Stash Scrapping

Updated!!

So…we are Stash Scrapping our way though the fog and it has turned out to be a great deal of FUN!!

I would not have made paper flowers if not prompted by Virtual crop!

I would not have made paper flowers if not prompted by Virtual crop!

Through the inspiration of a team of leaders our Facebook Summer Virtual Crop (now with almost 2.500 members!) has morphed into a regular weekly Friday Fun night! I have created interesting flowers, made several different interpretations of a page sketch and ….yep…even done traditional pages which is something I have not done in a very long time. In fact, the call to Scrap my Stash has led me to some startling revelations!

I found my ‘Mexico’ album in a state of disarray! (I didn’t photograph it!) WOOPS…Yes I did – photos below!!   For all the years and all the pages of traditional scrapbooking I have done the Mexico album was the most difficult and unfortunately the most incomplete. *How shameful* It was incomplete after starting it about 10 years ago because most photos were on slides, and much of the content is hand written letters. I decided at the time to let technology catch up 😉 so I could digitize the slides. I have done that…but then I balked at the Memorabilia. All those tickets, postcards, and beautiful hand written letters from me to home and home to me. Those letters are not well dated, but if I were to take the time to read them they will guide me through the order of events of 1980 and include what was happening for me in Mexico as well as what was happening for family and friends at home. What a record!. In my mind it was only yesterday but also eons ago.

Page sketch using Vintage Chic Digital

Page sketch using Vintage Chic Digital

My interest in dragging it out of a cupboard initially came about because one of the family members contacted me through Facebook. I just had to go digging for photos of that family and rekindle the dream to go back and spend time with them again. Since then the whole family has connected and I have the offers of accommodation for a visit. meanwhile, the album and all the bits and pieces still sat on the shelf because I had discovered the delights of digital. Maybe I would not finish it traditionally….maybe I would convert it all to digital.

So…here I am in the midst of a Call to Scrap my Stash while waiting for our Leader Brian O’Callaghan and his team to finalise Plan B. The Mexico Album is mocking me, quietly, insistently, whispering to me ‘scrap me. scrap me’….I will have to give in! I have given in.

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!

Digital MEXICO page that will end up in my traditional album!

I have been hunting out stash to use – red papers, travel stickers, memorabilia pockets, mounting papers, putting the photos into Memory Manager ready to print, sorting and organising….and taking an incredible journey down memory lane while doing so. I have found a hand written letter to me from my little brother, and a little guy I used to babysit. Later in the year I will be attending his 40th birthday! He is going to get the gift of that letter back I think!

Digital still beckons – but there is time for page prints May 31…not much time, but time nonetheless), so my old album will reflect something of the new as I add digital pages into the traditional album. Why not? It has more of everything else besides photos (actually in short supply for this one) but has a very exciting story to tell. I am happy to hybrid scrap for now and use my stash!

We are still here and still scrapping - Come join us!

We are still here and still scrapping – Come join us!

They say something good comes from something bad, when one door closes, another opens. This is just life…but not as we know it. Being forced to think outside the square, being offered the inspiration from the sisterhood of consultants, and being a consultant who is driven to lead by example to my customers I am scrapping my stash and it includes Mexico. The only competition to this is my very desperate need to re-live my Red Wild and Wonderful 50th birthday by scrapping that album….so each time I sit to scrap these two albums will no doubt compete with each other for attention!

Celebrating the coming of age:) 50

Celebrating the coming of age:) 50

‘Stash Scrappin’ has me smiling! How about you? What have you found in your stash that you forgot you had, or had put far away on the back burner? Please post your comments below and tell us about the pages you are doing – and why!

Workshops: If you are local to Mildura, Robinvale. Broken Hill or the Riverland please contact me about stash scrapping workshops during June. For everyone, distance is no barrier – jump on in and join the Virtual Crop Friday Fun Night – you truly will be inspired!

Cheer – Jen

Added photos of the mess my album was in – pay attention to the box of stuff!!

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My Diary extracts – removed from the diary to make it easier to pack all those years ago. this will help with the journalling!

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top – the box, next postcards syill in yukky album covers. next documents, last a tour info book. Lot’s of memorabilia to deal with!

