Co-founder Rhonda Anderson Resigns from Creative Memories [Exclusive Interview]

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.

Rhonda AndersonThe news of her departure from Ahni & Zoe by Creative Memories was first made public on Sunday in an announcement on the company’s Facebook page:

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.”

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103 Responses to Co-founder Rhonda Anderson Resigns from Creative Memories [Exclusive Interview]

  1. Mary February 25, 2014 at 7:27 pm #

    Thanks for posting this Nancy. Very interesting. I am betting Ahni & Zoe will be over by fall.

  2. Nicole February 25, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

    Thanks Nancy. You’re always up to date on the latest news!

  3. Katie K. February 25, 2014 at 8:03 pm #

    We love Rhonda – she was the heart and soul of CM. What can a body do without that but be a robot?
    Thanks Nancy Thanks Rhonda for sharing.

  4. Sue German February 25, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

    Creative Memories started it all. Their basic approach to scrapbooking was an inspiration to me. I am saddened by the direction the board has taken creative memories but am happy that Rhonda is going back to her roots. CM was way ahead when they developed pocket pages but lost the market. They may just have needed cardstock paper…and continued to push page completion. All the fofo pages with one photo are not my style and not what I learned from CM. Ahni and Zoe have not impressed me. God Bless Rhonda!

    • Jennifer February 27, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      Exactly, Sue. CM was unique because it encouraged you to let your photos be the focus of your story and didn’t push the over-done one photo pages – unless, of course, that was the story you wanted to tell with that photo. Over the past 10 years or so, they lost their focus – ending up just like every other scrapbooking company – and with that they lost their edge, and many loyal customers, like myself. I am excited to see what Rhonda brings to Heritage Makers. Maybe there’s a chance the “old CM” will rise again. I sure hope so! I agree, A&Z has not impressed me at all. It is not how or why I scrapbook! Best of luck, Rhonda!

  5. Linda Korte February 25, 2014 at 9:15 pm #

    If I were a betting woman, I would bet the house on Rhonda Anderson.
    Good luck to Rhonda and let the games begin.

  6. Vikki Asselstine February 25, 2014 at 9:21 pm #

    This is exciting news.

  7. Jennifer Cook February 25, 2014 at 9:27 pm #

    I’m excited that Rhonda will be joining us at Heritage Makers!!

  8. Maryellen February 25, 2014 at 9:34 pm #

    We are very excited and blessed to welcome her to Heritage Makers I am currently a HM Consultant and love what I do to have such an amazing women Join us is something I am looking forward to .

  9. Lynne Corso Malinowski February 25, 2014 at 10:02 pm #

    Rhonda’s vision and mission sound like a wonderful fit with all of us at Heritage Makers! I’m so excited to work with former Creative Memories consultants and customers. You all “get” the power of family Stories and the importance of preserving them. Welcome!

  10. Pam February 25, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Wow, She is bringing back White Pages, Ahni and Zoe already did that. OOPS! I wish her nothing but the best but don’t forget this is a BIG payday for her.

    • Linda Korte February 26, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

      a big payday? How so?

    • Margret Pearce February 27, 2014 at 12:08 pm #

      They are bringing back White Pages after a big outcry from the traditionalists. That was not on their radar.

      • Nancy Campbell March 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm #

        yes they brought back white pages, but not til after they fear mongered consultants to stock up last year because they would be gone forever! Now we all have stock that can be purchased on line. Not nice!! Good for Rhonda to continuing her career, but I feel played….

        • Pam Henricks May 23, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

          Don’t see the big deal over the white pages. You can just cover them with some paper stock and use the A&Z pages as usual. And they are the same price.

  11. Nancy L. McCretton February 25, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    Rhonda has worked extremely hard for over 27 years and created CM with just one thought, extreme passion and undying perseverance. I am so proud of all she has brought to the table. Her new move has little to with her own paycheck and everything to do with keeping her dream and her life calling alive. I’ve worked with CM products for 21 years, and I know she will do her best to bring back the quality and continue the mission she created 27 years ago for future generations. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you Rhonda Anderson for caring so much about family, stories, and preserving life’s most precious memories.

    • Laura Jinkins March 4, 2014 at 11:54 am #

      Amen, Nancy! She is a precious lady and anyone who says she’s in it “for the money” doesn’t have a clue about who she really is, or how much memory keeping means to her. While there’s no denying she made a good living with CM before things started going south, for her it’s more than a paycheck. It’s a calling and she is an encourager. I always loved how she encouraged people to create albums no matter their skill level. Truthfully, some of the new stuff intimidates me and I’m pretty crafty!

      • Jett March 5, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

        It’s true. She’s a nice and wonderful person.

      • Jett March 5, 2014 at 11:10 pm #

        I have only recently come to understand how much a person of integrity and sincerity she is.

      • Julie Amstutz April 16, 2014 at 3:58 pm #

        Yes, you are 100% correct! She is the one to follow and pave the way for us all!

    • Janet Himelspach June 1, 2014 at 3:56 pm #

      I too, would like to thank Rhonda Anderson for showing me the way to preserving life’s precious memories. I attended one of her Shoebox to Showcase presentations – which I think was over 27 years ago. What an energetic, friendly person who truly cared about her family photos. She has done wonders with her business and I’m so glad to see she’s done well. In my opinion she started the whole ‘scrapbooking’ hobby.

  12. Kay Johnson February 25, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

    As a loyal CM customer, I am totaly dissappointed with Ahni & Zoe! Rhonda, I’m glad you are going to keep doing what you do best – with Heritage Makers! God bless your new journey.

