BLE opens applications for Retail Mentoring Programme

Free course helps retailers better understand licensing and opportunities for growth


Retailers are being invited to apply for a delegate place on BLE’s popular Retail Mentoring Programme which has already helped many people better understand the brand licensing side of things.

Now in its 12th year, the free-to-attend, CPD-accredited course is delivered through a series of seminars, workshops and 1-2-1 consultancy sessions between May and September 2022, and boasts hundreds of alumni from the likes of Marks & Spencer, John Lewis, Selfridges, Halfords, Asda George, Ann Summers, River Island, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Toymaster, The Entertainer and Morrisons.

Lucy Wilson, buying manager for greeting cards, party products and tableware at Morrisons, was a keen participant in the 2021 programme, admitting she knew little about licensing beforehand.

She said: “I’d dealt with licensed products in health and beauty. I worked with quite a few big brands on collaborations and on licensing, particularly in gifting and bath care. I didn’t get involved massively, it was more a case of the suppliers coming to me, proposing the licences that they know work and we took their lead on that, but now I know there is way more to it than that.

Above: Great opportunity – Morrisons’ greeting card buyer Lucy Wilson learned a lot
Above: Great opportunity – Morrisons’ greeting card buyer Lucy Wilson learned a lot

“You don’t realise how big an opportunity it can be until you actually understand how licensing works, not only with the product suppliers – the licensees – but also the licensors who own the brands. It has totally opened my eyes to how big an opportunity it is and how much goes into it.”

Delegates on the programme benefit from insight into best-in-class retailers, agents and brand owners on how successful licensing partnerships are delivered; insights into building robust and commercially-viable licensing programmes; understanding of legal, technical and licensing terminology, and an invitation to join Licensing International’s Licensing Essentials Course – an introduction to all of the key aspects of the licensing industry.

Licensor sessions allow delegates to spend a day with leading brands, while brand discovery sessions help retailers to find out who owns what brands and how to build relationships. Visual merchandising workshops develop an understanding of how to make products stand out online and in-store.

Above: Big brands – the programme has alumni from all these retailers
Above: Big brands – the programme has alumni from all these retailers

There are also introductions to leading licensors and agents, and invitations to networking and social events within the licensing industry, to build delegates’ networking capabilities.

Anna Knight, vice-president of licensing at Informa Markets, owners of BLE organisers The Global Licensing Group, commented: “In theory, brand licensing, and the opportunities it offers to retailers, is a really simple proposition. In reality, it can be quite a complex business to get under the skin of.

“Through the BLE RMP, we help European retailers to better understand our business and provide them with the information and introductions they need to successfully introduce or expand their store’s licensing programme.

“Licensing means retailers can introduce branded consumer products onto store shelves, attracting more customers and increasing margins. It also means retailers can consider turning their own brand into a licence, allowing it to expand into different product categories and demographics.”

To take part, retailers are asked to sign up via form on the BLE website or contact Keith Pashley on for more info. The deadline for nominations for the 2022 programme is 22 April.

Top: Open for applications – BLE’s Retail Mentoring Programme is very popular

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