Thursday, August 31, 2006

It has come to my attention (i.e., I was starting to make no copy/trans versions for my new vendors) that Pretty Simple has incorrect permissions set on it. The whole thing is supposed to be copy/mod/no transfer, but the mesh skirts and glitch pants are no copy/no mod/transfer. I'll be going through my records and passing people corrected versions ASAP (I'd be doing it right now but the grid is down), but I know my records are incomplete. I know very few people read this blog, but if anyone out there did buy a copy, please contact me.

Friday, August 25, 2006

I'm toying with the idea of trying to make (and use) menu-driven vendors. In a perfect world, they'd work like this:

1. You pay the vendor, using fast pay.
2. Let's pretend you're buying jewelry. A menu pops up asking what metal you want. You choose.
3. A menu pops up asking what gemstone you want. You choose.
4. A menu pops up asking what permission set (copy/no trans or no copy/trans) you want. You choose.
5. The vendor gives you your things.

There are a few problems (some of them potentially major), however.

1. Would people use this? It's a number of steps between paying and getting their items, and it's not something people are used to. Plus, if you waited too long to choose, the dialogue menu would time out. Some people may find this irritating.
2. Would it be secure? I think I've got a handle on this one.
3. What happens if two people try to use it at once? This is the thing that will potentially kill the prospect, if I can't find a workaround. I'm a small business right now (by SL standards; by RL standards I'm hardly a business at all!), but I figure part of getting bigger means acting bigger, and that means not vending products in ways that two people can't use at once.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Fairy Tale" is a Medieval fantasy gown and circlet set I've made. The gown is being sold with exclusive, matching circlets (e.g., the red and purple gown has a red and purple circlet), while solid color versions of the circlet are also sold separately. As usual, everything is also sold in heavily discounted multipacks. Copy/mod/no transfer; IM me if you prefer no copy/mod/transfer. :)

The gown is entirely hand drawn, and comes with two flexiprim skirts (a bigger one and a smaller, simpler one) and two ways to wear the top. It comes in nine color combinations total: red/yellow, red/purple, green/yellow, green/blue, blue/purple, purple/green, black/white, and -- for all you wicked queens and stepmothers out there -- black/red and black/purple.

The separate circlet comes in gold and silver, and in seven gemstones: diamond, jet, ruby, citrine, emerald, sapphire, and amethyst.

As a note, this was made for the Tete a Pied release party. All the skins in the pictures are from the new series. :)

The gown:

(Hair, left to right: Godiva by Lashed, Refined by ETD, Esperanza by Panache; skin: Tete a Pied)

The simpler skirt on it:

(Hair: Esperanza by Panache; skin: Tete a Pied)

The circlet:

(Hair: Godiva by Lashed; skin: Tete a Pied)

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The dress and circlets should be out tomorrow afternoon. I was going to try for late tonight, but then I remembered that tomorrow morning is a release.

I have created a necklace that I really like. The problem, though, is that it does seem to beat my FPS about the head a bit. It's over 200 tori, but the biggest issue is that they're not particularly tiny, so attachment culling can't do its thing. I know I probably shouldn't release it, but... well, I want to. Especially as I'm not the most prolific person out there, and I worked really hard on this. Getting the long chain to fall naturally was difficult.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Remember how I said I was not going to make a dress to go with the circlet I made?

Yeah, I caved.

Though maybe I shouldn't have, given what a pain this dress has turned out to be. The alpha channel was a source of countless problems, each new color required repeated tweaking, the embroidery is still pretty subpar, and I'm currently debating whether or not to clean up all the overlapping cylinders on the skirt. (Oh, it looks fine from the front. But lower the camera a bit and pan around, and it's a mess. I should grab a picture, next time I'm in world.)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

SL Boutique has managed to not only unlist most of the items I've got, it also wiped the descriptions of some of them, is not displaying my list of unlisted items properly, and for a while thought that items have different names than they do.

Great. You know, people complain a lot about LL, but this is by far more frustrating to me than anything else LL has tossed my way.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

As you all (all two of you) are probably aware by now, I've collaborated with Elika Tiramisu, and a style including my work (called Sincere) has been released. I was very impressed when I first saw the style. I'd made up three different hair accessories for Elika to incorporate into her hair however she liked, and the headband was, for me, the most troublesome. I just couldn't get it to fit a bare head very well. When I sent it off, I assumed Elika wouldn't fully be able to shake that awkwardness. The headband looks completely natural when worn with Sincere, though, and the hairstyle isn't oddly shaped or anything. I'm really looking forward to seeing what she does with the other items I've sent her.

Changing subjects, I made a circlet. I'm so pleased with it (and I'm tempted to try to make a dress to go with it, but I really don't have time), but I can't decide what colors to make it available in. I don't want to sell too many separate versions of it, for fear of my customers' eyes glazing over. I'm toying with the idea of only doing multipacks; e.g., one gemstone in three different metals, or two circlets of the same metal and different gemstone colors. The latter's probably a better idea, if I go that route, since buyers of multiple items usually go for different gemstones in the same metal, rather than vice versa.

I also spent nearly two hours adjusting my vendors. Gah. I changed the settings so that the name of each individual item is displayed, which meant I had to go rename everything. Well, I didn't have to, but the extra "(Miriel)" in the front of each name just added needless hoverspam. There's already a bit more hovertext than there was before, but hopefully this is more than offset by the increase in user friendliness. Customers no longer have to wait for the image to rez to know what the vendor is displaying. Not vastly useful if they're potentially interested in the item, but it does allow them to quickly click past things they know they don't want.

