This year, as we celebrated our second Women’s History Month sequestered at home, role model ingenuity and do-it-yourself resourcefulness took a fresh turn. We cooked new recipes. We reorganized and remodeled home offices. And…we crafted.

Stepping up the DIY game in a big way, the design team at JOANN was ready. Launching a collection of fabrics that featured phrases like “be what you want to be” and “the future is female,” quarantined creatives were armed with fresh materials that were both eye-catching and empowering.

Oh, and the results did not disappoint.

Shared across social media throughout the month, the JOANN community reminded women and girls everywhere that, step by step and stitch by stitch, their paths are limitless.

We asked a few members of the JOANN community and design team for their reflections at the end of Women’s History Month. Here is what they want you to know:

My name is Whitney Manney, and I am a fashion and textile designer based in Kansas City, Missouri. I graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute in 2012 with a BFA in Fibers. With a desire to create art in a wearable format, I create garments and textile designs under my independent label, WHITNEYMANNEY.  Creating a narrative between color and pattern is a signature of WM – my job isn’t done until everybody in the world believes fashion is art!

Can you share some details on your career to date?  My inspiration to create wearable art and textiles started at the age of 13, not because I was obsessed with fashion but because I was tired of growing out of my clothes so quickly. Remixing old clothes into my own creations inspired me to create my label. I made sure to use my resources wisely during my educational career by trying new things, interning, reaching out to mentors, and taking additional business classes. I am excited to be a full-time fashion artist with my own fashion label. It’s a lot of work but I wouldn’t trade it for the world! 

What inspired your design for Women’s History Month? With spring weather hopefully around the corner, I knew that I wanted to make a skirt with the fabric. I received the ‘Be What You Want to Be’ flannel fleece fabric to create my project, and I knew that making the complete skirt out of that fabric would be a little too hot so I opted to create a border with it.  
The color palette of the fabric reminds me of the Rosie the Riveter poster, the illustrated girls are also wearing stripes so I kind of had an idea to create something with a Parisian flair that has a uniform feel to it. For my top, I decided to grab a blank crewneck sweatshirt and remix it with dye and embellishments. To top everything off I wanted to make an accessory that I had been wanting to try sewing for a while – a removable collar with a ‘more is more’ feel. 

Can you share career advice for girls who have an interest in design or retail, based on your own experience?  Get started as soon as you can and allow yourself to have fun! It can be easy to go from being inspired to trying to replicate someone’s success, give yourself time to find your artistic voice…your vision and authenticity are important! I also advise anyone interested in an art-based career to always keep learning. Take as many classes and workshops as you can but be sure to learn outside of the classroom with documentaries, experimenting, reading, and more.

My name is Tabitha Sewer and I am a digital content creator! After serving in the United States Air Force for over 10 years, earning a Bachelors and Masters degree (and several business certificates), I picked up sewing, started a blog, and the rest is history! I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am – you need a passion and positive motives to drive you and keep you from quitting.  

What inspired your design for Women’s History Month? My daughter! The fabric is what inspired the blanket.  I wanted to make a blanket because I didn’t want to take away from what the fabric represented. The fabric showed diversity among strong women. Coming from a diverse race family, diversity is celebrated and I always talk about it when I get the chance.  This fabric is a physical representation of diversity for me.  

DIY has been huge during the pandemic – any fun DIY tips for girls, of all ages, as we head into spring? Find something that you love – social media is always buzzing with trendy fashion and jewelry. Find things that you are drawn to and try to recreate them at a cheaper cost. Some of our favorite influencers are wearing cool bags, jewelry, and clothing that may be out of our price range. Recreating those and making them our own is even better because it’s custom made by you and fits your personal style.  JOANN craft stores have so many different crafts that you can pick up and learn. Sew, make jewelry, bake, whatever your passion is whatever makes you happy – do that! 

My name is Brent Carlson, and as a product designer at JOANN I work on a variety of products both in hard goods and textiles. Many of our programs are for all stores and sell at a national level and, working in concert with our trend team and other product designers, we create and curate designs that fit into the lifestyles of our customers.

What was your inspiration for the Women’s History Month collection? I was inspired by all of the strong women in my life and wanted to celebrate all that women have and continue to contribute to society. Ruth Bader Ginsburg was such an icon for women’s rights and working on this program was such an honor. Working at JOANN with so many strong, creative women also inspires me on a daily basis!

My name is Rebecca Mainger, and I was hired as a product designer on the softlines (textiles) team at JOANN to design prints for our cotton shop. As a team, we are familiar with designing hundreds of prints a year that go to our stores nationwide. Our trend team helps us develop themes that will resonate with our customers nationwide, which helps us hone in on a vision and be inspired.

What was your inspiration for the Women’s History Month collection? I was inspired by current cultural issues and by all the advocates on the forefront of the women’s empowerment movement. I wanted to honor all the important and strong women in my life that helped pave the way for my current rights and inspired me to follow my dreams.

And honor, they did.

With tribute images, empowering words and an endless supply of online inspiration, the JOANN Women’s History Month collection is helping all of us be what we want to be…each and every day.


  • Illana Raia

    Founder & CEO


    Recently named one of the first 250 entrepreneurs on the Forbes Next 1000 List, Illana Raia is the founder and CEO of Être - a mentorship platform for girls. Believing that mentors matter as early as middle school, Illana brings girls directly into companies they select to meet female leaders face to face. The goal, as Être's French name suggests, is to help today's girls figure out who they want to be.    Named a Mogul Influencer in 2017, Illana appeared in the HuffPost "Talk To Me" video series, participated in the 2018 Balance Project Interviews and the 2019 #WomenWhoRock campaign, and has been featured on Cheddar TV and podcasts like The Other 50%, Her Money, Finding Brave and Women To Watch. Illana has authored 50+ articles for Thrive Global, HuffPost and Ms. Magazine, and her award-winning book Être: Girls, Who Do You Want To Be was released on Day of the Girl 2019. Her next book, The Epic Mentor Guide, is scheduled to arrive on International Women's Day 2022.   Prior to launching Être in 2016, Illana was a corporate attorney at Skadden, Arps in NYC and an occasional guest lecturer at Columbia University. She graduated from Smith College and the University of Chicago Law School, and remains unapologetically nerdy.