  13. Joe February 25, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    Yes, Rhonda does what is best for

    • Laura Jinkins March 4, 2014 at 11:58 am #

      When a company ‘s vision changes, it’s in the best interest of both the company and the individual with a differing vision to part paths. You think she should stay on with a company that is so diametrically opposed to her original vision when she showed her albums to that MOPS group so many years ago? How would she be of benefit to them, when she cannot be passionate about the direction the company is going in? I despise snarky comments like yours.

  14. mdlaslo February 25, 2014 at 11:30 pm #

    This Youngevity? Just another in the huge line-up of MLM juice, supplement and other huge-mark-up products? Sheesh.

    • Briana March 10, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      Creative Memories was no more expensive than the retail store Archivers was. I sorely miss the beautiful paper and albums that Creative Memories had and have been unable to find anything similar lately. Many of us are willing to pay for quality, be it a direct sales company (different from MLM) or a higher priced retail store. (And I am saying this as someone who is not in any sort of direct sales or MLM).

  15. Jan February 26, 2014 at 1:20 am #

    Yep don’t we all do what’s best for ourselves in life. A&Z products are less than desirable so why would she want to stay.

    • Maybe I. KnowthingsIshouldn't May 5, 2014 at 2:29 am #

      Actually it wasn’t the products that made her leave. A&Z still have some high quality products (they are still using same product in many cases). It was some other stuff *coughofficepoliticscough* that made it an unpleasant place for Rhonda to be and she really had no voice in the decision-making anymore, so she left.

  16. Melissa February 26, 2014 at 1:56 am #

    I hope to see black pages back!! And new fun tools to cut shapes into. New fun ideas and tips to make a handmade page. Tips to create space in small homes to keep scrapbooking laid out with toddlers running around… Pinterest helps, but adding a line of storage systems and mini furniture may help bring back old scrapbooking fun.

    • Julie Amstutz March 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm #

      Me too, Melissa I need black pages when I run out of them. I trained my customers to love them….so easy to use and don’t need tons of decoration to highlight the very best in your photos!

  17. LadyNonaLuna February 26, 2014 at 2:28 am #

    Yes Creative Memories went way out of bounds in my opinion, and Im so glad she is going to be at Heritage, such a step back up to where she belongs!!! I so enjoy all their works. Good luck to her and thanks for the lovely informative article.

  18. Jennie Polyblank February 26, 2014 at 3:25 am #

    Rhonda’s mission & integrity was always at the heart of company – she did it before – she will do again with all the support of those left who want to preserve their pictures and family stories without all the metal and feathers!

  19. Anna Lentz Carpenter February 26, 2014 at 4:53 am #

    Well thank God! And God Bless her Contract lawyer for getting that “Clause” removed from her contract. A & Z blows … all it is, is regurgitated Project Life. I pray she is able to bring back our tools!! Our Punches! Especially our Border Punches!!

    • Jett March 2, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

      Actually, Project Life is 3-ring binders…at least A&Z kept the strap-hinge album. I think 3-ring binders and filling your album with little tiny pieces of paper looks soooo tacky and sooooo early 1980s. So if I *had to* choose between Project Life and Ahni & Zoe, I’d go with A&Z every time.

  20. Gab February 26, 2014 at 6:13 am #

    I’m not familiar with Heritage Makers. Will have to do some googling!

    • Donna Raagas February 26, 2014 at 6:27 pm #

      You may really love it! It’s digital scrapbooking and more. I have a Facebook page SFSFS and a website SFSFS dot biz that slowly introduce interested people to Heritage Makers with tutorials. My Heritage Makers website sharefamilystories dot com is where my clients go to work in their Password-protected Creative Studio.

  21. Barbara Aldridge February 26, 2014 at 7:30 am #

    I’m saddened that Rhonda is leaving CM. I love the new CM product line and think that it will actually help people complete photo albums. My daughter has a two-year old and new baby and found it so much quicker and easier to complete the baby album and doesn’t have to get out all her tools (and to keep her toddler out of them). I also love that you can do a few scrapbook pages and mix them with the multi slide-in pages–which some people really want. The quality is there and I love the new covers. They have a wonderful feel and are so much nicer than the older clothbook covers that CM used to have. Also, CM again has the white pages and protectors and the full slide-in page for those who do the 12×12 sheets of paper.

    • Jennifer Cook February 26, 2014 at 1:29 pm #

      I had to stop as a CM consultant when I had kids because it was so hard to get all of those fun papers and cutters out. I moved into digital scrapbooking and fell in love. Heritage Makers has the best quality digital products I have found. We also have co-founders with a passion and love for helping people preserve their stories that I remember feeling with Rhonda!

    • Jett March 2, 2014 at 12:43 pm #

      I also love the new A&Z line. When I showed it to my mother, who doesn’t have a lot of time and whose memories are starting to fade, she said, “That I can do. Get me one.” A&Z is the first time she’s shown *any* interest in scrapbooking. She can’t do digital b/c computer screens make her eyes hurt to the point that she has to look away from the screen. So taking an hour or two to create a digital album to publish would be impossible. I can’t do it for her b/c I don’t have the time…I work while she’s at home.

      I’m so excited with how simply and quickly an album can be put together, I can’t wait for my consultant kit to arrive so I can start promoting this new company.

  22. Sharon February 26, 2014 at 7:38 am #

    I feel she’s leaving the Titanic for another sinking ship. Sometimes it time to cut your losses.

