SA's Only Antiques, Collectables And Decorative Arts Magazine
THE POWER OF POLAR OPPOSITES

polar2The principals of Phat, Wessels and de Bod, take their business very personally. It is a direct extension of who they are as individuals. They say that if you do something you love you will never work a day in your life. The two principals come across as two of the busiest people you could hope to meet but they create a unique alchemy that makes work feel like fun. As individuals they couldn’t be more different. Like all great teams they both have singular skills and passions that they bring to their business. Passion is an overworked word but you can feel it when it’s there. It can’t be feigned. It’s like the electricity and tension you can feel in the air before a Highveld thunderstorm. You’ll feel it the moment you step through the front doors of Phat.

Successful business people find ways to channel the passions and interests of their personal lives into their business.

On one side of this remarkably successful partnership is Wessels who has developed a burning passion for the work of renowned art deco pottery artist, Clarice Cliff. He says about this self-confessed obsession, “I think the reason for my long-standing love affair with Clarice’s work springs from similarities between aspects of my personality and her art. Some of the pieces can be loud and confrontational while others have a softer more serene feel about them. They are often slightly quirky but each one manages to be uniquely pleasing. I can say with all humility that I don’t think like most people. I consider myself to be creative. Not creative in pictures, but more of a creative thinker. I am definitely an “out-of-the box” individual. I consider myself to be unique and Clarice’s pottery certainly is.

I like to think that I bring a singular mode of lateral thinking and quirkiness to our business and that makes it fun. If our business’s performance is anything to go by, this combined with being comfortable and able to manage difficult confrontational situations seems to contribute to achieving excellent tangible results for our clients.”

He goes on to say about his collection of some 120 distinctive Clarice Cliff pieces, that each work has a unique personality and tells it’s own special story. “I am often reminded, that in this way, they are exactly like brands.”

On the other side of the partnership de Bod is a man with a completely different passion. His is for the glass works of René Lalique. But both men share a love of eclectic automobiles. “My business partner and I are completely different people but we share the character trait of being completely obsessed and dedicated to our passions and one we share is motor cars. It’s a very quirky collection spanning everything from our first, and still favourite green Merc to a black and silver Cobra. A Porsch and a totally pimped and modded Dodge. Each one says something unique. Like brands they story our lives and reflect our moods on any given day.

polarMy passion for the elegant art deco pieces of master glass craftsman René Lalique, is “insatiable”. I believe that this emphasises the distinct differences between myself and Wessels “The Clarice Cliff Collection is all vibrant colour and energy while the works of Lalique are streamlined and serene. I have a light under my display cabinet that conjures a magical ambience of cool water in which these beautiful glass creations float like chips of sculptured ice.” He goes on to say with a wry smile, “We’re the original yin and yang.”

Wessels and de Bod both agree that they bring the enthusiasm and idiosyncrasies of their personal lives to the office every day. “We are both in a perpetual state of waiting to be surprised and delighted by a new discovery and we know it can come from anywhere. It’s not unlike what brands do. One thing is for sure, it stops life from being boring” The founders of the region’s most successful brand activation company concur, “Perhaps the most important thing we share is an insatiable curiosity. We’re always asking, ‘Why?’ I think the day you stop being curious is the day you stop learning. You stop learning. You stop growing. The definition of life is growth and growth is defined by change. We like movement, flow, change and challenge. Without that it would be hard to get out of bed to face another featureless day. Personality and identity are everything!”

 

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