Thursday, March 19, 2009

March Newsletter

The past month has been a roller coaster of emotions. From the loss of a wonderful person and customer to cancer, learning that my friends' scrapbook store is closing, discovering new store possibilities at PMA and life changes for members of my staff I have had a busy month.

Farewell to Friends
First, and most importantly, Scrapbook Safari in Woodland Hills will be closing its doors at the end of the month. I am deeply saddened by this and frankly, it hit really close to home.

Many of you have shopped, cropped and taken classes at Safari. I've known the owners, Jill and Vera, for over 10 years. We have attended annual scrapbook trade shows together, shared many a dinner where we'd discuss what each of us liked at the show and talked about the new trends we'd seen in scrapbooking. We've been sounding boards for each other in times of need and have always tried to help each other with our businesses. We have shared many laughs together and more recently many tears. When Jill and Vera first opened, all those years ago, countless people would ask me "Wow, you talk to each other? Aren't they your competition?" And I would always answer, "No, we are great friends."

I have always believed that it is smarter to work together to make scrapbook retailers stronger than to pit stores against each other. Anyone who owns a retail business, or any business, knows how much heart and soul must be put in to survive, particularly in our current economy. It breaks my heart knowing that Jill and Vera's journey has come to an end. We still have our friendship, which I am so grateful for and I look forward to getting together in the future to scrapbook and tell tales of "the good 'ol days." Their silver lining is that each will be able to spend more time with their families - in the end, that is most important in life. Who knows, maybe they'll get to scrapbook more often - now, that will make me jealous for sure!

Even during this difficult time for Jill, Vera and everyone at Scrapbook Safari, they are thinking of Treasured Memories by promoting TM with flyers and encouraging their customers and teachers to come our way. In the past few weeks, we've welcomed many Safari customers who say they are literally in shock and mourning the loss of their special scrapbook haven. That is a true testament to Safari's character and they can close their doors knowing that they made such an impact on people's lives. I may have lost my trade show buddies, but they still remain my personal friends, who I know I can continue to call and count on in the challenging times ahead. Thank you Jill and Vera - I wish you the best in your next adventures!

Changes in the Classroom
At TM, we will be saying goodbye to Laura Sullivan as a teacher and full-time staff member beginning April 1st. Laura has worked for TM for seven years as both a popular teacher as well as managing TM's behind-the-scenes operations.We are going to miss seeing her day-to-day and her attention to detail. Fortunately, she is teaching one final class in May and has agreed to work a Saturday or Sunday store shift now and then, so it's not a final farewell.

Beginning in May, we welcome two of Scrapbook Safari's teachers to the Treasured Memories' teaching staff. We are happy to have Rebekah and Kerry join our team. The closing of Safari has been difficult on them and we appreciate that they want to continue doing what they love, which is teaching classes. They both come with a loyal following of students who've enjoyed their amazing work. You will see for yourself when their May classes are posted on April 1st. As always, you can still expect terrific classes from our on-goining teaching staff of Beth, Christy and Molly, so check our class schedule online or better yet, come in to see the class samples in person.

Treasured Memories' Future
Finally, I'd like to talk a bit about Treasured Memories' future. First, I want to assure you that Treasured Memories is not going out of business. I am still working as a dietitian to infuse what money I earn into the store in order to keep it going during this economic slump. The downside to this is that I'm not in the store quite as much as I used to be. I am grateful to my amazing staff for stepping up to the plate and I can't thank them enough for their continued support. This is a tough time for ALL companies and it just forces us all to work smarter.

One of the ways TM is working smarter is by looking at the future of scrapbooking and the photo industry in general. Molly and I attended the Photo Marketing Association (PMA) Show in Las Vegas two weeks ago. We attended several seminars that focused on ways to help our business grow. We saw some time-saving products that we realized we need to incorporate into the store in order for us to be competitive in the digital era. We left with our heads filled with fabulous ideas and most importantly, we left with a vision of what Treasured Memories can and will become in the future. There will be more to come on these wonderful opportunities in the weeks and months ahead!

On a final note, I believe that scrapbooking is NOT a dying industry. As people go through life they will always want to capture memories and preserve them for future generations. Thank you for all of your support for the last 12 years - we wouldn't be here without you and we look forward to many more years of inspiring you one memory at a time.

Happy Scrapbooking,