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Friday, February 28, 2014

Panstoria Announces Print Shop Affiliate Program!

Just a few minutes ago this was posted on the Panstoria Facebook Page:

Announcing the Panstoria Print Shop Affiliate Program

It's here! We've been working on this for a while now and are excited to be able to launch this new program. The Panstoria Print Shop (PPS) affiliate program will allow an individual or business entity to earn commissions on purchases made from the Print Shop as a result of referrals by the affiliate.
Here's the program in a nutshell:
- Earn 10% commissions on sales (including your own purchases)
- No monthly fees, minimum sales or purchase requirements
- One-time registration fee of $49
Applications for the program will be accepted immediately, but commissions will not be paid until applications have been approved. Approvals will begin on Monday, March 3.
More details on the program, the complete program agreement, and instructions on how to apply can be found here:
(NOTE: The PPS affiliate program is separate from the affiliate program run by ShareASale.com that applies to sales made on the panstoria.com store.)


Updated:  I’m happy to announce that I’m now an affiliate with Panstoria’s Print Shop!  Click here to shop Panstoria Print Shop with my affiliate link Smile

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rhonda Anderson Leaves Creative Memories

What a crazy past few day’s it’s been in the AZ/CM scrapbooking world!  Sunday evening an email went out to Ahni & Zoe consultants announcing that Rhonda Anderson was resigning from AZ.  For those that aren’t familiar with the name, Rhonda is one of the co-founders of Creative Memories.  You can learn a bit more about the history of Creative Memories in this video.

Before I go any further I have to say that this will not be an objective post.  It’s going to be filled with emotion and feelings along with facts & info.  This newest development, for me, is sort of like ripping the scab off of an old wound.  I realized as I watched the video linked above that am still mourning the loss of Creative Memories and the loss of my CM business.  I LOVED being a CM consultant and loved what I thought the company stood for.  Learning what I have over the past year has tainted my view of the company and of Rhonda Anderson.  I understand that many people just want products they loved & trusted back – and I want that, too…but for some of us there is now the question of if we want to do business (even if only as a customer) with people we no longer trust.  That being said, I do realize that there is life after Creative Memories.  I’m enjoying the freedom that comes from not being associated with only one company and still being able to help others preserve their memories…but it’s still hard.

Back to last Sunday.  Many former CM consultants and current AZ consultants were contacted by Heritage Maker (HM) consultants and were told that Rhonda Anderson was going to announce her signing with HM as a consultant.  They also shared information about HM and the opportunities that are available with the company, thinking that many CM/AZ consultants may want to sign up in light of this soon-to-be made public announcement.  Even though many of the HM consultants asked for these conversations to remain private, it didn’t take long for this news to go through the ranks of social media.  On Sunday evening an email was sent out (I believe in a hurried effort to do “damage control – addressed to “Creative Memories Consultants”) to AZ consultants announcing the retirement of Rhonda Anderson.


That same evening Rhonda Anderson began recruiting AZ consultants via her Facebook page and conference calls – inviting them to follow her to Heritage Makers while frequently tossing around the word “integrity” and insisting that she wasn’t recruiting.  She also stated that she was leaving AZ because of their lack of commitment to the field. 

It was Rhonda that I had exchanged phone calls and emails with before this last bankruptcy was announced about the lack of support for all CM consultants.  Traditional products were disappearing at an alarming rate from the CM product line and there was only outdated, limited support for CMCs that held workshops and classes. Rhonda insisted that most album makers weren’t interested in scrapbooking, that they found the term “scrapbooking” scary and that CM was “getting off the scrapbooking rollercoaster.”  According to her, digital and albums with pre-printed pages were the way to go.  Talk about not supporting the field!!  There is little doubt in my mind that AZ didn’t support their field of consultants properly but this started long before AZ did.

Rhonda has joined as a consultant with Heritage Makers – a multi level marketing company owned by Youngevity – a company that has many brands under it’s umbrella.  Rhonda is going to head up a brand under Youngevity and hopes to offer cloth covered albums with blank pages, tools and cardstock.  This is indeed encouraging news for those hoping to find replacements for the products that disappeared with Creative Memories. 

It will be interesting to see how this new line of products are tested for photo safety & other standards that were a hallmark of some Creative Memories products. Rhonda was asked if the new products will be up to ISO standards.  This was something that was impossible to confirm with AZ.  Reportedly these new products will be tested in a  lab and that they will be at the threshold level of ISO standards that is considered archival and photo safe.  That doesn’t sound like a “yes” to me so we’ll have to wait & see about this.

When this mess started – before the bankruptcy - some CMCs dared to rock the boat, warning CM that by eliminating core products and not supporting all consultants and types of album makers the company was treading dangerous waters.  Those CMCs were called negative (by Rhonda Anderson & many CMCs) and were told they should just trust CM.  We chose to think of ourselves as passengers on the Titanic who, when seeing the iceberg ahead, tried to convince the captain to change course & avoid the collision.  Turns out AZ – without products to support traditional or digital scrapbookers – isn’t doing so well.  Now I’m wondering if Rhonda Anderson is like the Captain of the Titanic – abandoning ship.  Creative Memories was Rhonda’s baby, there is no doubt that she helped make that company what it was – question is did she help turn it into what it is now?  Perhaps she had little to do with the business decisions and wasn’t much more than a consultant wrangler.  Either way, it seems like she’s now realized that there is a need for cloth covered albums with blank pages, tools & cardstock and these will be a part of her new product line.  I’ve also heard that there will be albums pre-printed pages in Rhonda’s new product line. I really, really hope that Rhonda Anderson finally realizes that there is room for all types of scrapbookers and decides to support them unlike in the past when CM/AZ tried to convince album makers that their way was best (remember 12x12ish pages, proprietary software and albums with only pre-printed pages?)

