I’m going to buy a new laptop in the next week or so. Okay, this IS part of my Scrapbook Obsession, because I use my computer to journal and store/print photos (and to blog, ha!). I’d like to use the new one for my Memory Works business and possibly try digital scrapbooking. I’ve been thinking about what to buy for some time, but I really need to JUST DO IT! I researched things like dependability, customer service (from an English-speaking country, please?), speed, and memory. I had settled on a Lenovo laptop and was just waiting for the money (which has arrived). Well, then I’m scrapping at a friend’s house one day and she has a beautiful Apple desktop with the 20 inch monitor. It was gorgeous, and seemed so easy to use. My friend said that, when she was recently computer shopping, a mutual friend recommended Apple because of their user-friendliness, security, and they don’t crash as often as PC’s do. I really trust his opinion because he’s one of my “go to” guys on techie issues. (Me = so far from a techie I can barely spell it). Now, I’m pretty much sold on a MacBook Pro, Pro because I want the larger screen. I’m thrilled that Macs can now run Windows and all the MS programs I’m used to, like Excel and Word. They also run every type of software I’ve checked so far, like Photoshop and programs I’d need for work. Now it seems like wherever I look, everyone’s got an Apple. The local Mac store was way busier than the other computer stores I went to (no, it wasn’t because of the Ipod’s, those were in a separate section next door). Is it just me, or is some big switchover happening? Is Apple the way to go?
I’ve been asking around and no one has had anything bad to say about Macs. Ooohh! And I want that iPhone that comes out in June 2007, too btw. I guess my only remaining concern is that going with an Apple might hamstring me somehow down the road, and not run a crucial program or download that I need. I won’t have a PC to back me up, because the laptop I have now (an HP Pavilion) is borrowed. I’m sure the rightful owner will be happy to have it back. Also, Macs are definitely more expensive – are they worth it? I wish the computer fairy would descend from the clouds and tell me what to do. Anybody got an Apple, and some advice??
According to a message board I’m on, there are some changes happening at Creative Memories! I have already decided to be a Memory Works consultant, of course, but I’m excited for the CM consultants I know (and others who may want to join CM). I haven’t verified the info, but this is basically what the post-er said: The plans haven’t been finalized yet. It is still $500 minimum retail sales every three months (cumulative, not in one month, like it used to be long ago). There will be new shipping rates effective April 1, 2007. They are $7.00 for orders under $100 and 7% for orders over $100. There is a new recruiting incentive starting March 1st. When a hostess has a show with sales $400 or more, they can join as a consultant for only $72.50 (I edited what she said; this is not a direct quote). So, it all sounds like great news. I’m really happy about the shipping charges being reduced – they were $18 per order unless you had a really huge order. If the consultant only keeps 30%, they would have to place an order worth $60 to just break even. That just didn’t seem fair. Again, great news!
Speaking of Memory Works, I will commence hounding of the mail carrier every day because my Consultant Kit should be arriving any time now. On February 6, I got an e-mail saying it would ship in 7 to 10 business days. All I’ve accomplished so far is buying a nice sized paper rack for $20 from an LSS that was closing, so I can display products at crops or parties. And a dear friend who lives 2 hours away has offered to host a party for me. We were going to hold it in March, but then I found out that Memory Works is coming out with a new catalog in April. So, now we’re tentatively looking at the first Saturday in May since that is NATIONAL SCRAPBOOKING DAY!!! There are several sites regarding the wonderful “holiday” if you Google it, but this was my favorite: http://www.nationalscrapbookingday.com. It lists NSD events and even has a petition to make NSD a federally recognized holiday. When I checked the petition, they had over 1,000 signatures - go scrapbookers! I will keep you updated on my plans for that day. If my own MW event doesn’t materialize, I’ve been invited to my SIL’s Creative Memories crop AND one at an LSS. Whoo hoo, one of my favorite days of the year! What are your plans?
