This post has been sitting in my drafts since ( Last edited by Sasy Scarborough on March 30, 2010 at 12:33 pm ) and the subject keeps coming up in one way or another. So I finally put all the pieces together and hope it makes sense.
You have decided to open a business in SL and you want to start creating as soon as possible. That is great, but one of the most important things you will need is a name. You may think that you can worry about that later, but as so much is based off the name, and so much has to include the name, it is a good idea to try to start with that as early on as you can.
Naming your store/business :
Coming up with a name is not a joke, you do need to take the name seriously as it is as much of a lure to your customer as your product is.
Do not settle on just one name, as you may find that a change is needed. Make sure that the name is easy to understand in text and voice, that there is no confusion over how it should be spelled when searching for it. Also you need to make sure that it doesn’t sound too closely like another in voice.
Work out in advance an abbreviation of your name, or what customers will break it down into – because we all know that can happen. If the abbreviation of your store name is also way too close to another, don’t go there.
Take your name on the road : By this I mean search everywhere for it – one of my absolute pet peeves are those that use the name of other well established businesses and think it doesn’t matter. It does matter!Â there are stores I will never give my money, because I cannot bring myself to give it to people who do not respect the hard work of others. I am not the only one that thinks that way, so do as much as you can to ensure you start off on the right foot.
Start with Search in world. Type the name of your intended business in every single tab in search. The reason for all of the tabs is that some businesses are not listed in search places. Some rely on classified ads to advertise their location. Name tab seems not necessary, but over the years SL has used many words as names, and if your business name is in fact a last name previously used,Â it may be a business somewhere, or it will definitely trigger things in customers.
After you have scoured search, move to Marketplace, Apez.biz, SLUniverse – SLU is not a product site but archives could be very useful. These are all Second Life product sites. There are often businesses that do not have land in world to sell their goods, but do have an established business in one or more of these avenues. They may have also had land issues and be only temporarily on these sites only, that does not mean however that because they do not have an in world premises that you can use their name.
Next move is to google or whatever browser search engine you use. Search not only the name, but also add Second Life, SL , and the name of the types of items you will be selling with the name. This gives you various ways the name could come up. Also try using the inbuilt search in some of your favourite blogs that may cover the type of items you will be producing. I have found that often if the name of the store is not in the title, that a blog post containing an item from that store wont hit a google search for pages and pages.
Now back in world it is conference time. Ctrl click on all the names of people in your friends list that you trust enough to share some info about your upcoming business with. Tell them that you are planning a business and you would like to know if any of them are aware of a business with the name you are planning…then ask them politely if they would mind searching in their inventories by typing the name with the exact spelling you plan to use. While they are doing this you should also be doing this, because sometimes the name you select could be one you already subconsciously know but did not realise.
If none of these come up with the name you have chosen…
Congratulations you now have your store name .
Rebranding: Over the years I have seen many stores change their brands, whether just for a change of pace for themselves, or to give the whole brand a new face, the same rules apply. If you find that the name you want to take on is close to another, again DO NOT GO THERE. I cannot say this enough.
In RL there are laws that stop this from happening, and I do wish that LL would make some sort of name registry, so that just like our avatar names, a store name cannot be repeated. Adding something different to the end or begining does not make it better either.
There are millions of names available to you, and in the interest of fair play you should use one that is not the same as someone elses. But if fair play isn’t a motivator think of it this way, any ill will that business/brand has ever given to a customer or event, or whatever in SL you will take onto your new business. On the otherside you may think they are so popular so it can only benefit you, well that means they have brand loyalty and that is going to make potentially thousands of people hate your guts.
Also convincing yourself you sell different items so again it wont matter, it does it ALWAYS does.
Two fashionistas walk into a bar…
Just kidding, but two people are wanting to go store hopping, one says to the other lets go to store A , person 2 has only heard bad things about store A and convinces person 1 to not bother. Store A is not the same Store A person 2 had heard of, it was a new store that didn’t google. Also imagine this in voice, so many people spend hours a day in skype and SL voice chatting more than texting, again if your store is ZUME and your friend tells you all about how ZOOM was around first, well it wont matter if you have an accent or not, you’re going to be percieved as BAD for not caring about your fellow creators.
Naming your products:
When you name your vendors (the prims which you sell your items from) whatever you put in the name section, is the name the folder becomes if you set it to sell contents only. If you box your items inside of a vendor, then the name you give your box will unpack to a folder with that exact name.
Either way, you must always start with your name – and stick to the same method each release. This is a good thing to think of when naming your business, keeping it short makes it easier when labeling. On a sidenote, it is a must to name your items with your store name first because not only does it help make finding your items faster, but instills brand recognition as well as putting all purchases in the same place. If a person buys a red bikini and white shorts, then some orange shoes and none of those have names in front, they will end up all over the place, and shock horror some people don’t put things away, so your items just end up rubble.