  23. Laura February 26, 2014 at 7:56 am #

    I looked. HM is all digital? How can that be compared to CM? I’ve never used CM as I’m a Close To My Heart consultant. I understand the pocket pages craze right now. CTMH just jumped on that wagon and I’m just not following the crowd. I still like the whole cut & paste thing whether I use one picture on a page or 10.

    • Laura Jinkins March 4, 2014 at 12:03 pm #

      She is going to help develop a more traditional line of paper scrapbooking supplies for HM . . . so they can meet the needs of a wider customer base, I guess.

      I am with you re: the whole cut and paste thing. I prefer paper scrapbooking over digital any day of the week. Grateful that there are lots of options out there, as I will probably be “mixing and matching” supplies from lots of sources. 🙂

    • Nancy March 18, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

      I agree with you Laura. I don’t care for the digital. I like the “hands on” way of doing scrapbooks. I also think it is so much more personal and means more when you actually do the work. I would love to find someone who sales the CM albums, pages, and protectors.

      • Erica Sandwall A Disabled Mom's Life April 8, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

        I hate digital..I want paper and glue..To join and actually get a kit for HM it is $499.50 no thank you.

        • Pam Henricks May 23, 2014 at 1:21 pm #

          Oh my gosh, that expensive to join? Got customers who love the digital but that isn’t a price I can live with to get started. Love A@Z products and so do my customers. Getting more and more of them who say, ” I can DO that!”

          • Jett May 23, 2014 at 1:37 pm #

            No that’s just for the CEO package; you don’t have to purchase that to take advantage of Our Memories For Life scrapbook items. That’s just for those who want to do the whole Youngevity program. With HM/Our Memories for Life, you have a one-time lifetime sign up of $10, and then if you want a larger discount you can do a tiered monthly plan at $30, $50, and $100 (depending on how much you plan to work the business and how large of a discount you want–click on my website/name for more details).

  24. Dee February 26, 2014 at 8:11 am #

    I am sad to hear this news. I am so not a fan of HM, one bit. I know a few consultants and they are obnoxious and pushy. The prices are way over priced for what you get. HM is so anti CM and has been for years. When one speaks negative about another company it shows their integrity. I will stick with CM & AZ.

    • Ruth Crofut, Casper, Wyoming February 26, 2014 at 12:10 pm #

      I was a CM consultant for 10 years, and I had the same experience with Heritage Makers as you, Dee — obnoxious, pushy, agressive. So did a fellow CM consultant I talked to yesterday. And I too totally dislike the HM model — on-line scrapbooking with a monthly subscription, I LOVED StoryBook Creator Plus, I loved the artwork, I loved that I could work off-line, and I loved the StoryBook albums. But I also love Rhonda Anderson, so I’m really anxious to see what’s coming for HM with Rhonda’s new scrapbooking line.

      • Jennifer Cook February 26, 2014 at 1:36 pm #

        I am sorry to hear that you have both had such bad experiences with Heritage Makers. I am a former CM consultant (about 7 years ago) and am now a HM consultant. I have spoken with many different women in our company, our co-founder, Candy, being one of the first. Candy’s passion reminds me of what I felt from Rhonda. I have never felt pushed to do something by anyone I’ve met. I have been encouraged to find my place and do what I am comfortable with. As far as the monthly subscription is concerned, did you know that you have complete control over that? You can start and stop your subscription at any time.
        I don’t know what you have experienced, but it has been my experience that people are people. I met people in CM who were pushy and CM snobs too. I think it has more to do with the people than the company itself and I am saddened to hear that you have had those experiences.

        • sunkist0823 February 26, 2014 at 3:20 pm #

          moved on, I just signed up to be a HM consultant a week ago. I still have many CM albums and loose pictures to keep me busy, but decided from 2014 on to go digital. So I feel like I have the best of both worlds right now. What I don’t understand is saying you have to spend $500 for a kit. I didn’t…I paid $10 to become a consultant and another $59 for my sample kit. There IS a Mega Kit that is $499, but that is only if you want to spend that money. You DO get so much more supplies in that kit, but it isn’t necessary to spend that. Plus I am making things that I can show as well. What I love about it is that I’m not limited to one disc of artwork and having to pay for another disc for one or two things I need. I have access to THOUSANDS of artwork & templates. As far as Youngevity, I do not have to spend $500 for that either. I can buy the samples and products I want. Please let me know if there is something I mis-understood. 🙂

          • Donna Raagas February 26, 2014 at 6:42 pm #

            You’re right, sunkist0823. I have been a Heritage Makers consultant since 2007, and was thrown for a loop by the integration with Youngevity. But I have been watching carefully, and HM is still the same personal publishing website that I know and love. The $10 consultant fee is FOR LIFE, which blows my mind; and if you build a Heritage Makers team of consultants and/or share the wonderful creative studio with new clients, you can earn the money to upgrade to Regional Sales Manager in the Youngevity organization. There’s really nowhere to go but up. I am delighted that Youngevity has honored the Heritage Makers vision and mission to connect generations through the power of story.

      • Laura Jinkins March 4, 2014 at 12:11 pm #

        I think you have to keep in mind that “pushy” and “aggressive” have more to do with the consultant than the company. Years ago, when I was still a CMC, I taught a home class to a group of women I’d just met after moving here. One of the women thankfully decided to give scrapbooking another chance. She told me that at a previous home class she’d attended, another CMC had practically screeched at her “YOU’RE RUINING YOUR MEMORIES!” That was almost 15 years ago and she still remembers the way that woman made her feel. When she attended my class, she was pleased to discover that not all scrapbooking teachers are like that. Even though I haven’t been a consultant in over 10 years, she and I still scrapbook together. 🙂

        • Jett March 5, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

          I’ve heard this story before…have you shared it somewhere else? (I think I remember telling you that many CMC weren’t like that).

