Hancock has perfected approach for company founded in 1957
Sometimes, the best way for a company to remain successful is to redefine itself. Such is the case with Hancock Fabrics.
Founded in 1957, Hancock Fabrics developed the concept of a total fabric retailer. More than just a specialty shop, the first stores opened by Hancock Fabrics were cost-efficient and offered a greater selection of merchandise to consumers at lower prices. The Tupelo-based company perfected its approach to fabric retailing as years went by, expanding to communities across the United States.
But today’s Hancock Fabrics isn’t your mama’s fabric store, although she probably loves to shop there. “We are definitely revamping our merchandise selection,” said Dana Livingston, a spokesperson for the company. “We have a broader fabric selection with more high-quality fabrics in our overall selection. The quality has improved significantly over the past few years.”
The Kathy Ireland line of fabrics was added a few months ago, as well as the Jaclyn Smith collection, along with new contemporary collections. The stores are offering customers the patterns and designs they see in home decor magazines. The fabrics make up a very up-to-date, fresh selection.
Livingston explained that people have gotten back to handcrafting more, and when they put the time and effort into making something, they want to use the best quality materials possible. “The trend is not so much out of necessity, but out of passion. And there aren’t that many fabric stores around any more. Our consumers are very passionate about what they make, and that’s a good place for us to be.”
In addition to fabrics, the stores now offer more craft supplies to compliment the fabrics. “It’s a response to what’s going on in the marketplace. There’s a strong trend toward embellishment,” said Livingston. “Whether it’s a handmade garment or one purchased at the store, people just like to add additional embellishments, making the item a more personalized, one-of-a-kind piece.” Livingston laughed and added that her own daughter loves to embellish blue jeans. That whimsey factor extends to other items besides apparel. Items such as lampshades, picture frames and more can be embellished to give them a more custom look.
“Research has shown that most people who sew also craft, not so much the other way around,” said Livingston. “We found that our customers were having to go to other stores to get their craft supplies, so we expanded our merchandise line to help her out. We’ve become the one place to shop for all your sewing and craft project needs.”
Another area the store is expanding its merchandise is with home decor accessories. “It’s not enough to just buy your drapery fabric here,” said Livingston. “We hope our customers will want to complete their projects with us by purchasing the curtain rods and other accessories. We have all the supplies to make Roman shades, and all the trims to give any project a custom look.”
The company has a reach beyond its brick-and-mortar locations. Customers who log on to the Hancock Fabrics website, www.hancockfabrics.com, can order fabric, home decor, notions, craft supplies and even sewing machines. The interactive site features trend spotting, a fashion game called “Designer’s Closet,” and craft project how-to videos.
“In order to continue being successful,” Livingston stated, “we have to not only respond to what our customers want, but stay a step ahead. We want our customers to find all they need in our stores, without having to leave to go to other stores. The more we make shopping for the things they need easy, as well as supplying the best quality at the best price, we’ll do well as we go into the future.”
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