04 November 2013 By Billy Hawkins
If you are visiting ASLA in Boston this year, remember to pre-book your seats at Tom Hoblyn’s Learning Lab which has been credited by LA CES PDH as an approved Learning Lab (worth 1 hour/point); Sunday 17th November from 11am until noon.
As an award winning landscape and garden designer plus five-times Chelsea exhibitor, Tom Hoblyn shares the secrets of a Chelsea show garden and a Chelsea trade stand – the similarities, the differences, the challenges, achievements and disasters. Experience is the key to success and learning from each year’s triumphs (and failures) ensures the process becomes easier, as Tom will illustrate. Tom's Learning Lab promises to be packed with useful tips and lessons learned.
From the very initial application some eighteen to twenty four months beforehand show gardens are taking shape in the designer’s mind. From a trade stand point of view it is always out of one show and straight into the next – an on-going process which is both mentally and physically demanding, whilst being lots of fun of course. Camaraderie is the key to getting through it and the atmosphere on site in the two weeks before the show is fun and lively.
The expertise involved with any stand must also extend to the financial implications. Tom shares his views, facts and figures on this – challenges that have been surpassed with last minute considerations which have been overlooked. Again, experience is the key and Tom’s years in managing the bottom line whilst still delivering is the kind of information not generally in the public domain.
At Alitex we rely on the huge source of quality enquiries generated each year at the Chelsea Flower Show – being at the show is a "no brainer", for us and a pivotal part of each year’s marketing campaign and budget. With fifty years of Chelsea show experience we have seen how it helps with our enquiries over the forthcoming year, as well as building relationships (both new and old.) There is also the fact that people expect to see us at Chelsea – often coming along to the same place on Main Avenue each year – to visit the team on the stand.
Marketing activities around show week are strategically planned to generate as much traffic to the show – and our stand, as possible. We have had social media successes in the past with a #WELOVE campaign on Twitter, with tweets including show winners or simply mad hats. This year (in the year of the gnome) we enjoyed international success with #SPOTTHEGNOME which involved our two trusty gnomes Sid and Derek being found in all kinds of places during the build up and the show itself.
Essentially Chelsea is the best horticultural high street in the world every year, in the same place for five days only. If you are involved with either a show or trade stand you have to make it work on many levels in order to make it a success, as Tom will explain during the Learning Lab.
For more details of this stateside show and how to book the Learning Lab click here.