Industry executives have been continuing to heap praise on last month’s Brand Licensing Europe, with Anna Knight, svp licensing at Global Licensing Group, also stating that the show was “amazing from start to finish”.
Licensors, licensees and agents have been continuing to applaud the show’s retail attendance, “fantastic atmosphere”, quality of meetings and “overwhelming positivity”.
The additional comments follow on from the LicensingSource feedback special which ran last week and also come as Informa Markets released some key statistics for the 2022 show.
Notably, days two and three of BLE were the busiest on record, while retail visitor numbers (as a percentage of total attendance) rose by 4% compared with pre-Covid levels (2019).
4,575 meetings were booked through the online platform, a 46% rise versus 2019, while exhibitor and visitor numbers are now back at 80% of pre-Covid levels.
“This year was the best BLE I can remember in my seven years – it was just amazing from start to finish and I really do want to thank everyone who exhibited, visited, worked with us to fix things including the best group of contractors ever, and the whole BLE team,” commented Anna Knight, svp licensing at Global Licensing Group. “It wouldn’t have possible without the team. To say they go the extra mile is doing them a massive disservice.
“I am also delighted to say we enjoyed our busiest ever day three on record this year. We dedicated day three of BLE 2022 to sustainability, diversity and purpose. We wanted to showcase diverse voices and talent and work alongside industry partners to drive positive change within brand licensing. And that’s exactly what we did – from the opening Peppa Pig case study with Hasbro, to the Culture & Unity catwalk in partnership with Black Lives Matter, which was just stunning and powerful from start to finish, to our Sustainability catwalk with those amazing Junk Kouture collections and the content from the UN’s Caroline Petit, and our keynote panel, which dissected how purpose can breed success.”
Anna continued: “None of that would have been possible without the shared vision of Helena Mansell-Stopher from Products of Change, Saphia Maxamed of Black Lives Matter Licensing, and our very own Ella Haynes, who worked tirelessly to bring everything to life. The focus for day three wasn’t a tick box for us – we said it last year when we gave Saphia a platform to introduce many in the industry to Black Lives Matter Licensing, and we’ll say it again. This isn’t a one off. This is part of our DNA, and you can expect to see it every year. We believe in what we’re trying to do, and I couldn’t be prouder.”
Ella Haynes, BLE event director, continued: “Everyone I talked to commented on how busy the show felt, how the buzz was back to the BLE days of old and that makes me incredibly proud.
“I’d just like to remind everyone they can now watch all the educational sessions for free and on-demand in our online platform. The content was so strong this year, all of the sessions were incredibly well attended, and the Mattel keynote was literally standing room only, so if you didn’t get to see it on the day, don’t worry, you haven’t missed out.”
Read on for more feedback from the industry on BLE 2022.
Rob Corney, md, Bulldog Licensing
“It was great to see so many attendees this year and we met with retailers from all parts of the UK spectrum. There was a really positive atmosphere at the show. We had great meetings with both existing partners and potential new ones and we look forward to conversations progressing. We saw a great reaction to the new brands we launched at BLE and are excited to see the licensing programmes for these begin to grow.”
Charlotte Baker, general manager, Blues Group – Dennicci
“BLE was a great success year and there was a really exciting buzz in and around the show. As a team, we divided and conquered to see our key licence partners along with our retailer buyers. It’s always positive to be a part of joint meetings, discussing what the future is with our licences and building upon those key relationships.
The overall atmosphere was fantastic, with lots to see and newness coming through with showcase and catwalks. The industry has come back thriving and we’re really excited for the times ahead.”
Venetia Davie, vp UK, Ireland, Israel, ANZ, Paramount Consumer Products
“BLE 2022 was the most fun, entertaining, polished and professional industry show yet. Attendance was high, the calibre of meetings was second to none and most toy companies managed to somehow navigate the clash with LA previews. The scores are in and it’s a 10 from team Paramount. Anna Knight and the Informa team deserve a standing ovation for pulling off such a great event despite the logistical challenges faced.
It was an upbeat show in a sea of uncertainty. It’s clear that no one can predict how consumer spending will be impacted this Christmas by inflation and the cost of living crisis, but licensees and retailers were clear that they had come to BLE to do business and to forward plan and prepare for 2023. The tone of the show was incredibly optimistic with great energy, focus and ambition.”
Andy Downie, commercial director, Dreamtex
“It was great to see everyone in person, the show was super busy and had a lively atmosphere. It was also fantastic to see so many retailers at BLE – this gave us the opportunity to have joint meetings with licensors to discuss potential promotions and events for 2023. There were certainly some new noteworthy properties in the hall and it was exciting to see so many new brands coming into the market. Finally, I think we can all agree the Elizabeth line made everything that much easier to get there and around in the evenings.”
Adam Bass, director, Golden Goose
“We had a great time at BLE meeting a powerful combination of retailers, manufactures, brandowners and fellow licensing agents. The information and insight gained from conversations provides us with the understanding of the trends that will impact consumer choice over the next 12-18 months.”
Tim Kilby, licensing and brand director, Character World Brands
“BLE this year was special with some great meetings with new and existing licensors and agents, and lots of retail buying chaperoning to help them immerse themselves better into our crazy licensing industry. Licensors love us introducing the buyers and were really accommodating at such short notice, which really helps us to secure business for 2023. We all need to support each other in these tricky times.
It was a great event this year (after a quieter 2021) bringing everybody together from all over the world. Having all key licensors back exhibiting was really great to see, with busy aisles, lots of chatter and plenty of showcases to have a breather. The highlight was the overwhelming positivity in the face of adversity. Everybody truly understands the power of licensing.”