You may recall that when my sister alt, Clover, closed her shop, it was largely because the world had changed too rapidly for her to keep up with. Hundred and thousands of Ls and av-hours of work to create the products that made Clover’s Kitchen a success were suddenly all in vain and the food and beverage became almost laughably obsolete, practically overnight.
Well, you know that I love creating food for people in the Grid and so– in what may or may not be a moment of weakness– I invested a sizeable chunk of my savings into starting up what will be Clover Farms. (People who were fans of Clover’s Kitchen may remember, back in the day, that “Clover Farms” was an imaginary brand name used on items such as milk and orange juice).
So. I’ve done two fireworks shows since returning inworld. I’ve also rented a shop space, not really that I have a whole lot to sell but I have a little and it feels good to have a home base. I set up a sewing machine and a crude counter in there so it feels like a work studio.
I love that Philomena is still a place, if a slightly different iteration than I recall. It’s really really surreal knowing there’s a street named after me. I’m just this elf, ya know?
What was originally going to be the City of Philomena has gone more small-town, now that it’s got its own land on Bruda Plateau in Jeogeot, and has been re-imagined as Philomenaville. Here are some early photos of the work in progress. Click each for larger.
I’m still on my cyclical break from SL and, even more than before, I’m finding myself pleasantly surprised by how little I’m missing it. What I miss is conversations with my people (though at least one of them is on Skype and we’ve stayed caught up that way).
While I’ve been away, I’ve been thinking about what needs to stay and what needs to change. Some things, I think I’m holding onto simply because I have a fear of change and I’ll stay with what’s comfortably familiar for a long time instead. I’m not kidding when I tell you that when I was a RL kid, I kept my training wheels on until I was 8 because it was too much of a comfort for me to want to risk changing. That’s me, I’m like that. Which brings up Clover’s Kitchen.
I’ve had Clover’s Kitchen since November of 2008 and it’s been a tremendous creative outlet for me. It started with me making food out of oldschool prims, then as I got more skilled I incorporated sculpts and hours and hours of texturing said sculpts. I have spent countless thousands of lindens on sculpt build kits, which I mix and match and sometimes include with sculpts of my own. This has led to about 120 pretty damn good items in my shop.
Then mesh happened and once again I was faced with how behind the times I’m getting. I’ve made 2 items so far using mesh build kits, but the thought of shelling out more and more money to bring my goods up to date is appealing less and less to me. Add to that the big Food Fair, which I didn’t hear of before it opened and which didn’t hear of me. It felt like a huge missed opportunity, but rather than kick myself over it, I felt relieved at less to worry about.
All of these things lead me to believe that it’s time to make a hard decision regarding Clover’s Kitchen. It’s time to either take off the training wheels or else put the bike away. And, in my heart of hearts, I think it’s time to put the bike away and maybe later on get a new one.
Clover’s Kitchen will go to MP Only in about a month. I’ll close up the prim-and-mortar shop which has stood for over 3 years in Lionheart around the first of September. It’s been an outstanding run, but I know its time has come.
I mean, no, she’s not the rapper, I mean she’s missing in action. Only that’s not a really apt comparison, in that she can’t log in and therefore there is no action in which to be missing.
It’s Day 4 now that I’m unable to log her in. I type in her name, her password, click login, the rainbow pinwheel spins, and then the viewer crashes.
But here’s the thing: it’s only when I try to log on Clover. Mistletoe, no problem. Petal, Piggy, any of the others, no problem.
It’s got me especially worried because guess who is the main income earner of our family of alts. I’ll give you a hint: not Petal.
So now I’m working out a contingency plan so that at least some of the income earned can make its way to avatars who can log in and pay for things like, oh, rent. I may have to split earnings on items sold at Marketplace with either Mistletoe or Piggy (Piggybank is, well, the money holding alt). It will completely mess up my sales records but it will help keep the doors open at least. I’m able to set up sales on my in-world vendors (I LOVE YOU HIPPO!!) to do the same thing if needed.
Who needs accurate sales reports anyway? I mean it’s not like I’m trying to run a serious business in Second Life or anything.
Let me state for the record that Secondlife.com makes asking for help an exercise in making the simple extremely complicated. I like their little dropdown menu system for filing a ticket, except it lacks a very necessary choice: “None of the above”. To even find where or how to file a ticket is a hunt in itself. What the hell do they expect new people to do? Suddenly I totally understand why people keep tweeting Rodvik with their technical issues: because what the hell else are we supposed to do? Still, I’m trying to go through the “proper channels”, even though I’m reminded of that line from The Train about normal channels existing to entrap the incompetent.
So I’m doing what I can, which is mostly walking the floor and logging on Mistletoe. I could put her face on her own milk carton*. Have you seen me?
*-Oh except I can’t because guess who built the milk carton in the first place…
EDIT 7/12 – I went to the forums, did some looking around, and I suspect that something with Clover’s settings on the SL Viewer is causing the problem. I even discovered that I can log her on with Imprudence (first thing I did: gave all my Ls to Piggybank!). I saw some information on how to reset her setting if I had a PC, but nothing yet for us lonesome Mac users. But I’m working on figuring it out.
So I’ve been running Clover’s Kitchen for something to the tune of 3 and a half years now. One of the things that I do, that I’ve been doing since the beginning, is manually inviting customers one-by-one into the shop group. I don’t believe in using Subscribe-O-Matics because they make it difficult for an unwilling customer to leave (click and “leave group” from the comfort of your own home is way simpler), they’re abused and mistrusted, and they rely on sending notecards. Nobody usually READS notecards.
