Michaels Community Message Boards
Re: All Classes Canceled
02/25/08 08:28 AM
Over the past year, as part of our Consumer Insight strategy, we have asked customers what they like most about our stores, how we can improve, and what we are missing. When asked about classes they had lots to say. Currently the customers’ experience varies so greatly from store to store that we are taking their feedback to heart and implementing a class & event program that can deliver an outstanding experience in all stores, which is a good challenge for a chain of our size (nearly 1,000 stores!). Michaels is transitioning from a heavily class-driven program into a program offering more FREE demos, events, and Make-it / Take-its for all of our customers to enjoy. We are focusing our efforts on building better programs that customers have told us they would like to see at Michaels. For example, we are working closely with our vendors to create more excitement outside of the classroom and share the joy of crafting with their products with more people. This is but one way that Michaels is working hard to make certain that we offer our customers the best products, creative outlets, and overall store experience they deserve.
I have spoken of my employment with Michaels Crafts on this site very little, if at all, since I felt that this would be leaning to the side of creating a conflict of interest, and I didn’t want to do anything that would seem unprofessional or unethical. I have been an Event Coordinator and Class Instructor for the last 3+ years. I took over the position when our store could not possibly get lower on the list of class sales for the district. For the first 2 years, we saw such an increase in our program that actually put us on the top of the list for both years. Last year, we finished 2nd. This progress was not accomplished without taking the program and pouring my entire self into it and creating something that we could all be proud of. This included myself teaching at varying times: loom knitting, beading, scrapbooking, book altering/making, birthday parties, floral design, kids camp…the list goes on to include any number of craft workshops that would be fun for the community to participate in. It also included seeking out talented and professional instructors, making connections in the community, and just being there for everyone who wanted to be a part and feel connected to something crafty.
I am trying very hard to take the news of the cancellation of all classes at Michaels, except Wilton Cake Decorating, with the attitude that the Michaels.com Editor spoke of it above, on their website message board. I am trying to get over the pain in my gut that happens when I think of all the hard work, and encouragement given to all my wonderful teachers…just to have to tell them they are no longer needed. Some of these instructors have been with me since the beginning. Yes, I am glad to say, that Michaels did authorize my manager to offer all our instructors part time associate positions, if they are so inclined…and my manager is so sensitive to how all these people feel, that she encouraged them to do so…and I hope they will.
In all this…I hope that down the line…Michaels Corporate will begin to have an inkling about how valuable the class program really was. You cannot sever such strong ties to the community without experiencing repercussions in some way that defines who you are as a whole. This is written to help ease what I’m feeling inside, and to help me vocalize the hope that eventually, we will see the class program reinstated…and not just something that has to be followed “by rote”, but that can highlight the amazing talents of artistic individuals throughout every community in a special and unique way…
…after all, that is what true creativity is all about.
I’m sitting here with my mouth open! Let’s just say that I am totally shocked at Michaels decision. I know how much pain you are in right now as I know how much time, effort and love you have given to the education program. It is Michaels loss. I am not able to participate in the classes that I would like to take because of distance and schedule, but someday I had hoped to. I think I’m going to have to sit here awhile longer to process this. Keep your chin up, Bethany. You have done amazing things and I know you will continue to do so.
I can only hope that something bigger and better will come out of all of this…I believe that all things happen for a reason!
I guess we will have to wait and see.
You have dealt with this so professionally, which really helps other in dealing with the changes. You are one of the most talented people I know….. look at this page of yours!!!
Just wanted to give you a “typed” pat on the back!!!!!! and tell you how lucky we are to have you as our EC!!!!