Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has acquired Creativebug, a provider of inspirational and educational videos intended to help viewers in the arts and crafts sector learn skills and develop new and trendy project ideas. Financial terms were not disclosed.
Creativebug's subscription service allows crafting enthusiasts access to more than 1,000 high-definition video classes where they can learn how to paint, draw, sew, quilt, knit, crochet, throw a DIY party and more. The classes, taught by top designers and artists, strive to capture the experience of learning alongside an expert.
Under the motto “You’re more creative than you think,” Creativebug was founded in 2012 in San Francisco. Following the acquisition it will remain there as a distinct business unit within Jo-Ann Stores, with Ursula Morgan still at the helm as president and CEO.
Jill Soltau, president and CEO of Jo-Ann Stores, called this deal a natural fit for a retailer that counts as one of its missions the ability to provide crafters with "the instruction and support needed to complete any project," in addition to the tools and products to address those projects.
Many brands are increasingly turning to a variety of content in their apps and on their websites to help them engage with customers, offer them some added value and build their reputations as helpers, not just sellers. One recent example is Adidas, which loaded its new fitness and training mobile app with content, and in general the athleisure and sportswear brands seem to be on top of this trend.
While many brands are embedding content into apps or sites, it appears that Jo-Ann Stores is not necessarily headed in that direction, and plans to let Creativebug run as it has been, rather than turning it into something like Jo-Ann Fabricsbug (which kind of sounds like a bug you wouldn't want to leave around any fabric). This is a smart thing to do if Creativebug has an established following, though it is worth wondering how Jo-Ann Stores will market the relationship between the two brands, and if it eventually will leverage Creativebug's video content in other ways. Perhaps there's a place for a Creativebug in-store kiosk, where Jo-Ann customers can check out a video related to an idea they want to buy supplies for. Or maybe the retailer can promote the idea that customers can watch Creativebug videos on their smartphones while in stores by using Jo-Ann's new in-store Wi-Fi networks.
There are a number of possibilities, not to mention that Creativebug also offers the retailer a database of subscribers to offer targeted promotions and discounts to. Of course, Jo-Ann Stores will have to be cautious about not pummeling existing Creativebug customers with marketing messages. They may enjoy some marketing tie-ins — especially discounts — with Jo-Ann stores, but the retailer will need to be careful not to lose what Creativebug already has built.