Our long-awaited return to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show!
Back in September, we packed up our cans and headed to London to spend an incredible week at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. It’s been a staggering 25 years since we last exhibited at the show, so to say we were excited is somewhat of an understatement! So much at Haws has changed since back then - and even just within the past few years - so we couldn’t wait to get back, to meet customers (both old and new) and to chat about all things watering.
The Chelsea Flower Show is a magical place, and we wanted to share a glimpse of what it’s like to exhibit at one of the world’s most famous flower shows so we spoke to Josh Papworth, our Purchasing Manager here at Haws, who played a pivotal role in bringing this year’s stand to life and making the show a roaring success.
What was the driving force behind Haws’ decision to head back to Chelsea? Why this year?
Haws hasn’t attended Chelsea since 1995! In the last five years alone, we’ve made some big changes to the brand, so we felt that now was the right time to showcase everything we have been working on to the public. We had actually planned for 2020, it’s a nice round number, but as it was postponed, we thought we’d make 2021 our year.
What was the main thing that you wanted to convey with the Haws stand this year?
For us this year Chelsea was about reconnecting with consumers and showcasing what we’ve been up to. We had decided not to use Chelsea as a sales opportunity but as a platform for us to have great conversations and to let people know about some of our exciting up and coming projects!
We have a new recycled range of cans for 2022 which we wanted to show off – and show off we did! They proved incredibly popular, and many soon made their way onto social media with #HawsAtChelsea. People went to fantastic lengths to snap some creative shots – posing with Chelsea pensioners, sneaking cans into plant displays, even funnelling tea and champagne out of them.
How does the design process work when creating the stand?
We were planning and building for around three months prior to the event, from the initial design to the final build.
Our design agency, Together Design, came up with the initial design with input from Haws but it’s always a team effort to make it come to life. We built the stand in-house here in Smethwick, and everyone does their fair share of cutting and painting. My role was to oversee the build and bring the computerised design to life – quite the responsibility!
We then transported everything down to London ready for build and set-up.
How does the set-up process work? How did it all go?
Our stand was designed to show the whole Haws family of watering cans, both Indoor watering cans and Outdoor watering cans. We painstakingly divided a sample of each of our watering cans in half, hanging them onto the walls of the stand. A vinyl scene was then transferred to the walls to give each watering can context. These vinyls helped portray our four main collections. The Houseplant Gardener, The Grow Your Own, The Patio Gardener and The Professional Gardener.
It was great to have show attendees visit our stand. We got to catch up with many Haws fans and find about what they had had “growing on” during lock down in their allotments, gardens, and bedrooms! What was even more interesting was to see them identify and engage with one or more of our watering can collections. The feedback was positive, and it was encouraging to know we are making products gardeners are proud to own and excited to use.
Were there any other problems encountered throughout the process? Any other last-minute curveballs?
Of course! We got let down by two different Air BnB’s during the build-up of the show, leaving us driving around London at midnight one night trying to find somewhere to stay. Another night, Richard – one of Haws’ Managers - ended up sleeping in a transit van at the side of the road. Curveballs, what curveballs!? If it was easy, it’d be no fun, right!?
What would you say was the biggest success of the show?
The whole show was an amazing success. We were awarded 3 stars for our stand design which is a great achievement.
We met loads of lovely people that we hope to be able to work with in the future, and we made friends with lots of garden designers and small business owners. It’s always great to be able to catch up with all of our most loyal Haws’ fans as well. We love talking to people about their watering cans, both old and new, and hearing their stories and Haws memories.
When do you start planning for next year’s show?
We might get Christmas out of the way first, then get planning!