CM is BACK!

CM is BACK!
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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Important Dates to Remember

July 8 – 31 

Last Chance Ordering period. 

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During the Last Chance offer CM will take orders for the above items (only) and then will order the supplies and manufacture the ordered items.  This will be done most likely over several months.  These products will not be offered for sale again.

August 21st is the last day for:

  • Product certificates & credits to be used by
  • Hostess rewards to be redeemed
  • Rewards Club credits to be used.

Friday, June 28, 2013

TINY TREASURES CRICUT and more available again

Quick! LOTS of stuff is being added to my CM website - it's all WSL. The new July products are available to order, too.

Items of note: HEXAGON BORDER MAKER CARTRIDGE, TINY TREASURES Cricut Cartridge, Hexagon CCS pattern, CM tumbler, Rewards Club Holidazzle 8x8 Coverset, Scrabble/Vintage alphabet tiles.

Gray Shimmer & Teal Shimmer Paper

Celebrate the Little Things Coverset

What will not show up is the stuff that will be part of the Last Chance Sale (12x12 Pages, Protectors, Coversets & Taper Runner Frosted Segment Refills (that's new!) This stuff will NOT last long - please place your order via my website if you see something you like. Shipping is very backed up - I'm sure this will add to the shipping problems. Just be aware that you will most likely not receive your items quickly.

http://www.mycmsite.com/sites/lisagraham/

Monday, June 24, 2013

Last Chance Sale

Here is a look at the products that will be sold during the Last Chance Sale (July 8 - 31) and will not be a part if the "New CM"

No support from CM for SBC+ and MM in the future.

BIG NEWS for CM digital users. Creative Memories posted this on their official FB page this morning: "At this point, we can confirm that our digital software will not be a part of our business moving forward. We will not be supporting the software or printing past August. There may be options for getting software support elsewhere, but nothing has been confirmed or finalized."

So be sure to backup all your activation codes and keep a list somewhere. The software was created by Panstoria, and it is my hope that as soon as the dust settles from CM's implosion, Panstoria will be ready to jump in and take over support. They have already stated that there are "no technical issues" preventing them from swooping in to save the day, it's just a legal game at this point.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

It's a tough time to be a CMC

CM is not providing clear facts about the future of the company, citing the bankruptcy process as the reason for this. Some CMCs are more than happy to follow CM's advice to proceed with "business as usual" and trust CM - relying only on information from CM. I am not one of those CMCs. I feel better prepared armed with facts and information - especially when it comes to running my business.

Information coming from CM is not all in one spot. It's all over the place - including many emails answering questions from different CMCs. Much information is available to the public due to the nature of the bankruptcy process. With so many sources for information it's tough to get a firm grasp on what's happening - and that doesn't even take into account the speculation and rumors - some sound very feasible & some – well, not so much. Thankfully I have a great network of like minded CMCs and others that share information, allowing us to get a clearer picture of what is happening now - and what CM will look like in the future. I'm happy to pass that info on here to you and feel like it's my job as a CM Consultant to keep you as best informed as I can - hence the title "Consultant." :) I know there are CMCs out there telling customers nothing, I know there are CMCs telling customers how excited they are for the "New CM". I've always been a huge supporter of all CMCs - no matter what type of business they choose to have. However, I draw the line when a CMC chastises other CMCs for sharing information on their FB page, blog or any other outlet because they personally choose to remain "positive” and see anything other than the official talking points from CM as negative.  A fact is a fact and just because you don't like it doesn't mean it is negative.

I will spare you the drama - perhaps for another day - but I will tell you now that the intolerance towards those that choose to arm themselves with facts is getting very ugly as is the attitude from many CMCs towards decorative scrapbooking. Just when I thought us CMCs had shaken that awful stereotype of being judgmental and controlling.

Perhaps it's due to the nature of what we do as CMCs – for many (most, in my opinion) it's so much more than just selling things. We help others preserve their photos - their memories. For many of us, it's never really been about the sales...luckily those came when we used and shared some of our favorite products. So many CMCs have an emotional connection to Creative Memories but CM is a business - it's bottom line is money. Shoot, the CEO is from Bank of America - his job was to bring CM out of the first bankruptcy. He did that and CM landed right into another. CM is struggling to stay afloat and when times are tough hard decisions need to be made. As a CMC, and a customer, I am hoping for the best for CM but will plan just in case that doesn't happen and I suggest you do the same.

