Thursday, October 31, 2013

Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories - Business Preview

Last night I watched the preview videos of the proposed new business plan for Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories. I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised!

Although seemingly a complete 180 turn from their roots, it is a refreshing makeover in the party plan business. You all know I have been struggling with letting go. 20 years with Creative Memories hasn't been something I've been able to fully say goodbye to. Yet I was close. Very close.

I am intrigued by the new Slide-in Pages being interchangeable with the predesigned Fast2Fab pages. The Slide-in themed Packs remind me of Becky Higgins "Project Life" but with the benefit of Creative Memories quality coversets and not a huge 3-ring binder system.

One of my favorite Creative Memories products is the Everyday Display Board  and I was pleased to see it included in the Ahni & Zoe collection (slightly different and called Magnetic Displays)!

The A&Z catalog and product offerings are simple - making it easy for Consultants to memorize products and pricing. The new career plan is simple to understand. Being a "personal use" Consultant is simple. Pursuing leadership in this new company is clearly laid out in an easy-to-understand plan. The logo and graphics are simple and classy. Could this truly be?!

After so many years of "sophisticated confusion," this total company makeover is what I have been waiting for! I think they have a chance of helping today's busy people get their best photos off their phone and into a tangible, meaningful and enJOYable display or album.

Another exciting benefit is that all of the products are made in the USA with the exception of the Tape Runner, which is made Denmark. The album coverset material will be imported from England but assembled in America. I am curious to see the quality of these "new" products.

Now if I were CEO, I would add a Plain-page Refill Bundle option. (no brainer, right?!)

I would also add a rainbow of assorted quality cardstock, a trimmer & some glitter stickers...for starters ;)

Alas, I am not the CEO. What am I? Well, currently I am in prayer over the upcoming court decision (they must have approval before launching this revamp), and I am in prayer over what this means for me and my future with CM. If you are a prayer warrior, would you pray for me? I released my CM team back in 2011 to pursue other opportunities while CM struggled through their 2nd bankruptcy. Now I have some decisions to make as the company I loved is reinventing itself into something that is surprisingly pleasing to me.

If photos, stories, photo-journaling, paper and creativity were not my passion, I would have quit a long time ago. But I didn't. What does that mean? What is that last apron string that I have been unwilling to cut? Could this be the thread that will pull me back into the wonderful world of my passion?  Hmmm...

Happy Scrappin'

Monday, October 28, 2013

Creative Memories Blank Refill Pages

 (Requesting permission to use above illustration from the talented Hannah Flinn at )

Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!  Run from the Blank Page!!!!!!!

I have tried to be patient and understanding. 
I really have.

Is the reason CM is no longer offering blank refill pages really because they are 'scary' and require unlimited funds? Or is it something else?  Because in my opinion, blank refills are the SIMPLEST form of scrapbooking. It's what our great grandparents used to do.

No paper, no fancy scissors, just....

Tape. Write. Done.

Seems to me it would fit perfectly into the new Ahni & Zoe line.

But today CM issued the following public statement on why they are no longer offering blank Refill Pages (as posted on their Facebook page). What are your thoughts on this?  

Coversets & Blank Pages

October 28, 2013 at 12:01pm
Hi everyone -

There have been many of you who have made what seems to be a very reasonable request – for coversets and blank pages.  

Hopefully this will provide you with an understanding of our situation and our decision. Our go forward business must start with a clean and simple product line that can be used and sold by anyone – with little need for detailed explanation. Many of you are quite comfortable creating an album with blank pages. But the reality is, many people are not. In fact they’re intimidated by a blank page. They don’t know where to start, and they’re concerned the album won’t look good. This prevents them from doing anything.

We need to be able to reach out to as many people as possible to help us build this business. Our positioning must be clear so people understand what we’re about. And we’re going to be about easy completion of albums.

Now some of you may understand, but ask why can’t we just add the pages? Unfortunately we don’t have unlimited funds at the moment, and we’ve had to make the tough decision to start with the products that the average person finds easiest to get to completion with.

We do have some options for you. They may not be perfect, but they’re options.
 - We made sure that old and new coversets were interchangeable. And that’s true for all refills as well. And there are many consultants who are still selling coversets and blank refills.
- You can use your paper and put your page into our large slide in pocket page.
- There’s also the option to take the Fast to Fabulous and add your own paper. These albums are significantly less expensive than before.
- And of course, we’d like you to try the Fast to Fabulous. You can make it your own. You don’t have to follow the template. There’s plenty of opportunity for creativity.

