I was born in 1986, so it goes without saying that Lisa Frank was a dominating force in steering my sophisticated elementary school style sensibilities.
Back-to-school supply shopping was always an ecstatic experience for me; opening and organizing new pencils (and later pens, once I was old enough that our teachers allowed us to use pens, which was arguably one of the most liberating days of my pre-adolescent life), notebooks, and folders in preparation for the first day of school always made me feel supremely centered and ready to kick academic ass with an effectiveness beyond my years. This was made possible by having lots of fresh office supplies packed neatly in my Jansport. And naturally, Lisa Frank gear, for a few years before that rainbow vomit started giving me seizures, was the Technicolor cherry on top of this preparatory amassing of supplies.
I don’t recall ever questioning who exactly Lisa Frank was, or even if she was a real person or just a made up brand name. I just always assumed that she was a bitchy/cool 14-year-old girl. Like a member of the Babysitters’ Club, but with a neon empire and an age inappropriate fondness for psychedelia. Maybe that’s how I subconsciously imagined this Lisa Frank person to be because that’s basically what I wanted to be, and what I believed having an electric pink unicorn flying across my oversized Trapper Keeper would empower me to become – a teenage girl with a perfect ponytail, a cute boyfriend, and business skills way beyond my age.
All this to say: Lisa Frank was a big goddamn deal back in the day. So it’s not super shocking that me and every other girl born within 5 years of me are collectively exploding into a deafening symphony of “SQUEEEEE!” this week about the release of this dreamy video of the Lisa Frank headquarters featuring an interview with Lisa Frank herself.
She doesn’t show her face (really, Lisa Frank? It’s like that? Edward Snowden can show his face but you feel the need to protect your identity? I’m going to assume adult acne until proven wrong), so there’s no real resolution to that mystery, but every other detail of this place lives up to every expectation I had.
The fact that the company has recently gone down from 350 employees to 5; it feels somehow fitting that latter day Lisa Frank headquarters is a cavernous, nearly-abandoned, shiny ghost of its formerly bustling self, still sitting all sparkly and creepy out in the middle of the desert with a faceless mistress who goes around pawing 30 year old drawings like an aging widow who refuses to take off her wedding dress as she stumbles around her empty mansion muttering “no photos, please, no photos” to no one.