          • Laura Jinkins March 5, 2014 at 10:19 pm #

            Maybe you heard of someone else’s similar experience, but I have not shared that story on line before.

          • Jett March 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm #

            Maybe I read it here and only think I read it somewhere else LOL

  25. StumpedAgain February 26, 2014 at 8:27 am #

    Great update and interview Nancy, as always. Thanks.

  26. KnitterPam February 26, 2014 at 9:21 am #

    I’ve never heard of Heritage Makers. What is that?

    • Jennifer Cook February 26, 2014 at 1:43 pm #

      Heritage Makers was started by some amazing women. Candy May wanted to tell her grandfather’s story and share it with her family. Out of her love and this desire and the lack of a source to make multiple copies of one album, she and a few others started Heritage Makers. Using your online account, you can create quite simple and easy to very creative and elaborate projects. People’s stories are at the center of what our mission has been.

    • SharingHeritage February 26, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      A storybooking company, similar to scrapbooking in the desire to showcase the pictures and the memories but with hard bound books and other products. Use your digital pictures, write the story behind your pictures and publish a storybook.

  27. Sabrina February 26, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Hello Rhonda,
    I have faith in you. If CM made a product I bought it and fell in love with it. The power palettes were wonderful and tools were fabulous to use. My prayers are with you. Starting over can be fun. I look forward to these new products you are working. Thanks for giving it another go!

  28. Jean February 26, 2014 at 1:04 pm #

    Never understood why CM customers thought they couldn’t do simple albums. Just becuse there were decorative embellishments didn’t mean they had to use them. The beautiful thing about Creative Memories was that there was something there for everyone. Maybe there just go too be too much of it.

  29. SREILLY February 26, 2014 at 6:01 pm #

    Very COOL!!!! Good for her….she’ll be a HERO in many fellow scrappers’ eyes!

  30. Donna Raagas February 26, 2014 at 7:04 pm #

    moved on happily, I have never been able to extend my passion for Heritage Makers wonderful products to an enthusiasm for Youngevity products. For me, that’s schizophrenic. But I know a few Heritage Makers consultants whose husbands became really excited about being Youngevity distributors, so that’s cool for those couples. Other leaders in the HM organization have done a remarkable job embracing Youngevity. I don’t have anything negative to say about Youngevity–I, personally, just can’t give my all to promoting potions and lotions and nutrition products AND passionately engaging people with their personal stories and histories. For me it became a matter of attitude–did I want to scuttle all the connections I’ve made with wonderful clients who really want to use their photos to encourage their children with personal storybooks? Did I want to try to sell 90 for Life to the clients I have who are documenting their ancestry and their own legacies in products of superior quality to the popular photobook companies? Did I want to stop encouraging creative people to design their own masterpieces. No. No. No. So I concentrate on HM, and I’m pleased that Youngevity hasn’t fiddled with our products. Also, I never want to stop making my own books, canvases, metal prints, smartphone cases, calendars, greeting cards and scrapbook album covers through Heritage Makers!

  31. Lana February 26, 2014 at 7:59 pm #

    I am so encouraged! I sure hope to see the quality, strap scrapbooks and pages that CM had! I soooo miss the CM catalog of materials and tools!! Can’t wait to see what all of this brings!

    • Margret Pearce February 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

      you are so right, Lana. Holding out hope for the scrapbooks and pages we know and love.

  32. teresafsmith February 27, 2014 at 7:43 am #

    At least she hung on until the almost bitter end. I always found it interesting how some CMers turned their noses up at other company lines and instead of embracing the way the scrapbooking industry was headed, they stood firm and ended up getting lost in the shuffle. It’s almost as if they (CMers)thought they were the ones who created memory keeping, but scrapbooks go way, way back.

  33. Ali February 27, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    great article- TY Nancy for keeping up “updated!”

  34. Cathy February 27, 2014 at 10:07 am #

    I joined Heritage Makers last fall and have never felt that I had to be involved with any of the other companies that Youngevity supports. It’s a personal choice. But I am thrilled that they are supporting Rhonda in developing a traditional line of products because that will only work to broaden my base again. And I’m confident that she will make wise product choices that will reflect what most of us truly want and need.

  35. Gail February 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm #

    Hi Rhonda

    This is wonderful news as I do know that most consultants from Australia were devistate when CM closed its doors as our passion is like yours …’s all about the mission.
    Hoping that we will be able to purchase great albums again here in OZ.
    Good Luck with your new venture.

  36. Nancy Donley March 1, 2014 at 8:02 pm #

    Very good Rhonda Anderson! I was wondering how I would finish all my Scrapbooks! I’ve been sadden by CM changes! I will checkout Heritage Makers!

  37. Jett March 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm #

    There is one thing that kind of doesn’t sit right with Rhonda’s departure, but everyone is assuming: that the product at A&Z will be less quality than some other scrapbooking company. She never said that. It was for her “personal integrity” and because she “will have so much more control over this new mission…My voice got quieter and quieter and quieter over there.” I’m sorry to sound like a skeptic; I’ve never met Rhonda so I don’t know if she had anything to do with the direction CM took before the bankruptcy. If she did, if she was part of the group that encouraged moving away from simplicity and making the photos the star and toward focusing on product and frou-frou on the page, then it sounds more like she had a falling out with the other leaders at A&Z and it made her want to leave.

