gives us the introduction to licensing needed for us to build further skills.”
Delegates will attend workshops, seminars and the LIMA Licensing Essentials Course and Spring Fling event as well as shadowing licensors in their workplace. The programme culminates in a visit to BLE where the theory is put into practice. A highlight for delegates is the opportunity to formally judge products for the Licensing Industry Awards.
“Since its launch in 2010, the programme has received a phenomenal response from retailers and we are delighted with the record delegate numbers for this year” said Anna Knight, BLE Brand Director. “We have actively expanded the categories for the 2016 programme and now have delegates on board who are looking for opportunities in homeware, travel, footwear, books, beauty and toys. We have also seen growth in the number of retail designers and merchandisers joining the programme. We would urge any retailers who are looking to learn more about licensing to join the programme before it officially launches at the end of the month.”
Now in its 18th year, BLE 2016 will feature over 300 exhibitors showcasing more than 2,500 brands, characters and images. A free educational programme runs alongside the show offering advice and sector-specific sessions, workshops and panel discussions along with keynotes from industry trailblazers.