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“We’ve learnt the importance of adaptability and relationships”

Executives from Character.com and George @ Asda shared their views on how licensed product had performed throughout the pandemic, what they look for in a supplier and what they’ve learnt during the past two years at the first Brands & Retail UK Pitch Smarter event last week.

Taking place at the British Library on Thursday 24 February, the event saw over 200 executives from across the industry get together to find out key information from a selection of suppliers on their current and upcoming properties.

A special retail panel rounded out a successful day, with Karen Hewitt, buying director at Character.com, and Ruth Golightly, head of ladieswear at George @ Asda sharing their views with the audience.

When asked what they look for in an IP, Karen commented: “We’re continually looking at customer insights, directly through our website and also on social channels to see what’s popular.”

Likewise, Ruth offered: “We always ask who the customer is for a particular IP. We get our information from so many different mediums now about what’s popular and what the customer is looking for.”

When it comes to working with suppliers, again, the customer needs to be at the heart. Ruth continued: “Knowing what the customer wants and how you can achieve that; if a supplier is thinking differently, they’re the people who retailers want to work with.”

Karen offered: “They need to understand that it’s not one size fits all [when it comes to retailers]. You need your suppliers as much as they need you.”

When it came to what they had learnt over the past couple of years, Karen quipped: “I learnt that ecommerce is great during a lockdown!”

She added: “But also how adaptable everyone can be and how important relationships are. And it will continue to be about this going forward.”

Ruth concluded: “Licensing has been so successful throughout the pandemic; the product seems to have resonated with everyone. It has been something to help life people.”

The next Brands & Retail UK event is due to take place on 6-7 July 2022 at the British Library. To get involved and for further details, contact Ryan Beaird by clicking here.

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