Michaels boosts in-store experience with birthday parties, classes by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Michaels boosts in-store experience with birthday parties, classes by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Kids at a Michaels birthday party. Starting at $299, Michaels will help customers organize two-hour parties for up to eight children. Courtesy of Michaels

The crafts retailer reimagined its class offering and introduced a party planning service for children in the U.S. as it leans into experience.

Dive Brief:

  • Focusing in on the in-store experience, Michaels is introducing a birthday party planning service in the U.S. for children ages 4 to 13, the crafts retailer announced Thursday. 
  • Starting at $299, Michaels will help customers organize two-hour parties for up to eight children, but the retailer can accommodate up to 12. As part of the package, the retailer will provide a themed evite and project supplies, and handle party set-up and break down. Parents can pay for additional offerings like Domino’s pizza and beverages, goodie bags and balloons.
  • The retailer is also reimagining its Make Breaks crafting classes and bringing back its Kids Club event series, tailored to kids ages 3 or older. Both programs involve creating seasonal or on-trend items with basic supplies. Customers can sign up for in-person or virtual classes.

Dive Insight:

Michaels brought its party planning services to the U.S. following a successful pilot in Canadian stores, the retailer said in its announcement. At launch, Michaels has collaborated with DreamWorks Animation to provide a limited-time party with a “Gabby’s Dollhouse” theme, based on the Netflix show. Other party themes include Dinosaur Discovery, Tie-Dye Time and Enchanted Fairytale. 

“Michaels is committed to being the best place for all things creative, both through our products and the experiences and services we offer,” Heather Bennett, executive vice president of marketing and e-commerce at Michaels, said in a statement. “The evolution of our classes and experiences program, now including birthday parties, offer our customers even more stress-free, seamless ways to get creative while carving a new path for Michaels’ continued omnichannel growth.”

Beyond its birthday party push, Michaels has ventured into another pathway to reach customers: its marketplace. In February 2023, the retailer introduced an Etsy-like online marketplace for third-party sellers across categories like soap, candles, yarn, toys, and arts and crafts supplies. 

This month, the retailer said it is piloting a program that will allow marketplace sellers to sell their items in Michaels stores. The pilot coincided with the retailer’s “Respect the Handmade” campaign, which highlights the online marketplace for handmade items.  

Michaels’ marketplace campaign follows its previous rebranding efforts. Last year, the company updated its tagline to “Everything to Create Anything,” created three new ads, and changed its fonts, accent colors and graphics.

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We absolutely agree with the expanded customer experience offered by Michael’s and encourage all specialty retailers to curate similar experiences. We know that most of our BRA Retail Members do not sell craft items, but that is not crucial to planning in-store birthday parties or other events that your customers will be engaged by and willing to pay you for. Remember that if you are not remarkable, you are invisible. One solid example of a remarkable event that any shop can host is a skate art clinic. Basically you bring in an artist friend of yours to teach kids and adults how to paint using acrylic paint on broken skateboard decks. Even if you are not a core skate shop, you can collect broken skateboard decks or even inexpensive canvasses. The key to this and many other shop-hosted events is pre-registration. If you put it out there and not enough people, prepay then you can reschedule it. You can also add a raffle to the mix, which if done correctly will help you move product that has been collecting dust on the wall or in the showcase without losing any margin. Feel free to call, text or email me with any questions, if you need any additional ideas, or would like to be introduced to some retail-related resources that will help you to lower costs, increase margins or create more remarkable customer experiences.

Doug Works

BRA Executive Director


If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($100/yr.) Membership via this super simple join form