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The Sisterhood

We have travelled awkwardly from Freaky Friday to Terrific Tuesday and we now can really hope for more!

I must admit, having faith in ‘administrators’ of a company I love and that (as far as I knew) was doing well economically was an extremely tough call. Especially when it was so sudden, so without warning, so devastating to 100’s of consultants and customers who had plans for their photos, parties and workshops.

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

What does it mean to be a scrapbooker?

My hesitation to stay rigidly hopeful came down to basic economic reasoning. A looming election and increased living costs aside, a business operates on demand and supply of a product or service. Until Freaky Friday we had a superb product and service to deliver to many who love and enjoy what we do. Our service as consultants, our lovely albums and embellishments, our signature tools, our software (my personal favourite) and our opportunities are the core ‘things’ we supply. The less tangible also matters (perhaps even more)  – our mission to ensure photos get out of boxes, off jump drives, phones, camera disks and computers and into beautiful albums to share. The Creative Memories brand is top of the range and our customers know and respect this.

With the parent company in America moving into Chapter 11 ( a course of action to deal with potential bankruptcy in America) and not being able to supply us here in Australia, in spite of ‘hope’ I was doing a mental battle over supply not meeting demand and what that would mean for us. This got worse when it became apparent the administrators in place had little care for the people that make Creative Memories Australia and New Zealand real, not just a cast of characters in a poorly performing play that can be closed down. Our top leaders were forced into a state of powerlessness and the administrator was (to me at least) not doing what they should – to work with us and help a company move forward and avoid the worst case scenarios. (I refuse to even label those)

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To read the statements, click on the image and you will see a more readable view.

In spite of all this economic logic I could still hang on to one very intangible element of this business. We are committed to our mission. We are Independent Consultants (aka sole traders) so this IS our business. We believe what we do is extremely important and have a set of belief statements that reflect this. We believe it so much all we could do was stay positive, have faith that those who could would and meanwhile adopt a whole new strategy. Keep Calm and Scrap.

So…I did, sometimes with tears of sadness, sometimes with gratitude for the opportunities no matter the future, and sometimes with the determination that has been clearly evident in others to not let this be taken away from us!

Virtual Crop has become a regular daily feature of my life as the numbers of the Facebook group grow and scrappers all over Downunder take up the challenges and share their work and their praise for others. Regular emails from CM directors kept us up to date with what they knew, and advice on how to proceed. Consultants, including myself revised our calendars, contacted customers, spread the word of hope that our mission still mattered most and we would find a way.

I stayed strong on the outside, consoled the consultants in my team, and only really broke down once myself, grieving selfishly over the loss of long term outcomes from all the travelling I had done. Many in our CM family could potentially lose much much more as their hard work and success in the business has become their family income. Bang..like that…taken away. No notice for them – no opportunity to find alternate income sources or take a redundancy – just nothing but hope that the administrator will be fair to the customers and consultants as well as other stakeholders. This wasn’t happening.

today

Today I…a reminder to be grateful and have hope

Clearly the power of sisterhood has prevailed. Communications have been rife since Freaky Friday and the outcome of that is astounding. Consultants share stories of supportive customers, consultants supporting each other, reminding each other to stay calm, and hope things will stabilise, and dare we even – yes we will – hope that at the end of it all we will come out better at the other end.

24 hours before Tremendous Tuesday a flurry of emails, faxes, and original documents passed through the internet and Australia post. The power of a vote was at hand. Our leading directors and business manager were arming themselves to do battle with the administrators and remind them this was OUR business they were dealing with. Armed with the right information, and the required votes Leading sisters and support crew were able to vote the administrator out and send them packing. You could pretty well hear the cheers and congratulations that went around in electronic form after the announcement was made. Our sisterhood had rallied, our leaders went in on our behalf and took control back.

Similar but different. You may remember Shepparton SPC workers rallying to save the company that had employed them for so long – taking cuts in pay, leave and personally investing in what for them was their life blood. I recall how adamant they and the town were that the company had to be saved. So…it is with extreme gratitude and humility I say a resounding Thank You to all those who told me to hold tight, believe in the mission, believe in our leadership team, and trust that we are in good hands and will still have a business to be a part of . Thank you CM sisters! Keep networked, stay informed, use suggested strategies and above all else tell yourself and everyone else to just Keep Calm and scrap.

scrapbooking is

Another scrapbooking is page…it is so much I cannot say it all on just one page!

