Gotta cuddle ‘em all
It has been said that women are the primary spenders in industrialized society. While this is certainly debatable, the Mirror Online recently referenced a study that indicated that women spend approximately eight years of their lives shopping. Sometimes it takes payday loans and other unsecured loans to stay on top of a family’s needs, but wise budgeting is the tried and true method to stay on top of things.
What about girls?
As any father knows, there are few things little girls love more than cute animals. Fantasy illuminated by a shining rainbow of glitter is an important part of their lives, and there will be lots of shopping involved in feeding that fantasy. Since 1979, Lisa Frank has been on the minds of girls and the checkbooks of parents.
From stickers to everything girly
Lisa Frank, an American children’s artist, founded Lisa Frank Incorporated in Tucson, Arizona in 1979. Early success came from a line of stickers for girls. Today, the bulk of products that bear her designs are school supplies, but most anything a girl could want in her bedroom or on her body has been covered with Frank’s visions of rainbow animal cuteness. There’s even a quarterly magazine.
The artwork features bright, vibrant colors with lots of curved lines and rounded shapes. Whenever possible, the rainbow-bedecked images reflect the light in a shiny array. Bears, unicorns, rainbows and anything purple set the stage for a young girl’s fantasy world.
Aesthetics are key
Bright colors stimulate the brain, and that’s something children need. As Mara puts in on the blog Children of the 90s (http://childrenofthenineties.blogspot.com/2009/05/lisa-frank.html) “Lisa Frank products cater to the ‘naturally materialistic and superficial’ elements of the malleable childhood personality. Young children have not fully developed their critical thinking skills and “need no explanation for why something has value” – they simply react to what they see. Even more significant, kids love to make their peer group jealous. What better way to do it than with the most fabulous stickers, folders, erasers, backpacks, shoes, shirts, hats, pigtail ties, jewelry, posters, furniture and bedsheets in the neighborhood?
I had a Trapper Keeper when I was in elementary school, and I loved to decorate it with 3-D stickers that flashed their rainbow colors to the world. Of course my stickers were of E.T., Gremlins, cars and Indiana Jones, but if I had been a girl, I would have been all over Lisa Frank Stuff. Mara rightly calls her organization a school supplies empire. What made them particularly effective, she believes, is their commercials:
Although these acid-trip colored animal splattered folders and pencils could essentially sell themselves on visual merit alone, they managed to convince us that we wanted, nay, needed, the entire collection. Just watching this commercial brings me back to a time when my determination to collect every available piece of Lisa Frank merchandise was unquenchable. Also, I owned the spokesgirl’s hat in both denim and black velvet
Enjoy a sampling of a Lisa Frank television commercial at the end of this article!
But were there skeletons behind the curtain?
I suppose it shouldn’t surprise me to hear that in the land of puppies and rainbows, all was not rife. Looking at the comments section following Mara’s article, there is an anonymous comment that is quite interesting. Sour grapes? Fabrication? Or the real thing? Only the commenter knows for sure:
My first job out of college was at Lisa Frank as a graphic artist. I was there for 2 years. I always found it ironic that Lisa Frank brought so much joy to girls, but was such a miserable place to work. I was there from 2003-2005 and I worked directly with Lisa and James (ex husband & CEO). They were both terrible people that tried to intimidate the employees. They also scr#%$d over a lot of the employees there. I gotta say it was nice to see Lisa Frank go down the drain. I have so many stories about James and Rhonda (ex VP and Jame’s f&*k buddy). Also many cocaine stories involving Lisa and James. Lets just say it wasn’t rainbows and unicorns behind the scenes…..
I think everyone who has ever worked in an office has at least some similar stories. But judging by all the things Lisa Frank offers on its Web site, I wouldn’t say they’ve “gone down the drain.”
And what does that mean, parents?
More payday loans and unsecured loans to fuel a little girl’s dream. Ride the rainbow!