    I wish she’d been more clear in this interview. She wasn’t. She was vague about the whole thing. She didn’t even reiterate what this “mission” was. It’s been so long since she clearly mentioned in the catalogs exactly what that “mission” was. I think it’s “preserving memories with the best quality product.” But if that’s the case, that’s what A&Z is claiming it’s offering.

    If Rhonda had clearly said: “the product isn’t the quality that you’ve come to expect from CM”; or “they don’t have the same standards of testing that they used to” (from what I could gather, the company she’s moving to is doing the same thing that A&Z is doing, so it can’t be that); or “they won’t take care of customers like CM used to”, then I might be reassured that the reason she’s leaving was over “the mission of preserving memories” instead of sounding like she’s saying, “I didn’t have as much control over the company as I’m used to, so it made it personally uncomfortable there” or the undertone of “I had a falling out with the other leaders at A&Z so I don’t want to work with them any more”.

    But she wasn’t clear. She was uncomfortably vague talking about “mission” and “control” and “personal integrity” (which could mean anything btw–I left a company once b/c I just didn’t like working there anymore, and my friends called it “personal integrity”)

    If anyone can reassure me that any of the reasons I listed 2 paragraphs above are the reason she left–that the company isn’t as good as they used to be–then I’ll listen. But right now it sounds like Rhonda had personal issues with the new company and the new business plan they developed and wanted more control so she left while spouting words that would make her sound like the “white hat” in this departure.

  38. Jett March 5, 2014 at 2:57 am #

    One more thing that’s not sitting right with me about Rhonda’s departure (though I’m sure she must be a lovely person to know, and I agree that she *should* leave a company she doesn’t feel comfortable working with).

    She’s stealing customers and consultants from A&Z, using her contact information from the company. That’s not exactly ethical business practice IMO. I understand wanting to build her business quickly, but really? I understand that she actually used the contact information she still had in her possession from A&Z. That behavior kinda smacks of “I need to get myself to the top quickly so that I can have more influence/control in this company like I did at CM” and doesn’t really imbue my trust in her or the company she’s moving to. It also feels too much like “it’s about the money” which some commentators here have said Rhonda isn’t interested in.

    I’m sorry I’m being so skeptical, but the product should speak for itself and garner customers b/c of its quality. The business should attract people b/c of its business plan. And the top CMC should be the ones contacting Rhonda to join with her, NOT the other way around. It just reads like Rhonda is sneaking around A&Z’s back to get customers and build her business group (or whatever it’s called) and that kind of behavior disappoints me and makes me not trust the person who is doing it.

    • Donna Raagas March 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

      Hi, Jett,
      I’m not an industry insider–far from it; I’m a Heritage Makers consultant who is concentrating on my passion for Heritage Makers and my clients. I have written elswhere in my comments to this article that taking on the Youngevity products in addition to my Heritage Makers business is something I’m not able or even interested to try. But I have some gut reactions to your March 5 posts.

      1) I agree that it would be unethical to encourage consultants from CMC or A & Z to join her Youngevity Heritage Makers team, UNLESS they were an original part of her downline at Creative Memories.

      2) Based on this excerpt from the article, it appears Rhonda was wooed by Heritage Makers or Youngevity:

      [“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.” “]

      3) I suspect she IS building a team the way any initial consultant will attempt to build a team–that’s just my opinion, because I’m not an insider. However, she certainly has financial resources and personal contacts as well as marketing expertise that ought to make her team-building a walk in the park. Our co-founders and Charter Consultants at Heritage Makers have teams and clients, and continue to add new ones in order to move up in the company ranks. There were incredible company incentives that put career growth within the reach of every starting consultant with Heritage Makers, and while the business plan/compensation plan with Youngevity is different, anyone with the drive and commitment to grow and coach a team can obviously climb as far as he or she wants to.

      4) She’s working closely to develop new products for “the company”.

      [“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.”]

      I have watched two recent HM web meetings, and neither mentioned Rhonda or her plans, so I don’t know if her new product line will be another Youngevity brand or a line of YGY Heritage Makers products. However, I suspect she is developing her brand as some kind of executive, with matching compensation. Just my gut–I’m not an insider.

      Jett, you seem to have built up a lot of anger toward Rhonda Anderson because of her own personal and business decisions. Might I suggest that you “let it go”? I was thrown for a loop when Youngevity acquired Heritage Makers, but it hasn’t affected my business as a consultant or my experience as a publisher of my own photo-media. In this economy a lot of good companies are folding. I’m grateful that Youngevity hasn’t decreased our product line or restructured the way we can give our clients a price choice for the products.

      Did I say price-choice? That’s right. HM Basic (free) account holders can use an artwork-limited free digital studio to create one-of a kind products and buy them at straight retail price or up to 15% off. Club HM users can buy various quantities of discounted publishing at 25%, 29%, or 33% off, and THAT gives them unrestricted-FREE-use of the Premier artwork–all 90,000 pieces and 10,000 templates! We used to require a minimum 3-month subscription to Club HM, but under Youngevity, there’s no subscription required anymore. So for people who like creating digital products, HM can be a great AND economical experience. (I just wanted to clear up THAT bit of misinformation about HM.) I invite anyone who wants to know more to check out SFSFS on Facebook, or google me.

