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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


 


Challenges, problems, and triumphs -- from a manufacturer's perspective.

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What Happened to Creative Memories?

Not adjusting to the times.

by Nancy Nally (December 1, 2008)

(Note: For the latest on the Creative Memories bankruptcy, read Nancy's reports at her Scrapbook Update site, www.scrapbookupdate.com.)

Creative Memories arguably founded the scrapbook industry as we know it today. So how did the company end up in bankruptcy court recently, filing for a Chapter 11 restructuring of their debt?

Certainly the general scrapbook industry downturn has played a role in the company's problems. But other large companies in the industry are continuing on and adjusting to the changing marketplace. What's the difference between them and Creative Memories? To put it simply, Creative Memories didn't adjust to the changing consumer climate.

Unlike other scrapbook companies, which sell products intended for consumers to use however they wish, Creative Memories operates based on selling a philosophy. The Creative Memories philosophy is very narrow and based on rigid adherence to archival principles and simplicity in design.

When Creative Memories started to grow, the company faced little competition. The company's philosophy that the CM way to scrap is the only "right" way to scrap didn't face any competition because it was essentially the only available way to scrap for a lot of people.

When the interest the company created in scrapbooking led to the creation of competition for itself, for awhile there was enough business to go around for everyone. Scrapbooking was hot. Many scrapbookers did opt for a broader definition of scrapbooking than the Creative Memories philosophy allows. But the market was so huge that there were still enough customers who bought into (literally) the CM philosophy to keep the company growing.

The scrapbooking downturn changed things, however. When the market leveled and then started to drop, there wasn't enough to go around for everyone anymore. And Creative Memories' narrow philosophy of scrapbooking started to backfire by severely limiting its share of the shrinking scrapbook customer base.

As practiced by many consultants, the CM philosophy actually declines to sell to some potential customers. A significant number of consultants will not allow scrapbookers who use non-Creative Memories products to attend their crops (which are actually sales events, of course). Most experienced scrapbookers can tell a story about their non-Creative Memories products and style being treated as unsavory or contraband by a CM consultant.

A company cannot build a successful business in a difficult market by limiting potential customers with how they use their products, or by turning them away altogether. And yet that is what many consultants actively do. Instead of welcoming scrapbookers who use non-Creative Memories products and hoping to sell them some CM products to use along with them, many consultants actually turn those potential customers away

(Note: Nancy operates a blog, Scrapbook Update, at www.scrapbookupdate.com. She has written numerous articles on scrapbooking for various publications, including CLN, Creative TECHniques, Scrapbook Business, and DesignerZine. Nancy can be contacted at nanally@gmail.com.

xxx

 

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