While the food was mediocre, the entertainment awful, the rooms only serviceable and the internet frustrating, there were good things about Sandpiper Bay. Last week I told you about the morning yoga sessions and there were other things to enjoy.
Once you escaped from your room, the pools and the bay for water sports were lovely. For the most part, our fellow vacationers were families with kids, lots of kids. They’d stake a claim around the pool and stay there most of the day.
There are several pools at this Club Med and if you have a family with kids, lots of kids, then you might be quite happy at Sandpiper Bay. Most of the families seemed to be having a good time.
There was a water park type area next to what was called the Family Pool. We left that pool to the families, but it looked very nice.
The Main Pool was huge and it also had lots of families around it. We spent much of one day hanging out there. I found a cabana under the trees, a little removed from poolside, where I enjoyed reading for a while and Bill hung out in the water. I’m not a big one for swimming, but I did get in the water with Bill and float around a bit. It was later in the day and most of the kids were taking a nap, so it was quite pleasant.
There was one huge disappointment at the Main Pool. During our time in Punta Cana, Bill had really enjoyed the daily water games, so he was really looking forward to the same thing at Sandpiper Bay. If you looked at their schedule of activities, then it appeared as if the same thing was offered and it was offered, but Bill was the only taker.
We can’t really blame Sandpiper Bay for this, because they did offer, but it was a disappointment. Punta Cana just had a much more energetic crowd. Most of the guests were French, which may or may not be the reason. As it drew time for the Water Games, you’d see people coming to the pool from all over the resort. The pool would fill up and the games would begin. Bill, a natural athlete, was in great demand. At Sandpiper Bay, everyone just waited on their lounge chairs for the daily announcement of games to be over and then they’d let the kids go back in the water.
There’s one more pool – the Zen Pool – and it’s adults only. The day we spent at this pool things were really hopping. Perhaps they should have offered the Water Games at this pool instead. They might have had some takers.
The Zen Pool is much smaller than the Main Pool and the edges are lined with cabanas, but there are no trees. It was quiet in the morning when I took the yoga class, but as the day progressed it would fill up. While there is a bar not far from the Main Pool, with both inside and outside service, it is never as busy as the walk-up bar at the Zen Pool.
There is a bay at Sandpiper Bay. It’s got a nice beach and plenty of free water sports. I found it amazing that it wasn’t busier. It was virtually the only thing to DO, if you didn’t want to spend all your time lying by the pool.
We took sailing lessons there and then went out for a sail with the instructor. After that, we could have taken the little catamarans out anytime we wanted to, but I don’t think Bill felt quite comfortable as captain and in truth, I wasn’t much help.
On another day, we took advantage of the two-seater kayak and made our way around the bay a few times. And there-in lies the problem. Whatever water sport you choose to enjoy, you have to enjoy it in the small bay adjacent to the resort. You are not allowed out of sight of the water sport attendants on the Sandpiper’s beach, nor can you land on the other shore at the private beaches of the palatial homes. You begin to feel as if you are sailing around your bathtub.
There is a very nice beach on the bay, but few go there. Perhaps because they only have lounge chairs on the beach. No cabanas and no umbrellas. No bar! The palm trees only offer a tiny bit of shade, so after a few minutes you are broiling.
On the other side of the bay there are more exciting water sports offered for a price, such as jet skis and motor boats. Desperate for entertainment, we walked over there, but the prices were prohibitive. Prohibitive enough that people were staying away in droves. I think the most boring job on the resort must have been the jet ski hut.
The pools are the main attraction at Sandpiper Bay, but we explored the other offerings, such as they were. Come back next week and I’ll give you an idea of what you can do when you’re not in the water.
One of the things I did like about our stay at Sandpiper Bay was the morning yoga. Since I always wake up long before Bill, I am at loose ends until he does. Reading is always a great way to spend my time, but if there’s a gym, I will take advantage of it. What is a hassle at home is a pleasant distraction on the road.
Yes they had a very nice gym at Sandpiper Bay, one of the very best facilities offered there, but they also had morning yoga at the Zen pool. That was my cup of tea. I’d go by the dining room, eat my breakfast bar from home and get a little caffeine to start my day, and then head to the Zen pool.