 

Our future is still foggy, but ironically and in spite of this it is very clear that the waters are calm, the compass has been correctly positioned towards a positive outcome for all of us and we still have the demand for our products and service. Plan B to supply his exists, it now has the opportunity to become a reality and we have absolutely no reason to think that it won’t happen. So go ahead – scrap your stash while we wait the future to arrive.

 

The power of the voice of the sisters in CM AU and NZ has regained control of the management of the company. At the other end of all this we may not look the same, we may not feel the same, but the mission will be just as it is now. WE believe that photos and memories need to be safely preserved, stories need to be told and we want to be the ones to help others achieves this.

Scrapbooking is...

Scrapbooking is…

Terrific Tuesday heralds a new chapter – or perhaps a new book in the CM story in Australia and New Zealand.  I want to be there – will you? If you do then stay in touch – consultant or customer. Read your emails, go to your consultant’s events and show them your support, go to team meetings if you are a consultant -we gather strength and unity- and join appropriate groups on social media such as the Summer Virtual crop group (open to everyone) and above all else ENJOY your photos and memories as you scrap your stash in the short interlude between what was and what is to be.

Go scrap sisters and say a cheer or three for our leadership team in control of our ship!

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Stay Scrappy!

 

2

Leeches, Lemmings and Legends.

Yesteday I posted what I hope is a reasonably well controlled post about the state of affairs we Creative Memories devotess find ourseleves in. Employees, consultants and customers have been put in a holding pattern. We are advised to hold on tight  and have some faith. We are asked to give it all some time. We are asked to understand the voluntary administration is NOT Bankrupty…..it is stop for a minute while someone sorts out the mess!

If we were in an aeroplane as a seated traveller we would have no choice but to place our faith in the pilot that we will in the end land safely as the pilot negotiates conditions not in their control.

And so we do,  in very good faith. Consultants are rallying, long time consultants are being emotionally supported by long term and faithful customers and some of us are in fact being so well supported our customers are bringing NEW customers on board to help fill workshops and live, eat and breathe the spirit of scrapbooking in our workshops.

Unfortunately we are not in the air and the leeches are conning the lemmings big time.

Yes, some of you who read this and may be thinking Jen..your hope is ill founded, there is no more CM Australia. Ok then …give me the the FACTS not the emotion or claptrap. Contrary to the fact some consultants are privately moaning that there is ‘nothing left’ there IS product in the warehouse, just not our top 10 items; there is also a dedicated CONSULTANT waiting to serve you the customer and you the consultant.  In order to honour the company and the consultant sisterhood, you our valued customer, should not be turning to Ebay. I beg of you do not have your wallet sycked dry by purchasing wall st crash style. In good faith, if your consultant is ethical she is NOT selling on ebay OR profiteering. If she is,  she would be snubbed by those of us who are carrying on as best we can.

Chances are your consultant is taking stock, perhaps just like you now fossicking through that stash of yours. She is ensuring she has what she needs for her own regular and new customers and answering swap calls from sister consultants to help them supply their customers in return for product she needs for her own. She is part of a team, a network, making the most of the holding pattern. Your consultant Is a Leg! (not pronounced as l -e -g but rather l -e – j…short for legend…) and if you feel she is not ask why not. If she is honouring the company, the mission, and the future of CM Australia  New Zealand she will be doing exactly a I have described above and will not be profiteering on the shortage of pages and protectors by selling them on ebay. I bet customers are telling her right now she is a legend, when this is usually a phrase our teens and tweens would use!

And yes I get it…as a member of the public it just might be you who has excess supplies in your stash and given the situation you have decided to sell them. This is your right and I cannot deny your right to put whatever you like on Ebay. So that brings me to the bidders.

