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MemoryWorks To Cease Direct Sales Operations

MemoryWorks, the direct sales company that gave birth to wholesaler Simple Stories, has announced that it will be ceasing operations effective December 31st.

The company was founded in 2002 by Kevin and Amber Crowell, and carried a range of products from My Mind’s Eye, Fancy Pants, Echo Park, BoBunny, Teresa Collins, American Crafts, Bella Blvd, and a host of other companies. The 2009 release to MemoryWorks customers of an exclusive in-house pocket scrapbooking collection, the same year that Project 365 and Project Life also grabbed the imagination of scrapbook consumers with pocket scrapbooking, catapulted the company in a whole new direction. “Life Documented by Simple Stories” was a massive success and lead the company to launch the Simple Stories wholesale line in 2010. Since then, MemoryWorks has increasingly lived in the shadow of the explosive success of Simple Stories, which quickly became one of the industry’s juggernauts, riding the wave of consumer passion for pocket scrapbooking. Continue Reading →

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CHA Summer 2011 | Hero Arts, Unity Stamp, Lifestyle Crafts, Simple Stories, and Uniformed Scrapbooks of America

Scrapbook Update’s last booth coverage post from CHA Summer 2011 brings you not one, not three, but six manufacturers and their new products!! So buckle up for the blitz tour of the CHA floor!

I’ll start off this last segment of our CHA booth tour with a trip to see the new Hero Arts stamp offerings. Their newly announced partnership with Studio Calico was of course the buzz of the show, and by the looks of these fantastic stamp designs both companies have a hit on their hands!

There was alos excitement at the show over Hero Arts introducing new lines of embossing folders with matching stamps (below) and dies with matching stamps (not pictured).

The Basic Grey/Hero Arts partnership that began at the CHA Winter 2011 show is still going strong, with several items from the line on display at CHA Summer 2011.

And of course, Hero Arts carries many designs of cling mount and clear stamps produced by their in-house designers.

Did someone say booth projects? Hero Arts is known for its fabulous design samples (their catalog is practically an idea book full of beautiful inspiration), and these are gorgeous!

Unity Stamps is next on our itinerary. Unity partners with a wide range of scrapbook manufacturers and designers to produce licensed high-quality cling-mount rubber stamps.

Bella Blvd has several new items in the catalog at this show, including a lovely set of doily stamps.

Notice the reflection coming off of the packaging in that photo above? Unity introduced redesigned packaging at CHA Summer 2011 for their stamps. Instead of the previous kraft envelopes, stamps will now be packaged in convenient zip bags.

I got quite excited over some of the new Unity-produced Echo Park Paper stamps – especially the Fright Night set with its adorable little banner!

For the first time, there are now rubber stamps that coordinate with Nikki Sivils paper lines…

Unity also partners with Iron Orchid Designs and Webster’s Pages to produce licensed designs.

Jillibean Soup has many new offerings through Unity, as well. They were displayed along with a lovely bunch of sample cards to show off the goods!

Home letterpress is a rapidly developing market in the papercraft industry as consumer interest in DIY parties and events grows due to the economy. Lifestyle Crafts offers one popular system for DIY letterpress that was an early entrant to the market.

Hint: Look for more on letterpress coming from Scrapbook Update soon!

The Simple Stories brand has grown from a small subset of the Memory Works catalog to a full product line in its own right in a very short time. They introduced four new themed lines at the CHA Summer 2011 show, including the “Generations” collection shown below.

“Happy Day” is perfect for documenting birthdays and many other types of celebrations.

Fans of products using traditional Christmas reds and greens will find much to love in Simple Stories’ “25 Days of Christmas” line.

“Baby Steps” is a sweet, gender neutral baby line designed to make documenting your newborn as simple as possible.

The Simple Stories design team showed in their booth how traditional layouts could be made with the products, even though the products are actually specifically designed for use in a divided page protector scrapbooking system.

Uniformed Scrapbooks of America brought back their signature military uniform album line that earned them so much recognition when they first debuted, and they also added an adorable new Santa Claus “uniform” book to the mix!

 

 

 

 

 

And that concludes our CHA Summer 2011 booth tours!

Scrapbook Update’s CHA Summer 2011 booth coverage may be over, but there’s still more CHA goodness to come! In the coming months we’ll be bringing you in-depth reports on many new products that debuted at the show. We still have a few more “on the scene” reports to share as well (including an interview with new American Crafts designer Amy Tan), so stay tuned for those!

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MemoryWorks Selling Simple Stories Kits Wholesale

Direct sales company MemoryWorks has announced to consultants that it has begun selling its signature line of products, Simple Stories, wholesale to scrapbook retailers. The product line already went on sale today at Scrapbook.com.

Simple Stories, which was reviewed by May when it debuted earlier this year, capitalizes on the current trend toward simplified scrapbooking using divided page protectors. Major competitors would include products such as Project Life by Becky Higgins. To date there have been two Simple Stories lines released: Life Documented, which debuted in the spring of 2010, and ele.ment.ary, which was the Fall 2010 edition of the kit. The ele.ment.ary line featured not only the basic kit, like Life Documented, but the addition of several available add-ons of sticker sheets, journaling jots, and a 12 x 12 paper pack.

