Did you know that the headquarters for Funko, phenomenally successful creators of Pop! figurines, is in Everett, WA? Yeah, the small town we drive by all of the time on the way to Seattle!
I didn’t know this until I did a Google search for the company. I had never done this before and instead either selected the first hit, their website, or search in Amazon for their line. And so it is I learned about their HQ location and some bloggers and reporters in the past two years had written about the tours they were provided.
We were heading back to Vancouver from Kirkland and needed to break up our drive “for E’s sake” and I took down the address from their website (Shuksan Way) and their Yelp page (North Creek Parkway). Of course we navigated to the one on the website first.
My impression from the blog posts is that tours were arranged by appointment and possibly only on Fridays. It was a Monday. Still, I would approach the receptionist to ask about how one would be arranged.
Sorry, they are no longer providing tours at all. They had been but no longer. Then, I asked, if a small public store/area formed part of HQ. No. But by sheer luck, someone I would later learn was the Director of Sales was walking by and invited me in.
Meanwhile, NPY was sitting in the car with E, illegally parked in the parking lot so his hazards were flashing, expecting I would come out right away. I didn’t feel in a position to respond to this spontaneous offer, “Please wait for me to fetch my husband and lug in my possibly screaming child.” What if the kind offer would be rescinded?!
So I followed Veronica around the open concept office with low cubicle dividers so that each staff’s figurines can be on display. She walked me around the marketing area, a conference room, the warehouse the sheer size of which I could not capture, the dark cavernlike office that was the VP of sales (didn’t get a photo), and the CEO’s office with mature leather seating amidst hundred of cute figurines. The accounting department was upstairs and she kept apologizing for the state of the office because they are in the midst of remodeling.
It turns out they had been in two locations in Lynnwood and their current location and their second in Everett.
Veronica was conversational and inquired about my favourite figurines (Star Trek) and which one I had difficulty finding (Locutus of Borg) and if I had more intelligent questions rather than the stiflingly banal ones I had as I was so “starstruck”, she would have been adept at answering them.
When I told Veronica that I had left NPY and E in the car, she inquired on E’s age and invited me to select a figurine from the last shelf still with figures on it as the sample room had been largely emptied. I kept my hemming and hawing to a minimum, made an impulsive decision between Carl from Up! and Chris Hemsworth’s Thor and went with the latter. How nice of Veronica and Funko!
When I expected to be turned away politely but firmly at the reception, I was floored to be invited in. NPY suggested and I would agree that Funko probably has a fun and inviting culture and since they were remodeling and the sensitive material was the first to be taken down, it was safe to invite me in in an ad hoc manner.
I returned to the car and did that head nodding and excited jumping outside the driver side but NPY had moved to the back seat to soothe E. So I did the happy “dance” outside that window, too. They made my day!
Veronica hinted that when remodeling is completed, they will resume tours. I’m surely interested in arranging that down the road so NPY and E can come in too!
On a “design” note, when I approached the receptionist’s desk, I saw a rack of approximately 15 business cards and what I want to do but felt creepy about it was to gather one of each, especially since I could not quickly decide which one I wanted. You see, each Funko employee’s business card is going to be unique because he or she can pick which Pop figures to display. At the least, I should have taken a picture of the rack of business cards but I can only photograph the two I picked up, one from Veronica who gave me the tour and the one I hastily selected depicting several Pop! versions of pro athletes!