Try and refrain from adding characters you don’t use in your regular logo/brand in the naming of inventory items. It may or may not push your items up and down a persons inventory, but it also makes searching more difficult.
example : The Store – Cute Coat – blue
It is also important to put your store name, or a recognisable abbreviation on each item you are selling, no matter how many items are in a product.
example : The Store – Cute Coat – Blue Jacket
The Store – Cute Coat – Blue Shirt
The Store – Cute Coat – BlueÂ Undershirt
The Store – Cute Coat – Blue Collar (Chest)
Helpful Hint : If you are making clothing, when you create the items in appearance you can make outfit, name the folder The Store – Cute Coat – Blue and then check the box that says name items same as folder. Then every single basic layer will name automatically for you. Then when adding extras such as ‘with garters’ or ‘wear with pants’ you can add those pieces if multiples the same way. There are always time savers.
Your name on your items is also advertising, think of it as brand recognition, even though only text, the constant scrolling past your name embeds itself in the consumers subconscious. This is also why it is very important to name every item. Using search in inventory to find shorts may result in hundreds of pairs. If your brand shows up in that search it may be what encourages the customer to put yours on over another label, just because seeing the name of your store triggers the good feelings they have about your product.
Landmarks and notecards are not a guarantee to keep your items branded, as many will delete those as soon as they unpack. If you do not have the name of your store on your items and or vendors/boxes I really do urge you to change that as soon as possible.
Logos should be legible:
Be as creative as you want with the items you create, but when it comes to your logo keep it as simple as possible. Simple does not have to mean boring, some of the most basic of logos in RL and SL come off looking incredibly stylish. A customer should never need to stand on their head with one eye half closed, while looking backwards through a mirror, to work out your store name.
Lastly for now:
DO NOT ADD OTHER STORES TO YOUR SEARCH TAGS. If you have a store, do not try and profit off the branding of another. In Shapes stores this is one of those things that are deemed ok, because they do actually have a reason for mentioning other stores – but I suggest actually asking permission of the creator of the other brand, this also can lead to product awareness of your brand to them that may lead to referals, so it cannot hurt to be polite.
But if you don’t make shapes, don’t list other stores in your search just to come up in search when people are looking for them, it is wrong, and also false advertising. Many brands these days are legally trademarking their names, so it could lead to more trouble than it is worth, also again, if I or people I know see your store come up in searching for a well known brand, you just look bad, again no money for you.
To put it a different way, a business in SL is as much about heart and passion as it is about money. A brand name can become as much an extension of a person as their avatar name. So please consider the feelings of others if not just for business sake, these stores mean things to people, and coming in and just taking what someone has built is an awful thing to do.
Now that I can finally mark that off the draft page, o/ and got it out of my system, lets move on to fashion. First off Exile has gone crazy and released a billion new styles last week, as well as new textures that have roots or not roots and some even have streak options in all colours as well as extensions on one of them – in this case I am calling it my Curio Cleavage framing hair.
One of the styles Whimsy loved so much that she went and bought it from looking at it on my head, didn’t even give me a chance to press publish. I am making her wait for the pants though, so the pants are the latest in Naith Smit Designs new Female Range, yes fans of NSD can now be all fulfilled. These pants are so cute, I just love the detailing on the rollover waistband. You can also wear the pants without the band, and still have a lovely finished look. They come in more colours than the ones shown, but I wanted to just give a little taste of these for now.
The top I am wearing is from DCNY, recently taken over by Anessa Stine with Dawn Memorial, and the change has been wonderful for the brand, the styles are coming out more frequently and have a very good feel for what is wanted right now. The colours are great and this is just one of the natural pack of colours for the soft scoop neck tank. I really like the front of this, but like the back lots too, as it makes it a little more provocative and you can show off those perfect shoulderblades.
Also new is the Chic skin by Curio, again a completely new face with lovely make ups, these are a mix of simple and fantasy. The noir with the deeper liner and lips is hell sexy. I kind of wish that Gala would take all her previous skins make ups and make them all tats, so that we can have everything we love in all sorts of combinations. I mentioned recently that she has also done the cleavage enhancements for the skins. Personaly I have always like the softness of the Curio cleavage line, but these are woah!. I generally would not wear an enhancer with this style top, as there is no visible support or lift in the garment. But I am going to pretend I had a boob job and they are just standing to attention on their own.
Now if you ever read my posts from way way back, when I used to work more in the public eye. You may remember that my favourite shoes for working were the Talyns by Enkythings, they had such a great style, and professional look for heels in SL, and were perfect for wearing dressy casual as well. Well Enkythings has rereleased them in sculpted form and they are just as wonderful. They come in some really lovely colours, and the range of colour has you covered i think for all fabrics. So make sure if you were a talyn fan, and love a more mature shoe that you go and try them on.
Click HERE to SLURL’s Page.
Poses by :
Chic – Curio by Gala Phoenix
Ellis – LeLutka
Natural Curl Sculpted Lashes – LeLutka
Alyssa – Exile
Miami Trousers – NSD
Soft Scoop Tank – DCNY
Talyn – Enkythings
Parade Pearls Ring & Earrings – MOOD
Sex & The City Bag – GLOW Studios