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I actually wrote an article about the importance of quality, a friend who is admin to a sim which is not generally a starter area but has helppoints and quite some freshies asked me to so she could publish it on their blog. I gave it to designer friends and they said I had it displayed realistically...that was my intent^^
One way of promoting items that I have seen lately and approve of is having special events that showcase quality designers. Sometimes they have a theme, and other times they have limited edition items, but all of the items sell for full price. So to me that is the best of both worlds – designers are coming together and they collectively promote an event, but at the same time don’t have to devalue their product to bring people in to shop.
I think this is a great topic to discuss; however I don’t like the underlying tone of sales events and templates = doom. It’s a generalization that doesn’t help the real issue of how to effectively promote a store’s products without devaluing said product. Events help to promote products, and templates serve as building blocks for great products, if you know how to use them. Would it be good if more designers use templates that they created themselves as a building block? Absolutely. But am I ready to ban everyone who doesn’t use 100% original content (which to me is what some of you want to do)? No, because none of us lives in a vacuum and not even in real life does a designer make all his/her building products from scratch.
I worked in a clothing store as a manager for over a year. During that time, my boss and several designers that I came across had told me in yesteryears it was easier to sell items in SL. My boss used to say, "If I made it and put it out for sale, people would buy it." I would blame the economy and the fact that there is a heck of a lot more stores out in SL now for declining sales before I would blame methods of promotion, since it seems that in older times you didn’t have to promote as hard. Good stores with great marketing skills tend not to give away the farm at the discount sales, but just a taste as to what they have, so that people will want to buy the full priced items. Or, at least make you wish you could afford to buy from them. Also, they don't join every event or hunt in the hopes of promoting their items, but the ones that will give the biggest payoffs and exposure. The reality of the situation is, if a designer doesn’t have a good marketing person/team, and he/she doesn’t have the mindset to promote effectively, the store won’t do nearly as well as they could.
The whole mesh templates debate…you do realize some stores became near overnight hits because of the high quality of clothing, right? And the stores that haven’t quite mastered mesh yet probably get template based versions so they can cater to their customers that like mesh in the meantime while they get a better handle on designing mesh items. There is so much more competition from quality stores that people can afford to be picky as to where they shop, meaning lower demand and sales. So I don't think it's fair to blame templates for lower sales, when the same always applies - if there is a demand for your items, people will buy them. I honestly don’t get it – if you don’t want template-based mesh, sculpts, prims, or system clothing, then don’t shop there. If enough people don’t shop at those stores, they will go out of business.
Getting rid of templates - there are original content creators who make these templates, including clothing designers. So if you get rid of them or reduce their ability to market their items, that would be putting someone out of business, and perhaps affecting their RL income. To me that would be worse than the current complaint about designers losing money, because at least the stores that heavily use templates aren't yanking the rug from underneath them. And probably more stores than what you realize use some form of templates.
If it weren't for the hunts and special sales events, I probably would not have found out about a lot of stores that are in Second Life. This place is huge, and it is difficult to stay on top of who is selling what. Does a lot of mass market content get into these events? Sure, but I’ll share this with you. Not too long ago, I got a general message from a hunt organizer who was upset that people were saying her hunt was a poor quality hunt, and that both hunters and designers were unhappy with the results. She said she would raise the standard of not only the stores that participated in the event, but the gifts that were offered in the hopes of giving her event a better profile. So to me, this proves that people don’t want to associate with events/hunts that give substandard content and results. People are not stupid to think that a 50L pair of jeans that came directly from a template is better than a quality originally drawn pair of jeans that can sell for 300L. But it could be all that some know of or can afford so if they really want a new pair of jeans, who are we to tell them that they cannot or should not purchase them? Or get upset at the designer who sells the product?
If someone only has 100L to spend, and they choose to buy 10 - 10L items from a hunt or one 99L item from a sale, this has no effect on a store where the average price on their clothing is 299L. Why? The store is out of the person’s budget. So would you prefer that no one makes a sale if the designer that sells regularly items for 300L can’t get that money? If I like the texture a designer put on a pre-existing template, and it looks just as good as , if not better than, a shoddily structured original design, I don’t see anything wrong with buying the template design because it's a better design overall.
