• Transform magazine
  • November 25, 2017

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Craft, curiosity and inspiration at heart of fabric and art chain rebrand

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Crafting and DIY art is clearly on the rise. The Chicago Tribune reported a 7% increase in sales of art products year-on-year in 2015 and Etsy noted a 19.4% increase in sellers in the same period. Surprisingly, the trend has mostly benefited large retailers as consumers eschew the ease of online shopping for the experience of physically feeling and seeing their materials in store.

For Jo-Ann Stores, a 74 year-old fabric and craft chain in the US, that can only mean good news. The company currently ranks at 192nd on the Forbes list of 200 largest American private companies. And a newly announced rebrand may help set the brand apart from competitors like Michaels, Walmart and Target.

The company has not only launched a new visual identity, but it is in the midst of implementing a full-scale technological overhaul of the brand. First, Jo-Ann announced the rollout of a new in-store wifi service that would enable it to better track data, customer purchases and provide more individualised service. The company has also purchased Creativebug, a video instruction service that provides crafting and sewing help and instruction videos. Finally, Jo-Ann has released a new mobile app that will allow users to share videos, photos and other crafting inspiration.

But at the heart of it is curiosity and, of course, craft.

“We are incredibly proud to be a creative retail mainstay for more than seven decades,” Jill Soltau, president and CEO of Jo-Ann, says. “As we approach our 75th year in business, we are revitalising the brand while celebrating our history and telling the story behind our core purpose. Because it isn’t only our story – it’s the story of each of our customers, and how they are finding their passions, inspiring others and creating lasting memories. It’s a unique honour to be a part of something that’s special to so many, and we are thrilled to celebrate the handmade legacies of past, present and future generations.”

By focusing on customers’ stories and achievements, the brand can be owned not just by Jo-Ann, but by all of its consumers.

Visually, the logo turns bright green – a shift from the earlier teals and dark greens of previous logos – it drops the serif and with it, any reference to the hyphen in Jo-Ann. It's much simpler, and presumably, primed for execution across the many digital channels Jo-Ann operates across.