Sponsor Interview: Cain Maven of Maven Homes

Cain Maven

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!

Sponsor Interview – Fallacy DeCuir of Tool Shed

Fal the Taxi Driver

We’re very happy that Fallacy DeCuir found time, while preparing for Home and Garden Expo, to answer a few questions about the show and her work.

HGE: 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?

Fallacy: Honestly, despite me being at expo in previous years, this is the first year I’ve had a chance to be a sponsor cuz usually by the time I hear about it, all the sponsor spots were gone. lol So yeah, I was happy to be a sponsor because it’s a chance to further support RFL. Hopefully, I’ll get in early enough next year so I can sponsor again! :D

HGE: There are so many non-profit organizations represented in SL. What prompted you to support Relay For Life of Second Life?

Fallacy: I admire RFL for doing so much to raise money to fund cancer research. Cancer affects so many people, it would be a blessing if we could find a cure. Contributing to an event that raises money and celebrates creativity is just win-win.

HGE: Are there things that you most look more forward to at HGE this year?

Fallacy: I’m a member of the Expo staff this year and it’s been a blast. I look forward to continuing to help, and contributing any way I can. And, of course, just getting a chance to tour the stunning builds is a bonus.

HGE: In looking at your work, we wondered what do you bring from your First Life background to your Second Life business?.

Fallacy: I have a love for interior design. I also paint (as in rooms in my house) when I’m bored. (yes, I’m weird.) This has been a hit with friends & family, cuz most people hate to paint. In Second Life, I can do the equivalent for all sorts of folks, and don’t get paint all over myself. ;p

HGE: What were the origins of your store?

Fallacy: I started out in the furniture business in SL. My first store was FD Decor, then I rebranded for a short time to Cobblestone Home & Garden. However, after almost 6 years of making furniture, I decided I needed a change. Since I’d spent the majority of those years making components to use for my business, I decided to put those skills to use, and offer supplies to other merchants to aid in their creations.

HGE: Do you keep up with the latest technologies? Which do you consider most important and why?

Fallacy: Does buying a new iphone each year count?

HGE: Absolutely.

Fallacy: Oh, good. Other than that, though, I wouldn’t say I keep up with the latest technologies anymore. I used to, but there’s just too much going on to be able to keep up with it all now a days, so as long as what I DO use works, I’m good. ^.^

HGE: What do you consider key to your success as a business person in SL?

Fallacy: Dilligence? lol I don’t know. I enjoy making stuff in SL, so I’d say that’s been a key.

HGE: Do you have a business model that works for you? if so, what?

Fallacy: Marketing. Lots & lots of marketing. Social media, group notices, marketing. Lots of marketing.

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?

Fallacy: Make something unique. There are so many stores in here now, it’s hard to find truly unique things. Also, treat your business as you would if it were RL. Advertise, have competitive pricing for your market, and offer great customer service. That will help build and retain your customer base.

HGE: Wow, that’s great advice. Thank you, Fallacy, for your time.

Fallacy: My pleasure. See you at Home and Garden Expo!

Sponsor Interview – Sheerpetal Roussel of DaD Designs

sheer 2_001

Hi Sheerpetal! 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?

Sheerpetal: I have been a sponsor before and I have seen how the event is such a wonderful way to showcase the amazing creations of so many talented designers. It helped introduce me to new customers and above all allows us to contribute to such an important cause.

HGE: There are so many non-profit organizations represented in SL. What prompted you to support Relay For Life of Second Life?

Sheerpetal: The cause is the center piece of women’s health concerns and the event allows me to express my support.

HGE: Are there things that you most look more forward to at HGE.?

Sheerpetal: The build is always so much fun as I try to create a space that speaks to my work.

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.

Sheerpetal: No, not at all. But I love the outdoors and home decorating so I was attracted to it.

HGE: What were the origins of your store?

Sheerpetal: I began building small pieces of furniture and then flowers. The rest is history.

HGE: Do you keep up with the latest technologies? Which do you consider most important and why?

Sheerpetal: I do not think that there is a “best” technology . However, the best is the one that best satisfies your specific needs. Personally, I use the software “cinema 4d” to create my mesh and, of course, I use Photoshop.

HGE: To what extent have technological advances impacted your work, e.g. creative process, workflow, etc.?

Sheerpetal: Mesh has changed everything. I was becoming expert at building in SL and then was hit with the sea change of Mesh. I am working hard to learn the skills necessary to make my creations top of the line, but this was very difficult in the middle of still running a profitable business.

HGE: What have you considered key to your success as a business person in SL?

Sheerpetal: Creating items which my customers can use and enjoy and giving them the same customer service I would give close friends.

HGE: Do you have a business model that works for you?

Sheerpetal: Great new items, group gifts, good events, and group notices telling EVERYONE about them.

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?

Sheerpetal: 1. Create a great product. 2. Great customer service. 3. Pray. (giggles)

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!

Sheerpetal: I live in Italy. I work in intellectual property. I am married and have 2 wonderful children.