The instructors were contractors who came and stayed at the resort. Part of their compensation was their room and board. I lucked out the week I was there. Our yoga lady was a pleasant grandmotherly sort who gave us a very pleasant, easy going workout without all the nasty down dogs. I really enjoyed it. Then it was time to go back to the room and work a little.
Time to Work
If the wi-fi is working, my morning tasks for our business are easy. Download the images from the editors, format them for our clients and let Bill inspect them. If anything needed touch-ups or enhancements, he’d do them. Then I upload them and email them off. Easy peasy!
When we’d gone to Club Med Punta Cana, our business had been much smaller and Bill was our only photographer, so we just shut down for a few days. Having to work on vacation is a sign of our success and we are grateful for it, so we don’t like to complain, but I can complain about Sandpiper Bay’s free wi-fi.
Because we were having such a busy season, these tasks were taking up a little more of my mornings than usual, but it was no big deal – if the internet is working. At Sandpiper Bay, the internet was never quite robust enough for downloading and uploading images.
Each day, I’d start the job and it would look as if this time it was going to work, until it didn’t. Then we’d call the office, they’d apologize and tell us they were having technical problems. Then they’d tell us to come down to the desk and pick up a code for the premium internet – which always worked.
Why didn’t we just pay for the premium internet? Why would we pay for premium internet? Wi-fi was supposed to be a part of our package. A Club Med vacation is no bargain. With sub-par food and entertainment that was a joke, why would we want to give them more money? A better question is this, since the regular internet never worked, why didn’t they offer everyone premium internet or at least hook us up until the end of our stay? Nope, that wasn’t the way it worked.
We guarantee 24 hour turn around to our clients and usually deliver hours before that. We can do that because our editors are on the other side of the world. We send off the photos at the end of our day, which is the beginning of theirs and they send back the finished product at the beginning of our day. Only those times are based on our activities at home.
To complicate matters, you might remember we’d just lost our favorite editors earlier in the month. They were good editors, but I loved them because they delivered to me very early in the morning. When I hit my office between 5 & 6 AM, they edited photos were always in my inbox. The new editors promised our images by 9:30 and with luck we’d get them an hour or so before that.
On Florida time, everything was running an hour behind and Sandpiper Bay shut breakfast down at 9:30. Crazy right? I’d come back to the room from yoga and crank up my email waiting for the photos to arrive. When they got there, we’d fight the battle of the internet and try to get the images delivered before we started our vacation day, but it was a tight squeeze.
Breakfast is probably Bill’s favorite meal of the day, but he likes it best at say, 11, especially on vacation. At Sandpiper Bay lunch started at 11, so breakfast was truncated. In truth, their breakfast offerings were always mediocre anyway, so I was glad I had my breakfast bar before yoga. Poor Bill was newly disappointed every morning as we ran in at the last minute from all the uploading and downloading.
While I’m on the subject of work, the other end of the day was easier. The photographers email me a link and I email it on to the editors. I could do that from my phone by the pool. There were still phone calls and texts to answer, problems to solve and such, but for the most part, if the darned internet had worked, then handling our business remotely would have been a breeze.
With work done and breakfast behind us, it was time to enjoy the activities offered around the pools and lagoon of Sandpiper Bay. Come back next week and I’ll share some highlights.
Last week, on Facebook and other social media channels, I made a big announcement. My husband and I sold our real estate photography business. This had been so, on paper, for about a month, but last week we drew open the curtain for everyone to see. Though I am working hard to offload all my Spot On Images duties on the new owner, we’re not quite there, yet – but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamp of an oncoming train.
Spot On Images was the brainchild of my husband. I was only along for the ride. I remember when Bill pitched the idea. I was not exactly enthusiastic and it hurt his feelings, but we’d been married for almost a quarter of a century by then and I knew the routine. He has great money-making ideas, but his visionary capabilities fail to embrace the drudgery and hysteria of supporting said enterprises. Though he realized it would take more than a camera and a website to make the dream a reality, he really had no clue what would be necessary.
There was a division of labor. He did the photography and managed the money. I did everything else. Everything else was not the fun part. I’ll leave it at that. A couple of years ago I hit a brick wall. Like the rest of the world I was sick and tired of masks, Zoom meetings, vaccines and social distancing. The world was beginning to open back up and I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the grind. I introduced the idea of my memory keeping side gig and Jane Sadek – Memory Keeper was born.
