|Industry||Social selling Company|
|Headquarters||St. Cloud, Minnesota|
Creative Memories is a U.S.-based social selling company recognized globally for its world class scrapbooking products, both physical and digital scrapbooking. Scrapbooking has been around for centuries; in 1987 Creative Memories created a business around it, selling millions of albums worldwide, with retail sales of over $500 million at its peak. The company is based in St. Cloud, Minnesota and sells products via e-commerce and through a network of 20,000 home-based Independent Advisors in the United States, Canada, Australia and Japan. Creative Memories had financial difficulties in 2009 and 2013 and was liquidated by a bank-appointed receiver in 2014. The company’s assets were purchased by serial entrepreneur, Caleb Hayhoe, and the new Creative Memories was launched in November 2014.
In 1987, Rhonda Anderson, an avid scrapbooker, shared her passion with her local Mothers of Preschoolers group and took 40 requests for the albums she used. She called after hours and connected with Cheryl Lightle, the Marketing Vice President of the St. Cloud, Minnesota-based Webway company. Together, Lightle and Anderson developed a direct sales structure to market a line of Creative Memories products. It was the start of the duo becoming Direct Selling icons and the beginning of what would become the largest scrapbook company in the world. At its peak, Creative Memories was doing business in nine countries, with over 75,000 Independent Consultants and retail sales over $500 million. It had more than 1,100 employees in St. Cloud, Minnesota, Sparks, Nevada, Yellow Springs, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia.
In 2009 the company found itself struggling financially and was forced to begin paring down its operation and closing facilities. By early 2014, the U.S. business was being liquidated and customers seized what they thought would be their last chance to buy Creative Memories products. Only the Japan division remained open; they had stockpiled years of inventory and were financially sound.
The New Creative Memories
In mid-2014, Caleb Hayhoe, chairman of Flowerdale Group Ltd., travelled to inspect the still-strong Creative Memories Japan business. He secured commitments from key management and flew to Minnesota to negotiate the purchase. When the dust settled, Hayhoe had bought the Japan business and the assets needed for a global re-launch: all patents and trademarks, proprietary machinery and remaining inventory. He knew the Creative Memories business well from the years when his previous company, RT Sourcing Ltd., had sourced Creative Memories' imported products. Hayhoe picked his management team from the group that had survived the long downsizing. He believed the Creative Memories brand continued to stand for quality and there remained a demand for the core products that had earned it that reputation.
CM Group Holdings, Inc. re-launched Creative Memories in the United States, Ontario and British Columbia, Canada in November 2014; 2500 Advisors signed on within the first 24 hours. Through affiliated companies in Canada and Australia, the business opened the rest of Canada (except Quebec) in May of 2015 and Australia in November 2015. The Japan business continues to thrive.
The business re-launched with a dramatically simplified direct selling model combining social selling and e-commerce that allowed Advisors to achieve a higher profit rate on the products they sell and higher commission rate on their downline group sales based on the sales balance in their own account. Each Advisor (in the U.S.) pays a $49 annual fee to remain active; also the only investment to get started.
Since its 2014 re-launch, Creative Memories has experienced 40% growth annually, all markets are profitable and as of 2020, the global sales force of Advisors numbers close to 20,000, with tens of millions in earnings paid out to Advisors.
Creative Memories products include handcrafted scrapbook albums and album pages, decorative supplies like paper, stickers and embellishments, crafting tools and trimmers as well as online digital scrapbooking and digital artwork.
COVID-19, Nostalgia and the Benefits of Scrapbooking
Scrapbooking triggers feelings of nostalgia according to studies and research conducted by Dr. Clay Rutledge, behavioral scientist, author and professor. And since the onset of COVID-19 “A wave of nostalgia is coursing across the country, and it’s no coincidence. Psychologists say memories are deeply embedded and recalling them can bring people peace of mind.” The confluence of nostalgia and the free time created by COVID-19 lockdowns have given pause for people to unearth memories and forgotten photos from a better time and scrapbook about them. Many are using the opportunity to make up income lost during the resulting record unemployment. Scrapbooking is proving to be a balm in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a result the company is reporting sales are shattering all new-company records.
In the media
- "Creative Memories Finds a New Home and New Backing". Direct Selling News. 2015-03-03. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- Allenspach, Kevin. "New ownership re-launches Creative Memories, Ahni & Zoe". St. Cloud Times. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "Direct Selling Icons". Direct Selling News. 2017-12-01. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- Lambert, Emily. "Thanks For the Memories". Forbes. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "Scrapbooking company attempts fresh start after bankruptcy". MPR News. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "Ahni & Zoe, Creative Memories Closing Down". Nally Studios. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- Home.org, Business For. "Creative Memories Under New Ownership, Hoping To Rebuild Company". www.businessforhome.org. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- Mizen, Mark (2014-07-15). "Creative Memories Japan Sold". All About Images Blog. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "We Can Fight COVID-19 and Social Isolation by Promoting Meaning". Institute for Family Studies. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "'The Way We Were': Why COVID-19 is Making Us Nostalgic for Simpler Times". UVA Today. 2020-07-30. Retrieved 2021-01-08.
- "How scrapbooking is becoming a new side hustle during the coronavirus - YouTube". www.youtube.com. Retrieved 2021-01-08.