You could reasonably pay a little something more for a product that is still MADE AND SOLD in the USA. It is still available there. In Australia supplies are limited, the available inventory at the centre of distributional gone, for now, not necessarily forever! While consultants who operate their business in an ethical way are sourcing and sharing, leaders are working hard on a new business suooly and a reliabel source of albums and pages in the future. So, ALL IS NOT LOST, not yet at least.

So I ask you. Why are you purchasing from Ebay when you can get pages for the BARGAIN PRICE of their actual RETAIL VALUE from a consultant.

STOP AND THINK, please!!! Do not make like a lemming and follow the pack to Ebay and bid on pages for far more than their retail value. That is a total waste of your money…truly. Such lemming like behaviour is undignified.

Have some faith in your company, its leaders, your sister consultants, and our desire to continue to do business in an ETHICAL manner.

So…to wake up thinking about the leeches today makes me mad! They are scalpers not scrapbookers, they are leeches interested in only sucking away YOUR hard earned cash, not in helping you preserve your precious memories. I just looked – 7.35 am…

Sydney seller xandro2010 has ‘a’ pack of 12 x 12 pages . Postage is 14.95 (go Australia Post you are making a fortune too). The current bid is $157.00 for a product that retails from us, the consultants at $29. Already they have a whopping profit of $137 on just ONE pack of pages.

What?

Are you for real?

Someone has hat sort of money and stupidity? More fool you. Each of the packets of pages you are bidding on have a retail value of UNDER $30 AU – and there are consultant who have them and will sell them to you at that price.

There are 26 bids so far. The auction is still active. I do not care to look at how many bidders there are…no bones about it they are LEMMINGS, suckers, and obviously have money to throw away.

The next time a customer comments to me about the ‘expensive’ CM pages I may just say if you think RRP is expensive take a look at the bargain you are getting by comparing my price to EBAY !

This seller also claims the CM lifetime guarantee on these pages….really? That is clearly misinformation. Maybe I should dob them in to ATSIC ! Simple logic tells us that if CM Australia is under administration our guarantees are too. They may no longer be upheld. (We know now, given that there are none in the warehouse at this point in time a faulty pack of pages cannot be replaced…unless you want thin air.) This is a decision of the administrator.  If I cannot guarantee unequivocally the CM guarantee while we are on hold I for one am not using it as a plug to sell the pages. I know I don’t have to anyway. Experience tells my my CM Albums have been the best on the market from the day they became available in Australia and the quality of the product consultants like myself have in stock is the very same as the albums I made over 1o years ago. I have never had to call CM to task on the basis of their guarantee on albums, pages and protectors.

Our warehouse may be out of stock but our scrap rooms, cupboards and sheds are not. Consultants (who are not leeches profiteering with a phantom presence on Ebay) are now banding together and sharing their stock. We are swapping. As a team we believe you, our valued customers, need your pages and we are doing what we can to get them to you. All we ask is that you CALL US and give us time to source them for you. PLEASE do not be so stupid as to purchase with  lemming like behaviour the pages on Ebay at more than five times their retail price. There is no need to do this. Be Patient. allow your consultant to make suggestions to you, advise you and guide you through this fog that is administration.

While you wait…

stay in touch with your consultant

Please avoid purchasing on ebay. It does not help us and it will cost you a fortune in P and H let alone final bid price as exemplified above.

Book into a workshop with your consultant.

Make use of what is already in your stash! Get your stash out – all of it. (Be sure hubby is out when you do this or you may get into trouble!)

Enjoy the pleasure of discovering what you forgot you had!

Identify what pages and protectors and other items from CM you need and ask your consultant to do her best to source them for you. Be Patient.

use your cardstock and papers as the foundation on pages

make pages

store them in a crop box. If you don’t have one of those, store them in a pizza box or a stash supply storage container from whatever source you may have got it.

If you really really really need these pages in an album use a generic slip in one just to keep your pages safe while we wait.

I will add some images to this post later….right now I need a second coffee and a chill pill!

*goes off muttering* …$157 …really…and rumours of over $200 yesterday…what are people thinking  I am a Legend! I will attempt to supply my customers at RRP! Not ripoff prices. How un-Asutralian! …..*continues shaking head at stupidity of it all*

PS I am going to publish this now too…will return to edit typos shortly. – be patient – please feel free to comment. (all comments must be approved – C’est la Vie)

 

Jen

Keep calm and scrap on…and on…

It is a fact our current economy is global. As we meander (or run) through each day we don’t stop to think about what would happen if the company that makes our favourite product ceased operation. We just assume it is there and always will be. We have faith in our relationship with it.