A Juggling Act
Perhaps starting a new business when I already had plenty to do in the one we had might not have been the smartest thing I ever did. My new business had all the growing pains of any new venture and initially I actually had more success than I could handle. That was not good for my marriage, but it didn’t hurt Spot On Images one bit. We’d created a snowball and it was barreling down the mountainside.
At that point, other people might have quit, but Memory Keeping is not just business venture for me. It is my passion. So, while I severely dialed back my Memory Keeping activities, I did just enough to keep the embers warm.
Then we arrived at a crossroad. Spot On Images had outgrown the two-man job we’d created for ourselves. Oh, we’d already hired editors and more photographers, but the company was on a trajectory that needed a five year growth plan, more personnel and more headaches. This wasn’t what we’d signed up for, so we decided to sell.
On the Other Side
As this post is being published this Thursday morning, I will be loading the trunk of our car with luggage. We’re going on a trip. Just a five day jaunt to the Detroit area for a family event, but a world of difference from a couple of years ago. That time I stayed up over night before we left, to nurse the editors through our rush jobs, so I could deliver photos by 4:30 AM and catch our flight. During that trip I missed the opportunity to enjoy one of the top picks on my itinerary, because we ran into a hiccup on an important job.
As far as I know, there’s never been a Memory Keeping emergency, which is one of the best things about my new career. A hallmark of any business related to real estate is drama. In photography we were once removed from the insanity I endured as an agent, but because we cared about our clientele, their drama our emergencies. If someone has a Memory Keeping emergency, then I’m not their Memory Keeper. I am out of the emergency business.
While I will need to support the new SOI owner during the weeks to come, my primary focus will be Memory Keeping. I have so many exciting plans. I’m in the middle of a huge sorting job for one client and will be picking up my next scrapbooking project when I get home. I’m going to offload the SOI archive out of my FOREVER account and fill it up with my personal photos and then set up my demo account to share with potential clients. There’s so much training available with FOREVER that I could spend the next year on that, but I will have to restrain myself or I won’t have time for working on my projects or getting the word out that there’s hope for your Memory Messes.
In the future, look for online training, office hours for customer support, a Memory Keeping coaching program and that’s just the beginning of the list of things I want to offer to those of you who want to tackle your Memory Mess. I am so excited, but to make this work, I’m going to need your support. Whenever you hear a friend or family member bemoan their own Memory Messes, I hope you’ll send them to me. I can fix that!!
TRAVEL THERE – DEFINATELY NOT ON PAR WITH PUNTA CANA
The Dining Room
The happy face you see above only appeared one time in the dining room at Sandpiper Bay and when he actually sat down to eat this delicious looking crepe, he was sadly disappointed.
At Punta Cana we had three delicious choices for dining and we thoroughly enjoyed them all at various times. If it was a buffet meal, the tables were burdened with delicious choices. Whether we should blame stingy management or Covid, we’re not sure, but the one choice we had for meals at Sandpiper Bay was disappointing by comparison.
At Punta Cana, we wandered around multitudes of bounteous tables. We had a large plate in our hands and were allowed to serve ourselves whatever we wanted as much as we wanted. At Sandpiper Bay, they hid the food behind those irritating cough panels and dished up scanty servings of whatever was on for that particular meal.
At Punta Cana, you could always find a waitperson to get you more wine, more silverware, another napkin, whatever you needed. It wasn’t exactly five star service, but it was adequate. At Sandpiper Bay, you were virtually on your own. We figured out where they kept the opened bottles of wine and served ourselves most of the time, but the wine wasn’t as good as Punta Cana either.
At Punta Cana, meal time was one of our favorite events. At Sandpiper Bay we were lucky if we found enough of anything we liked to keep from being hungry. Not exactly the luxury experience we expected.
I hate to keep kicking Sandpiper Bay around the room, but the dining was a pretty sad situation. Before our four nights were over, we did find things to enjoy, but it just wasn’t the experience we’d anticipated from our previous Club Med stay.
Another marvelous thing about Punta Cana was the entertainment. The Boss of the Village was almost a natural entertainer and you could tell he made his people rehearse. Night after night we saw great shows. They were not professional, but they were something they could be proud of.