It’s very easy to get caught up in the emotion of this particular topic. We’d just like to share one last thing. We’re a much smaller team here at the home office now. We’re moms, and dads, sisters, and brothers. If it were at all feasible, we’d grant every request. We take no joy in upsetting the very people we love. This has been a stressful journey for all of us. We’re still here because we’re devoted to this company and all it stands for. And we’re proud to play a role in helping to provide a business opportunity.

It’s becoming easier and easier to be positive because Ahni & Zoe is becoming real, and we see where this can go.   And though there’s a lot of concern being expressed, there’s also a lot of excitement and optimism for the future...via this fan page, and the emails and calls we’re receiving. We all have to move forward. Hopefully this at least provides some insight. Let’s get this business going, and the future may be filled with all sorts of possibilities.

Thank you.
Your Ahni & Zoe Home Office Team

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Ahni & Zoe Frequently Asked Questions

(Note from Donna Lyn: Please remember that the grand opening of ahni & zoe is all pending court approval). The following Frequently Asked Questions are answered here by Creative Memories:

Have questions related to the new Ahni & Zoe product line? Here are some frequently asked questions that may help you find the information you are looking for!

For the inawink™ app, why is there not an Android version? 

As a company that’s still in the bankruptcy process, we had to make choices based on limited development resources. While researching which platform was best to begin development on, we found iOS to be the best practice as a starting point, and the buying behaviors of iOS users are most closely aligned with our business strategy. We also discovered, while surveying Leaders for January focus groups, 86% of the respondents had iOS devices. So that’s why we started where we did, but please know that we are working on a web version, which everyone with a computer will be able to use, and Android is on our development roadmap.

Will old refill pages fit in new Ahni & Zoe albums? 

Your former refill pages will fit into the new Ahni & Zoe albums because the straps are in the same location. The new pages are interchangeable between Fast2Fab and Slide-In Albums. So you’ll be able to put Fast2Fab pages in Slide-in Albums, and put vertical, horizontal or single pocket pages into the Fast2Fab albums. 

Looking at the new catalog, is the black coverset just a plain black coverset or does it have a design? Do the true pages work in it?

The Black Slide-In cover has a light mono-tone plaid design. True pages will work in it. 

Are the albums offered made of bookcloth like the albums CM used to offer? Or are the albums made of that paperette material?

The majority are made with a soft-touch laminate paper-based material. This is not the same material that we have previously used. A lot of testing and R&D (by us and our suppliers) have gone into this material to ensure it meets all of our high quality standards. And for those that love bookcloth, we always have that as an option for future... when our volumes increase so we can meet minimum order quantities and contain costs. 

Will 11x14, 12x12 and 13x9 PicFolio pages fit in the new Ahni & Zoe Slide-In Albums?

Because of the changes needed in the album design to allow for the interchangeability, the Slide-In albums will not appropriately hold the former PicFolio pages.

Regarding the slide-in album pages, either the single pocket or multi-pocket: are they top-loading or side-loading?

Side-loading from the spine side.

Will there eventually be more colors of Slide-In albums available besides black and greige?

What we’re launching with is just a starting point.

Will the Large Single Pocket page fit a 12x12 piece of paper (that you can find anywhere), so people can scrap as they would with other top-loaders? 

Yes. The Large Single Pocket page will fit a 12x12 piece of paper.

Is buying an album with the single pocket sleeves an option, instead of the horizontal or vertical sleeves?

Not at launch, but we will take your feedback into consideration for the future.

Does the cost of the refill pages include page protectors?

Yes, they’re sold together so it’s one easy decision. And one pack of refill pages and page protectors is included with each Fast2Fab album.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories

The "big reveal" was today and Creative Memories is rolling out information on their new company, pending court approval, "ahni & zoe", ahni meaning "beautiful" and zoe meaning "life" - from A to Z!

Fast to Fab(ulous) album Kits, pre-decorated pages, page protectors.
Slide-in Pocket style albums
Pre-decorated refill pages and Pocket Page albums will fit into either style albums.

Tape Runner
4 Pens: Black, Brown, Gold and Silver

A smart phone app

Magnetic Displays

And that's about it!


For the "time-starved mom."

You may be able to view the new Catalog here.  I would love to know what you think!