I had another great find online this week. First of all, don’t you just love Ali Edwards (check out her blog: http://aliedwards.typepad.com)?!? I have always admired her scrapbooking style. It’s very fresh and unique, simple but revealing, just classy I think. I’ve always wondered where she gets those cute little stamps she uses on her layouts for journaling, numbering photos, etc. Well, via another blog, I finally figured it out: http://www.catslifepress.com. They have the KEE-YOU-TEST stamps. And the prices are great, especially if you get them unmounted which I plan to do. Shipping for unmounted stamps is only $1.50 per order, and unmounted stamps range in price from $1.50 to $5. Not bad at all, huh? You should check it out.
It only took me weeks but I’ve finally made a decision about this scrapbook consultant thing. I’m going to sign up with Memory-Works (I think). As fate would have it, I learned about Memory-Works from a comment on my blog (thanks Leslie!). I have been checking out their website and rolling everything around in my mind (as Sharon Stone says, “It’s a dangerous place like a dark alley. You wouldn’t want to go in there alone”). I had it narrowed down to Memory-Works and Creative Memories pretty quickly. They both have so many pros and a few cons each, that it was REALLY hard to decide. So I called my sis-in-law who’s been a CM consultant for 4 years in another town. She gave me a lot of good information that you can’t find out by looking at their website. After looking into each company, here are the ups and downs of each (sorry, my mom always told me to make a comparison list when I couldn’t decide something :)
Creative Memories positives: Excellent quality, long-lasting products. I ADORE the Power Sort Boxes and could use my 30% off consultant discount to stack them in my house, floor to ceiling. The “Empowering Women” magazine made me feel so…empowered. Lots of support and direction from the home office and fellow consultants, including some Yahoo CM Consultant groups (no Yahoo group for MW?). Incentives to sell, sell, sell! (all well and good if you sell, make you feel like an idiot if you don’t).
Creative Memories negatives: High minimums: When you sign up, you must sell right off the bat and there are incentives to reach the higher goal in 30,60 and 90 days. From there, your 3 months starts and you have to sell $500 retail within 3 months. Once you reach $500, the 3 months starts again. Exclusivity: If you’re a CM consultant, you cannot be a consultant for any other scrapbook-related company. Not my style: They have come a long way but the papers, stickers, journaling boxes, etc. are not really my style. I’m the kind of gal who wears her thoughts all over her face and cannot tell a lie. I like the more trendy stuff. I do love their organizational items, tools, software and albums but is that enough to make me a good rep for them?
Memory-Works positives: Trendy stuff!: They have all my favorite brands of paper, stickers, rub-ons and embellishments. I’m talkin’ Basic Grey, KI Memories, Chatterbox, and Autumn Leaves. No minimum: Well, there is one but it’s $75 retail per year so, like, no minimum. Prices are listed on the website for customers (I’ve always hated that you never know the prices of CM!). They have sales. They have a monthly club kit. They are cheaper to join and who has extra money? Not me!
Memory-Works negatives: They’re not a one-stop shop like Creative Memories. But I think I can find a way to offer every basic my customers will need. And I wish they had direct ship like CM – the consultant just gets an e-mail stating someone made an order & how much – kewl.
These are just some of the issues I’m considering. As much as I respect the company, I think CM is just too big a commitment at this time in my life. I live in a rural area and it’s hard to get people to come “all the way out to my house”. The thought of HAVING to lug all my stuff to home parties every month (gotta’ meet that minimum!) pains me. I’m also not crazy about the shipping costs. My SIL says it costs her $18 for each shipment, no matter the size/weight (unless it’s for some God-awful huge order). So, like she said, if a neighbor pops by and places a $50 order, the consultant gets $15 (aka 30%) and it costs her $18 to ship it. I guess you can make the customer pay shipping but I’ve heard from other consultants that people will cancel or reduce their order when they hear they have to pay shipping – they can just go to Sue CM Consultant down the street who has it in stock – so that most just pay shipping themselves. It seems the way to be a successful CM consultant is this: when the deadline is coming and you haven’t met your minimum, buy stuff to have it in stock and pray it’s the stuff people will buy. Have an understanding DH who won’t mind you taking over 2 closets to store your merch. Keep your stuff packed up and your evenings clear – you gotta’ party or class to give! Unfortunately, this situation does not match my life. With Memory-Works, there is less income potential but less stress. And I could use less stress. I have until Feb. 7 to get a great deal on becoming a Memory-Works consultant. Will let you know when I take the plunge! Can’t wait to get started…