The entertainment at Sandpiper Bay was pitiful. It was so sloppy in its execution that you knew all they’d done is have a verbal walk thru. No one had a singing voice worth anything and instead of being funny, they were silly. And sloppy. Did I mention sloppy? Costumes never fit and were barely pulled up over shorts and bathing suits. Wigs were never combed and always awry. The Boss of the Village was there, but she was among the sloppiest and the silliest. She was barely filling in the blanks, not leading the way to quality anywhere in the resort.
I’m not bothering to catalog menus or describe any of the various shows, because nothing was worth noting. We’d show up each night in hopes of something, anything to eat, to drink, to pass the time, but always left a little hungry and very disgusted. None of the other meals were any better, but it was the evenings which were the most pathetic.
Come back next week and I will try to find something worthwhile to share with you. We were together and we weren’t working all the time, so there were good moments. We just had to make them ourselves, because there was little on offer from the resort.
MEMORY KEEPING 101: FOREVER FOUNDER SHARES HIS WHY
FOREVER is not yet one of those companies everybody knows about, yet I think a day will come when it will be the go-to place for all things digital-memory-keeping. Until then it’s one of my missions in life to be sure people don’t lose their memories from lack of knowing about FOREVER.
You can’t be around me very long without finding out I care about your photos and have all the tools you need to preserve them for generations to come. That’s especially true if you read this blog.
The founder of FOREVER recently took the time to share the reasons why he has devoted the rest of his life to this company. In this short (4:40 minutes) video he tells what led him to discover the need for the company and why he feels it is such an important tool for anyone and everyone to use.
No one could be more eloquent on this subject, so today, instead of writing a few more hundreds of words, I’m sharing this video. Please take the time to watch it. I think you’ll agree with me, the time has come for FOREVER.
So, what do you think? Are you ready to make FOREVER your memories’ home?
When we stepped off the plane in Palm Beach, we were excited about starting our luxury vacation. Our anticipation was based on our excellent experience at Club Med Punta Cana. We were going to be disappointed!
In Punta Cana, Club Med had provided us with the name of the transportation vendor and other contact information, but we didn’t even need it, because the pick up area was clearly marked and someone was there to greet us.
In Palm Beach, there was nothing. I started going through the paperwork and found a number to call. Suddenly, their absence was my fault. They had texted me and I didn’t reply. There had been no text, but it magically appeared a few moments after I got off the phone with them. I was assured a car was on its way and someone did show up pretty quickly, but that panic after we had picked up our luggage dulled our excitement.
In Punta Cana, the airport is a short drive from the resort and the scenery along the way gets you very excited about where you are headed. The entrance to the property is well-marked and inviting. Getting there was part of the fun.
In Palm Beach, that’s not the case. You are about an hour away from the resort and we had the joy of adding time to that, because we were in rush hour traffic. You’re stuck on a freeway that looks pretty much like any freeway and as you near the property, you start wandering through residential areas. When you finally arrive at the gate, it looks a little bit like the entry to a run down mansion that might be in a horror film.
In Punta Cana, our driver pulled into a drive and right by the van was a man standing at the podium to greet us. Everywhere we looked was lush greenery and attractive buildings. We were ushered from the van to a shaded seating area where we given refreshments.
At Sandpiper Bay, the driver dumped us off on the sidewalk and we made our way into a glassed-in lobby marked as “Registration.” The harried clerk raised a finger at us to let us know we’d need to wait. We stood there and no one offered us any refreshment. In front of the registration office was a rock garden with dead plants in it. Everywhere we looked resembled the dormitories of a second, maybe third rate, college.
After we’d been registered at Punta Cana, one of the GM’s walked with us to our building and let us into our room. She showed us around our accommodations while we waited for our luggage to be delivered. The room, while not luxurious, was very nice and attractive.
After we’d been registered at Sandpiper Bay, the clerk pointed at our building, which was nearby and told us we were on the third floor. The elevator was at the other end of the building from our room. The room, while not exactly awful, resembled my dorm in college with the exception that we did have our own bathroom.
The first thing we said to each other was, “Sandpiper Bay ain’t no Punta Cana,” and that pretty much sums up the entire adventure. On the ride to the resort, I’d used my phone to handle transferring the day’s shoots to our editors. I always feel nervous when I do it that way, certain something is going to go wrong, because it is a very truncated process via phone, but I was ready to start enjoying our vacation.
