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Jo-Ann Fabrics crafts a new kids’ collection

BY CSA STAFF

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores is teaming up with an A-list celebrity mom on a new line of craft kids for children.

The retailer has nabbed an exclusive partnership with Jennifer Garner on a new line of creative kits and projects for active kids.We Made It by Jennifer Garner will be available exclusively at Jo-Ann stores and Joann.com beginning in June.

“As a mom and children’s advocate, I believe it’s very important we encourage children to express themselves and explore their imaginations,” said Jennifer Garner. “The We Made It line makes it easy and fun for families to form lasting memories together while developing their children’s creativity and intellectual abilities. I am excited to share We Made It with families and have a portion of the proceeds benefit Save the Children, a charity that is so important to me.”

In celebration of the launch, Jo-Ann will support Save the Children with a $75,000 donation for programs helping children in need in the U.S. As Artist Ambassador and trustee, Garner advocates for Save the Children's early education programs with the goal of ensuring that every child in America has access to quality education from cradle to cap and gown.

We Made It by Jennifer Garner is a collection of more than 100 creative kits and projects designed to promote imaginative exploration among children ages 4 to 11. The kits feature four creative categories, each encouraging inspiration and collaboration in a different way:

Grow – foraging baskets, flower press kits and bird feeder projects are a few examples of the grow category which aims to stimulate exploration and observation of the natural world.

Memorable – from framed family portraits to custom treasure boxes, the creative kits in the memorable category help children form lasting memories while developing personal interests and style.

Playful – the playful category inspires self-expression and improvisation with creative kits including DIY wooden playsets and cute costumes.

Sweet – there are more learning benefits related to baking treats than one might imagine – think of all the math – but the colorful kitchen prep mats, cookie stamps and other creative kits in the sweet category help keep children focused on the fun.

“Now more than ever, parents and caretakers are searching for creative ways to integrate real learning opportunities into their children’s play,” said Megan Featherston, senior vice president, merchandising, for Jo-Ann. “Jennifer Garner has done a fantastic job of making learning an interactive and playful experience with We Made It, a collection so perfectly aligned with the Jo-Ann mission to inspire the creativity in every person.”

Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores has 850 Jo-Ann stores across the country .

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Report: Google will take on Amazon, eBay with ‘buy’ button

BY Dan Berthiaume

Mountain View, Calif. – Google Inc. is reportedly planning to start providing users with “Buy” buttons in their search results within the next few weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, Google will initially offer the buttons on mobile search results.

The buttons will only appear with sponsored results, possibly with a “Shop on Google” heading at the top of the page. They will not appear with non-sponsored results. When consumers click a button, it will take them to a separate Google product page where they can select specific product attributes such as size and color (if applicable) and a shipping option, and then execute the transaction.

Retailers will still sell products themselves, with retailers paying per click to their product pages under Google’s traditional advertising model. In contrast, Amazon and eBay take a percentage of transactions retailers perform through their third-party seller programs. Shoppers will be allowed to opt into retailer marketing programs through the Google product pages, although Google will also store and auto-load payment credentials for future purchases.

Google has told retailers it wants to reduce friction for mobile consumers and increase the conversion rates for mobile ads. Mobile searches outnumber PC searches on Google in 10 countries, including the U.S. and Japan.

Retailers including Macy’s are reportedly interested in participating in the program. Google is taking a large step toward becoming a full-fledged digital retailer with this step, and will be part of the growing number of entities directly competing with Amazon and eBay in the e-commerce and mobile commerce space.

Although Google risks alienating some of its retailer advertisers, who may fear in time Google will decide it wants to own sales from its Buy button, the potential upside is huge. The definition of retail keeps evolving, and as customers take more of their business to virtual space, tech companies like Google can more easily and profitably start acting like retailers.

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RH to build largest U.S. store in Las Vegas

BY CSA STAFF

The retailer formerly known as Restoration Hardware has hired a chief real estate officer to lead the latest installment of its evolution into a "design gallery": a 70,000-square-foot store in Las Vegas.

David Stanchak will be leading the transformation of RH’s current stores into Design Galleries, with responsibility for the company's real estate and store development efforts.

TheLas Vegas Review-Journalreports that RH plans to build and open its largest Design Gallery (70,000 square feet) in the United States in the city's Tivoli Village.

According to the newspaper, "RH Gallery also has stores in Atlanta; Boston; West Hollywood, Calif.; and Greenwich, Conn. The Atlanta store is currently the biggest outpost, at 68,000 square feet. The typical Restoration Hardware store is about 10,000 square feet.The RH Gallery concept is built to look like a custom mansion, with garden terraces, wine bars and cafes."

Meanwhile, Stanchak will report to RH’s chairman and CEO Gary Friedman, and serve as a member of the company’s executive leadership team.

During his 30-year career in the real estate industry, Stanchak has worked as a senior executive, consultant, investor, real estate broker and attorney in all aspects of high-growth, retail brand development. He has had direct responsibility for opening more than 2,500 retail stores, managing real estate portfolios and deploying in excess of $2 billion for retailers including Dick’s Sporting Goods, DSW Shoe Warehouse, Blockbuster Entertainment, and others.

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