      • Jett March 5, 2014 at 9:49 pm #

        Thank you for your information 🙂 It really helped me to understand HM a little bit better than I did before.

        I thought about what you said. I don’t have anger at Rhonda Anderson. It just got directed in her direction I suppose.

        I think what I’m angry/upset about is that in this whole bankruptcy thing, people seem to be trying to make A&Z look like the bad guy–without any proof–and Rhonda the good guy, also without any proof. When it comes right down to it, I want *both* A&Z and Rhonda to succeed but some people seem to be wanting to declare doom on A&Z b/c Rhonda left without even giving those left behind a chance to prove themselves.

        It’s not fair to not give A&Z a chance (especially since there are some people, like several of my friends, who still believe the product and company is a good thing).

        • Laura Jinkins March 5, 2014 at 10:15 pm #

          You say it’s not fair to give them a chance, and to some degree I can see what you’re saying. HOWEVER, it wasn’t really fair of them to mismanage the original CM company into not one, but two bankruptcies. For the customers who truly believed in the company’s original mission: Simple pages, completed albums . . . well, I’m scrounging like anyone’s business trying to locate enough packets of 12×15 album pages to finish the albums I have. CM customers trusted CM to be around for a long time . . . when part of the home class spiel is all about how great the products are and how they’ll last generations, you certainly expect the company to be around a long time, too.

          I think the fact that CM pulled the rug out from under so many loyal customers is more than enough proof that they aren’t exactly the “good guy” in this situation. I have not heard of CM apologizing for their mismanagement or the inconvenience that so many customers are experiencing now that they can’t find the supplies they need to complete their albums.

          As far as Rhonda not explaining in great detail why she left — I think she is very wise. First of all, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all . . .” And then, you can be sure that A&Z’s lawyers would be all over Rhonda with defamation/libel/slander charges if she says anything negative about the quality of the A&Z product. As far as other consultants following her to HM . . . well, I obviously have not been privy to her conversations, but did you expect her to just disappear without explanation to those in her downline? I imagine many of them said, “What gives?” and she explained her decision. And more than likely with all the changes/bankruptcy at CM, more than a few of them said, “Hey, that sounds pretty cool. Where do I sign?”

          • Jett March 5, 2014 at 11:09 pm #

            Very valid points, Donna. Your argument is very well-thought-out and exactly the type of conversation I was looking for rather than what some others said (either cheerleading or accusations). Thank you for that.

            That said, as a future business owner (I can’t be explicit here without giving away my product), I know that I hope my products/company will be around for many, many decades (like McDonald’s or Wells Fargo or Pinkerton Security). But I also know that I can’t realistically expect that outcome, only hope for it…and while I agree that I didn’t like the fact that I was also left scrambling for products for the albums I was still working on, at least CM provided me with an alternative. Some of the other MLMs have just left me with nothing to show for all my hard work (when I think of all the sales-people/distributors who “made friends” with me just to sell me something, it makes me feel ill). I don’t expect any company to apologize for failing; that’s part of the risk and they can’t be crucified for taking that risk.

            That said, I hate that people who are selling CM products online are selling them for outrageous prices! It’s highway robbery. I’ve been lucky to find a CMC who has left-over product she’s willing to part with, and to her credit, she’s selling them to me at the price I would have paid ordering straight from the catalog. I love Rachel very much for her integrity and I feel we’ll be good friends for years to come.

            I never thought about that last point about Rhonda being vague being a good thing. It actually is a credit to her that she didn’t say anything nasty/defamatory and shows the kind of integrity she has.

            I will admit I didn’t even consider that Rhonda would want to at least say goodbye to her “friends” from her downline and let them know where she was going and why. I guess b/c I’ve been leery of the DM and MLM and, therefore, running away from joining them for so long, I no longer remember what it’s like to have a downline. I suppose for some people those downline’s are their friends (My upline dropped me as soon as I told them I lost my regular job; for her, it *was* all about the money. Her cold mannerisms and manipulative behavior didn’t become clear to me until after she broke ties with me…I guess I was too dazzled by CM’s high-quality products to notice).

        • donnaraagas March 5, 2014 at 10:41 pm #

          I get it. A & Z is fortunate to have you promoting them!! (I wasn’t familiar with them till now.)

          • Jett March 5, 2014 at 11:37 pm #

            Thanks. LOL I guess I have been doing that. I wasn’t trying to, though. I just really like the concept of finishing an album in 2 hours, and I’m one of the original CM people (I started doing it back in the early ’90s). I was confused when some people said that A&Z had tossed aside their older customers in lieu of “time-starved moms”… I was like “What? Aren’t we traditional scrappers who’ve been with the company for years also starved for time? We’re not excluded from that problem. If anything, we traditionalists have more photos and less time than those time-starved moms!”. I estimate I have over 2,000 printed photos and 100s of more pics on my computer that I haven’t gotten into albums b/c I just haven’t had the time to do it. I’ve seen multiple people on youtube and in blogs use A&Z to put together an album they’ve been “meaning to get to for years” in a couple of hours. I would love to get a 40-pg album created in a weekend and start showing off my trips and memories to my friends and family!

            I also like the fact that they are the same type of album pages as before–acid-free, lignin-free and buffered–I’ve only found acid-/lignin-free in the stores and was really mourning the possible loss of the buffered pages neutralizing anything I put on the page that might not hold up to the standard of archival quality products (we all have seen the paper that claims to be those things that actually isn’t).