The oldschool SL group, on the other hand, enables me to program my vendors so that group members get special deals (like the monthly group-only dollarbie); they get the message and a LM right away, logged on or not, and–most importantly to me–they are in the group because they actively chose to be.
And so at least once per week I round up the names of those who have made a purchase from me, and one by one, I add them to the “invite” list for the shop group. Then I send the invitation. Those who are already in, never get the duplicate invitation (god damn, LL did something logical! Good going!). Those who want in, click “accept”. Those who don’t, click “decline”. The list gets purged, life goes on. In the three and a half years of using this method, I’ve gotten two complaints from people.
The second arrived just a short while ago. I got IMed: “please im me before spanning me.” I hope she’s all right with me ignoring her and closing the chat because that struck me as the kindest and most honest thing I could do. Like I say, if you don’t want in the group, I don’t want you in it either. So… click “decline”.
So am I just behind the times here? I figured a quick opt-in group invite sent once would be way less rude than, say, IMing her out of the blue first. She apparently does not agree. And I think it’s way WAY less rude than my just putting you on a list for a Spam-o-Matic machine that spits notecards at you whether you like it or not, and forcing you to come back into the shop in order to (hope that you) remove yourself from said list.
I would have let the day slip by unnoticed, had I not received a message from Lionheart Central Authority, wishing me (Clover) a happy rez day and telling me I get one free day of tier! Whee!
Clover was first created three years ago, about 5 months following Mistletoe’s creation, making her my second oldest avatar. Originally she was made as a “get away from the drama” as well as a “leave me alone and let me build stuff” avatar, but it wasn’t long before she took on a life of her own. In RP land she’s Mistletoe’s younger but more conservative sister, and I made her a single mom in tribute to my RL sister (who, while a mom, is no longer single).
Clover got her name from my RL sister’s birthday. I figured, if my RL birthday is on the winter solstice and I’m called Mistletoe, someone with a birthday in mid-March may be named something equally seasonal, and so Clover it was.
“Ethaniel” was already retired as a name by the time Clover was rezzed, so I picked “Windlow” because it sounded like a respectably elfy name (Later, when I created Clover’s daughter Petal, “Windlow” was already retired as well). Clover is eternally 300 years old (whether that’s true or not…), and likes to remind Mistletoe which of the sisters is the old one.
Clover started making foodstuffs, both as a challenging creative medium and to sell. She made a concession stand for a medieval faire and was authoritatively told that nobody would ever actually pay for virtual food in Second Life.
Just for fun (and to try to prove the guy wrong) she opened a small booth in the local market and was surprised at just how many people were actually paying for virtual food in Second Life. The booth grew to a double booth, and that grew to the bottom floor in a three-story shop building.
February 2009 was the last time I (as Clover) bought Ls out of pocket. It was for a set of sculpt maps.
By October of 2009 it became evident that in order to expand any more, Clover’s Kitchen would need its own parcel. Its grand opening of its first ever Main Store in the sim of Mandaland took place that Halloween.
With the opening in a modern sim came a more modern look for Clover, with shorter hair and a 21st-century business wardrobe. Clover’s Kitchen flourished until I took a hiatus from Second Life in December 2009. I returned just a few months later.
Clover’s Kitchen needed a new home, and a spot was found in the modern city of Lionheart (and the neighborhood of Mohatu) in March 2010. My good friend Teleny MacArthur graciously loaned me 3000L interest-free to purchase the parcel, and Clover went to work right away, having a grand re-opening (aptly) on St. Patrick’s Day.
The shop celebrated its one-year anniversary this past March. Between opening and then, Clover got ambitious and ran for public office (and realized quickly to be careful what to wish for), started and still runs the intermittently-updating Lionheart Times, pulled off a moderately successful multi-business Winter Carnival, and even had a romantic relationship for a short while.
But, her shop is truly her first love, and anything else tends to fall by the wayside (unless it’s named Petal).
So, there you have it, a brief history of my other main avatar. I don’t feel right calling Clover an alt; she’s almost as old an avatar as Mistletoe and logs easily as many hours (and perhaps even more). And today she’s three years old.
Whenever the calendar flips over I make sure I get all my shop chores (mostly) done and this month was no exception. Anyone who ever says that a SL business isn’t work is either a damn liar or so clueless they don’t know how much money they’ve lost yet. Admittedly it’s not as much nor as demanding work as in RL, but my whole day “off” was spent doing work for my virtual shop.
I’m able to cross the following off the to-do list today (not necessarily in order):
Total up my net sales for October (by the way: more than double last October! Woo hoo!)
Start a new spreadsheet to total up November sales
Send manual invites to the shop group to all the latest customers (this is really more a weekly or semiweekly chore for me)
Take down the October (read: Halloween) decorations in the shop
Put up the November (read: Thanksgiving) decorations in the shop
Change over the Seasonal vendor in the shop to November
Make two new items: Green Bean Casserole and Pumpkin Spice Tea
Get aforementioned items photographed, boxed, loaded into the vendors, and listed on Marketplace
Sent out weekly group announcement about Guy Fawkes (Nov. 5th) and Jacket Potatoes
Got said Jacket Potatoes listed on Marketplace
Paid the shop rent
Blogged about it all just now!
Fortunately, thanks a million to Miyo’s awesome tutorial, my Marketplace uploads are automatically Tweeted as they’re created, saving me a ton of time there.
The other part that was easy and not a chore at all: made a few thousand Ls in sales. 😀
So, yeah. I started at about 11-ish AM and I’m wrapping it up at about 11-ish PM. It’s time to punch out.