Friday, August 11, 2006

As much as I enjoy making things in SL, and as much as I appreciate and am flattered by every purchase, I confess that the market can occasionally be very frustrating for me. It's not so much because my stuff doesn't sell enormously well -- though that doesn't help -- but because the market just makes no sense to me. Sometimes I think I understand what's going on -- word of mouth, dedicated fan bases, and so on -- but then something throws me for a loop, and I realize I don't. Not really.

My shoes haven't sold very well. Only one of the handful of people who bought the demo bought an actual copy. I sent a reviewer a free copy, to blog about if she liked them, and she usually gushes about my stuff, but... nada. I'm not ragging on her for not liking them -- there's plenty of stuff in the SL fashion world I don't like! -- but I don't understand why they've been so unpopular. I know they're hardly the best shoes out there, and not to everyone's taste, but I think they're pretty good, and not too specialized. Is the name misleading? Is the brown leather not to everyone's taste? Are they too simple? Is the snap putting people off? Are the textures not up to snuff? I don't get it.

I don't understand why some of my products sell better than others. I thought Dancer would do horribly, but it's exceeded my expectations. I thought Mirror, Mirror would do marginally better than it has. I thought Shangri-La would do better. I'd hoped Ladybird would do better, and I was surprised when the plain gold version proved to be the most popular (which is to say, I've sold a whole two or three individual copies of it).

I don't understand why some designers do so much better than others -- not just in terms of revenue, but it terms of praise -- when I don't see a huge difference in quality or content between them and some less popular (but still well off) merchants. I don't begrudge other designers their success. Is their stuff good? Of course! But I don't understand why so many people think it's so much better than the other things out there.

I shouldn't be complaining, I suppose. My business is doing better than it used to, I've collaborated with some wonderful and talented people, and I'm producing work that I'm happy with. But I really wish I understood what makes other people happy with that work, and what doesn't.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

I had a gown I was working on for a while (which I've since tossed), and it had beaded designs on it. You know, in seed beads. This required a number of steps:

1. Drawing the seed beads on a bigger scale.
2. Shrinking them down (and watching all my artistic sins disappear).
3. Drawing the designs on a layer I planned to delete later.
4. Using the clone brush, on a separate layer, place each bead by hand.
5. Attempt to minimize the damage done to my soul by tedium.

My next gown also includes beaded designs, but this time, I was smart. I made a picture tube of seed beads! Oh, I still had to draw the beads, and the basic design, but no more spending hours on cloning. All I do is draw, and a line of varied beads comes out. Hooray!

Cutie pie shoes are out. Available in ten colors, both singly and as a heavily discounted multipack. Made for size 0 feet. Copy/no mod/no transfer. Try the demo first (it's a snazzy bright yellow), or content yourself with the possibility of having to shrink your ankles.

(Skin: Tete a Pied)

(Skin: Tete a Pied, again!)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I made shoes!

Okay, so they're not textured yet, and they're not the best shoes ever. (This is their best angle, and one of my avatar's legs cleverly conceals the ankle strap on the back shoe, which is going through my avatar's other leg.)

And I referred heavily to other shoes I own as I made them. I wasn't trying to copy specific designs, just adopt the techniques used. Still, it makes me a little uncertain about whether or not I should sell the shoes once they're textured. I mean, you're always told to take prim items apart and see how they're put together, and work from that; on the other hand, though there are some differences between her shoes and mine, I intially took the technique for the soles pretty much straight from one of Fallingwater's shoes. And of course, I don't own many shoes, so maybe Fallingwater's techniques are common enough that I shouldn't worry. A dilemma!

Edited to add: I went looking through my footwear folder again, and it turns out nearly all of the shoes I've got do that thing with the two tori. So at this point, I'm considering it fair game.

Monday, August 07, 2006

New dress out. It's called Dancer and it took forever. The original design was something completely different, and it kept changing as various things didn't work (or, towards the end, proved annoying to fix).

I'm a little worried about the glitch pants on this, but I think they're okay, and I'm really sick of working on this.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

New necklace out today, just something I tossed together because it seemed like a pleasant enough idea, and I haven't done enough quirky stuff lately. I'm getting lazy -- this essentially uses the chain from Iridescent Neon (though I altered it to make it more delicate), which in turn was based on the chain from Decadent Hours. I'm happy with it, though. It strikes me as somewhat Gothic Lolita-ish; I think it's the frilly border around the mirror, along with the general absurdity of it.

L$100 for one; L$130 for the whole pack. Normally I try to price my multipacks a little bit above the price of two copies, on the basis that it's better to target customers that already have an interest in buying more than one version of something. That said, I don't expect this to generate a lot of demand, so I dropped the multipack price to slightly over the cost of one. Will it work? Probably not. I'm terrible at pricing!

(Hair: ETD; skin: Gala Phoenix)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shangri-La is out! This is a hairpin that I originally made for the Relay for Life silent auction, but I thought it was so pretty that I couldn't bear to only make a handful of copies. I'm so lame.

Anyway, it comes in silver and gold, and in eight different gemstone combinations: ruby, mandarin garnet, citrine, emerald, sapphire, amethyst, warm (ruby, mandarin garnet, and citrine), and cool (emerald, sapphire, and amethyst).

I'm still playing around with my pricing, and priced this one low to see what happens. Ladybird was pretty expensive and hasn't sold as well as I'd hoped (though I think my expectations were unrealistic), so I'll see what a pretty thing at a lower price does.

(Skin: Tete a Pied; hair: ETD)

(Skin: Tete a Pied; hair: ETD)