  39. Jett March 5, 2014 at 2:50 pm #

    No, not an informant. I don’t work for them. Please DON’T let my words taint your opinion of Ahni and Zoe. I’ve never even been to St. Cloud, MN.

    Truth is I’m just very cynical after being hurt by more than one Direct Sales or MLM company (and Jett is just my online name b/c my real name is too unique and I have no desire to have people contacting me to harass me or sell things to me or stalk me–seriously: one google search gives you 8 links to my email, facebook page, phone number, and address despite my best efforts to eliminate this access. That’s how unique my name is).

    If you say that Rhonda is a great person, then I’m sure she is. I’ve read many things written by Rhonda and about her and she comes off as a very nice person…but then, so did the last guy a family friend set me up with: he looked and sounded sincere on paper, but was the complete opposite in real life. I wish I had had the opportunity to meet her; I would have loved that as much as I loved CM’s products! Plus I admit that I can’t really get a good read on a person until I meet him/her.

    Since I haven’t met her and I’m not likely to since I don’t find HM all that appealing, all I can go off of is what I’ve read and her behavior. What I’ve read written about her is all very sweet and sincere. But her behavior is sketchy. Leaving a company that is already struggling and then using contacts from that company to take customers from said company is just plain unethical, regardless of how nice or wonderful that person is. This is only my opinion. I’m not even sure about business ethics or if it is unethical to do what she did. It just feels dishonest to me.

    I’ll reiterate what I said before: it’s her vague answers and her behavior that really bother me. I don’t know if I can trust A&Z, but now I don’t know if I can trust HM or Rhonda either. I wish she’d been more clear in this interview. If Rhonda had clearly said, “the product isn’t the quality that CM used to make”; or “they don’t uphold the same standards” or “A&Z isn’t going to take care of customers”, then I might be reassured that the reason she’s leaving was over “the mission of preserving memories” instead of sounding like she lost her power and control and that made her hate working there.

    Please, offer me written proof of anything proves that Rhonda’s leaving was anything but personal reasons, and I’ll happily move to Rhonda’s HM with all the other CMCs she invited to join her. Truly, I want to believe that her move is a good one, but I like making scrapbooks with my hands, not my computer (that feels too much like work, where I’m typing on the computer all day…ugh). Right now, it doesn’t seem like that’s what HM offers. They only offer digital scrapbooking with a subscription fee. That’s even worse than buying product through a consultant or a store.

    Again, my comments are just b/c I haven’t seen anything written about what the “real” reason Rhonda left is. I don’t buy the “mission” thing. It just seems too Pollyana-ish of a reason to leave. Most people struggling to keep afloat with their business don’t leave a company b/c of altruistic reasons or b/c they care about the customers, they leave to save their own skins..

  40. MJ March 5, 2014 at 6:59 pm #

    I used CM albums for 15 years. I switched recently to Close To My Heart albums and LOVE them, in fact I feel like they are even sturdier than the CM albums and they hold more pages. I was a diehard Creative Memories girl too. So those of you looking for albums I would say try the CTMH albums and you won’t be disappointed in their quality. I was fortunate in that a girl at my church had a party so I got to see the Close To My Hearts stuff in person and I was impressed.

    • Jett March 5, 2014 at 9:31 pm #

      Thank you for the tip! I will definitely check it out (there’s a lot of my friends who like CTMH).

  41. Jett March 5, 2014 at 10:33 pm #

    This will be the last (hopefully) comment I will make on this.

    So today, during my lunch, I sat down with someone I trusted, and he talked to me about this. I realized that this whole was upsetting me more than it needed to and I couldn’t figure out why.

    As I shared and he listened, I came to realize that what I’m angry/upset about is that, in this whole affair, it seems like everyone wants A&Z to fail (almost to the level of “doom on you” and as if they were exacting revenge upon the company). As far as I could tell, it seemed that Rhonda and the CEO of A&Z parted on good terms, so I didn’t understand where the venom was coming from for the company she was leaving behind. It also upset me that several people seem to want the company to fail b/c IMO the new business plan they had and products they were offering are a fresh approach to the froufrou pages that were in the catalogs before the switch to the “new” company.

    Personally, I like the new line of products. I’ve always been a big fan of simplicity. The fast-to-fab that CM had offered when I was more active with the company back in 2010 were not my style and so I didn’t even bother to look at them. These new ones are attractive and appeal to a wide variety of personal styles IMO.

    When it comes right down to it, I want *both* A&Z and Rhonda to succeed but some people seem to be implying that only ONE of the two can succeed. That only one can succeed at the expense of the other. The CEO of A&Z and Rhonda didn’t seem to think so, so why should anyone else think that? Are they thinking that way b/c the founder of CM was pursuing another option? That’s silly.

    My associate then explained how direct sales works (he’s done it for years so he’s kinda an expert on it). He explained that she’s not “stealing customers/clients”, she’s offering them an opportunity to choose another option and build their livelihood. He suggested that what she was doing was *not* raiding the company at all and definitely not unethical. He also suggested that many of the CMCs she spoke to may be those she personally recruited or who may be part of her downline.

    He told me about Rhonda Anderson and convinced me of what a wonderful, sincere person she truly is and how she is full of integrity and caring for others. What he told me about her after that convinced me of his statement. He then explained to me how she practically built the company and was a leader in the scrapbooking industry. He stated that she had a right to do exactly what she did.

    I won’t belabor with all that he said after that about Rhonda and this whole situation, but I’ll say this much: I’m reassured that what she did was not unethical or untrustworthy.