There seems to be a bit of a mass Exodus, including several Elite Leaders, of AZ consultants leaving to join HM and/or Rhonda’s team.  In fact several Elite Leaders had their accounts deactivated by AZ, reportedly for setting up conference calls for Rhonda and sharing them with their team.  Non-compete clauses, and the Direct Selling Associations non- proselytizing policy certainly make this all the more interesting. 

I understand why many consultants are interested in Heritage Makers.  Those of us that had digital customers were left hi & dry when CM/AZ abandoned us.  Personally, I’m sticking with Panstoria – I love SBC+/Artisan and that there is no need for an internet connection when using these programs (unlike the Heritage Makers website).  I also like being able to  print my projects anywhere and I don’t like having to pay for a subscription to access most digital content on the Heritage Makers website. 

Panstoria supposedly is going to be adding more income-producing opportunities for it’s affiliates.  I’m hoping that this will soon include items in their Print Shop.  I’ll be sure to share if/when that happens – along with updates to this scrapbooking saga.  Remember – my Facebook Group is the best place to get the latest information. 

Stay tuned for the next episode of  “As the (Scrapbook) Page Turns” Open-mouthed smile

Link to interview with Rhonda Anderson on Scrapbook Update.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Ahni & Zoe now offering plain white pages & protectors

Though Creative Memories has changed it's name to "ahni & zoe by Creative Memories" and the product line is vaguely familiar they’ve seemed to leave traditional scrapbookers in the dust.  Until now.  Cue the entrance of an old favorite - plain, white, blank pages with page protectors.  These are available indefinitely. (Sorry – not sure exactly what this means but it’s what AZ has said.)

Of course, there is more to this story:
1) The regular line of products in the "new" company are LARGER than the old. I have no idea if these pages are the exact same size as the True 12x12 ones produced until August 2013.  Edited to add:  According to many posts on the A&Z Facebook page, these new pages are the same size as the old ones.   I’ll post if I get new info.  The new albums are NOT bookcloth covered.  They are "Soft Touch Laminate," a plastic I've heard referred to as something similar to those rubber pants they used to put over cloth diapers...with a sort of waxy feel to it…or dolphin skin.  Either way, it’s not bookcloth.
2) The "new" company has said they do NOT test for photo safety any longer.  It is one of the many, many reasons I am no longer a consultant.  This information is NOT listed that way on their website.  I had gone back & forth with the company trying to get specific information regarding the tests they use to ensure their products are safe and they could not (or would not) provide this information.  The "standards" they mention on their website are about the durability of the album and it's pages - not about scientific testing done to ensure that the photos and memorabilia you place on the pages will be around for future generations to enjoy.
3) I will be honest and tell you that the company does appear to continue to have financial difficulty.  They're financials are public info and their income is still less than their expenses. PLEASE be careful when ordering to only use a credit card.  Beware - the new return policy for albums is ... unique, for lack of a better word.   If you buy an album with it's pre-designed pages and are not happy with it you are not able to return it (despite their “Happiness Guarantee.”)   However, if you put all your photos and journaling in the album and are unhappy there is no problem…simply return the COMPLETED album - yes, including the photos - and you should receive a product credit - NOT a refund.  

On a more personal note...I have very mixed feeling towards this company.  I feel that they abandoned many customers and consultants but I do not wish to see them fail.  After all, If they fail they can not pay back the money they collected from sales of products that were supposed to go to the Make a Wish Foundation and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation or the money that they (legally) took from many, many CMCs retirement funds.

Link to the blank pages & protectors on the Ahni & Zoe/Creative Memories web site.  PLEASE be sure to select a consultant if you order…if you don’t AZ/CM makes all the money.Sad smileDespite A&Z  saying this is a good thing for consultants I don’t think it is.

I'll continue to provide information so you can make an informed decision.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CTMH NEW Pages in Creative Memories Albums

A huge “Thank You” to Close to my Heart Consultant, Tammy Graham for sharing her photos & reviews of the new Sideloading CTMH pages!  When you are shopping on your CTMH Consultants website you’ll see these listed as “12x12 Memory Protectors Strap Side Load”  Don’t have a CTMH consultant?  Head on over to Tammy’s CTMH website!

Below are Tammy’s photos & comments.  You should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them.

All 25 pages in the album.


You can see just a bit of the page protectors at the bottom and top of the spine area. The protectors do extend further into the spine area than regular pages.


Looking down at the album, the protectors do not stick out at all.


CTMH SL with CM Black pages - it lays very flat at this point.


CTMH SL pages under a black page inside the album. There is a small border all around the black page from the SL pages.


A close up of this edge


The edge of the album with page protectors and a few true black CM pages. They end at about the same place if you were planning to mix and match.


View from the top of the album.


The pages do have a "hump" in the middle (it could use one more strap there). I am not sure , but I think to get the pages to lay more flat you would have to use cardboard spacers.


I have the strap a little tighter on the bottom, but I still think there is going to be a bit of an issue with the album laying flat without the cardboard spacers.


Toward the front



Toward the front, you can see the one side is higher.


Toward the middle



The last pages


The opening of the album.


Showing the top corner so you can see the edge of the protectors.


Looking down on the spine area without the cover.


Looking at the CTMH SL pages loaded next to regular CM pages. The CM pages are flush, while the CTMH SL pages stick out a little further into the spine. However, with the cover on this really isn't noticeable or an issue.


The album closed.


Thanks, again, Tammy!  Looks like these are a great option!