I meet up with a big – I feel like using the word intimidating – powerful man who’s age is somewhere around 35 if I have to take a guess. That feeling of being intimidated is gone as soon as he shows his teeth for a broad and disarming smile. He introduces himself, all the while keeping up the same smile and the twinkle in his eyes. Instantly, he gives me the feeling like he enjoys my companionship.
We talk and talk and talk. We both know we met up so I could write something about him, but his natural curiosity drives the conversation as much towards me talking about me, as him talking about him. For almost two and a half hours we sit at a lunch bar where we have tea, a small lunch and coffee. All the while the two waiters (a guy and a girl) seem to love to come to our table. Perhaps the charming way Frankie deals with every person he comes in contact with is the reason for that.
When you were 10 yo, what did you want to be when you grow up?
‘As a kid I watched “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” countless times. It’s still my favourite film of all time. It’s really good and as a lot of deeper thought to it, but when I saw it as a kid, I just wanted to be them. Cowboys. I wanted to be a crook, a gangster or a businessman so I could do whatever I wanted. Being free and decide for myself like those freebooters in the movie, that’s what I wanted. I think this film has had a lot of influence on me.’
And did that work out?
‘I think so. I’ve had my rough days. It didn’t always go the way I planned it, so I didn’t come here in one straight line, but I’m feel very free and happy with what I do now. I am my own boss and everyday I’m busy creating things that weren’t there before I made them. That’s the ultimate feeling of freedom if you ask me.’
You say you’ve had your rough days, do you regret any decisions in your past?
‘No. I think every decision: good, bad or ugly [surprised by his own pun he smiles and winks at me, saying I need to write this down] takes you to a next point in life. It’s all about the way you deal with the outcome of your decisions. Regretting them isn’t the best way to deal with it I guess.’
The film you talked about, is that also the reason why you make holsters?
‘Yes, definitely. In that movie, I saw them shooting guns and in some way that just appealed to me. I’ve always loved guns, so when I was a little older I got myself a vintage gun, just to have it. Carrying around a gun in your hands is ridiculous of course, so that’s where the idea of the holster came from. The problem with guns is that they do so much harm to people. What I wanted to do is to take the bad thing away from it, the shooting, and eventually the gun itself, and create something related to it, but with a different functionality. The Holster was born.’
And what made you start creating bags then?
‘That has more of an elementary logic behind it. As a teenager – and now still by the way – I was on the road a lot. Not per se to different countries, but I was just out a lot. A nice and proper bag was something I just really needed. And instead of buying one in a store, I decided to create one for myself. I happened to love doing that and also be quite good at it. I started making bags for others, for friends at first, and eventually I ended up making bags to actually sell. So that’s where it all started.’
Is there still more you want to achieve?
‘Well, I really like what I’m doing, but I also like working together with people. So I would like to collaborate more. Like with Laauw, I love it to be able to work with guys like them, because it gives me a different perspective on things, which, in the end, makes me a richer person in both knowledge and experience. And I would also like to expand my work in the field of art. I love art and the freedom that it provides to its creator. So now I work for several brands, all the while creating stuff for my own brand Frankie Boateng®. And with Flybird I would like to create a group of young and old talented creators and entrepreneurs, so we can make stuff happen on a bigger scale and various fields.’
Describe Frankie in three words?
‘Uhm, always hard to answer that. But if I have to.. I think I’d say developing, because I always keep developing. Uhm, I’m quite fearless in extending my boundaries, so fearless. And I think. Tsja…’
Can I add ‘Empathetic’? Because you seem to care about the people around you..
‘Haha, sure. Empathetic. That’s a good one, thanks man.’
I think it’s safe to say that Frankie is a lovely and empathetic guy who loves to keep exploring and expanding boundaries in life. A guy who loves guns, but for reasons that have actually nothing to do with the purpose of them.
As we ask for the bill, we end the conversation the same way we started it.
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