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Friday, December 26, 2008

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Ann Otoole

The smart money is on ignoring what the so-called "fashionista mafia" says you should do.

*They Do Not Want Competition*

So compete at will. Do what you want. There is room for everyone in Second Life. People trying to exclude and/or deny others the opportunities have no long term future here or anywhere else for that matter.

Alicia Chenaux

I will agree that if your items are not as good or better than what's out there already, you will get lost in the crowd. But there's no reason to NOT at least try if that's what you want to do. Just don't expect to be an overnight success if you're just banging out shirts that aren't hemmed and system skirts that are just a plain color.

Eris

There IS a glut of content in SL, but that does two useful things - it keeps the prices down and it encourages better and better content as each designer/builder tries to outshine the others.

You can't learn to be good at something by not doing it. If you want to design clothing, or anything else, in SL just get on with it. If you're lucky you'll sell a few things and earn while you learn - but the learning alone makes it worthwhile.

Gahum Riptide

"Fashionista Mafia"? Hilarious.

I say throw your hat into the ring, but as Alicia says, if you're not as good or better, that first look might just be your last. I'd also look for a niche market. What's out there that few are doing (or at least doing well). If you've got a solid product and you're coming from an angle of rarity, I think you've got a shot. No point in not trying though, because as Eris says, how will you learn to be good if you don't do it?

Seven Shikami

Whatever happened to having fun?

If you enjoy making clothes, go for it. That's all there is to it. But don't dive in if it's not a hobby you enjoy and you just wanna KA-CHING cash in on Second Life; that's a terrible reason to start any project. Fun first, money later. Very, very few people are quitting their day jobs to subsist entirely off Linden funnymoney, not even me, and I've got a number of incidentally successful businesses. (I say incidentally because all of them started on the notions of Wouldn't It Be Cool and It Seemed Like a Good Idea At The Time.)

Tabliopa Underwood

What Eris said.

Also wont be a shake out of designers. There will always be designers and new ones every day. Will be a retail shakeout tho. Is to many larger outlets and malls I think.

Ciaran Laval

If people want to give it a go let them, it's not about being the best anyway, it's about being able to market your wares. People should build slowly and grow as growth demands.

Gogo

This is terrible advice. If someone wants to try, let them. The only way to get better is to get feedback and experience. Maybe some people create stuff just for fun... even if they don't ever make a billion lindens, it's something to do in SL.

Rockwell Ginsberg

Advice for would-be land speculators: BUY NOW! Don't wait! Mainland prices are going back up.

Hiri Nurmi

I seriously doubt the fashionista mafia actually exists in any real sense outside the ferbrile imaginations of a few people who believe they are the fashionista mafia. By current SL statistics my store is running in the top 1-2% of SL fashion business (admittedly with an emphasis on Role Play and Fantasy clothing) and I've never seen one. Moreover I don't think I've ever talked to anyone who knew the fashionista either, and only one or two people who seem even aware of the term. Certainly for all practical purposes the influence of this group, if it does exists, is effectively zero.

What is undoubtably true is that the general standard of design and implementation is now higher than it ever has been and there are a few excellent designers who excel in the market place. Breaking into the market, establishing a brand and reputation is now more difficult than it has ever been, BUT that's no reason not to try. Indeed the only way to hone design and marketing skills is to do it.

Every influx of new designers who do impact the marketplace drives up standards, and there are designers who are left behind - baking shading onto clothing and being able to design sculpties have been two of the breakpoints for this - and not wanting to be left behind in the next wave is the only reason I can see for not wanting new designers to enter the marketplace.

There is something sad (as I've seen Prokofy Neva has point out) in that the trend is towards designers who can handle a full skillset of 3D and 2D professional tools, but that's a different concern.

Ann Otoole

Exactly what statistics do you refer to Hiri? Linden Lab does not publish any statistics by business genre on the Economic Statistics page.

CronoCloud Creeggan

I actually want new designers to enter the market, just not right now. I want them entering when they have a greater chance to survive and thrive. They can still make items and practice their skills, without actually entering the market. Field testing among friends or a mentor, that sort of thing.

There's also a few fashion niches out there for exploiting, though it's harder to do so than in the past. Timing in the SL market does matter, the most famous example being Casa del Shai. Shai entered the market when a few of the bigger names had either gone on hiatus or had cut output. Her designs also helped fill an underserved niche in the the SL fashion market. And even though she was new, her stuffage was very high quality. Thus Shai was able to receive SL media attention that she might not have got otherwise.

Designing just for fun and not for sale is something different, that should always be encouraged, but I was focusing on the "for money" market.

As for Ann Otoole's constant refrain that there is a fashionista "clique" or "mafia", there isn't one. I'm not a designer myself, so I don't have any economic interest in "keeping the newbies down".
I just don't want new designers entering the current SL market and losing their shirts.

Hiri, I know of at least one person who bascially quit SL because they thought they couldn't keep up with making good use of the new tools like sculpties, since they had no professional 3D design skills.

Ann Otoole

I didn't coin or invent the term "fashionista mafia" which I prefix with so-called because it is ludicrous. But some people can't decipher the so-called part. It has been a long standing situation written about by SL fashion bloggers before I ever got involved. So you can stop trying to put it off on me. I have and will continue to support the underdogs because it is necessary to keep the playing field level. Otherwise we introduce RL government agencies to slap stifling regulations on commerce to prevent small groups from exercising anti competitive behavior in a blossoming industry. It will probably come to that anyway because some people don't like the inevitable change that always comes along. Too bad if it does.

And yea if you do not have the software with projection mode for texture work and the skills to use it backed up with the licensed media to work with your going to be retiring pretty soon. The days of getting by in photoshop only are coming to an end. And the old crowd is not going to like that very much at all. So you either spend the thousands of dollars for the right software and skills or you begin making your exit strategy. Your choice. But Second Life is changing. The day mesh import becomes a reality for Second Life the extinction of old style designers will hit light speed.

Ananda

This is terrible, terrible advice. Shame on you Hamlet for even re-posting it! I have to agree with Ann on the first point, this could have only come from a jaded person who is hoping there *won't* be more competition or more stuff to sort through.

But the thing that is most wrong is suggesting a wait for the "shakeout". I'm sorry, but there isn't going to be any such massive shakeout. Why? The price of keeping open a couple small stores as a hobby is negligible. So even if a designer never makes it big enough to make a living, chances are their products will still be floating around for years. The same goes for discounted and freebie items. It just isn't that much of a liability for someone to offer free something that isn't selling anymore. Don't forget these are infinitely copyable digital items! Finally, as far as I know most designers are still self-capitalized sole proprietors and partnerships. As such, investment and speculation bubbles don't burst for them.

To put it bluntly, if you're a putative content creator, DON'T WAIT for the big shakeout. THERE WON'T BE ONE.

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