I think I speak for a lot of women my age when I say I’m very disappointed in the recent news about Lisa Frank. ICYMI, Tracie Egan Morrissey at Jezebel penned an in-depth piece about the dark and magnificently dysfunctional world of Lisa Frank. Wow. I have a flocked kitten and puppy Lisa Frank magnet on my fridge right now. A bomb has been dropped on my girlhood.
You don’t have to search too hard on the web to find tons of examples of Lisa Frank art.The world of Lisa Frank is a shiny, multicolored universe comprised of a menagerie big-eyed animals you feel like you pluck off the screen and cuddle into all eternity. Lisa Frank created a world for kids, especially young girls, to adore. If you don’t believe me, find an American woman in her 30’s and ask her how she feels about Lisa Frank. Chances are, she’ll ooze with nostalgia at the mention of ol’ LF.
Then the truth came by way of Jezebel and it’s “U-G-L-Y, you ain’t got no alibi” ugly. Considering my history of shitty employers, I’m surprised I never worked for Lisa Frank Inc. To find out that the rainbow-colored world of heart-melting kittens and dolphins was a hellhole for its employees is akin to hearing that Legos are actually made from the teeth of your dead grandparents.
Among the highlights of the Jezebel article:
- “Lisa Frank is notorious in Tucson as the world’s shittiest employer,” said Caroline, who considered applying for one of the many job openings at the company she saw advertised when she moved to Tucson in 2001, but decided against it after speaking with locals. “Every single person I talked to advised me to avoid Lisa Frank at all costs,” she said. “I didn’t know a single person who had not heard horror stories about the work environment there.”
I don’t even know who the shittiest company to work for is in Philadelphia. But now I know about Tucson! It’s one of the few things I do know about Tucson.
- CEO James Green, Lisa Frank’s husband (he was originally hired as the company’s “first in-house illustrator and designer) was allegedly an asshole with a penchant for cocaine. Employees said that he drove the company into the ground, and had an affair with Rhona Rowlette, LFI’s VP.
- Lisa Frank’s house is as colorful as her illustrations. (WTF is that like to live with everyday?)
Frank’s entrepreneurial instinct first kicked in during her time at the University of Arizona, where she would purchase handmade pottery and jewelry from local Native American communities and sell them at a markup back home in Michigan. Frank did so well that she eventually started directing the artists on what kind of jewelry to make.
“If I said ‘Make a teddy bear or a unicorn,’ that was what sold,” she told UO [Urban Outfitters].
Wait, what? She told Native American artists to make unicorns? There’s a pretty hot debate about the ethics of this practice in the Jezebel comments. Yeah, she paid for the goods and marked up the price for resale, but I’m certain that Native American art does not feature unicorns.
- Lisa Frank Green and James Green have two sons. One is named for a leopard cub Lisa Frank character and the other is named for a Lisa Frank tiger cub. Their names are Hunter and Forrest. Green. Their last name is Green. Hot fucks. Good luck kids.
I can’t do Morrissey’s piece on the fuckery of Lisa Frank justice in a blog post. Go read it for yourself.
And if you’re still nostalgic for those rainbow baby animals, you can certainly them on the Tumblr Lisa Frank Party.