All About Images Blog

Flowerdale_CM logo_edit_002Creative Memories has filed for bankruptcy twice and their liquidation sale took place September 23-24. So, what is Creative Memories? There seems to be a lot of confusion on this point.

Let’s start with what it is not. Heritage Maker’s Our Memories for Life (OMFL) is not Creative Memories. That’s right. OMFL is no more Creative Memories than the All About Images blog. OMFL has hired one of Creative Memories’ co-founders, but Creative Memories as a company was much more than the co-founders. I worked for Creative Memories for 14 years, including over ten years as Director of Technology, but that does not make this blog Creative Memories.

At this point, the closest thing to what was Creative Memories is the Flowerdale Group. They purchased Creative Memories patents, trademarks, and some of their equipment.  The Flowerdale Group has announced plans to produce Creative Memories albums and other products. But even this announcement does not make the Flowerdale Group Creative Memories. What will make them Creative Memories is a demonstrated commitment to uphold Creative Memories quality standards, and that can only come with time.

For more about Creative Memories see All About Creative Memories.

Scrappy and Rita go up for sale.

Scrappy and Rita go up for sale.

I attended Ahni and Zoe by Creative Memories’ liquidation auction yesterday. The auction was run by Grafe Auction and was professional in every respect. I had never attended an auction of this type so I learned quite a bit about auctions. By the way, Scrappy sold for $40, and Rita sold for $50.

50-100 people attended the auction, with many more bidding online. It’s difficult to keep track of numbers, because people were coming and going. I intended to buy laboratory equipment but left with a few other items as well.

There were bargains. I bought two heavy duty metal storage cabinets for $20/each.

There weren’t a lot of bargains. Many of the people at the auctions were professionals who knew exactly what items were worth. Aeron office chairs that I wanted sold for $250 each. I didn’t get my chairs.

photo 2_editThe most unusual lot was a collection of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation dummies. The dummies sold for $5.00.

The Flowerdale Group, which had previously purchased the Creative Memories and the Ahni and Zoe brands, actively participated in the bidding. Apparently, they decided that it was more cost effective to purchase much of the equipment they needed at auction than to buy it prior to the auction. By the way, the Flowerdale Group did buy the Creative Memories album tester, which repetitively opens and closes an album, to help ensure that their albums would remain durable and long-lasting.

I did buy laboratory equipment, including a QEA Image Analyzer and a Sutherland Rub Tester. The prices were good but not extremely low. In these cases, I could outbid the professionals since I am planning to actually use the equipment, not resell it. I did not get Creative Memories XRF system. It sold for $3700, significantly more than the $1000 or so that I was prepared to pay. Even so, for $3700 somebody got a good deal for a system that originally sold for about $40,000. I heard one bidder comment that the price for a used XRF system is around $12,000.

The auction lasted until after 7:00, and when I left I was tired.

Artisan Facebook_blur

My Facebook news feed is infested with ads for Artisan State photo books. Facebook even tells me that lots of my friends like Artisan State photo books.

I previously wrote about Artisan State in Photo Books to Avoid expressing my concerns about their use of PVC. The comments I received from people who had actually dealt with Artisan State were highly critical, indicating poor customer service along with quality and delivery problems.

In general, very very terrible customer service.No way to get a hold of them. So much frustration. I will never order anything from them again. I am losing money. Stay away Artisan State. Doug, October 7, 2013

Be warned: PROFESSIONALS STAY AWAY FROM ARTISAN!! If you are into cheap and quick, but poor quality, then go with them. Their print quality is okay, but their craft skills are very very poor! Talking about precision on bleeds and margins that are so different from my screen proof preview to the real product. Jenny, October 10, 2013

I lost my customer because of their horrible customer service. Doug, October 31, 2013

At this point i don’t recommend them to anyone. Extremely disappointed with this company. Take note people. Mike Lao, November 7, 2013

Artisan State has the worst customer service ever! Brandon, December 29. 2013

I wish I’d have read all the bad reviews of this company before investing. Lesson learned! J, December 30, 2013

I received an email back that was both unhelpful and rather mean. I’ll never use them again. Mark, January 20, 2014

What is going on? Are my Facebook friends extremely lucky in their dealings with Artisan State. I wanted to know so I emailed them. It turns out none of them had actually ordered photo books from Artisan State. They just “liked” the page because they were interested in photo books.

Clearly “like” doesn’t really mean like, and Facebook needs to change their “Like” button to “I don’t really like you but I want to know what you are doing.”

Note added 9/18/2014: It looks like Artisan State has discontinued their use of PVC (see Green Substrate Vs PVC); however, the customer service and other quality concerns remain.

Forever

Panstoria is now Forever. Well, nothing lasts forever, but it is as close as it can get since Forever has now acquired Panstoria.

Forever has an interesting business model in that they purport to store your photos forever (actually your lifetime plus 100 years), including migrating them to new file formats as necessary. Forever isn’t cheap, but if it really does what it says is is going to do, it may be a good deal since it eliminates any worry about how to preserve digital photos, at least for the next 100+ years.

See Meakem’s Forever acquires Panstoria for more details.

Snapfish

If you have any money left after next week’s Ahni and Zoe by Creative Memories liquidation auction, you might consider purchasing Snapfish. That’s right. Another photo site is up for sale.

The real problem is the endless array of promotions and sales that have driven the entire industry to unsustainable prices and few profits. In the short run consumers may benefit, but in the long run, I’m not so sure.

See also Shutterfly Up For Sale.

Alpha_Free_close_comp2

As part of an effort to eliminate potentially toxic BPA from thermally printed receipts, Appvion has introduced a new paper that uses Vitamin C instead of BPA.  The new Appveon paper is yellow so it should be relatively easy to tell when it is being used.

Unfortunately, this paper is 10-20% more expensive than current paper, which may limit its adoption in the absence of government regulation requiring its use.

Cadence_2

OK, 4-year old Cadence accidentally deleted a photo of Uncle Dave. I get it. I watched the video. She is really upset. I get that too, but what I don’t get is why her parents haven’t set up a system to backup their photos so they can’t be accidentally deleted. I mean, you have a four year old in the house. The possibilities are endless, and then you are surprised when something is accidentally deleted. At that point, blame yourself, not the poor, little girl.

 

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All opinions expressed in this blog are mine, not HID Global's.

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