Monday, June 17, 2013

No more Creative Memories Albums, Pages & Protectors?

 

Creative Memories has announced it’s new, broader vision – it’s shift in strategy.  Acknowledging the huge amount of competition in the craft market they feel they need to move to the larger, and less crowded, portion of the market - the one that likes quick and easy products, whether traditional or digitally produced.

"The absence of pages and protectors is a new concept to many" and "we will have albums and pages but they will be fresh and new" are 2 statements recently made by various sources at CM that really, really surprised me. I knew they were simplifying but never thought they would decide to not offer these hallmark items.  Personally, and as a CMC for over 12 years, I don’t think this is a good idea.  More about this in a bit – first the important details that you need to know:

As part of the bankruptcy process, CM has submitted a plan to the court for approval and have requested to offer all current traditional products on a While Supplies Last basis.
For some core products that are produced in-house by CM, (I think these will most likely be page refills, page protectors and album coversets)  Creative Memories intends to offer a "Last Chance” order period in July. The proposed timing is July 8-31,
2013. CM used the term “build on demand” to describe how these will be sold – I think that means pre-orders will be taken and then the items will be manufactured. 

CM’s current HOSTESS Rewards program will be discontinued at the end of June.

  • Parties need to be held on or before June 30
  • Parties need to be closed by June 30
  • Host Rewards need to be redeemed by June 30

REWARDS CLUB credits will need to be redeemed by August 21st.  No new Rewards Club members are being accepted – current club members can earn credit until August 21st. 

Regarding CM DIGITAL:  Creative Memories said they are continuing to seek out the best way to transition it’s digital business, but do not yet have a solution they can share.  I believe that CM will be also simplifying digital. I remain confident that arrangements will be made with a 3rd party for support of SBC+ and MM.  If not - know that in the worst case scenario - other avenues are being explored by myself and a very large number of CMCs and we will share that information if the need arises.

Check to see if you have any product credits that you purchased or ones that came with SBC+ content.  There are some out there with expiration dates into 2014 and they will need to be used by August 21st 2013  DO NOT wait until then to upload & order.  There are always problems with CM at the end of a sale and I can’t even imagine how overwhelmed their system is going to be around 8-21.  The sooner you can upload & order any digital products the better!!


I recently took inventory of the coversets on my shelf and placed an order for the pages and protectors that I needed to complete those.  Please do the same and place your order – using a credit card as soon as possible.  I do not want anyone to miss out on the supplies they need...but also do not want you to panic. I don't plan to "stock up" and I don't think you should either. 

It’s looking more and more like CM has made a decision to not only focus on new, potential customers (which could be a great new start for them) but also sending a message to loyal customers to change their way of scrapbooking or spend their money elsewhere.   I can’t begin to tell you how awful I think the decision is to not offer pages, protectors and coversets.  I know the full details haven’t been announced by CM – at least not in a clear, honest form - but it has been said to many people and in various forums that CM believes people are just too frazzled to scrapbook and that is why they are offering the Fast 2 Fabulous albums (preassembled albums with pre-printed pages) and PicFolios ( probably with an updated design.)  With this cookie cutter approach to album making it’s a sure bet “Creative” will not be in their new name.  CM has said that refills for the F2F albums will be available and I can’t imagine them offering albums without page protectors.  It makes no sense to me to not offer these components separately (and plain, unprinted pages) to keep a HUGE portion of your current customer base happy – and coming back with their money for years to come.

Also – this is what CM’s plan is if their plan is approved.  Not one word (that I’ve seen) has been mentioned about what will happen if this plan isn’t approved.  Switching from Chapter 11 to Chapter 7 (liquidation) is a very realistic reality, in my opinion, if this plan is denied. 

I’ve shared the link to send comments to CM before and I’ll share it again but I am also sharing a link to their Facebook page.  If you click on “Posts by Others” you’ll see a lot of people telling CM how much they hope CM will continue to offer their coversets, pages and protectors.  Please let them know your feelings, too. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Preparing for the “New CM”

Just a reminder – my Facebook group is the best place to get the latest news.  Lisa’s Workshop on Facebook.

