Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Wedding! Wedding! Wedding!--Tamsin Barzane

Whose bells are ringing? Plenty of SL residents! Marriage is big business in Second Life. Not only do the Lindens rake in a fee at each marriage--and divorce!--but a plethora of businesses serve the engaged couple, just as they do in real life. But while some in real life balk at the prizes of services some bridezillas accept easily, everyone can indulge sl fantasies. A gorgeous gown or tux, a fantastic dj, a beautiful spread of food, a fantasy environment and dream honeymoon--all possible! And your choice of photographers!

Because one of my SL sons is planning to renew his SL vows (congrats Miles Barbasz and TallSweetness Lisa!) and my other used to work in the SL wedding biz, and is looking ahead to wed, these commercial enterprises have been on my mind. I'd love Saminaka to be a niche wedding destination; one couple already stealthily exchanged formal vows there (I felt like an eavesdropper, walking by). I'd love to be in the SL African wedding business, and Oliha is ready to officiate--he's done it in real life settings.

I've been to plenty of Nigerian weddings, so that's what tempts me most. Many Nigerian brides want three weddings for the feeling of a permanent union: traditional, church or mosque ceremony, and civil joining. Let me run you through the sequence backwards, so you can start thinking about your Saminaka adaptation! Guests usually support the couple by wearing "uniforms"--outfits in different styles but the same cloth. Close family members may wear one uniform, bride's university friends another, etc.

While most U.S. houses of God have legal rights to combine civil and religious services, Nigerian churches and mosques don't. You want a civil marriage? (which requires a civil--or uncivil--divorce) You go through the courts. This is the kind of union that allows for bigamy charges or will contestation, etc. Fewer couples take this route, and it's usually done in conjunction to other celebrations.
Nigerian Wedding Bling by Bennet Summers.
Church or mosque? Muslim weddings don't require the presence of the bride and groom (proxies can act on their behalf), but they're usually there in gorgeous attire, with some dancing and festivities accompanying all. Church weddings take a clear page from the Western book, with white dresses, elaborate cakes, bridesmaids and gloved groomsmen, interminable speeches, toasts, and dancing during the feast. At some stage of the wedding reception, the couple will certainly emerge in coordinating traditional attire in deluxe fabrics.

Traditional weddings vary wildly from one ethnic group to another, but are often an occasional to wear more traditional attire and hairstyles. Sometimes they are referred to today as betrothals or introductions, since they usually occur before other wedding forms. Most involve the payment of a bride price from the groom's family to the brides. This may be a token, or considerable--sometimes over $10,000. If a divorce occurs, the bride's family must pay it back--and since they've most likely spent it, they expend a lot of trouble in calming quarrels and sponsoring reconciliations. Maybe we should do that in SL, with its assortment of fictive families--bride prices might keep couples together for more that the usual six month cycle!


The road is never closed. Tarot can help you find your way through the confusion!

Real-life reader, real-life cards.

Direction, focus, decision.

Professional results at a fraction of the RL cost!

500L or your goodwill payment. If not satisfied, do not pay.

IM Feretian String

Photo by Spirit Wingtips

Under the Mango Tree--Tamsin Barzane

On October 25, cacao's new main store on Saminaka opened its doors. It was a proud moment--I was very happy with my building progress, since I had set myself the task of a Hausa traditional exterior, and felt my competence had jumped several notches. If the walls weren't covered with vendors, well...Rome's togas weren't all woven in a day. Even so, there was a flurry of new wrappers and headties, and a selection of embroidered men's gowns with--at last!--satisfactory shoulder folds, new sweaters and dresses inspired by African baskets and Kuba cloth. And plenty of room for growth!

I opened my first store in SL back in 1997, but it was a small venture. Since then I have experimented with art, furniture, fountains, clothing. While expanding my abilities in creation, I also had to expand my reach in terms of display, advertising, promoting and more. I'm not in the same category as my friend Tomi Melendez, who is on the cusp of abandoning other businesses and making SL her primary wage-earning endeavor, nor have I reached my (initial?) goal of being able to pay tier for the homestead from my earnings, but progress in earning has definitely jumped. While it's all fresh in my mind, I want to share some of my observations, because they may help others in making the jump from pure hobby store to semi-serious merchant. In no particular order, I present you with Tamsin's Rules of Mercantile Success. Proceed at your own risk--they don't all agree with things in SL published books. These suggestions are geared to those who AREN'T graphic artists, or 3D artists, or professional artists of any type.

1. Start small. There's nothing wrong with trying out several business directions till you decide you've found something you really want to delve into. While you experiment, keep your rent low and try out different locations. What you're doing may work better in one spot that another--especially if your merchandise is thematic. Don't lock yourself into heavy charges.

