Today sadly Creative Memories closes its doors in Australia. They are still madly packing orders in the warehouse but for consultants we have no CM branding after today. My website will close, my customer list is now safely on my computer and that could have been that. The end point is here – and it is not black, it is a little warm and fuzzy.
You can shut the doors on a business. You cannot shut the doors on a mission.
When Diane Lampert and Brian O’Laughlan started the Australian Creative Memories family they were full of hope that Australians would love both the mission and the product. I have heard Diane’s story. She is a very courageous business woman whose belief in the product and the mission was so profound she agreed to take the risk and come to Australia to test it out in our market. Brian was the support for building the company here and it did not take long before they had a team of consultants spreading the message and mission throughout the country. Australians came to love scrapbooking and this resulted in a successful direct selling company giving many of us the opportunity to work for ourselves while promoting a priceless concept – to ensure the photos came out of boxes and into albums along with the story that goes with them.
In those days we still printed film from cameras and we were just starting to use digital photography. In a little more than a decade things have rapidly changed! The economy has been up and down, the were boom periods and downturns. And now every hand held devise appears to be capable of capturing a moment. We can also share them freely on the internet and include the story in many ways. Albums on shelves were rapidly being replaced by pictures on disks.
Creative Memories remained competitive during the period of a scrapping shop on every corner – and came through the other side thanks to the staying power of leaders, good business management and consultants who could handle the competition. We still had albums and workshops for ‘traditional’ scrapbooking. In an era when it seems everything is done by computer we still love to sit and do hand-craft and our albums are an expression of that.
Some consultants had to let go during this period. I was one of them. This though, I have learned, is normal in direct selling. If you want to get to the top you need to put in a few good years of hard work and sponsoring to get there. I could not do this and balance all the other pressures in my life. I stopped consulting but continued scrapping. I believed in the mission and still do.
Then Creative Memories invested in digital solutions…I was hooked again well and truly. I love my Storybook Creator software, Memory Manager and the beautiful books I can produce, Sure there are competitors here too but top of the list for quality and accessibility with creative flexibility is this product. This is my preferred way to scrap even though I have many clients who still like to do the hands on. I became a consultant again because of the digital options enabled me to have another crack at direct selling.
- I want to make sure the story goes with the photos
- I want to remember the best parts of my life
- I want my children and their children to know their story
- I love the time out of a busy life doing something for me
- I love taking photos just so I can scrap them
- I am a teacher and love teaching others that they too CAN do this
- I am still and always will be creative and this is just one way of expressing that
- and I love to challenge those who say they are not creative to kill that negative self belief and discover that they are – it just got lost somewhere in their busy lives.
- And, I am not alone in any of this. we are a family of consultants and customers sharing the one mission.
CM Sisters all over the country will say similar to me. For some the company provided income, for others it funds a hobby, but for all of us the mission matters. We want to see photos scrapped and shared, preserved for lifetimes to come. And some…we can do all kinds of paper crafts and make anything you can think of that can be either printed or shared digitally! We run workshops and classes and teach others. For us this business is not just about selling a product – it is about the customer, the you, your photos, your story, your way. We help people to do this – and that for me is far more rewarding than any fiscal benefit from being a consultant.
So…we are not going to turn our heads and sadly walk away from today’s closed door.
Those magnificent entrepreneurs Diane and Brian, and others, have been spending this month working on Plan B. Tomorrow just what that is we will find out. It is the new door. The CM family has stuck together with campaigns to scrap the stash and virtual crop all month long so we are still going to be here – but with a new brand. The one constant is the Mission.
So right now the mood is warm and fuzzy. The anticipation for tomorrow’s announcement is mounting – we will have the opportunity to continue the mission with a whole new look and I can’t wait.
Thank you Diane for making it all possible and keeping it all possble, and thank you Sarah for encouraging me to have another crack and more recently wait for tomorrow to come!