When my mother worked at JoAnn Fabrics decades ago, it was purely a store that sold material and the supplies necessary for sewing. Oh, how things have changed.

The new store that just opened is renamed simply “JoAnn” and its slogan is “handmade happiness.” Only half of the store is the inventory of the “old JoAnn” and the remaining square footage is packed with supplies for all kinds of hobbies: knitting, painting, drawing, scrapbooking, embroidery, flower arranging, and cake decorating. JoAnn has gone high tech with 3D and laser printing, plus an area full of machines for classes and demonstrations. The fabric-cutting area has even become the “cut bar” where you can check in on a kiosk and shop while you watch your name in the queue.

For me, a non-crafter, just the selection of threads was overwhelming, let alone imagining the possibilities present throughout the store. But for others, the return to homemade items – thanks in part to Pinterest – has never been greater. People are returning to all things retro and making things is part of that trend.

Kudos to JoAnn for evolving with the times. Other fabric stores have gone out of business throughout the years but JoAnn has adapted while still staying true to its core. What lessons can you take from how they have reimagined their mission and market to embrace “handmade” instead of just sewing?

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