Creative Memories co-founder Rhonda Anderson resigned Sunday from the company she co-founded 27 years ago to pursue another opportunity. She explained why to Scrapbook Update today, and described her future plans.
All of us at Ahni & Zoe are sad to say goodbye to Rhonda Anderson, the Co-founder of Creative Memories, who has resigned. After a long and passionate career, we wish her only the very best as she pursues a new opportunity.
Rhonda has always been a dedicated advocate for completed photo albums, and we’re proud that her original mission lives on in the fresh new approach our amazing Ahni & Zoe Consultants are bringing to the world. We will be forever thankful for Rhonda’s contribution, advocacy and the integrity she brought to our company and our Consultants, and we wish Rhonda and her family a very happy future.
The departure of Anderson leaves the company without the presence of either of its co-founders, since Cheryl Lightle retired in 2004. “A lot of consultants are trying to wrap their head around that,” Anderson admits. The company is currently operating after its 2nd bankruptcy reorganization in five years as “Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories,” with a completely revamped product line and philosophy. This new direction has lead to the discontinuation of virtually the entirety of Creative Memories’ traditional product line, alienating legions of the company’s longtime consultants and customers alike.
Rhonda Anderson spoke exclusively to Scrapbook Update today about her decision to leave the company she co-founded, and her future plans. She described the decision to leave as a long, difficult process, and the result of a lot of prayer.
“To preserve my personal integrity I had to leave,” she explained. “I lost my peace. I had that pit in my stomach that said it’s time – I had to go.”
Asked how it felt to leave behind her “baby,” as many entrepreneurs view their creation, Rhonda says that she feels that she is taking the core of it with her. “My real baby is the mission and I brought the mission with me,” she stressed. “The mission of CM is living on now in this new company and will have a new name.” She went on to add, “I will have so much more control over this new mission…My voice got quieter and quieter and quieter over there.”
Anderson is taking that mission to Youngevity, which is the parent company of Heritage Makers, a familiar name to many in the direct sales industry. After an email three weeks ago from a friend inviting her to talk to Youngevity arrived at the right moment, Anderson said “everything fell into place like dominoes. It gave me an open door of where to go.” Anderson, unlike the Creative Memories rank-and-file consultants, says she did not have a contract containing a non-compete clause, simplifying the transition to her new venture.
Having made the leap public, Anderson is wasting no time in pushing forward with her future plans. She is already listed on the Heritage Makers website as a consultant, and is working on building a team there. She described it as “a humbling honor” how many consultants have made plans to move to Heritage Makers with her. “The field knows everything,” Anderson attested. “They’re the heroes in this story – the consultants,” she added. “I don’t want to lead them anywhere that I’m not confident about.” Although there is no formal plan in place to preserve consultant structure in any moves to Heritage Makers, Anderson is encouraging consultants leaving Creative Memories for Heritage Makers to sign up under their existing relationships if possible. She says that new Heritage Makers consultants signing up under her during this initial development stage will be worked with individually to put them on a team that they are comfortable with.
But building a consultant network is just the start of her plans. Although as of yet she has no official title at Youngevity, she is also working with the company on an ambitious schedule to develop a (as yet unnamed) new brand of scrapbooking materials that she says should be at least partially introduced by National Scrapbook Day in May. “I talked to my manufacturer today and we are picking out cover material tomorrow,” Anderson shared. “We’re going to bring back plain white pages, tools and cardstock.” She also mentions plans to develop pre-designed albums in the new line, as well.
Archival quality has always been a high priority to Creative Memories devotees, and Anderson describes her new line as “archival quality”. Until relatively recently in their history, Creative Memories ran their own in-house lab to test their materials, but that work is now outsourced. Anderson’s new brand will run their archival testing under a similarly outsourced model, according to her.
Despite all of her product development plans, Anderson describes her role at Youngevity as primarily “full-time in the field”. It’s been 20 years since she has held that role at Creative Memories. The change has left her feeling “kind of like a zoo animal that got let out into the wild,” she said with a laugh.
Overall, Rhonda Anderson is not looking back at what she’s lost – she’s looking forward, with a positive outlook:
“Liberating, that’s how I describe it,” she said. “Thank you to our millions of loyal customers and consultants that we have touched in 27 years and as a way to show appreciation I’m going to do my best to provide their favorite products that meet the standards they’ve come to trust.”