Creative Memories announced today (Monday) the company’s plans for an entirely reborn and reshaped company as they hope to emerge from bankruptcy next month. The new company has a new name, and new product line. It will also effectively be starting over in building its consultant corps, hoping for its current consultant corps to recommit to the new endeavor.
“Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories” is tentatively scheduled to open for business by previewing to consumers in late November, but the “grand opening” isn’t scheduled until January. This week, the company is making their new consultant kit available for a promotional price of $79 to the first 3500 consultants who commit to the new generation of Creative Memories.
So what exactly is Ahni & Zoe? It’s easiest to start with what it is not. It has no digital offerings like the old company, or paper and stickers. The popular tool line is gone, except for a single adhesive dispenser that dispenses small tabs and a couple of pens. The popular album coversets and refills are gone, replaced by black and “greige” strap hinge albums with various styles of protector pages (including 12×12). There’s no more blank cardstock refill pages from Ahni & Zoe – all of the new refill pages are plastic protectors.
With all that gone…what are they actually selling? The company’s new offering is based on an iPhone app called “inawink” (which they promise will also be available in a web browser version soon) that they are marketing as allowing you to “shoot.edit.organize.print” all from the same application, and which includes access to a cloud storage service. The first GB of cloud storage is free, and then you can buy 10GB for $25/year, or unlimited storage for $75/year. You can also earn free storage (up to a maximum of 4 GB) by making print plan purchases through the app.
The company’s new album program is centered around two pre-designed options. One is the familiar Fast2Fab program from the company’s previous incarnation, which is coming back under the Ahni & Zoe rebranding. For those unfamiliar with it, Fast2Fab features 12×12 strap hinge albums with predesigned pages that are complete except for adding photos onto them. Eleven different themed album designs plus pre-designed refill pages for those designs are going to be available from Ahni & Zoe.
The second options are slide-in albums which utilize 4×6 photo pockets and a system of decorative cards similar to Project Life. There are 11 different designs of 4×6 card packs available, plus the albums (the previously mentioned black and greige colors, which have slide-in pocket pages or 12×12 full pocket pages available for them).
To view all of the new Ahni & Zoe products, visit the Creative Memories website to view the pdf of the Ahni & Zoe catalog.
This new realignment will dramatically change the company’s position in the marketplace. Ahni & Zoe will have a whole new set of competitors than original Creative Memories did. Whereas their competition has traditionally been companies like Stampin’ Up!, Close To My Heart, and Memory Works, plus of course the traditional scrapbook stores, now their competition will be more companies like Shutterfly and the manufacturers who produce Project Life and its plethora of copies. Ahni & Zoe is entering these two markets as a newcomer going up against very well established dominant players, and will have a steep hill to climb making inroads against them.
All of this of course, is missing one key element – court approval. The very existence of Ahni & Zoe is predicated on bankruptcy court approval of Creative Memories’ bankruptcy plan, which has not happened yet. The company’s creditors have to vote on the plan, and then a ruling is expected at a hearing scheduled for November 7th. Approval is certainly not guaranteed for the plan, which would throw the future of the entire company in doubt.