Get to know the WHAAM foundersDecember 22, 2017
“A special sit down with the founders of Cape Town-based creative design company Whaam Concepts. These are the thoughts of George, Luke and Pat”
For a young company started by three idiots who don’t know what they’re doing people already know who we are.
Whaam Concepts was born out of an intolerance for mediocracy and a desire to revolutionize the world. “The three of us have always been involved in design. We believe that design changes the world and we wanted to change the world, so why not start a design company”, says Luke, who is laser-focused, has obscene attention to detail and an obsession with excellence and “getting things right”. If Whaam were a person Luke would the hands. Quality and craftsmanship begin and end with him.
“It’s about community, and people interacting together”, says George about the culture at Whaam Concepts HQ. Patrick describes the culture as “Orange”, which is also appropriate for this energetic, playful business. George continues: “People. I’m a people oriented person. If I had a really bad day if I surround myself with people I get happy. And seeing people at their best inspires me the most, seeing people achieving amazing things inspires me, seeing people vulnerable at their worst also inspires me, when they’re open about it. I get up in the morning to be around people.” If Whaam were a person, George would be the friendly face, the one to greet you with a smile; the anchor of the relationship.
The three of them walked away from an established industry to start something new. They wanted to flip the way that business is currently run on its head and do things a bit differently. At only three years old people already look out for what they’re doing. “Just because they know that the orange and grey guys are going to do something different. The Superhero squad has sparked interest, pissed people off and impressed people and ourselves as well, we didn’t think we could that.”
George compares this to their first build. They had no branding, hardly any corporate identity but they stepped onto site alongside way more established companies. They recall the rush of pride and excitement and admit that it hasn’t gone away. Something else that they’re proud of? “That the doors are still open”, Luke laughs.
What moves the directors of Whaam to continue to push boundaries? Their vision and values are to strive to constantly achieve greatness by creating amazing spaces to engage in. “Of course we’ll never achieve it to perfection, we’ll just keep striving, keep improving”, explains Luke.
Pat, owner of a curated collection of the best music, and a musician himself says he is inspired by life itself. “Everything. From Food to conversation to a vehicle. I can’t close myself off. You get inspired by different things at different times in your life. You can walk past the same thing 100 times but it’s that one time you walk past it that you’re in the right frame of mind to actually notice something. You get introduced to inspiration at different points in your life it can be the same thing over and over it can be different things. You’re not going to be inspired unless you’re open to it.”
The last piece of the Whaam trinity, Pat, is the heart. Protected by a tough exterior, his respect and trust shine through a warm smile and an appreciation for great cinema and the greatest actor, whom he addresses as: “Sir Anthony Hopkins – just in case he sees this”, saying if they were to have dinner they would eat fava beans, to which Luke replies “What the ____ are fava beans?” When asked who they would most like to sit down to a meal with George inquires if the person has to be alive, to which Luke must reply: “It would be a bit disturbing having lunch with a dead person. But whatever floats your boat” – just a bit of fun between three guys who have known each other for the better part of a decade.
As someone with a deep connection to people and the connections they form George would most like to sit down with a true leader of men, the late Nelson Mandela. His contribution to a great change in the country that George loves so much, his South Africa, holds a special place; as well as Richard Branson someone who also puts people at the centre of his business decisions and truly believes that it is relationships that lead to success.
Luke would most like to share a meal with his late grandfather – whom he has never met but, according to family stories, has inherited all the tinkering, and building, and fixing tendencies from; as well as Elon Musk who he believes will leave behind a legacy that will outlive most, a true innovator and the most important figure of our time.
The guys don’t consider themselves mentors, but do hope that they have something to offer their team and their industry; in the same way that they themselves learn something new every day through collective sharing of knowledge.
“Just the pursuit of continually learning. I’m always blown away by engineering and how things are made. It just baffles my mind when you look at certain things and think how did someone even come up with that firstly, and secondly figure out how to make it work. Something as simple as like a bottling factory. Were you’ve got everything running on a complete conveyor system and if you throw that system off by just a millisecond it throws everything into complete chaos. And humans, people, average Joes, you know, we created that, are responsible for that. It’s pretty incredible. And it only happens when people work together. It ties back to what Whaam believes, when you work in a team that’s when greatness is achieved”
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