Buyer Megan Pearce enthuses about Brand Licensing Europe’s Retail Mentoring Programme.
The countdown is continuing apace to Brand Licensing Europe 2023 – and the extremely popular retail mentoring programme for 2024 has already been opened for applications.
The free-to-participate programme, run by Informa Markets’ Global Licensing Group, has been devised for retailers wanting to better understand making the most of licensing and licensed merchandise.
“It’s a super engaging experience from start to finish,” Card Factory buyer Megan Pearce told sister title PG Buzz after joining in this year’s RMP. “I really loved hearing from the guest speakers in panels and from licences and brands.
“I especially enjoyed insights from guest speakers that were previously buyers and hearing their take on the industry.”
BLE’s RMP is a six-month course for retailers in the UK who are new to licensing and want to find out how it can boost their product ranges, customer loyalty, business and profitability, and it is Continuing Professional Development (CPD) accredited, interactive and backed by leading brands.
The programme has been running for 13 years and has become so popular among retailers that BLE was forced to close applications for 2023 two months ahead of schedule with a record 90 delegates enrolled, 16 more than last year.
Because of this the 2024 programme, which starts in March, has now been launched by Laura Freedman-Dagg, head of retail, who said: “The RMP is such an important part of the Brand Licensing Europe offering. We work very hard to continually find ways to engage retailers who might not consider themselves ‘in licensing’ as well as those joining teams which live and breathe it.
“This approach is a priority for us as it drives sustainable growth, cross category representation and, perhaps most importantly, retailers who get it before they even step foot on the trade show floor.”
Card Factory has upped the profile of licensed merchandise in its stores, across all product categories – including cards, party, gifts and toys – as part of its drive to lead as an omnichannel celebrations retailer.
Extolling the virtues of the RMP 2023 programme and how it has helped her in her buying role, Megan added: “It was great to gain knowledge on different types of licences and how the future will shape up, the part about the metaverse really blew my mind but also very interesting.
“I’m a buyer for gifts and toys and, in the last one to two years, have grown the licensed offer so this course has come at a great time to gain a better understanding and build on networking in the industry.
“I know that once the course finishes in October I’ll take away a better understating of the industry to aid my buying decisions and will meet some great people along the way which will be key in my future career as a buyer.”
Card Factory is the one of the largest balloon retailers in the UK. Megan said: “Spider-Man, Peppa Pig and Star Wars are our strongest performers within balloons. At the minute we mostly offer juvenile and tween licences, however we are potentially looking to broaden the range with some adult specific licences.
“We’ve developed a much closer relationship with Amscan recently as we relook at our licensing offer. Amscan are very hands on with providing information regarding which licenses work particularly well for them and what is new and upcoming but are also open to our feedback and interpretation.”
While this year’s BLE runs over 4-6 October at London’s ExCel, the 2024 show is across 24-26 September, and the RMP includes individual and team mentoring with licensing industry specialist and RMP programme manager Keith Pashley; complementary access to the Intro To Licensing online training ; complementary delegate pass to the second Licensing For Retail day, which returns to The Convene, London, on 7 March; the opportunity to judge the product categories of The Licensing Awards; attendance at a pre-BLE seminar; VIP attendance at the show; and entry to the RMP alumni group.