HGE: Hi Cain! We thank you so much for becoming a sponsor of the Home & Garden Expo (HGE). What led to your decision to be a sponsor this year?
Cain: I’ve sponsored the HGE in the past, and have always considered it a great opportunity to achieve two things: exposure for my brands, and support for an important cause. I’ve never viewed primarily as a sales event but a way of building and strengthening my brand.
HGE: There are so many non-profit organizations represented in SL. What prompted you to support Relay For Life of Second Life?
Cain: That’s somewhat random — mostly because of the HGE, which caters to my industry. Plus, RFL/ACS has been around a while and has high visibility.
HGE: Are there things that you most look more forward to at HGE this year?
Cain: As always, I look forward to seeing what my fellow creators have come up with, which trends emerge and if any new names appear on the scene. This year should offer a lot of products that use SL materials in creative ways. And the HGE seems to be the only time of year that creators climb down from their platforms and actually speak to other human beings.
HGE: We would love to know about your work! Do you have any background in your First Life that suggested you would focus on the areas of design you have chosen for SL. If so, explain.
Cain: I do have a degree in architecture, which has come in handy at times, even though I haven’t used it for much in RL. I also have a background in software engineering; this has enabled me to write my own scripts. Not to mention that I’m stubborn, a night owl, and a little greedy.
HGE: What were the origins of your store?
Cain: I had bought a prefab and started tinkering with it to see if I could expand one of the rooms. Encouraged by my lack of failure, I decided to try building and selling homes myself. My first attempts were boxy disasters with all the grace of WW II bunkers — I strongly suspect that my customers bought out of pity rather than appreciation for my work. Slowly, it got better.
HGE: Do you keep up with the latest technologies? Which do you consider most important and why?
Cain: I do, and the ability to upload mesh is by far the biggest game changer. Mesh lets creators work with shapes that you either cannot create using prims, or with much lower land impact. Sculpties were a start, but had too many limitations to truly transform the way objects were created in SL.
HGE: To what extent have technological advances impacted your work, e.g. creative process, workflow, etc.?
Cain: I used to build everything in-world. Now I build quick mockups in-world and then do the actual modeling in my 3D application. So for better of worse there has been a shift out of SL during much of the workflow.
HGE: What have you considered key to your success as a business person in SL? Do you have a business model that works for you?
Cain: The basic principle is simple: Always deliver the best product you can. When you’re done, understand and admit that it could have been done much better, then try to improve the next time around. Listening to your customers is a good idea, too — customer support isn’t just a necessity but a source of information as well.
HGE: So many of us dream about having a business in SL but it’s harder than it looks! What are some of the things you would recommend to a talented individual who is considering embarking on starting a business?
Cain: First of all, ask yourself how committed you are. Are you prepared to put in the time and effort it takes to get up and running — in return for very little financial reward initially? If the answer is yes, take a long, hard look at your competitors, figure out how to compete and who to beat. Then go get them, tiger.
HGE: We would love to know more about you, ie, where you live, what do you do for fun in SL, etc. Anything you would like to say or share!
Cain: Go Giants!