The BLE Blog

How BLE is closing the licensor / retailer gap

As our Retail Mentoring Programme kicks off this month, BLE Event Director Darren Brechin explains about the initiative quietly running ‘behind the scenes’ of BLE.

In a competitive market where brands are fighting for attention, the importance of licensing is second to none. But the industry can be confusing, with many complexities, particularly for retailers and buyers new to the sector and under pressure to strike the right deals. How do you know who the correct partner is? What are the biggest trends? Which licenses do you choose in such a huge marketplace?

Back in 2010 we identified an increase in the number of retailers attending the show and realised there was a large gap crying out to be filled which would bring licensors and buying professionals together. And so came the launch of the Retail Mentoring Programme.

This month over 45 delegates will take part in the six-month programme hoping to gain a deeper understanding of the industry. They will attend workshops, seminars, the LIMA Licensing Essentials Course and Spring Fling in May, and will also have the chance to shadow licensors in their offices and learn from ‘licensing mentors’. Many of them have told us it’s an invaluable opportunity to learn, first hand, how licensing a brand works. The end result is confidence and know-how, which ultimately helps them to make more informed decisions about their business.

That gap we identified in 2010 was larger than we first anticipated; in its first year the programme was supported by Sainsbury’s and Mothercare. Six years later we are welcoming delegates from Debenhams, Matalan, Card Factory and Blue Inc to join existing participants Boots PLC, J Sainsbury PLC, Tesco PLC and Miniclub. It’s also the only programme of its kind in the UK.

Of course, it’s also hugely beneficial for licensors too – the programme brings them face to face with relevant buyers and gives them a chance to explain the timescales they are working to and which direction the properties are going in.

The programme, of course, culminates in a visit to BLE, where all the theory is put into practice and deals are done. Licensing is a multi-billion dollar market with opportunities growing daily, and we’re doing all we can to close that gap.

Find out more about the Retail Mentoring Programme.

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