In real life, most people in the industrialized world have access to some sort of visual media - televisions, newspapers, magazines, and the internet. That is not the case in Second Life at all. I am willing to be there are more people who are not aware that there are SL magazines, blogs, and television programs that talk about fashion trends than people that are aware. So if we shun the methods that do help people learn about what's new in SL, then the fashion world will be catering to only a few select members. That is not necessarily a bad thing, but if the whole point is to get people to spend lindens at your store, that would be an odd move to make.
First I would like to congrat Moolto for this initiative. Is good to have a place where designers, costumers, bloggers and all, interested about this fashion world of SL, can come together and discuss ideas.
I would also like to ask sorry in advance for some language errors as English is not my main language please be patient with me :)
During all the years I am at SL, since 2007, I’ve seen both sides of the coin. Real life designers that come here and put effort at their creations, giving us dazzling designs and stores with a professional touch, as those that just make some fast draws, (easy for them and their skils) grab some free poses and cheap skins, take some non-edited pictures and voila, set ridiculous low prices and never enter sl for the fun of it, but only to grab the extra lindens that will fall at their accounts.
I think the way SL fashion is heading, is directly related with how serious the outside world see SL it self. And is up to us, that are here and like this virtual world, to make that vision change and get some respect.
As everything that is new and bad known, SL provokes fear in people. Have seen documentaries and videos about moms neglecting their kids, wives cheating their husbands right in front of their nose and claiming is only SL, and so much more. What I have to say to that is that SL is pretty much as the knife you have in the kitchen: Is very useful to cook but can be a deadly weapon too. Is not the object itself but the way you chose to use it, and that, is a RL society matter, not SL.
Complaining or make a witch hunt, as I see it, is not really the way to go. As a designer myself, I worked hard for my place at the sun. And I always refused to have MM boards or lucky chairs or even lowering my item’s prices. I take them of sale or make improvements if I see the design is worth but keeping an outdated item and lowering the price, or worst, lowering the price of a good design, just to sell, is a NO.
None can take away our creativity or the love we put into things we create. Times are hard and unfair, yes. But is up to us to take the tide and stick to our convictions and not join what we condemn. If you put yourself in the middle on a field of wolfs just to call their attention… you might as well expect to be eaten.
As for taking away the full perm tools for builders, I think that might be a bit excessive. Is like claiming that a house or car maker needs to know how to do everything since glass to paint. Everything has it’s place and I don’t see the arm with taking advantage of premade things that are basics and can add (and I repeat ADD) something more to your creation as long as the final result is a totally new and different thing. But then again, it will depend on the designer’s values and what they want to make of their brand.
Complaining and extremely forbid won’t really lead us far. Abusers will always find a way to make their things and we will be losing lots of time we could be using to create and make this a better world. The people that love SL and want it to grow strong need to gather together to help each other, pass the word to those that pay less attention to what is happening and make them see what they are doing by supporting this “cannibalism” (I believe many shoppers go happily grab free stuff and lower price items not really having conscience about the arm it does to the SL they love).
As for me the rules are clear: Believe in what you do, never lower your convictions, create with love and do not join wrong marketing approaches that will just make you equal to what you condemn. The fight can be long and hard but I believe that, in the end, we will have a better SL.
Just reviewed what I said at the beginning of June. Wow - I was having a right ole moan there! I am not usually so negative, blame the EuroCup *laughs*
Yes, we keep on truckin' and have joined several discount groups now and are going to do a few hunts (we are in the MENstuff hunt coming up) and some fairs. We also blog in various places and sales are definitely up. Customers are returning and we get requests for items which we are delighted to do.
I agree wholeheartedly with Lacy about needing to do the marketing. It's hard when you need to spend so much time on it and also build new things as well. To keep a balance with social life, private time and all that goes with running a virtual business is a conjuring trick. No wonder the bigger stores have managers and specialised employees to do all that. When you're first starting off, there's no way you can afford to do that unless you have a bottomless wallet.