The reality is though, that at the simple click of a button, a pressure from outside which is out of our control and decisions that are made will always have the potential to send us tumbling like dominoes into a panic. Our human response to a crisis creates both good and bad behaviour. Some get angry and stay that way, some wander in the haze of the aftershock, confused and uncertain, while other’s snap into panic mode and enter into a frantic chaotic frenzy of one kind or another.

This is because we are human, we operate at some level on instinct and will do battle to save ourselves. Sometimes, unfortunately, that leads straight to greed and no care whatsoever for others. But this is not, for me at least, the norm.

The normal response to a crisis in my experience is to ask how I can help. Right here, right now – and worry about the why of it all later. We see this often in Australia. There is a house fire – the community rallies to support the family. There is a diagnosis of Cancer or other terminal illness and both the immediate and extended network of that person jumps right into action to support the patient and assist them to fight back. A nation that is struggling with financial distress, a population experiencing poverty and/or persecution, or a natural disaster such as those we have seen of late in Australia all illustrate the ‘action’ in the human response to crisis. ‘What can I do to help? ‘ is the iconic mateship we see in this country.

Of course it isn’t always like this. Unfortunately there is an opposite.

Some only care for themselves and point fingers of blame at a scapegoat and expect that entity to fix it. Some people pillage and loot, taking what they can for themselves. They find some way to take advantage of the crisis with callous disregard for the wellbeing of fellow human beings. Some just freeze, unable to get beyond shock, anger and fear for the future. I have little regard for the first of these and while I empathise with the latter.

I am a CAN DO girl. We may not have caused it, but we can certainly act in response to any crisis in a positive way. We are all capable of the more positive response to a crisis in any form and on a moral level that is what we ought to do.

By now you may be wondering why I am waffling on about this. In the last 48 hours I have faced a sudden crisis that for some is really devastating on an emotional or financial level.  I have witnessed all of the above human behaviours in varying degrees in response to it. ‘ It’ was not a flood. It was not a fire. It was not a war. Nonetheless, it is disempowering because it is caused by decisions and actions not in our control.

The company I represent when I go out into communities and run market stalls and workshops, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand, has gone into voluntary administration.

Keep_Calm_sign_blue

It suffers economic illness that has the potential to be terminal. And the resounding response from those of us connected to it, I am pleased to say, is Keep calm and Scrap on. 

What is a voluntary administration?  Voluntary administration is an insolvency procedure where the directors of a financially troubled company or a secured creditor with a charge over most of the company’s assets appoint an external administrator called a ‘voluntary administrator’. The role of the voluntary administrator is to investigate the company’s affairs, to report to creditors and to recommend to creditors whether the company should enter into a deed of company arrangement, go into liquidation or be returned to the directors.  (ATSIC) 

What Happened?

In April, the parent company of Creative Memories AU NZ, Creative Memories USA entered into a bankruptcy state known as Chapter 11.

Chapter 11 is a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code, which permits reorganization under the bankruptcy laws of the United States.

Creative Memories USA is in financial crisis and downunder we were not expecting to become part of the solution for them. Last week, Creative Memories Australia New Zealand was put into the hands of an Administrator. Our parent company can no longer supply us with our primary goods. Its reorganization includes the cutting off of the Australian arm of its business and therefore our company is unable to function.

There is no choice. Economic surgery in is required. Voluntary Administration is not bankruptcy, but it is emergency economic surgery. This is our crisis. Employees, consultants at all levels, and customers are affected.

We can be angry and lash out, or respond with a lot of patience and hope that the surgeon (Administrator) can achieve the best outcomes for Creative Memories AU NZ to carry on.
Our company will no doubt look and feel different when it comes out of surgery.

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The leaders, who are 100% reliant on the success of the company for their livelihood, are in fight back mode. They are brainstorming, planning and seeking solutions. They are not responsible for decisions made by the administrator. They have to ride the waves. All that they worked hard for has been pulled from underneath them in the actioning of Chapter 11 in the USA.

