Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Creative Memories Bankruptcy - another update

Creative Memories is currently in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (reorganization).  As the days and weeks go by it has become clear that the Creative Memories company will no longer exist as we know it today.

I saw this post by the Home Office on their Facebook page on Monday (in answer to a customer question):

It is difficult to see this current business wind down and to see it come to an end. The company that we hope to emerge will not have the same focus, so products that may have been the core of CM will no longer be core to the new company. We thank you for your passion and support over the years! We will be bringing our quality and our mission to celebrate photos forward and hope you'll give us a shot!

The company has stated that "we are winding down the current business so we're well positioned for a new start."  They are transitioning out of the current products to "a fresh, original product line that makes sense as part of a comprehensive new Direct Sales business."

Here are some important things to keep in mind.  This list could change as court hearings are held and I will try to keep posting up to date information.  I  put this list together from Home Office messages and Facebook posts but changes could be made at any time as there are some pending court dates and decisions to be made. 

Host Rewards
The Host Rewards program will end as of June 30th.  All hosted events must be entered into the system by the 30th.  I believe that the Home Office stated that the computer system will change as of July 1st so that is an absolute deadline.

If you have hosted an event and have Host Credits to use, they must be used by August 21 (or the original expiration date if it is earlier).  I would try to use any credits that you have as soon as possible.

Traditional Products

Current Product Line - Virtually all of the existing products are on "While Supplies Last" status.  Many have sold out already.  If there is anything you need/want, the sooner you place an order, the more likely you are to find it.  Customer service reps have advised that if you expedite shipping on your order, it will be pulled first.  Due to some server issues and storms/power outages in Minnesota, shipping is running slower than normal.

New Products - There is one last group of new products that will be available to order July first.  Ordering opened for consultants on these items on June 15th so it is possible that they may run out very quickly.  You can look at the online mini catalog HERE to see these items.  Check on July 1st to see what is available if there is anything you "must have."  (My favorite is the Peacock Designer Print paper pictured above).

Last Chance Orders - The company plans to take orders from July 8 until July 31st for a limited selection of coversets, pages and protectors.  (As of now the 12 x 12 side loading sleeves are not available and there is no indication that they will be part of this last chance ordering.  Some of the Picfolio page refills are also sold out with no indication that they will be part of the last chance orders).  Creative Memories plans to manufacture these items to demand based on the orders received.  This is subject to Court approval and a hearing is scheduled for later this week.  I have seen lists of the colors of albums but I don't want to post this until the plan has been approved.  It is a short list.

Rewards Club

The club will end on August 21, 2013 and Rewards Club credits will be issued and can be used until that date.  Membership fees will be pro-rated and refunded in the form of Rewards Club credits (must be used by August 21st).  This refund by credit will not happen until Court approval is received.

Digital (Memory Manager, StoryBook and Digital Center)

The two computer programs, Memory Manager for photo editing and organization and StoryBook Creator for digital scrapbooking and other project creation were developed by another company and licensed to Creative Memories to sell.  While Creative Memories will no longer sell or support the program, this company is likely to take over support, however, there is not yet a definitive plan in place.

Creative Memories Home office posted on Facebook on Monday

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.

Be sure to keep your programs up to date and to back them up regularly.  The programs should continue to function normally but there is always the possibility of a computer crash that would require a new installation and activation.  Until the situation is resolved, activation could be a problem once Creative Memories stops support in August.

You should be running a shadow copy of your memory vaults in Memory Manager.  If you haven't been doing this, now would be a good time to set it up.  The shadow copy automatically updates every time you close the program.  You can also make backup copies of your memory vaults and even export your vault into Windows folders to be sure that your images are accessible even if you lose the ability to use the Memory Manager program.  If the developer picks up support for Memory Manager (most likely under a different name) the proprietary memory vault format should work with their version of the program.

If you have been using the StoryBook Program for a long time, you probably have lots of digital content that you have purchased from Creative Memories. (I have collected hundred of sets of content over the years).  Items purchased in StoryBook format will not open in other programs at this time.  If you purchased items as Universal Content from Creative Memories or purchased digital supplies from other sources, those are already useable in other programs.

