Brand doesn't have an official ecommerce
In 1995 a small Huntington Beach garage was buzzing with activity. Friends were busy hand sewing wallets and handbags with scraps of Naugahyde. Characters with whimsical names like Julius and Skurvy were created to decorate these accessories, originally made as gifts. Little did this small collective know, the unprecedented excitement and interest in these adorable characters would soon thrust their little company to overnight success.
Born out of the need for a fun outlet celebrating creativity and individuality in Southern California, Paul Frank Industries (PFI) was formally incorporated in December of 1997. With its bright color palette and unique sensibilities, the company has attracted an almost cult-like following of all ages that love PFI’s witty take on every day objects. Take, for example, their use of Naugahyde. A vinyl that is more commonly associated with mid-century automobile seats, was hard to come by and completely unique to fashion accessories in 1995. Years later, Paul Frank still incorporates it into key pieces each season.
Just like their offbeat and unique product line, PFI achieved success with an unusual, almost anti-marketing approach to business. They were making their mark and Brandweek Magazine recognized the company in 2001 as "Marketers of the Next Generation", a remarkable feat for a small start-up with a handful of employees.
As the company evolved, their plans to create fun products they wanted for themselves became a marketing plan in itself. PFI employees (young as well as young at heart – their average is 27) have always been inspired by art, music, architecture and entertainment. They stretched the boundaries of their Southern California suburbs designing guitar straps for The White Stripes, Foo Fighters and Weezer (just to mention a few!), to special edition t-shirts for Coachella. Artistic inspirations range from classic contemporary furniture designers like Eames and Saarinen to abstract sculptor and inventor of the mobile Alexander Calder, to the infamous pop artist Andy Warhol.
The Elvis Presley Foundation and LEGO; as well as legendary American businesses John Deere, Mattel, Dr. Scholl's and Oscar Mayer. The company's collaboration program produced highly collectable items pre-sold before they hit stores and never reproduced.
Paul Frank Industries clothing, t-shirts and other products achieved excellent visibility. The brand appeared in numerous blockbuster films like Superbad, Knocked Up, Austin Powers, American Pie and Charlie's Angels. From fashion and business, music and lifestyle, the media love to know what is happening at Paul Frank. Pop Stars (Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne), punk bands (Bad Religion, The Donnas, Alkaline Trio), and indie rocks finest (The White Stripes, The Shins, Interpol, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Hot Hot Heat) all make stops at Paul Frank before heading out on tour. Actors like Jason Schwarzman, Elijah Wood, Zooey Deschanel and Michael Rapaport have been known to stop in and say hello.
The company launched its own retail division, The Paul Frank Store. Currently there are eighteen stores worldwide: Southern California, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Dallas, Chicago and New York City, as well as international locations in London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Dubai, Qatar, Bangkok, Athens, and Taipei. New stores in 2007 will open in Japan and Malaysia.
Think all that success has changed the bright, young minds at Paul Frank Industries? Hardly. For one, they've remembered their friends who helped them start it all. The company still makes gifts for their friends and gives back to the community. They are involved with various philanthropic endeavors that directly benefit children, the arts and the environment. They have partnered with Festival of Children, Boarding for Breast Cancer, The Elton John AIDS Foundation, First Book and The Children's Hospital of Los Angeles. Their retail division has key events throughout the year that educate and promote special causes: The Winter Coat Drive, The Annual Book Drive, Earth Day and College Nite.