Following Its Rebrand, Joann Is No Longer Your Mom’s Fabric Store

The craft giant ushers in a new era

Changes are coming to Joann—starting with the name.
Headshot of Diana Pearl

Allow us to introduce you to Joann—yes, just Joann.

The craft and fabrics store, an omnipresent retailer in suburbs across the country is undergoing a major revamp, including a name change: Jo-Ann Fabrics is now simply Joann, sans dash and the word “Fabrics.” But the makeover isn’t just in name only. It will also include added technology to Joann’s stores, and a new mobile app.

Part of the reason Joann dropped the “Fabrics” from its name? To teach potential customers (and remind old ones) that the store is much more than just fabric, Steve Miller, senior vice president, marketing and ecommerce at Joann Stores, told Adweek, it’s a crafting mecca.

“We have a big opportunity to let people know that ‘Hey, we sell everything that the other craft stores sell,'” he said. It’s all part of a brand positioning to remind consumers that they can find all the non-fabric products you’d buy at a competitor like Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.

“We’re not just the place you come the day before Halloween to get your costume fabric, or to get the fabric by the yard for a toga,” said Miller. “We’re a place for anything you make with your hands. We want people to know that if you want to paint, or make cookies, or knit, Joann is the place for you.”

The cut bar in the Columbus, Ohio flagship.

The Joann team also approached the rebrand as a chance to refocus on the Joann customer, and what he or she wants out of the store, Miller said. Through Joann’s research and discussion with customers, they discovered what consumers really valued about Joann was the expertise of its employees. It’s something the store has been known for in the past—its repertoire of classes and other education opportunities—and one it’s doubling down on in this new era.

“We are by far the most knowledgable craft store,” said Miller, a fact it discovered through internal research. “People come to us for our knowledgeable associates. For us, education is super important and that’s not going anywhere.”

Helping in this effort is Joann’s acquisition of Creativebug, which Miller describes as a “Netflix for DIY.” Creativebug subscribers can watch DIY classes and tutorials at home, or they can go to a Joann store, where classes will be streamed for groups. Miller said it’s “a platform we’re going to continue to invest in and build.” The app helps with these tech-savvy efforts, too: It allows customers to find craft ideas and share their completed projects (as well as grab coupons for their next visit.)

Of course, there will also be further changes to the look of the Joann stores themselves. The old logo, which was a dark green, has been updated to a brighter green hue (though the store hasn’t lost the squiggle that crosses the A). Sections in the store have been given quirky new names, like “Knit It” for the yarn area, or the “Bloom Room” for a space carrying faux flowers. A new flagship store in Columbus, Ohio, features all these updates, which will be rolled out to Joann’s 800 plus stores throughout the fall and into the next year. There is no major marketing campaign planned around the relaunch, but Miller said the brand will continue to invest in social media, like Instagram Stories and Pinterest, which have proved successful for them in the past.

As the brand celebrates its 75th anniversary in August with a rebranded future ahead, Joann is remembering its roots, too. The main drive for people to craft, Miller said, is about sharing. Over the years, customers have shared stories of Joann’s presence in sentimental moments throughout their lives—weddings, graduations, and yes, college parties. Miller said that Joann hopes that the revamped stores and branding will help bring out more of that sharing—and subsequent joy.

“Customers would say that when we were at our best, we were their happy place,” he said. “We aspire to be our customer’s happy place.”

@dianapearl_ Diana is the deputy brands editor at Adweek and managing editor of Brandweek.