We’d arrived after happy hour, which was always one of our favorite times on Punta Cana, but I changed into an fresh outfit, touched up my make-up and headed out to have fun. So far, we were less than impressed with Sandpiper Bay, but hopeful things would get better.
Come back next week and join us for dinner. Then you’ll find out if our beach vacation was getting any better.
MEMORY KEEPING 101: THINK OF IT AS A RED CARPET FOR YOUR PHOTOS
What Do You Have & Where Do You Want It?
When I ask this question, most people have only the vaguest idea of where all their memories are and they really don’t have a really good idea of where they want them to be, but together we come up with a plan to find everything and get it someplace safe for generations to come.
When the bulk of their memories are on traditional media, like photographs, slides, video and such, the answer is easy. It has to be digitized! While there are a number of ways to go about getting from a pile under the bed to organized folders on FOREVER, it’s a pretty straight forward process.
If those memories are on their phone instead, well that’s easy, too. The FOREVER app can upload everything on your phone to your FOREVER storage while you sleep. Then if you like, it will continue to do so into perpetuity, so you never have to worry about losing your photos, even if you lose your phone, it gets stolen or if somebody runs over it.
When those photos are on a computer or hard drive, getting all of that organized on FOREVER was doable, but could be a long drawn out procedure. In truth, the bigger your mess was, the easier it was to transfer. If everything was carefully organized, there was not really any way to transfer all of that organization to FOREVER without doing it all over again. BUT NO MORE!
Valet Is Here!
Valet is a magic carpet ride for your photos. Thousands and thousands of photos can be moved from your hard drive, computer or laptop, with a few clicks of a button. If your photos are nothing but a great big mess, that’s great news! With Valet, they can arrive in FOREVER in nice neat folders, sorted by year and date, with all the duplicates pulled out. However, if your photos and videos are already in nice neat little folders on your device, then FOREVER will just move the whole thing – organization and all into FOREVER – BAM! It’s done!!
What’s even better is that you get to decide what kind of Valet customer you want to be:
Free One Month Trial – If all you want to do is a one time upload from your computer to FOREVER, then this is the route for you. There is no limit to the number of photos you can upload to FOREVER (or download from FOREVER, for that matter), you just have to do it all in 30 days. You can use it to get photos off your computer, off your husband’s computer, off your parent’s computer or wherever. The Valet Trial is associated with your FOREVER account, not a particular device.
Yearly Subscription – If a month is not enough, then how about a year. For only $59.99 you can do all the things mentioned above, but instead of 30 days, you have a 365 of them. That’s pennies a day.
Professional Subscription – If for any reason you have access to more than one FOREVER account, then perhaps you’ll need the professional version. It was designed for professional organizers, but there are other applications as well – such as if you are part of a family, team or other group using FOREVER for a project. The professional subscription is $299.99.
Here’s the good news. You can use your Club Dollars to buy it and it qualifies for the Club Discount. How can you resist?
If Valet sounds like something you’d be interested in, let’s get together and talk about how it can help you. It’s a very exciting product!!
So, in February 2022 we had Southwest Air Miles we needed to use before June and we usually do something for our anniversary in May. Though the world was crawling out from under the effects of the pandemic, we’re still a little uncomfortable with the thought of international travel. However, we’d like to do something on par with our Club Med vacation in Punta Cana. With these ideas floating around in our heads, who could blame us for choosing Club Med’s Sandpiper Bay for our vacation?
Bill had suggested Destin and I should have taken him up on it, but I’ll be honest with you it was overwhelming. I’m not an experienced beach bum. I’m great at planning cruises, road trips and travel to cities full of museums and attractions, but I don’t beach well. After an hour or so researching the area I was confused and frustrated. I remembered Club Med had a Florida resort, so I floated the idea with Bill. Our Sandpiper Bay vacation was born.
Let the Headaches Begin
Our business runs smooth as glass until we have the audacity to go out of town. Just before I left for New York our editors shuttered their business. One day they are fully operational and the next they are out of business. Bill had weathered that storm on his own and found us a replacement vendor, but that’s just the way it goes when we go out of town.
We’ve gone through a variation of a nightmares as we left for trips. The worst had been in 2021. I stayed up all night waiting for expedited photos from our editors. They were supposed to come shortly after midnight. Instead I was downloading them at 3:45 AM and we needed to leave the house at 4:30. It was also the first time we’d tried to operate remotely. Let’s just say it did not go smoothly.
