this is the second instalment of VISITS, a new series in collaboration with Monya Eastman.
before visiting the Hoi P’loy studio i had no real idea what goes on behind the scenes of this inspiring company. i had, of course, seen their beautiful Vintage Edison lightbulbs all over Cape Town, and they hang in the window of the shop right next door to my office – so i always stop and admire them on my way to work, not realising how much work goes into them.
but once we met owners Ploy and Guy – the company is a playful combination of Ploy’s first name and the expression hoi polloi – i came to understand how passionate they are about creating something of real worth. you often hear people complaining that “they don’t make things like they used to”, but this is exactly what Hoi P’loy are doing.
words: Monya Eastman
Hoi P’loy is a love story that started in Bangkok. In 2009 Guy van der Walt was on holiday in Thailand, meant to last two weeks, when he met Ploy Phiromnam and decided to stay a little longer, freelancing in the background during his extended stay. They eventually moved back to Cape Town and decided their buying & advertising jobs were not quite as fulfilling as they needed them to be, and so they decided to rather ‘make things they liked’ and that was the start of Hoi P’loy.
It helped that Guy is a 3D animator and advertising whiz and Ploy has hands on business skills from her background as a buyer, planner and forecaster. Their complementary skills hatched a beautiful business – vintage incandescent bulbs. What motivated their company is a dedication to making things that last, using traditional materials like Bakelite, machined brass, copper, porcelain and, get this, their bulbs have each filament hand strung.
Also, if you can’t afford a ticket to New York, take a trip to their newly revamped workshop in Woodstock and your problem is solved. You’ll feel like you’re in the heart of Brooklyn.
I’ve been talking non-stop about the bulbs, but there is also an incredible range of fabric cable cords, string lights, lamps & pendants, fittings, and clever cable management gadgets – go and see for yourself or buy at their online shop.
products images courtesy of Hoi P’loy