Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peace On Earth, Good Will to All!

Whatever your theistic persuasion, let us all take a moment to wish for a joyous next year and give thanks for the blessings of the last one (and no doubt, tribulations, but really, we all got through, didn't we?)

Friday, December 11, 2009

Santa's Sleigh is Coming to Town

Well, he knows if you've been bad or good, but that doesn't signify if you just trot down to the stables and pick up your own sleigh. Why rely on a middleman, is what I always say.

Ought be in the vendors by tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Last Call for Bustle Bows

Well, by now even I have heard of Xstreet's upcoming plans to charge everyone for listing items, particularly freebies. I'm a 4 out of 10 on the miffed scale, for whilst on one hand I can see something of their point, the counterpoint is that it's going to be a large pain in the bustle for me to pull the necessary items.

It's not just freebies, actually-- there's a large number of items I've made over the years that sell two or three a year :P I'm just not part of the fashion set, and while I still like some of my older outfits such as the bicycle outfit and Lady Lancer (a lady's version of my more popular 21st Lancer uniform), add all of them up and they still don't cover the aggregate fees for the lot. I left them up because I liked them, and Xstreet was free aside from commissions.

So, I'm taking down all my slow items. The clothes will still be available in the Eyre and Port Caledon shops (some are now freebies, such as aforementioned bicycle ensemble, as well as all my older cycles).

And, I'm pulling my last remaining freebie on Xstreet-- the ever popular (as in 10 or so a day) sculpted bustle bow. If you don't have one, now is the time to saunter on over and grab it at

As an aside, I couldn't help but notice a handful of low ratings on the silly thing (most did seem to like it, though for an overall 4 star). It looks like the picture, and sits on one's rump. What else did they expect for 0L, a free download of Maya Unlimited? Ah well, that's merchanting :D

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On Merchanting

Some of you may have heard by now that my friend Ilsa Munro of Munro Imaginary Motors has decided to shut her Second Life business down in response to a rather over the top customer. The short of the whole nasty affair was that the individual filed an AR on her for failing to respond to an IM in under two hours during her RL workday. He then proceeded to set up an autospammer outside my Eyre shops to "warn" customers not shop there. My short communication with the individual was...less than satisfactory. Among other charming turns of phrase, he expressed hopes that my horses would be copybotted and that our businesses would fail. Mind you, that was after he got a full refund in under three hours. It's a select group, the Caledon ban list is. You'd be surprised how short it is. I suppose the chap ought feel proud of himself.

I wince at writing the above, as I don't care to give someone like that much "head space". But the unfortunate truth is that oafs are often successful in making other people unhappy. And for Ilsa, it was just too much: it's not just this one thing, but the whole pain in the bustle bit of trying to run a business in Second Life. Unhinged customers are thankfully rare, at least in the horse and vehicle business (my friend Kamilah Hauptmann has many a story about the animation market, though). But there are a whole host of other annoyances, from SL updates that break scripts, to vendor maintenance, to monitoring ads, and just to the daily customer service. And all this for rates that make minimum wage look fair good, once the hours spent are all added up.

So why on Earth do we do it?

Some of us don't, actually. That's Ilsa's answer. And it's a common one in Second Life. One shows up, discovers building is fun, and makes a few whimsical things. Someone says "O hai, by Ceiling Cat, this is great! You ought to be in show business!" And you knock out a wall of your cottage and put a couple of vendors up. Or sans chateau, there is always Xstreet. And a few Lindens roll in (the money sort, not the Torley/Robin sort). And it's terrific! Yay! No more are you paying tier. When your RL spouse leans over your shoulder and wonders at that Victorian dress you're buying, you simply say "Pfft, paid for it myself, do toddle off and play kill-the-orcs on your own computer, m'kay?"

And then disillusionment sets in, when all the other slings and arrows of outrageous customer service rear their ugly heads. You're tempted to put them all out as freebies, but I'm here to say that freebies take as much time to deal with as anything else, if not more so. After all, freebies are beloved by new people, who are the first not to understand how to use a vehicle or even adjust a skirt. Mind you, 99% of them are fun to chat with, but it's still time consuming. You start noticing things like you haven't changed your outfit in over a week. Um, your avatar's outfit, that is.

So, like Ilsa, many look at the ledger and find it wanting. On one side is the SL income, which is rarely all that much. On the other side are all those things that one might rather be doing in SL-- exploring, playing games, going to virtual balls, or just socializing without being interrupted by an IM every five minutes. The thought occurs that if one has a job, one can afford the thirty or so USD for a hobby. And you'll be able to continue to build, perhaps even more freely sans an eye to what will be popular.

But then there's those of us who continue to build and sell things here. And why is that? Well, I won't be disingenuous here. For one, I do fairly well in Second Life. My silly horses are quite popular, and while my income isn't on par with the better known designers, I'm still paying for art school with it. Still, there are other things I could be doing. I recently got my first freelance RL 3D design job, and discovered that the going rate was...let us say on par with more than a few horses.

So, it has to be something more than the money. And this is going to sound silly-goofy, but really, it's all of you. This weekend, after talking about The Incident with Ilsa, I thought to myself about all the customers who've written me about how much fun with their toys (for that is what I really am, a virtual toy maker). People I don't know have smiled, perhaps even laughed (hopefully with glee) at my humble efforts.

How many of you are out there? Rough guess puts my horse sales at several thousand, and that's not including all the outfits and vehicles-- much less the freebies and demos. I've managed to make thousands happy, if only for a few minutes. That's worth a lot, isn't it? How many people get to say that?

I'm not going to encourage people to try to change Ilsa's mind about quitting her business. She has solid reasons for reapportioning her time. But I would like to ask those of you who've played with her creations and liked them to take a moment and tell her that you had fun. Because in the end, that's really what we're here for, isn't it?


Friday, July 31, 2009

Free Cycles and Outfits

Some of you might not realize this (or care :P) but before Cheval Verite was La Bicyclette. I got my start making Victorian cycles and active wear (such as those liberating cycling and bathing costumes), and they've always been my spiritual "fountainhead" here.

Well, they've been on the market long enough that I'd like to offer them to all as freebies. I've only put them out for sale in the Port right now, as that was my first plot of land and reminds me of all those early happy days zipping about those hills on my unicycle.

Four cycles (including a non-depicted unicycle) as well as my old Victorian Bicycling outfits are out there now. Have fun, and try not to hit anyone!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

New Freebie Bustle Bow

Well, I actually looked at my ever popular bustle bow the other day. It's not horrid, but it looks like what it is: one of the first things I ever made in Second Life. So I fired up Maya and spent a few moments making this.

Hardly a work of art, either, but it's free, and worth every penny :D Mod/copy, so if you wish to make a few hundred to adorn your hair, horse or house with, feel free. Drop by the Eyre Carriage house and look for it in the back by the Horseshoe bar.