For our four night visit to Florida, we hadn’t even told our clients we’d be going out of town. We’d hired more photographers since our last trip and if they just had to have Bill, then they could wait until we got home. But the travel gods still played a trick on us. We had more shoots in one day, on the day before we left, than we’d ever booked before. This time the editors had cooperated with me and I had all the jobs delivered shortly after midnight. That meant I was operating on 4.5 hours of sleep, but that was better than the Michigan trip!
Fighting the Air Travel Nonsense
We left home at the designated hour, but the airport was a nuthouse. The first problem was parking. After driving around sections B&C forever, we realized there were no spaces in long term, so we had to go over to section A and pay through the nose when we got home. We had boarding passes, but still had to check our luggage. Then security was crawling. Of course, we were in the last boarding group, so we couldn’t sit together. Instead of spending my air time with Mr. Bill, I had a humongous snoring man taking up all of his seat and part of mine.
The Palm Beach airport is one you can’t get to directly from Dallas, so we had a layover in Atlanta. As soon we landed and I turned on my phone, I was faced with a problem. It was my own fault, because I had overlooked part of an order, but it was just a drone shot, which we were happy to go back out and get that day. We wouldn’t even have to bother the tenants who were living there. Our new/soon-to-be ex client, really wanted to be unhappy about it and did her best to make us miserable, too. At first I was, but after an hour or two of being her punching bag, I decided I was glad she was going to be our ex-client.
Meanwhile, Bill is fielding his own set of texts. He was verifying appointments with out shooters and our clients. It was a repeat of the day before – more jobs than we’d ever handled in one day. Because we were out of town, no way that was going to go smoothly, so while I battled with the witch woman, he handled all the rescheduling that came up.
As all this was going on, we’re deplaning and looking for somewhere to work. Bill saw a Krispy Kreme that looked like a good solution, until we sat down with our doughnuts and hot beverages. Instead of a relaxing coffee break, someone had decided the Krispy Kreme patrons all wanted to listen to rap music at full volume. We endured it for as long as we could and then had to relocate.
Atlanta airport is not a good one for layovers. The comfort of their passengers in transition is not a priority. It was getting nigh onto lunch time, so we started looking for a place for a nice sit-down meal. The only places for that were Carraba’s or an expensive steakhouse. Carraba’s wait list was an hour long and their bar was full.
Looking for a bright spot, I noticed a Varsity. I grew up going to the Varsity as a treat and while I can’t say their food is good, it has enough nostalgia attached to it that I enjoy it. I no longer feel that way. The precision of the Varsity restaurants ordering and delivering did not translate well into the airport location. I’ll leave it at that, but it was bad.
Finally, it was time to get on another plane for the hop to Palm Beach. At least we got to sit together. I can tell you that we got to our destination along with all our luggage, but that was the end of the good news.
Let’s just say the Sandpiper Bay Effect began as soon as we arrived. Come back next week and as if we haven’t already had a hard start, let me tell you what happened next!
Saving Your Memories, Not Selling a BusinessOpportunity
I remember sometime back in the late 70’s, a friend came by to share a business opportunity. It seems as if the first hour of his presentation was spent describing fantastic vacations, palatial second homes and very expensive cars we were going to have very, very soon. I guess we were supposed to overlook the fact his shoes were worn out and his car was ready for the wrecking yard. Eventually we got him to admit he was there to sign us up for a multi-level marketing company that is now a well known pyramid scheme. We said no thanks and then spent an hour trying to get him out of our house. His parting words, “I’m sorry you didn’t have the vision to understand what I was offering.” We ran into him a few months later and he sheepishly let us know he was pursuing other opportunities.
I’m sure all of us, at some point or another, have been approached by someone who wanted us to join their MLM team. I want you to know there are some great teams out there to join – Tupperware, Melaleuca, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and so many more. While there have been some bad players in the past, this type of company provides great products, usually at a lower price and they have also been a real boon to women. When the glass ceiling was firmly in place, there were lots and lots of women who were outpacing their male counterparts through network marketing.
Back in the day, most network marketing happened out of the trunk of people’s car. They’d buy up lots of merchandise, so they’d have something to sell you and the more they bought, the more impressive their title would be. There were also lots of parties. You’d go to a friend’s house and their friend would demonstrate a product line. You’d order something so your friend could earn her free product and then a few weeks later it would be delivered, usually with a little pressure for you to have a party, too.
