If you had a trapper keeper in the '80s or '90s, you best believe you had that bad boy covered in Lisa Frank stickers, if it wasn't already motifed in the brand. Your folder would have been a technicolor collage of unicorns, rainbows, ice-cream cones, stars, kittens, and bears. Nothing was safe from being cast in a neon hue when you were living in Lisa Frank's world. But what brilliant mind could have come up with this psychedelic, acid trip of a school accessory? What genius could have envisioned a sticker set that would mark you has the epitome of cool? Well, that woman was (is) the real-life Lisa Frank. That's right – the woman behind the raddest stickers to ever be stuck on a school book is named Lisa Frank, and she truly built an empire. But who is Lisa Frank, exactly?
There are probably a lot of things you didn't know about Lisa Frank, despite your penchant for her brand during your elementary school days, but Lisa Frank's a candy-colored mystery that, over the years, has slowly started turning her enigma inside-out.
For instance, did you know that she's from Detroit and had a private jet? Did you know that her husband essentially ran the company into the ground? And you get two guesses as to the color of her house. Maybe after scoping out the fabulous, hard-working life of Lisa Frank, you'll be able to do a lot more than guess about this cotton-candy icon.
She Started Selling Her Art In High School
Frank sold her art while attending high school, but managed to make more than the average student with artistic inclinations; Frank reportedly made $3,000 from a senior year art show, and adjust that for inflation because she managed to net that profit during the early '70s.
One of the purchasers that contributed to her high school profit was the CEO of Chrystler, so it's no wonder Frank was raking in a tidy sum early in her career.
She Had A Private Jet
Rondi Kutz, Lisa Frank Inc.'s head designer from 1987 to 2002, dished some pretty colorful Lisa Frank facts to HelloGiggles about her time working with the neon mogul. One of those facts being that Frank had her very own private jet. Kuntz recalled the whilwind of working for Lisa Frank during her heyday:
""The experience [of working for Lisa Frank] afforded me a lot of exciting opportunities, like going to Hong Kong, flying to meetings across the country in Lisa’s private jet."
In 2006, Frank found herself in the midst of a legal suit over a loan Frank had taken to procure the airplane. When Frank divorced her husband James Green, the financial fallout was messy and investigative reporting revealed that Frank hadn't been keeping up on the payments of her loan.
She Founded Her Company In College
Frank founded her company in 1979, while she was attending the University of Arizona. She had questionably shady beginnings appropriating Native American pottery to resell, but soon started working with artists to design her own products and original designs. The company started off situated in a little guesthouse, before moving to a huge 320,000 square foot warehouse 10 years later.
Frank named the company Lisa Frank Inc. when she was 24, and she managed to sell $1 million worth of sticker orders to Spencer's Gifts within a year of launching the eponymous company.
Mila Kunis Was In A Lisa Frank CommercialVideo: YouTube
No one can say that Lisa Frank doesn't get the big stars shilling her product. Before she played Jackie on That 70's Show, Mila Kunis was a Lisa Frank girl, starring in one of the most perfect '90s commercials to ever '90s. Seriously, this ad is a perfect encapsulation of that brightly colored aesthetic that dominated lockers, binders and folders in high schools and middle schools across the nation.
In the ad, Mila Kunis really sells the fact that she's "gotta have" all this Lisa Frank merch. Truly, it's a star-making role.