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Archive | December, 2008

Top Scrapbook Stories of 2008

Here are the top scrapbook news stories from 2008 according to Scrapbook Update’s traffic reports…

1. Creative Memories Files Bankruptcy

The Antioch Company, parent of Creative Memories, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in November.

Updated in 2009:

2. Black Friday 2008

Despite the economy (or maybe because of it), shoppers were hungry for information on the Black Friday sales the day after Thanksgiving.

3. AC Moore Closes Stores

AC Moore made a surprise move by closing many stores, including almost all of their Florida stores, many of which had been open less than a year.

4. Jessica Helfand Disses Scrapbookers?

Helfand, author of the book Scrapbooks: An American History, caused a firestorm with her comments about scrapbookers.

5. CHA-Summer Sneak Peeks

Interest in the summer’s new products proved that CHA-Summer is hot!

6. CHA-Winter 2009 (and Summer 2009) Are Coming!

The scrapbook industry is gearing up for CHA-Winter 2009, at the end of January in Anaheim, already…and the announcement of a change of venue and an added consumer show for CHA-Summer 2009 sparked some controversy.

7. Scrapbooking Is Declining

Google Trends analysis shows very clearly what many other factors already were showing us…the scrapbook industry is experiencing a downturn along with the rest of the economy.

8. Pottery Barn Predicts Scrapbook Trends

A look at the Pottery Barn Kids catalog can help predict where trends in the scrapbook market are headed.

9. Inque Boutique Bought By Darice

After seeming to be foundering, Inque Boutique was bought by crafts giant Darice.

10. Elsie Flannigan Leaves KI Memories

Elsie and KI Memories announced they had parted ways shortly after no new “Love, Elsie” product was introduced at CHA-Summer.

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News Round-up: Niche Retailers, Canon 5D Mark II Video, and Shutterfly/Amazon Promotion

For this Christmas week Monday, here’s a collection of links and information about scrapbooking-related topics:

Niche retailers doing alright during holidays?

Two different news articles recently have highlighted niche or specialty retailers (which is what scrapbook stores are, of course) that are doing well during the holidays.

I’d be interested to hear from store owners and shoppers (at both scrapbook and other specialty stores) in the comments about whether these articles reflect their experiences this holiday season.

Shutterfly and Amazon Teaming Up

Shutterfly has already been teaming with Target to promote and deliver its photo prints. Now it is teaming with Amazon to give away free photo calendars to Amazon customers who purchase select qualifying photo equipment and accessories. It would be wonderful if scrapbook companies or stores could figure out how to leverage this sort of promotion.

Canon 5D Mark II Video

One of the most exciting things about the new Canon 5D Mark II is its video capabilities. If this video doesn’t make you want to run right out and buy one, then I don’t know what will! (Hey, the Canon EOS 5D Mark II 21.1MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens
is only $3499 at Amazon…I’ll just dig that change out of my sofa and click “buy”.) To see the video in a larger window, visit Chris MacAskill’s SmugMug Gallery.

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Creative Memories Bankruptcy Extended Into 2009

The Antioch Company, parent company of Creative Memories, had planned for its bankruptcy plan to be approved at a hearing today so it could move past bankruptcy before the end of 2008. Due to developments in the case in the past 10 days, the bankruptcy has now been extended at least until January 2009.

The hearing for confirmation of the company’s bankruptcy plan and other matters is now scheduled for January 9th at 9:30am.

The reason for the delay of the confirmation hearing until January was a request for more time from the Unsecured Creditors Committee to decide how to respond to the company’s bankruptcy plan since it is so harmful to them as a class. The committee represents the interests of the unsecured creditors (those whose debts are not secured by any collateral) against the company.

The major group of unsecured creditors are the members of the ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Program) Noteholders group, who are owed over $21 million. They are owed the money from the company to buy back their company stock after they left or were laid off from the company. Three of them were appointed to the creditor committee on December 8th, including former Creative Memories Communications and PR Manager Heidi Everett. (Read a statement Everett gave to Scrapbook Update shortly after the bankruptcy filing.)

The members of the ESOP Noteholders group have a lot on the line. Antioch says that it had taken out insurance bonds with a company called Condor Guaranty (CGI) to ensure that the Noteholders got paid if Antioch was unable to pay them. It stated in the early bankruptcy filings that it was pursuing a claim with the bond company on the Noteholders’ behalf (although the bond company says it has not received correct notice of that fact). But the bond company, CGI, is also stating now in court filings that it is investigating whether Antioch was meeting the conditions of its bonds, and whether they are payable.

CGI says that they are unsure that Antioch provided them with the required annual financial statements and asset sale notifications. They also stated in court filings that they are “investigating whether material representations were made to CGI in connection with renewal of the Surety Bonds shortly before the initiation of these Chapter 11 proceedings”. If any of these statements by CGI hold up in court, the bond contract would likely be cancelled.

