APF 2022 was certainly an unforgettable event. Hosted at the impressive Ragley Estate, set in the heart of Shakespeare’s England, it attracted a whopping 22,000 visitors from all over the UK. Exhibitors travelled from as far afield as America and Japan, making the APF show a truly international event.
Background to the APF
The very first APF show took place at the Longleat Estate, Bath, in 1976 and has been held biannually ever since with the exception of a break due to COVID-19. It was fantastic to be part of such a long-running, well-established event. Although originally solely a Forestry-related exhibition, this year for the first time ever it merged with the Arb show, bringing the forestry and arboricultural industries together to create the largest Forestry and Arb show in the UK. It was great to see exhibitors such as Buxtons, Forest and Arb, Forst, F.R. Jones, Honey Brothers, Husqvarna, Petzl, Silky, Sorbus International, Stihl, Treekit and numerous others representing the arb industry, and the show was welcomed back with overwhelming enthusiasm and a fantastic turnout.
The beautiful Warwickshire countryside was the perfect setting for the APF, with its huge open spaces and magnificent woodland areas. It was great fun watching the Husqvarna World Pole Climbing Championships, the European Chainsaw Carving Championships, the Reeve Race and of course our Harkie 3ATC UK Open Tree Climbing Competition, where we gave away a selection of fantastic Harkie products to the nine winners, each competing within one of the three ability levels. We also handed out free Harkie Innovation II smocks to three lucky recipients picked from our daily prize draw.
The combination of the excitement of the climbing competitions, the enthusiastic and upbeat atmosphere, and the tremendous variety of products and machinery to see, was an added bonus to showcasing our brand. From a new exhibitor’s point of view, our experience was an enormously positive one – from chatting with new people to collaborating with the guys at Canopy Climbing Collective, the hosts of the Reeve race competition, to sponsoring such a prestigious event. Handing out a free chilled beer to every participant of the Reeve race competition meant a steady flow of keen arborists through our marquee for the duration of the show, in addition to the many visitors calling in to browse! To top it all off the weather stayed dry and mostly sunny.
Harkie Global used the APF as a golden opportunity to connect with our customer base – professional arborists, forestry workers and tree surgeons – from sole traders to large contractors. It also served as an opening to showcase and receive feedback about the brand, as well as the perfect opportunity to launch our new DEFIANCE range of smocks and jackets. Visitors to our marquee responded favourably to the expanding Harkie brand; numerous existing customers commented on the excellent quality, performance and longevity of the Harkie Innovation II and Forestry II smocks. Arborists got to ‘try out’ the Harkie HeftyFlex rigging ropes on bollards as well as in the Reeve Race event, facilitating a ‘hands-on’ experience. We were also able to demonstrate other recently launched products, such as the line of new Harkie climbing ropes – the sleek Trojan 11.7mm and the softer, more flexible Warrior 12.0mm, which were very well received.
Harkie brand and exhibiting
This year was the first time that Harkie Global had exhibited at a mainstream event. We were excited to be part of such a huge event and much time, resource, and planning went into the execution. This took considerable hard graft and staff collaboration and developed into an excellent team building activity as everyone got fully behind the objective, making it a very enjoyable success in more ways than one. Getting up early and back late for several days prior and then throughout the event was all par for the course, and well worth the effort! We aimed to leave a lasting impression with new and existing customers, build new relationships, and give the brand maximum exposure and we felt confident that all our objectives met with success. The launch of the Harkie DEFIANCE range – bringing together style, durability and waterproofness rolled into one – was a real hit and we were delighted to see that the DEFIANCE range was a definite crowd-pleaser!
The team at Harkie
A few thoughts from the Harkie team about their time at the APF2022…
“We enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to showcase our products to such a wide audience and to interact with a huge variety of end users.”
“The atmosphere was excellent, really positive and upbeat. It was great having the chance to speak with such a cross section of current and future users of our products, and to be able to get the benefit of their thoughts, suggestions and ideas. Many thanks to all those who popped in for a chat, it was great talking with you!”
“Our presence at APF2022 was a great opportunity to demonstrate the power of our brand and how our products can make tree surgeons’ lives easier, safer and to provide products that perform better and last longer!”
“It was very encouraging to see how our new DEFIANCE range was received by professional arborists.”
“I didn’t realise just how big the event was going to be, so it was really nice to have that buzzy atmosphere! I was certainly pushed out of my comfort zone, being in a face-to-face sales role, but it was really enjoyable.”
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