Creative Memories goes up in a cloud of smoke

Warning: Rant.

Many years ago, before kids, I scrapbooked. My MO was like this: I would go down to the scrapbooking store and spend hours leafing through all the different papers and embellishments and stickers and I would spend a bunch of money and then go home and spend three or four hours making one two-page spread. How I got anything done at all is beyond me. I guess you have a lot of extra time when you don't have kids.

I used post-bound albums, which I hated. They were fiddly and the pages always buckled instead of lying flat. I considered D-ring albums, but two-page spreads looked awful in those albums because of the huge gap between them. I figured I was just stuck with post-bound.

Anyway then I moved here to Rough and Ready and learned that one of my neighbors was a Creative Memories consultant. And she hosted weekly crops! Which was awesome for me because it meant new friends and some me-time and that I would always have one morning carved out every week for scrapbooking.

At first, I didn't love Creative Memories. I liked the fancy papers and Creative Memories had no fancy papers. You just stuck your pictures right on the page, maybe after rounding the corners or something, and then you put a few stickers on and a fancy border. I thought the pages were kind of boring. But I really liked the strap-hinge albums. They always lay flat and there was no gap between the pages. And I really liked getting together with friends and neighbors to crop.

Then Creative Memories did come out with the fancy papers, and all the stickers and ribbon and paper flowers to go with it. And the best part about it: all the stuff matched. No more scouring the scrapbooking store in search of papers, or spending hours trying to decide how to make a page look nice. It was all right there in that one package.

Now I didn't just love the albums, I loved everything about Creative Memories. I became a consultant, though I rarely ever sold any of the Creative Memories products. I just bought the stuff for myself. After that I almost never went to one of those scrapbooking stores. I was happy on my little Creative Memories cloud.

Now if you are also a Creative Memories fan, you know where I'm going with this. A few weeks ago, my beloved Creative Memories stabbed me in the heart, with the same very long knife they used to stab all their fans in the heart. Creative Memories will no longer be making albums, pages, page protectors or really anything good. Instead they will be focusing on their digital line, which I have little or no interest in (on the rare occasions that I do make photo books I use Snapfish or Shutterfly and then only during one of their very discounted promotions). They will also still be making their "Fast to Fabulous" albums, which I also have no interest in. I don't want my book dictating how many photos I get to put in my album, or how many per page or what orientation they should be, and I also really don't want my books to look exactly like everyone else's books.

And then to add insult to injury, we'll only be able to buy pages and protectors until the end of this month. Why does this suck? Because every time Creative Memories came out with a coverset I liked, I would by it, but I wouldn't buy the pages and protectors to go along with it. Because the coversets were always "while supplies last," but the pages and protectors were forever.

Or so I thought.

I have 14 empty Creative Memories albums on my shelf. I like to put about 35 pages in each book, which is about two packs and 1/3. That's about 33 packs of pages and 33 packs of protectors. I'm going to have to max out a credit card to afford to complete all those albums. But if I don't, all those albums become useless. I could sell them on eBay, but I love the strap hinge format and selling those albums means that's one more post-bound album I have to buy instead. I really want to use all my CM albums because I love them.

What could Creative Memories have done differently? I don't know. Some people think they never should have started making the fancy papers, because that's what did them in. But though I would have still used their albums I doubt I would have become so devoted to them if they didn't have those papers. Maybe I'm unusual though.

And I don't know what the courts are making them do--because this is all bankruptcy related--but I think giving us three or four months to order those pages instead of less than a month would have been a kindness. Personally, I can't afford Creative Memories' bankruptcy. :(

Now I know that this is about the collapse of a company and not really about those of us who were once devoted to that company. But Creative Memories needs to give us a parting gesture of thanks from the deck of their sinking ship. Because we all loved them, supported them, told all our friends about them, and spent probably too much money on their products. The least they could do is sell their patent on those albums to some other company. Because I've been searching the web for a comparable, widely available (in many colors) strap-hinge album and I'm not finding much. And I really don't want to go back to post-bound.


Sweet Woodruff said...

Good read. :( I'm sad. I loved that company.

Becki Robins said...

Yeah, me too. :(

Lalia Harris said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lalia Harris said...

One of my dear friends was a CM consultant. My heart breaks because she depended on her income from CM for her extra spending money.
I know it's been a while since you published this. Did you hear that Close to My Heart has strap hinge side load page protectors? They are a lovely quality too. Let me know if you'd like to try one out. Message me back through my blog and I'll send you one. My previous comment didn't have my blog address (

Becki Robins said...

I did not know that ... I wish they'd do the pages and albums too! I've searched high and low and there's just nothing comparable ...

Carol Deering said...

Just found this while looking for an idea of how to do the paper albums. I have a few original 12x12 albums that need more pages. I never used the protectors. had 12x12 strap hinge pages. I bought 4 packages a few days ago, they were on sale for $4. for 10 pages. They do charge shipping and tax, but it is a way that you can use your albums.

Hope that helps

Becki Robins said...

That's a great tip Carol, thank you for posting!!!

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