A First Look at Lisa Frank’s Rainbow-Tinged Take on the Adult Coloring Book Craze
Get ready for a dose of 1990s nostalgia.
Attention adult coloring book fans: All your dreams are about to come true. The latest brand to take advantage of the coloring craze is Lisa Frank, the groovy, psychedelic brand of stickers, folders, and other school supplies that no school girl of the 1990s dared be seen without.
The beloved brand has reportedly fallen from its late ’90s peak, when it was said to make $60 million annually, to just $2.3 million, according to Fortune. Which may make sense, considering the 2013 Jezebel article titled “Inside the Rainbow Gulag,” which offers a sobering look at the highly-secretive company that one employee called “needlessly abusive.”
“It was like the worst place I’d ever worked,” a woman named Karen revealed, “Which is kind of ironic, given that they have rainbows and unicorns everywhere.”
Nevertheless, the brand knows its appeal to ’90s youth remains strong—one popular recurring feature on its Instagram feed is #TransformationTuesday, in which vintage Teen Beat-esque shots of former teen idols such as Leonardo DiCaprio and boy band NSYNC are Photoshopped into outfits bearing Frank’s psychedelic animal designs.
The adult coloring book line isn’t the only sign a Lisa Frank renaissance may soon be at hand: Earlier this month, Good Housekeeping reported that the company was introducing a new line of branded clothing featuring rainbows, neon-colored tiger stripes, and adorable animals.
As for the coloring books, there are four different designs available. Among early adopters, feedback is good. Facebook user Cecelia Fricks posted a shot of her first finished page (pizza, French fries and other junk food floating in outer space with teddy bear astronauts, naturally), noting that she had used Staedtler markers and that “the paper is surprisingly great quality.”
The one downside appears to the lack availability—the Facebook comments are filled with the laments of frustrated would-be customers. A brisk secondary market on the “hard-to-find” product has already sprung up on eBay, with the complete set of four priced at as much as $49.99. The books are being sold exclusively at Dollar General stores, which are located in 43 states, for just $3 apiece. (New Yorkers take note, there’s a location just over the river in Union City, New Jersey.)
Hopefully, you can track one down in time for National Coloring Book Day on August 2. As Lisa Frank commands in the official coloring book tag line, “stay calm and keep coloring.”
See Instagram posts from Lisa Frank coloring book owners below.
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