2. Advertise in the classifieds, and use tons of keywords. Write your little advertising blurb and then hit enter four or five times. In the space that isn't apparent when you look at a profile ad, write down every possible term someone might use that will lead them to your store. Some big merchants don't advertise, they just use their picks.But does 50L a week really break your bank? Nah, and it might bring you a big spender.

3. With my little stores, I might go for weeks or over a month without sales. Because my rents were low, I could indulge myself monthly for less than the cost of a Starbucks. And the wait was worth it--inevitably someone would wonder in who wanted four or five things. That works if your things are distinctive enough--find a niche that isn't overflowing! And nichers work that search engine and will turn you up sooner or later.

4. If you're really doing something elaborate, with sales, group only discounts, complicated profit splits, or gift certificates, go with Hippo Vendors. But if you're not, don't. Hippos take time to set up (though they're quick to alter), their scripting is complex and creates more lag, and they they aren't free like a flattened prim rectangle.

5. If you want your new fashion releases to reach a big crowd, but you're still a small fry, go with Vain, a huge free group, and hold off on Fashion Consolidated until you're big time. Why? FashCon allows no chat, while Vain has reasonable and useful chat. If someone asks, "Where can I get a cheesehead costume?" some Vainer is sure to know and will pipe up with an LM--and if you're a cheesehead costume seller, what could be better? Otherwise, both organizations allow one announcement per week, so go for the free one. Once you've built a following, FashCon is great.

6. If you want your traffic to go up, there are a few techniques that work. One of the best get-them-in-the-doors is the Midnight Mania board. MM Boards aren't expensive, and they're copiable. They give away an item if a target number of avatars "slap" a board before SL midnight, but people don't come to your boards unless you're already in a high traffic area or you call the boards. Create a secretary alt, who does nothing but join MM groups and announce your product and the current count. This works, but can be time consuming--call it four or five times a day and lock the board. But do the visitors buy? Only a small proportion, but it will pay back your Board investment. Will it pay back your time? It may. It certainly spreads buzz, opportunities, and new contacts, personal and professional.

7. Another traffic increaser is the Treasure Hunt--and multi-sim organizers may have seen your work in the MM boards and want to include you. Hunters, like MM scavengers, are highly organized. Get that secretary alt to join and announce yours. Traffic on my sim leaped from 300 to 1300 on my first hunt! Use the free events listings on the SL website--and list every single day the hunt is running, though it's a tedious exercise. But avoid choosing holiday months--my wonderful cantaloupe hunt lost out last month, hidden by the plethora of Halloween hunts.

8. Host an occasional event at your store--why can't your clients dance to a dj? It adds a little fun to a slow time and shoppers have leisure to notice the details on your vendors.

9. Create groups--both the usual subscriber, and the doesn't-count-in-25-groups Subscribomatic (which is free). Announce new items to your members, but wait till you have a clump of newness--no one wants day after day of one item releases.

10. Look for groups that allow postings upon approval--and find as many as are appropriate for your niche. Except for FashCon, don't pay for the privilege.

11. Avoid events, no matter how prestigious they sound, that require you to pay but have no way for you to show and sell objects--i.e., fashion shows. Money and time down the drain--this applies to ads in most SL magazines, too. Do you want to spend $60-$100 real life dollars for $25 worth of sales?

12. Promote incessantly, but in a non-annoying way. Find new angles, twists, events, to get people to see what you're doing. What about blogging? Writing comments on fashion blogs? New ning rings that are springing up? Look for new temporary or semi-permanent venues to show your stuff to new folks.

Well, this is a round dozen of suggestions. Readers with more (or different!) experiences, why not comment and help some folks?


Solylence combines Senegalese elegance and Parisian chic in her lovely African attire for men and women.
Visit it at: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Robben%20Island/123/191/21


*{Kiko Life}* HUGE BOGO Sale on Makeups 021 through 50, & Mens! - We couldn't resist doing it. We're announcing a delicious BOGO sale on makeups 21 - 50 and all our Mens skins! And First Release Makeups 01 - 20 are STILL 40% off. When you make your purchase, we will send you a voucher you can use to redeem product from any skin vendor in our store. If you buy two skins you get two vouchers. If you buy four skins, four vouchers. The vouchers are sent out after your purchase has been confirmed. Random purchasers will get doubled up vouchers. Yes! During the course of the BOGO sale, if you purchase three, four or more skins, you might one of the lovely Kiko Life shoppers who gets a random fatpack card! PLUS your vouchers! So have fun deciding which makeups you want and in which tones... chances are your Ls are going to stretch verrrrry far. Only at the main store: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kiko%20Life/209/108/1505

From the Suitcase--Oliha Yiwama

Oliha is having a little holiday this week, but he'll be back next week!



