MLM Success: Father and Son Team Up to Make Creative Memories

MLM Company: Creative Memories

Everyone has a story to tell -- and for Philip Griffith, a full-time school administrator with a part-time Creative Memories business, his desire to tell the stories that go along with his photos has brought him success with the business.

A former professional modern and ballet dancer, Philip retired from the dancing world at the age of 28 and pursued a career as a school administrator to support his family. While Philip found that the world of school administration was stable and financially sound, it did not offer him the creative outlet he had enjoyed as a professional dancer.

Then Philip's story changed. He and his wife decided to adopt a son from Guatemala and wanted to create a life book for their child, showing his past, present and future. "I have always taken pictures, but once we adopted our son, we realized that you need to tell the stories to go along with those photos -- we needed to show our son that he is a part of our family and we needed to fold him into our larger family history."

Start-up costs

In 2005, Philip became a consultant with Creative Memories. He had been working with a CM consultant who offered Philip the consultant package after he made a $400 order. He said yes.

For $295, Philip got a consultant kit that included about $500 worth of products and all the business-training materials he needed to start his business. If you joined today, however, it would only cost $50 to become a consultant, but the kit would include the business training materials only.

According to Philip, this restructuring of start-up costs was done so that consultants could choose to focus on the CM area that interests them the most -- digital photos, traditional scrapbooking, digital scrapbooking etc. -- allowing them to only sell that type of product. "It keeps your costs down and starts you with the area you like most." Best of all, if you sell the required $500 worth of CM products that you need to in your first 30 days as a consultant, CM will credit you your initial $50 investment.

Time commitment

Philip works about 20-25 hours per month, including evenings, weekend events and a few parties per week. Each party takes about two hours. After the initial 40-minute presentation that Philip does, he leaves ample time for questions and shopping. "On a good month, I can make $1,500. That's not consistent, but I have done that. Since digital photos came into play in 2008, I have been doing much better because it changes the way people take photos and what they do with their photos."

Father and son team up

Philip's success encouraged his 75-year-old father, Philip Charles Griffith, to get into the business in August 2009. Living proof that it's never too late to give this type of business a try, he made more in his first year than Philip made in his first three! "He's retired, he's got time and he's interested in this. He especially likes the digital side of it," his son says.

Philip Senior says he only works about 10 hours per month, "mixing in" his CM sales whenever and wherever he can. For instance, while hospitalized for an irregular heartbeat in 2009, he casually mentioned CM to a nurse -- and that led to his making a book for the nurse to help celebrate her grandmother's 100th birthday.

The older Philip enjoyed the $50 start-up costs and made over $7,000 gross sales in his first year. (Not bad for 10 hours of work per month!) He still runs his own rental business, does some real estate work, and travels overseas on missions while running his CM business.

Just like his son, for Philip Senior it's all about telling stories:

"Working with CM is merely an extension of my lifelong passion to tell stories through pictures as well as words. For the last 20 years I have been helping various ministries tell their stories through video and photos; now I am able to help all kinds of folks tell their stories more effectively and with the confidence that they will be preserved for generations to come."

Philip and his dad are well known because they are the only father-son team at CM. "The craft people who like to work with their hands and do the traditional scrapbooking are still our largest market," Philip says. "But it's great for me, because CM appeals to so many different people -- crafters and technological people, like my dad, included."

Pros and cons

Photos are the biggest pro, according to Philip. "There are billions of photos taken every year for some reason, and we have options for all of them."

Because the storytellers in most families tend to be the mothers, Philip has found it challenging at times to be a male in this creative business. "Women are sometimes leery of coming to one of my events because I am a man."

Another challenge that Philip has experienced is organizing the parties in urban areas and getting good attendance at them, because, "there's a different pace in cities, there is more activity and there is always the time factor."

Advice and misconceptions

For Philip, the greatest misconception about this business is that people believe they will make money doing this regardless of effort. "You do have to do things. Its still work and this is not a get-rich scheme."

Philip attributes his success with CM to the fact that telling stories is a hobby that he is passionate about. "Go with your passion and find something that fires you up, because when it gets hard, you need that reason to push you on."

In the near future, Philip hopes to expand his CM business because his wife recently lost her job. With a background in graphics, layout and design, his wife will be taking the lead on the "Done For You" Service that CM offers where photos are organized and labeled according to a customer's specifications, for a fee.

For now the couple are strategizing on how to divide their business workload according to their individual strengths.

"You just don't know what tomorrow will bring," says Philip. "I am not fearful, but I want to be prudent. Even if I continue working full time, I want to have a business that gives my sons opportunities." One thing is for sure: Creative Memories has proven to be a real family affair for the Griffiths.

Still in time for the holidays, next week's MLM story features a successful mother that works as a rep for Discovery Toys.

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