Nineties stationery brand Lisa Frank Inc. depicted kids' dreams, with bright-eyed puppies, rainbows, and bright, whimsical images. Once boasting over 400 employees, the brand seems to have faded. Many are wondering what happened to Lisa Frank Inc. after its seemingly abandoned factory in Tuscon, Ariz. was explored on TikTok.
The video explored the colorfully painted building, its bright exterior concealing vacant rooms, and seemingly, the problems that haunted the Lisa Frank company. The factory allegedly cut down to six employees in 2013 when its crashed from its heyday in the '90s of over $6 million in sales.
Lisa Frank Inc. missed out on the opportunity to capitalize on '90s nostalgia
Former employees have said the company missed the opportunity to capture the "hipster market." They have also said there was a lack of compassion and ability to "appreciate and nurture talent"—some have even said that Lisa Frank Inc. felt like an "abusive, alcoholic home."
It was made apparent that both founders, Lisa Frank and then-husband James Green, were out of touch with business etiquette. Previous employees have suggested that Frank's parents played a huge role in her starting the company, and that her business acumen was not up to par.
Perpetual mismanagement from Lisa Frank and then-husband James Green led to its downfall
Legal battles plagued Lisa Frank Inc.
Former employees described the working environment as counterproductive to productivity and creativity. Employees were reportedly not allowed to speak with each other, and their phone calls were recorded illegally. These practices gave the company a reputation in courtrooms and the community, with warnings to stay clear of the company.
"There was an air of fear," and employees had to endure outlandish requests regarding behavior that was suitable for Green. Leaving the belittling environment was even more difficult. Allegedly, the company often failed to give promised severance packages and fought unemployment benefits, resulting in former employees having to sue for their final paychecks or sales commissions.
To compound these ongoing legal issues, Frank and Green divorced, adding their interpersonal legal battles to the company's troubles.
Is Lisa Frank still manufacturing?
While Lisa Frank Inc. still exists, it no longer operates in the same way. Due to the company's alleged "inability to build and maintain business relations," the company that once manufactured notebooks found on school desks across America now relies more on collaborations.
In recent years, LIsa Frank Inc. has licensed its artwork to other companies to handle the production of goods. In 2020, it collaborated with makeup brand Morphe to release a collection of products.