MemoryWorks’ move to start wholesaling product they’d already been selling directly to consumers is reminiscent of kit club Studio Calico’s starting to wholesale their private label product in 2009 – a move which has been very successful by all appearances.

The selling of the Simple Stories line via wholesale means that the company’s consultants no longer have an exclusive on selling the product line. Reaction so far from consultants contacted by Scrapbook Update seems to be muted. To cushion the blow of losing their exclusive, the company is offering consultants an additional 5% commission on selling the Simple Stories products.

Retailers interested in carrying the Simple Stories line can visit MemoryWorks’ new wholesale website.

Have you seen the new Shutter Sisters book?

Disclosure

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Review: Simple Stories by MemoryWorks

MemoryWorks is a rapidly growing direct sales scrapbook company that I first learned of a few weeks ago. They sell many top brands. I was impressed by the lines they sell – many of the trendiest items on the market today are in their catalog. Simple Stories is new for them, a product line designed by MemoryWorks with the intent to simplify scrapbooking and take it back to its roots. The debut kit “Life Documented” is now available.

I was intrigued by the premise of this kit the moment I opened the box. I have noticed a rise in the trend of using page protectors that are divided into various sizes, not to mention a movement toward encouraging scrapbookers to do their own (guilt free!) crafting. I think that is a great thing. I can simply stick photos from a vacation into 4×6 divided sleeves and add them into my album – less work, faster results! This isn’t a new idea, because these kinds of page protectors have been around a long time. However, it’s great to see it rising in popularity again, and I like that MemoryWorks is focusing a product line on simple, fast to put together scrapbooking.

They sell the bundle of 10 page protectors shown above for $5.50, as well as a variety of other page protector options. The Life Documented kit of supplies is priced at $16.99, and includes a variety of 4×6 journaling cards, as well as larger pieces and strips to go in the various sized dividers. It also contains patterned paper, a sheet of stickers, and six photo overlays. Note that all of the pieces (with exception of stickers and overlays) are provided as part of 12×12 sheets and you will need to cut them apart. This is actually nice – you can further customize or decide what and how you’re going to use the products.

The price seems fair market value for what you get, but not a value price point in my mind. The paper is a good thick quality, and the patterns are really pretty. Now, for me the patterns and styles do not match up with my idea of ‘quick and easy scrapping’. They are bold, some I would consider complicated to work with, and with all the pink accents and flourishes it’s a touch more feminine than I’d like in a ‘life documented’ kit (even as a mom of two girls). Ultimately, this isn’t a problem for me. I do really like the product and (as I would any kit) I knew I would find ways to utilize it in my own way.

I did have one issue with the stickers not being sticky and falling off my projects, but I’m told that this was due to the product I received being an advanced sample. [Editor's note: I played with the stickers from a second kit that I have and the adhesive seemed fine in that kit.]

It’s a really fun kit – especially if you’re into the grungy and distressed look. It includes an idea sheet and on the MemoryWorks blog there are also free digital (PDF file) downloads that compliment this kit.  I tried several times, but was not inspired to create using the divided protectors. I will be keeping this product in mind when I do try my hand again at that style of scrapbooking. I think I just don’t have the right photos to pair with the product in the divided protectors without converting images to black and white. Since I don’t use black & white photos usually, I’ll instead be sharing traditional layouts made from the kit. (Do be sure to watch for a future article with divided page protectors though!)

Here is the first layout I created with the kit. I added in some Basic Grey brads as well as a Prima Flower and three buttons to complete a “fast & easy” page. I put my focus into “get the story told, do it quickly” as the product line is intended to be used. I was pleasantly surprised by how well the product all comes together.

Next I tried something a bit different. I pulled out some cardstock of my own and scrapbooked a candid shot of my daughters.

(additional supplies used: Prism cardstock; Prima flower; Martha Stewart Punch; unknown thread and buttons)

I would strongly recommend this kit to anyone that enjoys the distressed look and likes to work with coordinated kits of supplies. As someone who doesn’t often use whole sheets of patterned paper I appreciated all the bits and pieces I could pull off and utilize. I will be watching for future product from this line, as I’m both impressed with the designs and loving the inspiration behind it.

If you’re looking for product that you can use with divided page protectors, this would be a big winner for that as well. In fact, MemoryWorks has provided Scrapbook Update with a kit (and set of the page protectors as pictured in this article) to give away to one lucky reader.

How to Enter:

All you have to do to be one of the lucky winners is leave a comment on this entry before Midnight U.S. eastern time on Monday, May 31st. Make sure you include your email address in the line reserved for it on the comment form (for your own protection, don’t put it in the text of the comment, where it will be visible to the public – just in the line labeled “email” in the form where only Scrapbook Update staff can see it). We will need it to notify you if you are a winner. Winners will be drawn by random drawing from all eligible entries. One entry per person.

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