I must say that I am thrilled, by this opportunity to interview one of my favorite Victorian fashion designers, Lady Emedea Morgenstern. It is a pleasure to meet you, madam.
We have a lot to talk about as your label is one of the prominent ones in connection to Victorian fashion and design. Please allow me to ask a personal question before we start?
* How did you choose the name of your avatar?
Emedea has been my online character name ever since Everquest. I have used it in a lot of mmorpgs! It is a variation on medea, a greek enchantress. :)
*What can you tell us about your first steps in Second Life and in the fashion business in general?
I was in Second Life a few months before I tried my hand at fashion. At first I just wanted to make outfits for my own wear, but I had a portrait studio at the time and put a few up as a test and it went from there.
* Why Victorian?
I adore the whole romance and fashion of the Victorian era. Lace, ribbons, parasols and the hats, what could be more feminine and romantic? I have been a big fan of Victorian and Western movies all my life so it just seemed wonderful to be able to actually be able to create some of those great fashions and wear them. Only in Second Life could you do that and completely fit in. Steampunk ties in so well with Victorian and I love the whole sci-fi meets Victorian style.
* This may be something than many creators are asked about, but is not a cliche question, nonetheless... Where do you get your inspiration from?
A lot is from movies. I am a major movie fan and have a huge collection. I might see a gown in 'Life With Father' or "My Fair Lady' and decide to do my own spin on it. Sometimes I just get an idea and go with it. Other times I get requests and suggestions from customers that intrigue me.
* What is your favorite item and why?
My favorite is always changing! Right now I am loving Anita, a 40's vintage skirt set. I have been in a Casablanca/Noir mindset for the last couple of weeks.
I think overall, Regal is my favorite. It really personifies not only Victorian but Steampunk elegance as well.
* The Steampunk Herald is located in a place called The Mechanical box, which is mainly a "greenhouse" for new creators... What is your advise to new designers and builders that dream about owning their own successful business one day?
Customer Service. I can't stress enough how well you should treat your customers and your group members. They know if someone is being fair with them and will be the backbone of a successful business. Also, find a way to bring traffic into your business. I have yet to find a rental spot that had enough traffic to support whatever shop I tried there. You have to be able to bring the people in yourself to assure your business grows and thrives.
* What projects are you currently working on Emedea? Any fashion shows in the horizon?
Right now I am working on some great Valentine items. I am really going for romance and love with these, trying to make 2011's Valentine season perfect for romantics and lovers. At the same time I am keeping in mind that Steamhunt will be starting soon and I usually use that time to really showcase the Steampunk and Victorian styles, so there will be a lot of both of those coming up in March.
We do have plans for a fashion show in the near future, I believe that will coincide with our Valentine Fashion Release.
* Is there anything at all that you would have done in a different way?
I think that I would have paced myself more when I first started the business. There were a lot of times we had a new release every single day, and while that is a lot of fun to do, it can make you tired and burned out as well. I ended up taking a couple of months off at some point and restructuring how I did things.
* Many people dream about having a "real" extra income through Second Life...Do you think that is a myth or may be possible for some?
I do think its possible, but to do that a person would have to put about double the time into it that they would in a normal everyday real life job. I have found that it is exactly like running a business in real life, with all the highs and lows. Fashion is a hard business to get an edge in, there are so many competing shops and styles. Real estate seems to be a good way to earn also, but I think a person would have to have a large investment to be able to do that.
* I am going back a bit in regard to new creators....What should I NOT do or attempt while learning how a virtual business works?
Don't waste your Linden by renting a lot of shops to try and get your name out there, you can easily overextend yourself on money and time. Focus on your starting inventory of items, your group (which you really need to have), and finding large groups that are geared toward whatever product you make that let you send advertisments and announcements thru them.
* Is there a specific line or approach that characterize your products?
Fun and affordable. I try to go for something that will be fun for the customer to wear and still affordable.
* Can you name some of your favorite SL creators?
Oh sure! I have a big list of people who wow me constantly with the things they come up with! Ankhari Tammas of Paradisis, Calico Ingmann of Calico Kitty hair, Eagle Wilder who is the MAN for textures, Alice Klinger who does Alli&Ali hair and is a real Second Life success story....to just name a few.
* I am a BIG fun of your midnight mania boards... for those who are not familiar with your generous gifts and presents...Could you tell the public what is it all about?
Midnight Mania boards allow a shop owner/creator to give the public a sample of your work from free, as long as the target number set on the board is reached. People come and click the board and if it gets enough to meet the target, the gift is sent to everyone who has clicked. We have two at Rag Dollz, one for the general public and a special group-only one as well. I think we usually end up giving away 3 new outfits a week.
* Anything else you would like to add and let us know?
That I couldn't do all this without my dear friend and business partner Kaliedra Michigan. She has been with me for the last year and a half and runs Clocktower Designs. They sell great footwear! She also helps me run Rag Dollz, it is a lot to remember and get done every week and Kaliedra makes sure everything is ran like.. well, clockwork!
Thank you very much Lady Emedea Morgenstern for your time and patience, we appreciate and value it very much.
Gothica Moonshadow for the Steampunk Herald.
A saucy Steampunk time travel outfit with lots of parts and gizmos.
Another Victorian gown, wonderful for Steampunk.
This one is a gown that would have been worn by a Lady. It is rich and has an air of opulence.