It is possible to save items from the proprietary StoryBook kits as JPEG and PNG files and export them but I am not doing that just yet.  I am very hopeful that an agreement will be reached for the program to be supported by the developer and that a simple software code change will make the CM content open automatically as it does in the current program.  I am keeping a close eye on this situation and will keep you informed.

If you have purchased content as digital downloads, check your CM account and compare it to the items listed in your program to be sure that all of your purchases were downloaded and installed.  If you find any that were not installed, download and activate now!

To backup your activation codes, click on the "Manage Content" icon on the Home ribbon when you open the program.

When the ribbon changes, click on "activation codes" and the click the icon to make a backup copy of the codes at the bottom right of the screen that pops up.  This will create a text document that lists all of your purchased content and the codes.  Save it on your computer and also print it to put in a safe place.

The default location for your content is on the C drive, Users, Public, Public Documents, Creative Memories Art Kits.  If you want to back up your purchased files you should make a copy of this folder on another hard drive.

To back up your projects created in StoryBook, browse to the location where they are saved and copy the folders to another drive.  The default location is within your user account in the "My Documents" folder.  If you have saved the projects to another location you will need to find them and save a copy to another drive.

If you have any digital content CDs from Creative Memories that contained codes for credit on a printed StoryBook, those credits will now expire on August 21st (even though many are dated for dates in 2014).

Creative Memories has stated that digitally produced Custom Pages, Coversets, Page Prints, Calendars, Books and all digital products will still be able to be produced until August 21st. Please plan on ordering any projects by that date and do your best to order them as soon as you can in case more changes take place that may alter the current plans.

I hope that this information is helpful.  If you have questions, please leave a comment and I will try to answer.  If you have a local consultant, please be in touch with that person for any final orders.  If you need a consultant to place an order, my CM personal website is HERE.

The page at the top of this post was made with the Storybook program - it is one of my layouts from the LOAD  (Layout a Day) challenge in May. 

I hope this information has been helpful for those of you who use Creative Memories products.  I imagine that any regular readers who aren't Creative Memories users stopped reading a long time ago!  I'll try to pop back in a little later today to post a little project that is something completely different!

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  1. Wow, Diane. I had not heard until this post. Hopefully the trademark albums will emerge to continue to be sold. Thanks for the info, J

    1. Hi Jill, I don't know if the new company will have the classic albums - if they don't, I hope some other group will buy the equipment and make them. The albums, the tools and the glue pen are three of my "must haves" fro traditional scrapping. I am eager to hear what the next step will be for digital - hoping that the developers will pick up and continue to support the programs.

  2. Thank you for keeping us updated. Really appreciate.

    1. You are most welcome. I am worried that some people might be blindsided by all of this - particularly if they are not in regular contact with a consultant. I hope that there will be a smooth transition but so many things sold out very quickly - there are bound to be disappointed users who can't get everything they want.

    2. I was definitely blindsided. :( I was a consultant years ago (for five years). The opportunity to start my own business selling custom window coverings came around and was much more profitable (and busy), so my scrapbooking got put on the back burner for a while. I'd been thinking that i needed to get back to it, and started assessing supplies --- went online and discovered that CM was in dire straits. I was always a fan of the 12 x 15 albums because they allowed for so much more on each page -- photos, memorabilia, etc. I probably need six or seven more packages of 12 x 15 pages to be able to finish all the books I have. Managed to get a couple of packs on eBay, but the supply/demand thing is driving prices through the roof.

      Sad days, indeed.

    3. Hi Laura, I am glad that you found something more profitable and have been happy doing it. I am also sorry that the prices for discontinued sizes, etc. are getting so out of control. If I come across any 12 x 15 pages at a reasonable price I will let you know.
      I hope that another company might pick up the business and manufacture the basic sizes of pages and protectors. We will have to wait and see...

  3. Wow, so much info - thank you. Makes me sad, tho :(

    1. Hi Valerie,
      Yes - it is a lot to take in and the information is constantly evolving. I will do my best to post any big news here.
      It is sad to see such a long time leader in the field dwindle down to nothing...but I am actively searching for alternatives to take the place of my favorite CM items and will be sharing my finds on the blog.

