Well, “a little bit” about myself could be several pages long or two words: “Renaissance woman”. It was my shrink who called me that in 2000, because I have many varied interests and skills. I used to earn my RL living as a techie and played with creative work as an extra-curricular activity. But it was in Second LIfe that those interests and skills came together, so that I use both sides of my brain to create different products, and that is much more satisfying. Work and play became one.
When I discovered SL in 2006, I had just graduated from an MBA program with the intent of starting my own business. I realized that SL was the perfect place to try out what I learned in business school because the barrier to entry was very low. Low investment, low risk. I figured that the market for wearables was bigger, since people didn’t have to own land to buy wearables.
I was a year into SL when I came up with the first Mer Betta prototype, which I wore to a concierge party given by Linden Lab to sim owners. A friend of mine invited me to that party and the theme that year was “underwater.”
I wanted Mer Betta to be unique. So, at a time when all mermaid tails were based on Disney’s “Little Mermaid” or “Splash” or the statue in Copenhagen, I focused on just one species of fish, that was never even thought of as a mermaid tail — The betta or the Siamese fighting fish. I didn’t foresee that it would be so wildly popular, that people now take it for granted that mers could be betta mers or any specific species of fish.
These days, my focus is on finishing a book (www.LoveLikeDimSum.com) and starting a new venture, so I haven’t created much for Mer Betta. The new Simplicity gowns are a last-minute thing creation for this year’s RFL fundraising. But I’m hoping to get back to creating more in-world products after the book is done.
Q2 As a Fantasy Faire 2011 Sim Sponsor, what initially piqued your interest about sponsoring such an event?
I lost several aunts and family friends to breast cancer and an uncle to pancreatic cancer. I had done the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walks in real life for three years in the early 2000’s, and those walks (the associated fundraising and the almost year-long training) changed me as a person. So when I discovered the Relay for Life in SL in 2008 and walked the track as an avatar, it reminded me of those 3-Day Walks and I wanted to be more involved, but I didn’t know how. Then, in 2009, I received an invitation to participate in the Fantasy Faire, so I signed up at the least expensive level.
In 2010, I signed up again at the same level, but I kept seeing the group notices that the mer sim was the last sim without a sponsor. Mind you, I am still living off of my savings (stock options from my last job) and the economic downturn had affected us all both in world and in the real world, but those group notices about the mer sim not having a sponsor felt like a personal and spiritual call to step up to the plate, so I contacted Ember. Thankfully, I recouped that sponsorship cost in sales during the faire.
Before the end of the 2010 faire, I told Ember to reserve the mer sim sponsorship for me for the following year (this year).
Q3 What is it about RFL / ACS Fantasy Faire 2011 that you are particularly passionate about?
There is something about the fantasy realms in SL that is not possible anywhere else — creators can allow other people to get into their heads and to experience their visions immersively.
I know how most of SL works, technically. Even the technical skill required to create art in world. I’m fairly confident that I can imitate 95% of what’s out there — textures, sculpts, animations, even complex scripts. So when I choose to purchase something, instead of recreating it, my decision is usually based on the following:
20% for time-savings (could be more if the product is time-consuming to create and I really need it)
20% for impressive technical implementation (could be less if there’s nothing impressive about the implementation)
60% for creativity and imagination and innovation
Fantasy realms are the hotbed of creativity and imagination compared to contemporary SL, because you’re not limited to imitating real-life. (Note that aiming for realism is different from imitating real life.) And the Fantasy Faire brings all those realms together in one place, so you can get a taste of each.
Q4 What are you really looking forward to with the Fantasy Faire 2011 most this year?
Getting into other creators’ heads. *winks*