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Behind the Scenes of BLE with Informa Markets’ Anna Knight image

Behind the Scenes of BLE with Informa Markets’ Anna Knight

Ahead of Brand Licensing Europe in London on September 20-22, Licensing International sat down with Anna Knight, SVP of Licensing at Informa Markets, to discuss the event and why it’s crucial to schedule content for Day 3.  

Licensing International: Many trade shows focus their content on the first day. Why was it important to schedule major panels and events for Day 3 at BLE? 

Anna Knight: They do—they often start with a bang and end with a whimper. Not at BLE though, we’ll be starting with a jam-packed opening day including our Barbie x Fashion keynote from Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson and, on Day 3, we have an amazing schedule focused on sustainability and DE&I—two incredibly important topics universally, and specifically for our sector.

Attending a trade show, whether you’re a visitor or an exhibitor, is a big commitment. We understand that and that’s why it’s important we deliver on ROI for everyone. There’s also so much going on in the industry right now, and we feel it’s our duty to reflect that through the show’s content and help people to understand the challenges, as well as maximise and realise the opportunities.

LI: What is in store for attendees on Day 3? 

AK: So much, including:

  • Sustainability case study with Hasbro
  • Culture & Unity catwalk featuring Black Lives Matter Movement fashion collections and spotlighting Black-owned businesses looking to break into the licensing industry.
  • Kelvyn Gardner License This! final – Brand & Design and Character & Animation categories
  • Sustainability catwalk, which will see Products of Change, together with the United Nations and Junk Kouture, present an educational and inspiring 15-minute set with performances centred around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Day 3 Keynote panel discussion for The Good Fight: How Purpose Breeds Success
  • BLE & POC Sustainability Café showcasing sustainable consumer products and fashion lines
  • Products of Change Lounge, which is the perfect place to receive advice, education, and best practices on creating, progressing, or optimising your business’s sustainability action plan
  • Black Lives Matter Licensing—Learn more about amplifying Black voices across the consumer products sector
  • Licensing International’s Diversity & Inclusion Accelerator—BLE will showcase some of the companies involved in the programme

LI: Can you name some of the companies, brands, and executives that will be highlighted on Day 3? 

AK: We’re delighted to partner with Black Lives Matter Licensing and founder Saphia Maxamed, who is bringing incredible designers, dancers and creatives together from the Black community for the Culture & Unity catwalk, and Products of Change, who did a brilliant job of highlighting sustainability within licensing and licensed products at last year’s event.

Talking part in our keynote panel are Will Stewart (Founder & CEO, The Point.1888), Nicolas Loufrani (Founder and CEO, The Smiley Company), Veronica Hart (EVP Global Franchise Planning & CP Marketing, Paramount), Helena Mansell-Stopher (Founder & CEO, Products of Change) and Kingston Myles (Head of Commercial Development, English Heritage).

Showcasing product in the BLE & POC Sustainability Café are 12 brands, including Primark, Eden, Wastebuster, Smiley, Wow Stuff & RSPB, Hasbro & Asda, Smurfs & Pure Top Table, and Discovery.

LI: BLE this year is spotlighting the amazing licensing work being done in the world of fashion and Day 3 is specifically focused on sustainability and diversity. Can you elaborate on why sustainability should be a focus for the global licensing industry? 

AK: Every country, industry, business, and person on the planet contributes to climate change and has a role to play in helping to save the planet. Licensing is no different. We all understand—the fashion industry, in particular—that we have a huge role to play in making the entire supply chain more sustainable and introducing a true circular economy, and that’s why it’s so important for BLE to inspire, educate and advise to help other businesses make a difference before it’s too late.

LI: How is BLE creating a platform for diverse creators, brands, and products on Day 3? 

AK: Last year, Saphia was invited to talk about Black Lives Matter movement at BLE. This year, we want to build on the momentum by partnering with Saphia and Black Lives Matter Licensing to showcase creativity within the Black community, how brands can create licensing programmes that support the Black community authentically and not just as a tick-box exercise, featuring the Black Lives Matter collection from Fashion UK and asking everyone to take 10 minutes to visit Saphia on the BLML stand and find out how they can help to propel the movement forward.

LI: What do you hope attendees take away from BLE as a whole?  

AK: I want them to take away everything they need to do more business and do it better.

LI: Is there anything else you want attendees to know about BLE in general, or about Day 3 of the event? 

AK: Good question! Remember to pop the networking in your diary now. We’ll have four branded cafes and bars offering immersive experiences, product installations, and additional meeting space. Everyone is welcome to join us for opening night drinks on the show floor on 20 September from 5:00pm – 7:00pm and the exhibitor drinks reception on 21 September at the Novotel from 5:00pm – 7:00pm.

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