Joann Fabric Suffers From Online Fabric Price Competiton

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( – June 7, 2013) Los Angeles, CA –In the online world, marketing makes all the difference. With Google supplying a steady stream of price conscience shoppers looking for the best value, a good marketing approach is bringing other names in the industry to the front of the online fabric pack. 

Joann Fabric is facing customer base erosion from websites such as and that focus their efforts on customer retention through small company practices ignored by large corporations such as providing personal selection advice and using actual Americans to answer incoming calls from customers. This small town mom and pop approach to big business by their competition has made Joann Fabric step up their own marketing efforts in an attempt to stay competitive in the market based on brand recognition, which is Joann Fabric’s primary marketing weapon. The days of saying “We are the biggest, so shop with us” have come to an end as intelligent consumers turn to the internet to find the best value.

Joann Fabric’s sales online do not lend themselves to the McDonald’s approach of selling an inferior product in volume to maintain market share. Joann Fabric’s efforts to be all things to all crafters has them at a distinct disadvantage when an avid quilter or clothing designer is looking for a very special and unique fabric. For customers looking for that “special something”, a company that provides superior high end selection to what Joann Fabric offers such as tends to become a preferred long term source and do a much better job of building and maintaining a long term relationship with their customers. It is this specific niche approach that leaves Joann Fabric, a thousand pound gorilla in the market place, slow to react and unable to compete on specialty items as they must by definition cater to the masses due to their size.

Joann Fabric is also losing market share in a segment they have based their success in the industry on; the hobbyist. Making up the largest portion of the fabric market, a hobbyist is someone looking for decent products in a large variety of colors, textures and patterns at a value price. Again, Joann Fabric has seen its own growth hampered here as the hobbyist is usually intelligent and thoughtful and spends time researching before making a purchase. This frugal mentality among customers has sent many would be Joann Fabric customers to websites such as where they find a very large selection at discount prices. Again, these value based companies are doing a much better job at customer retention by offering personalized service and good follow-up at great prices. 

A Wikipedia search for “Joann Fabric” provides a brief company history. What Wikipedia leaves out is the full story behind Leonard Green & Partners aquisition of Joann Fabric in December, 2010. Joann Fabric is now wholly owned by Leonard Green & Partners, a private equity firm with over $15 Billion of private equity raised in its 23 year history. With their huge appetite for large companies such as David’s Bridal, Del Taco, Petco and RiteAid, they have seemingly overlooked the ability of smaller companies to hurt them by remaining nimble in the market, providing a personal touch to their services, and of course, using Google, the great equalizer to easily put their name in front of everyone looking to buy fabric online. and may be reached for comment at their respective websites. 

Neither “Joann Fabric” or Leonard Green & Partners responded to requests for comment on this article.

Daniel Smith may be reached for comment or questions by email at