Then along came the world-wide web and network marketing was transformed. Network marketers didn’t have to buy up a bunch of merchandise they might or might not be able to sell. They could drop ship their products to their clients, just like Amazon and E-Bay and Walmart. While many companies still use the party format for marketing their products, there are many more that don’t and it’s not a tool I use.
Today, the biggest difference in retail marketing and network marketing is the way a company chooses to spend it’s marketing dollar. If you’re Walmart or Macy’s or Louis Vuitton, then you’re going to buy up radio and TV spots, have slick ads in print and put brick and mortar storefronts at the local mall. Companies like Mary Kay and Arbonne instead invest in their representatives to spread the word. That’s the way FOREVER and Creative Memories do it.
In spite of this transformation, there are still people who want to know if FOREVER or Creative Memories are MLM’s. So, let me tell you how my business works and then I will tell you how these companies work.
Service is my Primary Product
I am a Memory Keeper. I am offering my service and experience as a life long scrapbooker and part owner of a real estate photography company. I love helping others preserve their memories and along the way I have learned quite a bit about media, how to preserve it and how to share it. I will be happy to make scrapbooks for you and help you organize your photos. You pay me directly for those services. I will be using Creative Memory products in your album. I will also use my new Cricut, stickers from Hobby Lobby and paper from JoAnn’s if I can’t find what I need in the CM line. If we do a digital projects, I will most likely use FOREVER programs like Artisan and Historian as I work on the job, because they are my tools.
If your project is digital and you want to do it yourself, then I will recommend FOREVER products like digitization and permanent storage, to you. If you need these products, then I’m recommending to you the very thing I use for my own projects, because they are, without a doubt, the very best available. Yes, I will make some commission on those purchases, but this is my business and to continue doing what I love to do for others, I need to be able to support my habit, but if you’d rather use another company, go right ahead.
While I want to help you save your memories, I won’t be trying to recruit you to my team. There are CM advisors and FOREVER ambassadors who choose to build their businesses by building a team, but that’s not what I want to do. It takes a lot of time coaching and mentoring to be a good team leader, and your own success is determined by your leadership skills.
My business is based on my scrapbooking and organizational skills, not my recruiting skills. In addition, a team leader should also be modeling the business for your downline and very, very few people have creating scrapbooks and organizing photos for other people as their primary goal. If team building were my goal, I would not split my effort between two companies, but would pour my energies into one company or the other – in my case Creative Memories – but because many people with a memory mess need digital solutions, I offer both.
Now, if you’re going to be spending a significant amount of money (as in thousands) with either company, then I may show you how to get deeper discounts, but it’s because I want to save you money, not because I want to add you to my team. I will actually make less money with you as my team member, than I will if you are a customer, but because my ultimate goal is to preserve your memories and help you share them with others, if I can save you a little money along the way, then that’s what I am going to do.
Every once in a great while a unicorn does come along. You could join one of my companies as a representative to get the discount, fall in love with what they offer and build a very successful business of your own. That’s great! I would support your efforts, as would everyone in the company you chose. That’s why we call it network marketing. We network with our clients and our fellow representatives. The more you do for others, the more successful you become. However, I have photos to organize, scrapbooks to create and people to help save and share their memories. I don’t have time to go unicorn hunting.
Creative Memories is a part of my life. Along with a lot of other people in the 90’s, I learned those adhesive photo albums I’d been using were actually destroying the very thing I was trying to save. I was soon hooked on a lot more than acid-free, photo-safe albums. I loved stickers and die cuts and paper. (Oh, did I ever love the paper!) I still love scrapbooking and after all these years I know there are no products out there better for what I love.
There have been two Creative Memories and I have been a customer and a representative of both. The first Creative Memories was an MLM. Your success depended on having parties – only they called them home classes, workshops and crops, but you also had to recruit. To keep your consultant designation, you had to purchase a certain amount of inventory you hoped to unload at your events and you had to recruit. Confession, I was dismal at both. I filled up my house with product and I never recruited a soul. That was happening to a lot of people, so for that reason and some others, Creative Memories went bankrupt.
