THE FOUNDING STORY OF FANTASTIC FRANK
During a conversation with Emma Fexeus, Tomas Backman shared his thoughts on the early years of Fantastic Frank. The full interview can be found in the coffee table book Northern Delights, published by Gestalten. Northern Delights showcases brilliant Scandinavian design and explores the reasons behind the comforting atmosphere found in Nordic homes.
Since their founding in 2010, Fantastic Frank has worked with a rotating roster of talented photographers and stylists, creating high-gloss images of their properties that wouldn't seem out of place in the best interior design magazines. In fact, many properties have been featured there as the brokerage makes international headlines for its forward-thinking approach to the industry.
– We're not interested in creating something that the majority of buyers are going to like. We're interested in creating something that at least one person is going to love – because at the end of the day, a house or apartment can only have one owner. Our job is, therefore, to find that one person and seduce them.
Please describe what makes Fantastic Frank unique as an agency. How do you work?
We use interior stylists for every property we sell. Together with the most talented photographers from the fashion, architecture, and advertising industry, this makes a huge difference to the end-results, as the creatives we're working with are used to produce imagery that is suited for interior magazines. This sets us apart from anyone else in the real estate industry. In some countries, agents still take their own photos.
Who are the founders and how did they come together?
Fantastic Frank was founded by me – Tomas Backman, Mattias Kardell, Sven Wallén, and Sofie Ganeva. We noticed that there was a gap in the market, and there were no real estate agents who seemed to be interested in aesthetics. All agencies we encountered had similar approaches. We created Fantastic Frank to take on a design position in the market.
All four founders have a genuine interest in beautiful design and architecture. We are all Stockholmers and, as such, are very picky about everything we buy for our homes. Stockholmers are very aware of their own image. They also identify strongly with where they live. We saw a crystal clear need for a real estate agency that radiates the big city lifestyle. We knew that we wanted to create a company and offer services that we would like to use ourselves.
Clearly, the properties you represent are truly "fantastic" once you are finished with them. But what is the idea behind Frank?
Other real estate agencies had such dull names you never remembered them. I wanted a name that was catchy, and Frank is by coincidence also my first born son's middle name.
Can you identify some of the key elements that always work for your properties?
We don't have a fixed formula for what we do. We just produce exciting and beautiful images to showcase the particular living space. The reason we can do this, is because our creatives are given enough time for their work and don't work on a conveyor belt. For the interior, we start with the things we find in the homes we sell and add a few borrowed items here and there. We never try to force a home into being something that it's not. What we have to do each time is to identify the target group – who might buy the property and then design the property to attract the right audience. Sometimes we take the image of the neighborhood into account and use references in the styling.
Who are your clients and what defines their taste?
Our clients are Stockholmers – picky Stockholmers. If you live in Stockholm, you're automatically picky and trend-sensitive. At first, we thought our clients would only consist of design collectors, but we have all sorts of clients, and that makes our job so fun.