    That said, I’m still not completely won over on the whole HM thing (I never got on the online/digital thing when CM was doing it; why would I start now? I like working with my hands!), so I’ll wait and see what Rhonda will do and make up my mind at that point 🙂 If she can make something close to what many of us lost when CM when bankrupt (all the wonderful high-quality albums and fun tools and beautiful high-quality papers and stickers), then I think I might join her in this new endeavor.

    I wish her and all the former-CMCs the best of luck in their endeavors. And I wish Ahni & Zoe the best of luck in recovering from bankruptcy and succeeding as a company.

  42. Katie March 6, 2014 at 4:26 pm #

    As a former long-tenure CM employee I can assure you that Rhonda was the voice of the CM mission and values. It was evident to all who interact with Rhonda that she lives her life with a high level of integrity and respect. Unfortunately the current executive team did not believe in that mission and did not value Rhonda. The shame is on them for essentially writing Rhonda out of the AZ business. Rhonda will never badmouth them or any other competitors because that’s the classy kind of person she is. I for one hope AZ, HM, and Rhonda’s new adventure all survive and thrive so that we as consumers have a choice that fits our individual needs.

    • Jett March 7, 2014 at 1:26 am #

      I agree, and the more you all educate me about Rhonda, the more I respect her and feel badly for her situation. I’m also sorry that the people at A&Z didn’t see what a valuable asset they had in her. That said, I want to see everyone do well b/c I agree with you: we want choices/options and each of them will bring a different choice for a different need.

  43. Jen March 11, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    What is MLM?

  44. Jen March 11, 2014 at 2:23 pm #

    Ohhhhh….pyramid. Got it.

    • Donna Raagas May 23, 2014 at 4:22 pm #

      Jen, MLM is not pyramid. Pyramid is “robbing Peter to pay Paul”. MLM is a structure where you get paid for volume (your sales) you sell to clients/customers, and the % you earn is based on the size of active consultants or distributors you have on your team, and the numbers of active teams, they have and so on. The difference is that the company pays you according to the compensation plan, from company profits. It’s not like when waitresses split tips, and then they have to give some to the busboys.

  45. Jen March 11, 2014 at 2:31 pm #

    Too bad it costs at least $500 to start(plus several ala cart items you have to sign up for separately at additional cost.) $500 screams “Amway!” to me.

    • Jett May 5, 2014 at 2:36 am #

      It’s not $500 to start…that’s only if you want the whole CEO package, you can do only HM and only pay $10 once for the rest of the time you’re with them. That’s it: $10 and discount. If you want a greater discount, you can sign up for a monthly program but the most expensive one was $100 a month. I know people who pay more than that for cable and they don’t get any tangible product from that.

  46. Julie Amstutz March 14, 2014 at 6:18 pm #

    I too need to have Black pages back! they are so easy to work on with little decoration needed! Please oh, please, bring them back!

  47. Anita April 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    I work for a gigantic healthcare organization and I know about losing my “voice” as corporate decisions are made. While I’m still an Ahni and Zoe consultant, I will deactivate soon and not to become a consultant with another company and not to follow someone to their new adventure. I’m done with being another company’s collateral damage.

  48. Julzie April 16, 2014 at 4:41 pm #

    Wow, what a read! Ok, it is good that Jett got settled in all of this. As a somewhat of an insider, having read Rhonda’s personal letter to us, I know she was given script to read, not able to say what she wanted to us anymore. It is true, that they didn’t value her and that is very sad. I wish them all success as they deserve. As I am getting older I feel I may not be a consultant anymore, and it has nothing to do with the A & Z choices. I have always led my people into simple and done albums. Their pages are easily changed to how you want them. I will check out HM product, but the joining is a bit confusing for me.
    Truly, several years ago I was nauseated at the huge catalogue that CM was putting out! So many choices and changes in what they were asking of us! I could no longer take in all of the choices… So that said, it was clear that this was going downhill quite fast. Often the new product was not a fraction as good as the old. And, that is scary too! The handwriting was on the wall.
    Blessings to all, and it is YOUR business! handle it to the best of your desires!

    • Pam Henricks May 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm #

      I deactivated as CM consultant for a couple of years although I continued having crops at my house. Just couldn’t do the financial strain of stocking inventory. Since A&Z came out I am active and finally making money. The party plan is great! People love the new decorated pages, The quality is the same, and my traditional customers are using the new pages by overlaying with full size papers. Many of them are getting huge discounts on their products because they can introduce their non-scrapbooking friends to memory keeping and get hostess credit.

      I am still doing the traditional style because I am doing my personal memories but look with envy at my people who are completing albums in one session.

  49. tammy May 4, 2014 at 7:34 am #

    I am SO Happy and Excited to hear this… over the past few weeks I have been on Ebay buying up all of the old CM page protectors for the stuff I already have on hand. I am relieved to know that I will be able to get the scrapbook stuff I have come to trust and love. Sometimes things are a blessing in disguise. I was surprised the last time I went to the CM site to make a purchase, they really didn’t have any of the old stuff… no tools, stickers etc… I have no doubt this new line of products will take off and keep on growing! Thank You Rhonda, Youngevity and Heritage Makers!! Some of us still like old fashioned scrapbooking!

    • Sue May 5, 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Tammy, you and purchase page protectors from A & Z. Rhonda’s new company does not have them yet.

  50. Holly Veach June 9, 2014 at 2:22 pm #

    As a newbie to the MLM concept, can someone tell me how much money one can make with either company? And, how does it work and what do you get paid on?

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