BLE details its ‘most inclusive educational programme in 21 year history’

Brand Licensing Europe has billed the educational programme surrounding its 2019 event as its ‘most inclusive in its 21-year history,’ with a slate of presentations, interviews, demonstrations and panel discussions across the world of character, entertainment, brand, lifestyle, and art and design.
BLE’s License Global Theatre will feature 25 sessions across the show’s three days on sustainability, publishing, animation, gaming, eSports, food and beverage, heritage, fashion, influencers, digitalisation, retail, Brexit and more.
Keynotes are scheduled for Wednesday, October 2 and Thursday, October 3 and will be announced in September. BLE takes place from October 1 to 3 at ExCeL London and visitors can register for free at
The current programme is as follows:
  • Introduction to licensing
Kelvyn Gardner, managing director, Licensing International UK

  • Panel discussion: Why you can’t afford to ignore the impact of sustainability on licensing
Panellists include Trudi Bishop, director, Bee Licensing Consultancy
  • Panel discussion: Innovations in food and drinks – how licensing is helping deliver excitement in consumables
Moderated by Louise French, Beanstalk VP business development and marketing. Panellists include Richard Benjamin, director, Manchester Drinks and James Rae, co-founder, Pops
  • Opportunities in kids licensing
Melissa Symonds, director UK toys, EuroToys
  • Panel discussion: How can toy licensing recover its sparkle?
    Moderator: John Baulch, publisher and managing editor, Toy World. Panellists TBC
  • 1+1=3: Strategies for Creating Effective Collaborations
Brought to you by Licensing International with Roz Nowicki, executive VP, Peanuts Worldwide and Christine Cool, international brand licensing manager, Perfetti van Melle Group
  • Accessible luxury: How can fashion boost the different categories of licensing
Maurizio Distefano, president & owner, Maurizio Distefano the Evolution of Licensing
  •  Preparing for Brexit
Brought to you by Licensing International and featuring Victor Caddy, partner, Wynne-Jones
  •  UK book brands: Trends and bestsellers in the children’s and food and drink genres
Hazel Kenyon, book research director UK & Ireland, Nielsen Book
  •  Heritage brands: How they evolve to stay relevant while seamlessly weaving stories of the past into the present
Helen Webster, licensing director, and Ellie Walton, licensing designer – brands, Style Library

  • Panel discussion: Successfully navigating the changing retail environment
Moderated by Richard Pink, managing director, Pink Key Licensing
Panellists include:
  • Ruth Golightly, senior buying manager, George Childrenswear – girlswear and babywear, Asda
  • Gabrielle Sims, head of licensing, Fat Face
  • Will Stewart, founder and managing director, The Point. 1888
  • Rachel Wakley, general manager consumer products, UK & Ireland, Warner Bros.
  • Holly Oldham, managing director, Rubie’s UK
  • How brands can succeed in location-based entertainment
Ella Baskerville, business development manager, Blooloop
  • The increased digitalisation of the kids’ ecosystem and the opportunities and challenges INXP (in-experience purchasing) offers the licensing industry
Nick Richardson, CEO, Insights People
  • Influencers 2.0: What You Need to Know
Delivered by Licensing International with Katie Bohm, head of EMEA, HYPR and
Ian Shepherd, founder, The Social Store
  • Panel discussion: From page to product
Panellists include Susan Bolsover, licensing and consumer products director, Penguin Random House UK
  •  Introduction to Licensing
Kelvyn Gardner, Managing Director, Licensing International UK
  • Panel discussion: From console to consumer – retail activation in the gaming world
Moderated by Ian Joynson, VP brand development, Tinderbox
Panellists TBC
  • The Theatre of Gaming in 2019 – An Industry Pauses for Breath
    Dorian Bloch, Senior Client Insight Director, GfK
  • License This! Finale
    Watch the six finalists battle it to win one of two License This! Awards in front of a panel of widely-respected judges from all areas of licensing and manufacturing.
Pink Key Licensing managing director Richard Pink explained: “I wanted to host a session that is totally relevant to retail as it’s changed so much in the last 12 months: it’s such a pressurised industry, so many big bricks and mortar names have lost their way and online is massively more important these days.
“This means retailers need to be so much savvier about licensing and I have a retailer, agent, licensee and licensor on the panel. By bringing together experts from each side of the licensing equation, I intend to show how they are adapting to the changing environment to maximise the opportunities and will be encouraging them to share valuable nuggets of wisdom with the audience.”
 Louise French, Beanstalk VP business development and marketing, added: “Licensing in the food and beverage area has become increasingly complex and competitive as multiple brands look to broaden their appeal through new brand extensions. The session will explore how leading brands in the sector are employing innovations to create a broader brand experience.
 “With participation from leading licensees on behalf of Pimm’s and TGIFridays, the panel will provide insight into how these much-loved restaurant and beverage brands are leading the charge in product development and marketing, leading to joyful discovery for consumers.”
BLE event director Anna Knight, added: “We are incredibly proud of this year’s conference programme – it’s comprehensive and cohesive and considerate of everyone visiting BLE. With sessions on gaming, publishing and heritage licensing, we have tied the educational content to this year’s themes, delivering rich, deep content that’s of real value to retailers and licensees.
“We cannot wait to announce this year’s two keynotes – one focusing on animation and the second on eSports – we just know they are going to be packed out. All BLE sessions are free to attend – just the like the show itself – and space will be available on a first come first served basis. When it comes to the keynotes, we recommend that visitors arrive at least 10 minutes before they start to avoid disappointment.”

About Robert Hutchins

Robert Hutchins is the editor of and ToyNews. Hutchins has worked his way up from Staff Writer to the position of Editor across the two titles, having spent almost eight years with both ToyNews and, and what now seems like a lifetime surrounded by toys. You can contact him by emailing or calling him on 0203 143 8780 You can even follow him on Twitter @RobGHutchins if ranting is your thing...

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