Read the blog at http://www.fatimaochl.net/, get an introductory copy of OCHL's GUIDE TO MUSIC AND DANCE IN SL at http://slurl.com/secondlife/Deminis/133/206/30


African Medicine
African Naming
African Weddings
Shrine Work
Compelling Magic
Orisha store!

IM Oliha Yiwama for a consultation. Reasonable rates


Our readership keeps growing! This week it's 1877. Take advantage of our low rates and readers who love quality merchandise, and advertise with us.All ad payments are in-world and in lindens. Ads for the coming week should be submitted by noon SLT Saturday (in a pinch, we'll take them later).Single ad, no photo, one week. maximum 5 Blogger lines: 50LSingle ad, photo, one week. Text maximum 5 Blogger lines: 100LSingle ad recurring, no photo, one month (4 issues). Text maximum 5 Blogger lines: 175LSingle ad recurring, photo, one month (4 issues). Text maximum 5 Blogger lines: 325LSingle ad changing week-to-week, no photo, one month (4 issues). Text maximum 5 Blogger lines. 180LSingle ad changing week-to-week, photo, one month (4 issues). Text maximum 5 Blogger lines. 425LIf you want longer text, more than one photo, or a longer ad run, prices will be adjusted. Contact Tamsin Barzane through inworld notecard or at tbarzane@gmail.com

Hawking in the Market--Saminaka Commercial News

***cacao Main Store: The main store for cacao is now open, and gradually filling with new stocks of contemporary clothing in African textiles, as well as traditional wear for men and women. This means that Cinnamon Brigade will be phased out, its inventory updated and folded into the new cacao--which means an expansion for Seven Cowries! It's a shuffle all round--some of the stock of African Art at Pangolin Dreams (on Robben Island) will move to Saminaka, as Pangolin Dreams narrows its specialties. Likewise, Tropicality clothing and shoes will in part move to cacao (with updates!) as Tropicality shifts its focus exclusively to beach and resort wear with African flair. http://slurl.com/secondlife/Saminaka/197/170/27

***Market Stalls: The temporary Festival Market stalls were a big hit with visitors, and several of the vendors mentioned how pleased they were with their sales. Saminaka will be developing its Anioma sector with Igbo buildings soon, and we've relocated a small open market at the site. Solylence Houston has an African clothing stall, Feretian String a tarot tent, and Fanda Ryba sells drums and other items to support real life Ugandan orphans. We welcome other vendors with a zest for things African! 25 prims for 150 a week--contact Tamsin Barzane

***Kiko Life! Kiko is having a huge sale at her main store--MEN'S SKINS AS WELL AS LADIES! See her ad above; this is your chance to stock up on beautiful skins, as well as support a Saminaka merchant (we want her to produce some ethnic marks and cosmetic scarifications in future, so encourage a sista!) http://slurl.com/secondlife/Kiko%20Life/209/108/1505


AkieM's has a wide selection of abstracts, contemporary, and black art, also original sculptures by Blac Quartz. Custom framing and matting can be done upon request.

Wetin be dat? Nigerian pidgin English phrase of the week

Dat new moto he get go shak him well-well.

That new car of his makes him wander around in a daze of pleasure.


My People Say

A forest bird cannot fly in the savannah. --Yoruba proverb
Everyone has a comfort zone


This sweater, like many of the new cacao designs, is inspired by African baskets. Their neutral colors include harmonious shades that will warm your simulated heart! A prim turtleneck and sweater bottom make it even handsomer. Mod/Transfer, like everything in the store. cacao...couture from the chocolate lands Main Store http://slurl.com/secondlife/Saminaka/197/170/27

Saturday, October 31, 2009


Ongoing indefinitely. Saminaka has a new exhibit about Nigerian plants. This slideshow features information and images of over fifty trees, plants and flowers, native and naturalized. Some of the information is surprising (Nigeria is the third largest supplier of peanuts in the world--outranks U.S.!), some is interesting (Nigerian henna use does not involve elaborate patterning). Enjoy finding out a rubber tree doesn't look at all exotic, soak up some beauty, and see references to the Saminaka landscape http://slurl.com/secondlife/Saminaka/96/65/30

Ongoing indefinitely. Saminaka's MIDDLE PASSAGE EXPERIENCE is up again, in an even more realistic environment! Treet.TV kindly hosted it for months, but London's Kingston University has now generously provided space for a permanent exhibition of the African side of the transatlantic slave trade. It isn't roleplay, but it does allow you to try on the lives of ten individuals from different eras and parts of Africa who were seized and taken to the U.S. See it here (and take the teleporter if you land at the university's hub): http://slurl.com/secondlife/SolipCISM/4/253/24