Meet the Manager – Friking UK

Sam Fricking, CEO and co-founder of Friking UK

What is your job role?
My current job role is CEO and co-founder of Friking UK. I am also the Head Manager of our store here in Market Place, and you will see me around here most days of the week!
Can you tell us more about Friking? What products do you sell?
Friking is originally a Spanish brand founded in 2014. Since then they spread throughout Europe and currently have over 150 stores in their network of franchises. In early 2018, we bought the UK master franchise rights and have started to launch the label now in the UK. We attended the Insomnia 63 Gaming Convention during August and also ran a small store in Manchester City Centre in Afflecks during September, October and November. Leading up to Christmas we checked out many of the areas surrounding Manchester in the hope of finding a perfect place to set up a permanent store.

After doing our research we decided that Market Place in Bolton was the place to be! Now, talking about our products and what we sell. I think the best way to describe Friking is ‘Geek Merchandise’. And we say that proudly! We stock a wide range of merchandise and clothing for many Games, Films, TV Series, Comic books and anime. We currently stock over 75 unique designs in store and have many many more both on our website and available to order in from Europe (who have over 600 designs in their range and are creating more every week!).

What are you responsible for?
I’m personally responsible for pretty much every aspect of the business from deciding which stock to buy in, how the store looks, managing the website and orders, managing social media, organising the stock and printing of stock at our offices here in the UK, as well as all the paperwork and day to day running of the business. I obviously have my amazing team to help me out with everything and they all do a great job too!

What ambitions do you have for the brand?
We see Friking being the leading retailer in the UK for geek merchandise and clothing within the next 10 years.

What is your typical day like?

Well, I get up, eat some breakfast and get into the store. From there it’s pretty much managing the store with my Co-Manager Antonia all day! Once I get home at night or during my days off I do all of the paperwork and admin side of things and sort out what stock needs replenishing in store. It’s a pretty busy schedule and I don’t really get much time off. I think a lot of people don’t realise how hard running your own business can be. A phrase I learned from my mother I like to remember is ‘When running your own business, the ‘but’ stops with you’!

What is the most fun part of the Job?

I think there are two parts that I enjoy equally. The first is getting to pick which stock to order in, since I’m a HUGE geek myself and am pretty much into every game, film, TV series or anime there is! And my other favourite part of the job is talking to customers in store and seeing their reactions and excitement with all the cool stuff we have in!

Is there anything you dislike?

Monday Mornings…. Haha I’m joking, at the moment I’m loving pretty much every aspect of the business, as I see every action we take as another step forward and getting us closer to our goals!

What is special about Market Place and Bolton?
I find many of the other areas around Manchester just don’t have the same vibe and atmosphere you get in Bolton. Everyone is so friendly and there is a real sense of community. I also adore the architecture of the Centre, it’s just such a fabulous building and The Vaults are just incredible!

Will there be any offers or promotions available in the coming week?
Yes! We have some really good deals at the moment! We’re doing any 2 adult T-shirts for £25 leading up to Christmas or any 2 child T-shirts for £20! We also always have deals each week on our website at: www.FrikingUK.com

Something Life changing happened to you when you were a child.. Can you tell us more?
Yes sure. So when I was really young around 6 months old or so, this was back in 1996, I was caught up in the Manchester IRA bombing! This was the biggest mainland bomb in Europe to go off since World War 2. I was actually the youngest victim of the tragedy and a photographer took a picture live from the scene. That photograph appeared on newspaper front covers all around the world!

Since I was so young I don’t actually have any memories from the day but I still have the scars. Although my Mum, Dad and Sister do remember more and it’s very emotional for them every year around the time of the anniversary. It’s awful every time I look back at footage or photographs from the day. But I’m glad as a city Manchester held strong (as we always do) and rebuilt from the event and are bigger than ever! I’m very proud to be from Manchester and always will be.