The new CM is completely different. There are no buying quotas to meet and while I can build my own team should I desire to, they are only my team and no one else is benefitting off of them. There are various streams of income I can make based primarily on my sales and the sales of my direct team members, but that’s it. That’s all there is. It is not an MLM.
Forever is a little different and the teams do have various levels, but they are quite limited. The business plan is based first on my own sales to my own customers. They do not pay a membership fee, nor do they have to buy a certain amount within a certain time period. I never have to recruit anyone to promote within the company. I can reach the top commission level on my own.
Should building a team be what someone wants, that’s great and they will receive a tiny portion of sales for their own team members up to 5 levels down, but that’s it. There’s not some big dog at the top of the pyramid making his living off all the people who have ever been joined the company. There is no pyramid, only a short trapezium.
I say a trapezium, because while there are nine levels of compensation with Forever and thousands of ambassadors, a manager only qualifies for a tiny percentage of the sales within their own five level team. In fact, the Senior Executive Ambassador from whom I get most of my training and who I turn to when there’s a problem doesn’t get a penny of my sales. She just loves Forever and wants to help everyone be successful. That’s the culture.
So, if you avoid want to avoid having parties and being recruited, you’re safe with me. If you have a problem with the pyramid-like compensation plans of some of the MLM companies, you’re safe with me. I want you to be my customer, not my team member. I want to help you, not recruit you and I assure you, you can spend a whole lot of money with me and never buy a product from CM or FOREVER. If you have memories that need saving let’s talk. If not, check on my Weekend Report tomorrow and my Travel There post next week!
Dressing up and going to the Opera had been one of the things Deb and I had fantasized about most as we looked forward to this trip. When we made it back from our trial run for Penn station, I was still raring to go. Deb was done in. She laid on the bed and said she was going to wear what she had on.
Now if you recall, her feet were in serious pain and had been ever since Tuesday night, yet we’d been walking all day, every day. The only shoes she could wear at this point was a pair of kitten printed canvas slippers. She was a little rung out from the train station episode and I’m not sure how much fun it would be to get all dressed up and finish the look with kitten shoes.
Here’s what’s so great about our friendship, I still wanted to get dressed up, so I did and she thought that was great. I pulled out all my finery and as I did, I also started prepping for the next morning, when we’d be going to the christening. That’s when I figured out I had no hosiery for the next day. In Dallas in May, that would be OK. In New York, I figured I would freeze to death.
So, I finished up getting cute and had time to spare to go to our drug store. I have no idea what we would have done without it. We’d gotten foot remedies, new skin for my finger, super glue for my sunglasses, late night snacks, numerous Diet Dr Peppers and now I was going for nude colored hose and something to treat a fever blister. Yep, it’s always something.
We were such pros on the subway now, that we probably could have made it just fine to Lincoln Center, but just to be sure we used Lyft. I could get used to this. Our driver dropped us off right in front and we didn’t even have to think about parking.
I do not have enough superlatives in my vocabulary to describe how wonderful it was to see the Franco Zeffirelli production and sets for Turandot at the Metropolitan Opera House. It is one of my favorite operas of all time and I have seen it a number of times at my beloved Dallas Opera, but there’s a reason The Met is The Met.
Turandot was the Ukranian, Luidmyla Ariltato and she did a remarkable job, but her Calaf was a South Korean, Yonghoon Lee. It was so fitting to see an Asian in this role and he knocked it out of the park, vocally. It really was special in my mind. Deb kept talking about how amazing the entire chorus was. “They were actually moving and acting,” she said, “not just standing around singing.”
Then there were the costumes. They were the perfect compliment to the outrageously wonderful sets created for each scene. If there is perfection in this world, short of heaven, then this production of Turandot is it. I can die happy.
Remember the grand nephew we visited across from St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Well, we made plans to join him for a bite after the show. We had a little difficulty finding his favorite sushi restaurant, even though it was close by. Lyft let us off at Columbus Circle and it was supposed to be right there, only we couldn’t find it. They were just about to quit serving when we finally got there, but we weren’t all that hungry after our feast at the Tavern on the Green earlier in the day.
Then he escorted us to the right subway station and sent us on our way. We made it back to the hotel just fine and felt very New Yorkish to be trotting around so late at night. I know horrible things happen to people on the streets of New York, but we never had a moment’s trouble.
The fun is almost over, but we have one more big event. Come back next week and we’ll take a little train ride.