The question of whether CGI will pay the ESOP notes was brought up in the bankruptcy court when Antioch requested that CGI be made the Agent (representative) of the ESOP Noteholders to the court after the bonds were paid. Both CGI and an attorney representing some of the Noteholders filed strong objections about that request with the court. CGI objected on the grounds that it felt that an order appointing it as Agent would effectively be a default judgement ordering it to pay the bonds without the proper court process. The Noteholders objected because they were concerned that the order as proposed would limit their future financial claims against Antioch and the bond company.

The question of who will be the Agent for the Noteholders has been postponed until the January 9th hearing. In the meantime, as mentioned above, many of the Noteholders have hired their own attorney to represent them.

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Scrapbookers Are Twittering!

That’s right…microblogging site Twitter isn’t just for geeks anymore! It has gotten some serious traction in the scrapbooking community. I am constantly discovering new scrapbookers on there, both hobbyists and professionals.

What is Twitter?

If you aren’t familiar with Twitter, it is like having a mini-blog where every entry is limited to only 140 characters (about two sentences, the length of a text message). You can post to it from your computer, your phone and via various services. If you use Facebook, it’s somewhat similar to the “status” updates section of that site, but since it doesn’t have all the other features that come with that site, it is less time-consuming to keep up with.

People use Twitter for both personal and professional purposes. It’s a great way to meet people, keep up with your friends, throw questions out to large groups of people to get help on something, follow the news, and do many other things.

My community on Twitter is large (because I’ve chosen for it be) and consists of scrapbookers, tech geeks, autism advocates, and all sorts of other people. Some of them I’ve met in person and some I haven’t. On a daily basis, I learn on Twitter, I laugh on Twitter, and I share life’s frustrations and joys on Twitter.

So who is Twittering?

New people are constantly joining Twitter, and it can be hard to keep up with who is on it. I try hard to keep up with the scrapbook community on Twitter but there is no easy way to stay updated on all the new sign-ups or find people who might not have put scrapbooking in their profile.

So, I decided to create a directory on Scrapbook Update like has been done other places for Twitter….the Scrapbookers Who Twitter list! My hope is that this list will help the scrapbookers find each other so that a real, useful, networking community (for both professionals and consumers) can be born like there is on Twitter with so many other areas.

The list is almost certainly incomplete – if you want to be added (or removed) please contact me at ScrapbookUpdate@gmail.com.

Need tips on using Twitter? Check out Darren Rowse’s TwiTip blog for power tips on making the most of Twitter.

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Interesting Thoughts On Creative Memories

Today I decided to do something new for Scrapbook Update and bring to everyone a guest post from Rob Bostick of Judikins. Rob contacted me with some excellent thoughts on the downfall of Creative Memories that I felt would be educational to share with everyone. Thanks very much to Rob for agreeing to share his experience and knowledge with Scrapbook Update’s readers!

I read your article [on CLN Online] about Creative Memories and I agree with a lot of what you said. Creative Memories has never been good with adapting to changing realities but then the same can be said about today’s craft industry.

My first contact with Creative Memories was back in 1991 when several of their consultants started buying scissors from us. The most notable of these was Barbara Tolopilo who went on to found the company Family Treasures.
The marketing concept behind Creative Memories was that your photos are not safe in a shoe box and need to go into acid free albums. They would show faded color photos taken in the 50′s and 60′s to make the case that you must put your photos into their special “acid free” photo albums in order to keep them safe. (After all these are your memories and you wouldn’t want to lose them!) They never mentioned the fact that photo processing chemistry in the 80′s had improved greatly and photos kept away from sunlight would last for many more years than those of the preceding decades.

Their consultants were the real creative force. In order to sell more at their parties they were constantly coming up with new tools and new things to add to the albums. Of course the company needed to be sure that everything was acid free (and wanted their cut of the action), so practically from the beginning they forbade the consultants to sell anything that wasn’t a Creative Memories product. (There was also that nasty sales tax problem.) The harder the company tried to control this, the more consultants left to become independents. Family Treasures was just one of the companies that formed to supply these consultants as they left to become independents. Creative Memories kept trying to come up with more products but couldn’t supply the wide range of new products that this army of smaller companies was now creating. It was these companies that were the start of what we think of as scrapbooking today.

Many consultants had been using stickers in their albums. In order to satisfy them, Creative Memories started selling to their consultants a special line of approved Mrs. Grossman’s stickers. A big turning point came when the consultants found out that all of Mrs. Grossman’s stickers were acid free and CM’s special line wasn’t that special. Never again would Creative Memories enjoy the 90+ market share of the scrapbooking industry. But, up until recently, their smaller slice was compensated for by a greatly increased pie.

The real demise of Creative Memories (and down turn in scrapbooking) is due to digital photography. The preserving memories argument is gone. Today a digital copy of your cell phone video going viral on the net will be around forever. Who needs paper photographs?

Scrapbooking today is not about “preserving memories” it has become “crafting with photos”. Today’s images are culled and cropped before they are ever printed out (often before being taken out of the camera.) This printing process requires user effort as well as an extra expense. The preservation of paper photographs will never again be as widespread as it was when everyone dropped off their film at the drugstore and got back their packet of “memories”.

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