  4. Wonder when other companies (i.e. Stampin! Up) will follow this trend... of bankruptcy because of the economy, etc.

    1. The two CM bankruptcies had nothing to do with the economy but poor/shady business practices by former owners/executives. CMCs in Australia received no notice that their doors would shut. They literally ran out of product in 24-hours and that was it. Close to My Heart has expanded to Australia and is bringing many former CMCs into their debt-free business model.

    2. Thanks for stopping by G-ma! I know that Archiver's (a brick and mortar retail store of scrapbooking supplies) is also in Chapter 11 but I think the other two companies you mention are doing OK right now.
      I think Bobbie is right, the problems CM is dealing with stem from more than just the economic issues of the times. It's a very long an complicated story - this is actually the second time CM has gone into Chapter 11.
      Bobbie - I feel for the Australian consultants and customers who were cut off so abruptly. I hope that they are able to rebuild with CTMH.

  5. It is sad to hear the news about CM, I hope they do emerge strongly as they make their come back. I really liked their cutting tools. Stampin Up is going strong though, because they are in the Up and Up with their line of products. I only wish they also partnered with Provo Craft and came up with some cool featured cartridges to go with their Stamps.

    1. Hi Ana, It is very sad for many people. CM has been a way of life and a source of terrific products for over 25 years. The custom cutting system is such a great idea - maybe another company will start making these tools.
      I do love the Stampin Up cardstock for making cards. It is so nice and thick. I haven't heard any rumors about an SU cartridge but it would be a great idea.

  6. Diane, If I make a storybook in Storybook Creator, will I be able to upload it to another service to be printed?

    1. Hi Linda,
      They are still trying to work out a plan with the support and printing of StoryBooks. But don't worry - you do have the ability to save each of your finished pages as a JPEG and then you can upload the full page images to any of a number of vendors that print books. I am planning to try out a few so I can recommend an alternative for printing your books.
      Let me know if you don't understand how to save your pages and I'll try to write a post explaining the process for using another printer as soon as I can.

  7. Linda,
    I checked with ShutterFly, since My Publisher has joined them, and they cannot print out a StoryBook from our program. So you would have to save pages as Diane mentioned.
    Today's news (July 26, 2013) says that any projects you have in StoryBook will be lost to you. So all the StoryBooks I have created won't be accessible to me or anyone else to see or order.
    DIANE- Is it possible to save those "already created" StoryBook pages as jpegs? Not sure I want to do that since I'm still trying to do one before I loose the $39.95 credit!!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      Projects uploaded to the digital Center for printing are converted during the upload process and can not be downloaded. You should always save a final copy of your project on your computer (and back it up on a second drive).

      You do have some time left before August 21st when the credits expire (unless you are using an older credit that has an earlier date). I hope you can finish your project so you don't loose that credit!

      You can save pages that you have created as jpegs quite easily. Go to the "file" menu and choose "save as". You will see the option to export the pages in various formats. After you choose "export" you will need to choose the jpeg format from the drop down menu and be sure to choose the highest quality (300dpi)and save the full page not the trimmed view.

      You will want to be extra careful to check that no elements or text are close to the edges of the page where they might be trimmed in printing - different companies will have different tolerances so the "trimmed" view in StoryBook might not be exactly accurate for another printer.

      I hope that helps!

  8. Hi Diane,

    What will happened to the storybook software after 8/31? What will happen to the project that I am currently working on? If I'm not finish by 8/31 then what?


    1. The software will continue to work but you won't be able to update it and probably won't be able to move it to a new computer.

      Your project can be uploaded for printing by Creative Memories until September 23rd. You can also save the pages as jpegs and upload to another printer if you prefer to do that.

      I posted a link to the digital FAQs that give detailed instructions about what to do today (Monday, July 29, 2013) - you should download that document and read it carefully and follow the advice so you are prepared for the closing.

      I will be providing information about some other options over the next month or so.

      I hope that helps.

  9. I'd like to know how to save the art kits as jpgs. I strongly feel CM should have made all the files we've spent SOOO much money on open source rather than forcing us to be locked into another proprietary software.

  10. out of business going up for auction sept 23 & 24th 2014


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