See below for some important info regarding protecting your investment in CMs digital programs – Storybook Creator Plus and Memory Manager.

This week the CM employees could possibly see more layoffs. A WARN notice was given back in April and this Friday is the projected date these  latest layoffs will begin - IF they happen at all.

With this uncertainty it’s a good idea to pay with a credit card when ordering from Creative Memories and if you need to order anything I'd do it towards the beginning of this week just to be safe until we know if layoffs will be made and how that will impact CM.

Personally, I'm making sure I have items to use with what I have in my stash. Replacement blades & strips for my 12" trimmer, pages & protectors for my Coversets, any papers/embellishments I need to finish works in progress, and cardstock. I haven't found another brand that I love as much as CM's and I'm sad to think it won't be offered in the future. If CM emerges from this bankruptcy it is almost certain that we they will not offer many decorative items and while I'm not sure if CM considers cardstock a basic album making supply like I hope they do - at the worst I'll have lots of cardstock to work with and that makes me happy. 

I am hoping CM won't lay off any more employees but as it has been revealed in bankruptcy papers CM continues to lose money and we are sure to see big changes in the near future. I think the first changes we will see will be regarding Storybook Creator Plus (SBC+), Memory Manager (MM) and possibly the elimination of items from the Digital Center

Whatever happens with Creative Memories – even in the worst case scenario (where CM would switch to Chapter 7 bankruptcy and liquidate assets with little or no warning) I think there will be support for SBC+ and MM.  The company that developed these programs for CM has been unable to comment or answer questions regarding this but I am very confident that they will be taking over support for these great programs should CM not be able to do this. 

How to protect your investment in SBC+ and/or MM

These are good habits for everyday use – and are especially important now given the uncertainty of CM’s future.

Make sure your programs are up to date. 

You can check at the lower left side of the welcome/home screen for each program to see if you have the latest version installed.

It will tell you if you need to check for updates or if it is up to date.

sbc     mm

After clicking on “Click to check for software updates” you will either get a message saying your software is up to date or you’ll need to download files from the CM website.  Click on the link within the software to do this or go directly to the Help Zone and you can find information about upgrading SBC+ or MM.

Back up your files

Memory Manager – back up your Memory Vault(s) to an external hard drive (EHD) or some other location that isn’t on the same computer that you have MM installed on.

Digital SBC+ Content

SBC+ Content –  purchased after 9-1-11

Log into your account on your CMC’s website or CM.com.  Click on “My Account” - at the bottom of the page you’ll see “Purchase History” – click on “View my digital download information” and you will see your digital content purchased after 9-1-11, activation codes and links to download the content.  Download any content you haven’t yet – or have lost, etc. 

SBC+ Content – purchased before 9-1-11

Contact CM digital support to get a copy emailed to you of the digital content you purchased prior to September 1, 2011. 

You can contact CM digital support regarding SBC+ using this online form.  You can also call CM digital support at  (866) 440-2420 or you can email them at  digitalsupport@creativememories.com

Ask CM digital support for a list of the digital content you’ve purchased prior to 9-1-11 and let them know each email address you may have used when purchasing content.  They will email you a list of all the content you purchased, the activation codes and links to download the content. Save this in a safe location.   Note:  This will be for downloadable content only.  CM digital support can’t send you codes or links for CDs of content you purchased. 

Throughout the years as computers crash or are upgraded digital content is lost.  This email with your purchase history is a great resource to have – everything is listed in one neat & tidy spot.  I was surprised to see how much content I didn’t have installed on my current computer. 

Now that you have a list of all the downloads you’ve purchased from CM you can cross reference it with what is installed on your computer.  Print off the list you received from digital support as well as those digital purchases listed online (copy & paste the kit names & activation codes into a document and print.)

Look through the lists of all your purchased content and cross reference this with the CM kits you have installed in SBC+ 

The default folder for kits purchased from CM is the “SBC Content ART Kits” folder.  When you click on “Library” view and then the “SBC Content Art Kit” folder you should see all of your SBC+ kits unless you’ve modified this.  Cross reference your kits against the list of those purchased and download any that you are missing and enter the activation codes for these kits.