"The bottom line is those who are true artists and who have well respected brands, need to get together with the goal being to have clothing templates removed from the likes of SL Marketplace. A fashion council is needed (if there isn't already one) with enough clout to be able to take issues to Linden Laboratories to ensure the sustainability of the fashion world economy."
That is something which I've never thought of before, Lacy. It's a really good and original idea. It would certainly bring the market back to the designers side and those that have taken the time and trouble to learn the programs would at last get some kudos. I am not sure if Linden Labs would take any notice, though. They would say it's a free market and as long as people stick to their rules, they can sell whatever they like. Also, I'm not sure that it would stop private sales - i.e. the hiring of Mesh makers to produce 'original' templates. But maybe that would be good as the makers would still have a market of trade in templates, albeit indirectly.
Good spot, Ayla, Mesh is exactly like that - there will always be a bit of friction with fitting using the present system. Designers are standardising Mesh, XS - XL, but for a perfect fit it's a case of changing the avatar body shape to fit the Mesh. And even then, it won't always be possible. Clothing layers fit perfectly and sculpts have flexi movement, it's true. The difference is that Mesh textures more evenly and more richly. It's a trade off.
SL fashion is one of the rhings that makes this life so much fun!
Here, as in my 1st life there are 2 things that count. First for me is design and quality, and second - customer service! These are what I look for in a store in real life so why not here, too?
The design of a garment is what catches my eye, and the quality is what makes it feel good and look good on me. The quality of designer's clothing in SL is all over the place. With time and experience each of us learns what works and what doesn't. Even the best designer's put a foot wrong now and again. NOW, we have mesh and honestly, am not sold on this yet.
Mesh clothing never quite seems to fit me, especially in the bust area. Perhaps I am ill proportioned, but I like how I look and besides - isn't the dress supposed to fit ME, not ME the dress? I think the flexi clothes look better, Mesh doesn't move as well - if at all - so, I will keep my closet full of what I like and not what is the current "trend".
Now, the customer service part. Time and time again I have purchased items that either didn't show up, didn't fit right, delivered with partial items inside the box..and on and on. If a designer is content to take my money and slips up on the customer service end, that's it for me. Luckily I have purchased from mostly reputable designers and there is never an issue when I need assistance. The few who are not willing to take this extra step get a bad review and no more of my Lindens.
My hats are off to those who design clothes, or anything else in SL. The creativity and sometimes the sheer genius of things leaves me speechless. I look forward to my favorite store putting out new things and while I am very loyal to my favorites, I love finding new places to shop.
As for knock-offs and copycats and thiefs . . they are easy to spot once you are used to getting around in the fashion world of SL.
Group gifts are fun, hunts are fun, but the real reason I buy from a shop is original designs, quality, and customer service.
I am no content creator, I wouldn't even know where to begin, but I can and do appreciated the time, effort and talent of those who know what they are doing.
I think most you will agree that Second Life emulates the real world very closely, the difference being that SL affords us all the opportunity to be and do things that are out of reach to us in the real world.
Those of you who decided SL's fashion world was where you wanted to spend your time and efforts will acknowledge that getting your foot in the door in SL is just as difficult as it would be were you starting out in the real world, in fact trying to get yourself established in the fashion industry in the real world is actually far more difficult.
You are always going to find those who try to steal your ideas, or under cut your prices and generally bully their way into the limelight, but those who do not have true talent or original concepts of their own will not succeed.
Advertising, fashion shows, contests, sales, discount days and hunts are in reality all necessary to establish your brand and to keep top of mind awareness with your customer base, just like it is out in the big bad real world. The principles of business are universal, no matter which world you are operating in.
In my opinion it is not sales, discount days and hunts undermining the SL fashion world, it is the fact that competition for a stagnant market has increased dramatically as a result of the ready availability of templates along with the arrival of mesh which has lowered the entrance level into the fashion market. Now any Tom, Dick or Harry can become a content creator, and because it hasn't cost them much to get started they can charge ridiculously low prices thereby undermining the stability of the fashion world economy.
