It felt to me that retailers, brands and manufacturers were all delighted to be back in each other’s company. I, for one, made numerous new connections, but also caught up with some old friends

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Julia Redman

15th July 2022 -  BEHIND THE TILL - an Insight into Brand Retail Buying

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Well, what a successful Brands & Retail UK Summer conference that was! -I think that we can all agree that it was a great turnout, with contribution from some of the biggest and best brands and IP owners in their fields. 

It felt to me that retailers, brands and manufacturers were all delighted to be back in each other’s company. I, for one, made numerous new connections, but also caught up with some old friends, and reconnected with many others I had not seen for some time.

With the major licensors taking us through key events, anniversaries (loved by many and loathed by some in the audience!), activity and PR for their brands, there really was something for everyone.

From the heritage brands such as the Ashmolean & the V&A, to food brand icons Peperami, Pringles and Vimto, via the artist licensing of Bouffants and Broken Hearts, through gaming, to some of the giants of IP Consumer Products such as Barbie, Spongebob and Paw Patrol, we feasted on as much IP as we could manage! 


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I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait to see Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling take on the roles of Barbie and Ken! I’m also looking forward to “pranksmas” – there were enough elves in that auditorium to cause a whole lot of trouble!

We learnt a great deal about some of our best loved brands and characters, and their plans for the future, be it physical, digital, or “phygital”.

I particularly loved the Paramount quote about Spongebob delivering “positivity, inclusivity and creativity”, which actually goes a long way to describing the industry in which we find ourselves, and the people that work within it. 

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A personal highlight had to be the buyers panel with which we rounded off day one. A huge thankyou goes out to the retail panellists, John Carolan from Boots, Ruth Golightly from ASDA, Karen Hewitt from, and Helen Riley from ebay, for joining me to discuss the ups and downs of working in retail, and the impact that global brands can have on a retailers’ performance. 

Each of our panellists offered a very different perspective, coming from such a diverse range of retailers, but we also drew a number of parallels and similarities around questions ranging from “what advice would you give to a brand or licensee looking to take its’ first steps into consumer products?” to “what do you feel are the biggest challenges facing the retail market in the next year or so?”.

Discussion followed on what makes a good brand or consumer product really successful, and the benefits that a great IP can bring to a business, not just in terms of product, but marketing, promotion and exposure too. 

They were both candid and honest in sharing their views, and I’ve had some great feedback from a few in the audience. It was both an honour and a pleasure to host the session.

If you are a Retailer join us at the next Brands Retail UK Winter conference for further insight into what it is that buyers are really looking for from a brand or licensed property.

18th and 19th January - The Wellcome Collection Museum, Euston.

To finish up, the Buyers Party was a great success! Ryan clearly knows his audience as bottles of Rose were all over the Retailers private booths!

The bell ringing to signal the end of each 10 minute retailer meeting added to an atmosphere which resembled some kind of speed dating experience but with business being done over the course of the four hours.

And finally, who knew there was a Pinataverse????? Sounds like my kind of place!

Live long and prosper!

Julia Redman.

Julia has over 30 years experience of buying Licensed merchandise across all categories, having worked for Arcadia, Marks & Spencer, BHS, Woolworths, Debenhams and M&Co
Now the owner of Buyers Eye a Retail focused consultancy, Julia also lectures Fashion Buying and Sourcing at the University of Arts and the Fashion Retail academy in London. You can read her Retail focused articles every Wednesday by signing up to the Brands & Retail UK mailing list.

If you wish to speak to Julia about Retail consultancy you can contact her by visiting

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