Take a look at the list of activation codes.  Under the “Activation Codes” tab if you click on “Unlocked Kit(s)” it will sort your content alphabetically.  Any content installed but missing activation codes will be easy to spot – the code will be listed but not the name of the kit – and these will be listed at the top if you’ve sorted them alphabetically.   Make a note of kits not showing up as activated and enter the activation codes for these. 

Once this is done go through your discs you have purchased that contain SBC+ content.  Remember that your original version of SBC+ (the full program, not the upgrade)  came with content on  2 discs - Disc 1 has the program and Gazebo and Everyday kits.  Disc 2 has the predesigned pages for each kit in 3 different sizes.  I had to install the program (SBC+ 2.0) then go in to the folder where the program was installed and import the kits into SBC+ 4.o from there.   I wasn’t able to use the program to try to access the kits from within SBC+.  Install any content that is missing and again cross reference your installed content installed vs. that you purchased and activation codes. 

Make a backup copy of all your digital kits and user content

You can find out where all your artwork and user content is stored on your computer by clicking on the “Library” option and then click on each folder, one at a time and make a note of the location of each folder on your computer – it’s displayed towards the top of the main part of the screen.  Go to each folder and back up the contents to a disk or EHD for safe keeping.

kit

Backing up Activation Codes

Open SBC+ and Click on “Manage Content” from the welcome page.  Click on “Activation Codes” and save this by clicking on “Make a backup copy” at the bottom of the pop-up screen and save this to a safe location –  to a disk and/or EHD.

You should now have all your digital items installed, up to date, activated & backed up! 

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The “New CM”

Just a reminder – my Facebook group is the best place to get the latest news.  Lisa’s Workshop on Facebook.

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Shared today were screenshots of the new mini catalog and these quotes are taken directly from that catalog (text bolded by me for emphasis):

From the first page of the Mini Catalog:  "A whole new approach to saving and celebrating photos is coming. Don't miss this last chance to say goodbye to some favorite product categories with these fresh, final designs."

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"Storybook Creator fans, don't miss this last lovely bunch of digital content! The patterns are fun, the colors are carefree and the illustrations are as light as a summer breeze. Download yours today and save your summer in a StoryBook today before StoryBook support and printing goes away!"

So – even though CM hasn’t come out & given exact details we are getting a picture of the “New CM” (by the way a name change is heavily rumored to be in the works.)

EDITED TO ADD:  Hold on - now CM is saying that this was a proof from earlier and now they are saying "at this time, nothing is changing with StoryBook software, support or printing. 

I still think something is in the works for an online program. 

 

Here’s my best guess at what the “New CM” will look like:

No more decorative items – will this include basic albums, too?  At one time I didn’t think so – I thought this staple would remain in their product line forever but I’m not sure anymore.  I do think it’s safe to say that papers, stickers, most tools and other non-essential (according to CM) items will be gone very soon.  I know CM had hoped to increase the number of Fast 2 Fabulous albums – I would imagine that will still happen.  I also think PicFolio albums will be a part of the future product line.

No more digital content and printing of Storybooks.  This shocks me but it’s right there in the mini catalog.  I think – and this is still a guess – that SBC+ will no longer be supported.  Hopefully the company that developed SBC+ for CM will step in & offer support.  I can not in good faith recommend purchasing SBC+ or Memory Manager at this time.  I will be following this closely.  I love SBC+ & MM and will continue to use these programs as long as I can and will pass on any info I find regarding this issue when it’s available.  Before CM in Australia closed they launched an on-line option for digital photo book creation.  I’m guessing this is what CM will be going with should they continue to support digital album making. 

Side loading sleeves disappeared with very little notice from CM.  Latest word is that they are looking for another supplier to get the materials for these.  They hope to bring them back into the product line. 

Nancy O’Dell products are again available to purchase and I would imagine these will not be coming back once the current stock is depleted.

Bottom line – if you need products or have your eye on something – better get it now. 

Here are the other pages from the new Mini Catalog (should be available online only on Monday.)  Lots of fun stuff here!

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Excuse me while I go and hug my CM cardstock and Power Palettes and Border Maker System, and Storybooks, and….