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Joann makes new customization move with ‘cutting-edge’ solution

A fabric and crafts leader is betting on a new 3D solution to give customers more control when creating custom cut projects.

Joann has invested in Glowforge, a startup that features 3D laser printer technology used to create precise custom cut projects at the push of a button. Customers use Glowforge to cut basic projects, like hand-drawn images, or they can use software like Photoshop or clip art to print a file using the intuitive web-based app. Customers are able to see a preview of the results, and drag the images around on their chosen material and position them exactly as they prefer.

The technology is already available at the company’s first concept store in Ohio, a new prototype that combines technology, dedicated community and learning spaces and new custom services. It is also used in Joann’s “Custom Shop” located at Natick Mall in Massachusetts. The Custom Shop is an in-mall kiosk — a first for the retailer — that offers custom framing, in addition to laser cutting and engraving.

It will be added to other select stores in the coming months, according to the company.

“We know our customers are looking for the best and latest creative technology, and we want to bring them the opportunity to try it first,” said Stephen Caution, VP of business development at Joann. “By investing in Glowforge and partnering to roll these amazing machines out to our stores, we’ll allow customers to test them out and create things they love. From custom acrylic floor lamps, to plywood drones, to leather shoulder bags, the possibilities with Glowforge are truly limitless.”
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