The same can be said for Australian and New Zealand consultants at all levels. We were in the business of scrapbooking with Creative Memories for many reasons and we do not want to lose it. Similarly, the same can be said for our customers who have trusted the Consultants and the Company to deliver them top quality products and services. One other stakeholder, not to be forgotten, are the employees of the company – the pickers and packers in the warehouse, the technicians, the office girls, the trainers in the field and perhaps even the cleaners who all have families and need their job.

Australian’s are excellent at rallying in a crisis. I recall how much we admired Queensland’s Premier Blair at the time of the Queensland floods. She was calm, practical but caring, She prioritised, and called the people of the state and nation to action – and action she got. Our faith in human nature was boosted.

06_dreambig-7531Our crisis is not as ‘big’, not as pertinent to the future of our country, but it is important to us at a deeply personal level and it matters to the future of our families. We (consultants) need to act in positive ways, have some faith in the skills of the Administrator and those who are reimagining the future of the company, our leaders. We need to do as they ask us to help restructure the company to one that is economically viable so we can deliver on our statement of beliefs and restore faith in our customers.

What Now?

The majority of consultants have rallied already. It is fantastic to see.
Most of us, myself included will not sit back and wait for things to happen. Let’s face it, if we have had success in this business it is because we acted in a way to ‘make it happen’ using the tools, training and tenacity required. Our current situation is no different. Our tools are more limited at present, but our determination has already grown, our planned sharing of the mission has incredible new energy and we are fighting back any negative ‘self’ talk by staying positive and keeping calm.

108096We LOVE what we do. We believe in the power of scrapbooks and their role in the lives of people. One only needs to watch the end of the movie ‘My Sister’s Keeper’ or observe a child absorbed in a photo album, ( I recall just last week a consultant photogaphed her child who had fallen asleep with albums on his knee) or as it is in my case see the light in the eyes of my fragile and feeble mum who shares the storybook celebrating her 50 years of marriage I made her with everyone who comes through her door, to know that scrapbooking matters.

Nationwide (and further south in New Zealand) we are vowing to continue to deliver our message and support our customers to make priceless scrapbooks of their precious photos and memories. We believe in ourselves and our leaders. Our workshops are not only still on as scheduled many of us are adding more workshops for the interim while we wait for the company to recover from the crisis and be able to supply the goods we need.

Consultants are supporting each other to source products that have disappeared from the shelves in the warehouse in a frenzy of panic purchasing of our most precious product lines, the scrapbook pages and protectors and the signature tools.

Customers are rallying, supporting us by coming to workshops and even bringing in new customers in excited anticipation of what the future for their consultant might look like. By supporting us, they support their own commitment to personal scrapbooking as well as their consultant who inspires them. We thank you sincerely for your words of support and encouragement and your loyalty to our product and service.

keepcalm

Consultants are being creative, finding ways to continue in this wonderful business, working for ourselves with all that direct selling offers us while we wait for what the company will evolve into. We are staying positive. We expect it might get a bit rocky (perhaps very rocky at times) but it is also very exciting to imagine the possibilities of the future for our company under the leadership of our business manager and Senior Directors.

What about my response? 

Keep calm umbrella

Watch this space! More workshops, more ideas, lots of positive thinking, and lots of scrapbooking. This crisis is bringing out the best in us. Hope, journey, and fun. While we might not have all we want or think we need right now let’s make the most of what we do have.

For information about workshops, new scheduled events, ordering supplies and more please head to my website events list.  I anticipate my CM site will at some point become unavailable but in the mean time you can however go there now, browse currently available products, place an order and pay online, or message me with your order and I will endeavour to fill it. If postage is required you will need to include that cost.The next events of significance – Memoranza. May 18 Robinvale. May 19 Mildura. Bookings are essential so we can be sure you have all you need. Use the site link or email me. I already have the ‘goodies’, but the quantity is limited.

Meanwhile…dig through your stash, book into a workshop, follow me on facebook, twitter, or pinterest and most of all Keep calm and scrap on! 

 

stay-calm-stay-scrappy

Jen