Attention, ‘90s kids: Lisa Frank is a real person. I know—I was surprised, too. I didn’t think it was possible for one human being to be responsible for all of those rainbow dolphins and unicorns that took over our Trapper Keepers throughout elementary school, but that does in fact seem to be the case. And in case you’ve ever been curious about what the Lisa Frank offices look like, now’s your chance to find out!
In September of 2012, filmmakers Scott Ross and Karl Beyer were granted an interview with Lisa at her headquarters in Tuscon, Arizona. You see, Urban Outfitters bought the company’s vintage stock last year and have been selling it online; the interview was made into a short film to promote the collaboration. Lisa requested that for privacy purposes she not actually appear on camera (she’s notoriously reclusive), so alas, you won’t actually see the woman herself—but good golly, is the video a trip!
From the rainbow leopard who greets Scott and Ross at the door—that is, a person in a rainbow leopard costume, not an actual rainbow leopard; a real one probably would have caused the video to end in an extremely colorful bloodbath—to the fireproof vault where Lisa Frank keeps a copy of every single product they’ve ever made (presumably this is where Urban Outfitters is pulling their stock), the whole thing is pretty wild. Also, remember that time in 1993 when Mila Kunis starred in a Lisa Frank commercial? Good times.
The fireproof vault, by the way, also contains all the original art from the years before the company switched over to using computers. The earliest pieces of art date all the way back to 1979—and it’s actually kind of fascinating to compare the earlier images with how they’ve ended up today. Way back when, the illustrations are still cartoonish (that’s the whole look of Lisa Frank, after all), but they’re a little less cutesy. They look “grownup,” more like pop art than stationary for kids.
Here, take a look:
Urban Outfitters and Lisa Frank have faced some backlash over their collaboration; because the items Urban is selling are vintage, they’re at a higher price point than the merchandise sold in stationary stores and whatnot. The question has become whether the vintage items are really worth anywhere from $50 for a pop-up folder and writing pad to $350 for a puppy backpack.
In any event, though, I can only imagine what it must be like to work at Lisa Frank. How about that wall covered with fan mail? Awwww!
Lucia Peters is BettyConfidential’s senior editor.
[Via The Atlantic]