The bottom line is those who are true artists and who have well respected brands, need to get together with the goal being to have clothing templates removed from the likes of SL Marketplace. A fashion council is needed (if there isn't already one) with enough clout to be able to take issues to Linden Laboratories to ensure the sustainability of the fashion world economy.
Thanks all for sharing your opinion.
I will be commenting here, without 'auto-censure', speaking through my heart, and maybe with few spells! I'm italian... so be nice to me... and I hope I will be able to transmit my ideas to the most.
Today another friend, one of the oldest brands ever created in SL had to admit she has been thinking about closing her shop and leaving SL. Her words were: 'Why should i keep spending 12 hours per day in SL, after having this result for past few months?'
I hope this group can make a difference, and that we all share our opinions so we may come up with different solutions that may fit our designers.
Xia has a good point: Let's not kill the Creativity.
I guess this was the reason why we all joined SL. It was our chance to express our creativity, one way or another. Some have been able to merchandise their abilities. Now all this is at risk. Let's try to stop it.
Meshes. The phenomenon described from Xia and Melusina is more than real. Many are using same templates... coloring them with different textures... and pricing them differently... Maybe, and this is a hope, we are still in the transitory phase, where all are learning how to make them. Anyway if the situation doesn't change, my point of view is that the market itself will reject automatically them. So it won't be a big factor. For now I'm sure we will keep seeing 'endless copies' of same products tough. The future will make the difference.
Eavanya, I think you have centered the main topic, what most of the designers and their customers have to see yet. Why would a designer keep giving his/her work to other groups and not distributing it to his/her loyal customers? If instead of giving them away for free to everybody they would start giving them inside their group only, I'm quite sure they would be building up a bigger group of followers that once 'in love' of their style beside taking the free products will also come back and buying other releases! This is were the customers supports back the designer.
I'm sorry for your friends designers closing Eavanya. Tell them to not give up yet. The situation can still be changed!
Dandilion please let us know how your project goes and if any of us can help you with it! Ty for sharing your opinion.
Mozart from my experience of SL I have found out that great designer... and for great I mean, not only those corporations with lot of money to invest but also those with true talent, it's matter of time before they are discovered and they start realistically to sell their products. So I don't think it's impossible that a 'small' designer made it through and make a living from SL. Don't give up on your creativity and you will see soon the result. Someone soon will award you for your talent.
Please keep posting your ideas... We have only introduced the problem. Now we need to start proposing our solutions to it.
Ty all for participating!
I find it incredibly frustrating that items which me and my partner have created (clothing - hand drawn & sculpted by a RL artist... jewelry created by a RL graphic designer), those that we have sweated over to make original and beautiful and in keeping with fashion and season - are denigrated by hunts, sales and cheap items. It's impossible to 'make a living' for any small designer who hasn't got the resources of the few 'top designers' in the way of sponsorship, fashion shows, marketing campaigns through magazines - all of these ways keep small designers or those just starting out firmly underfoot, no matter how much talent/originality they possess. It's like a huge conglomerate rolling over the rest of us and squashing us into the ground.
SL never used to be like this, anyone who put in the time and effort could 'make a living'. Nowadays time and effort go nowhere unless you have great wodges of lindens or you get in with what in the UK we call 'the old boys/girls network' who keep up a blanket monopoly on the fashion world. Yes, there is one in SL and yes, it never used to be like that, either.
I guess that it is just the consequences of a place getting too big for it's boots. And, I suppose, that if people's income is at stake they are going to fight like any cornered animal would do. Times are tough but it's a shame that what we used to have, the ethos of creativity, has been trampled underfoot by the money makers.
And as for Mesh - I so agree with previous correspondents. The trouble is that making Mesh is a whole new ballgame and not many people can actually do this. It's why when a new full perms Mesh piece appears on the market, it is eagerly leapt upon by all the designers and so out comes virtual chain market stuff. The only originality is the textures - and if you buy that stuff, that's what you have to take into account. As the designers learn to make their own Mesh, my bet is that this situation will change. There is really nothing wrong with sculpties and clothing layers - originality is still there and so people should be equally aware that this is where they might find something 'that little bit different'.
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