Although the Second Life Marketplace still has plenty of flaws, I find myself doing most of my SL shopping through it– even if I don’t purchase on the Marketplace, I use it as a sort of catalogue to browse what’s out there that might suit my needs. Linden Lab’s big push to popularize the Marketplace as a shopping platform means that more merchants than ever are participating, and more consumers like me are relying on it.
Unfortunately, not every designer has adopted the Marketplace as part of their marketing and selling strategy. There are plenty of reasons why setting up your first storefront can be an unpleasant way to spend your weekend (and the weekend after that…) but the fact remains that the Marketplace has become a pretty significant part of commerce in Second Life, and if you’re not there then you’re totally square. It drives me crazy that a bunch of my favourite designers are conspicuously absent from this increasingly important platform, for example:
I wrote about Gauze last week, and I was shocked that designer Yukio Ida hadn’t established a presence on the Marketplace considering how much fantasy and punk fashion can be found there. When you’re just starting out with a new niche style as a shopper, searching sources like the Marketplace should be one of the first things you do– and stores like Gauze should be among your first results there!
Burley sells some amazingly gorgeous and realistic hairstyles and is one of my must-visit shops for male and female avatars alike. Gorgeous textures, gorgeous meshes and sculpts, and gorgeous ad photos, Burley’s absence on the Marketplace is just madness!
Hal*Hina is a pretty big Japanese brand that doesn’t quite carry as much weight as it should in the English speaking fashion community. You can find an amazing number of busty-looking skins with ultra-sweet faces at their main store along with many unique-looking hairstyles and outfits, all things that would sell very well on the Marketplace, and make the brand way more visible internationally, if they were just listed!
Laqroki (or LAQ) is easily one of the most significant skin brands in Second Life right now for both men and women. I even chose a LAQ skin for my SL rendition of Mad Men’s Faye Miller. The store also features hair, clothing, and prefabs, but shockingly only the prefab and home items are available on the Marketplace, even though LAQ’s skins are their biggest department. LAQ might be one of the last truly big mainstream fashionista-favourite SL brands not to jump on the Marketplace bandwagon.
LoveSoul is another Japanese brand that Socialverse makes hair and accessories, but the centerpiece of the brand is definitely their array of prim nails and nail art, which have been staples for my avatar ensembles for years now. Given how incredibly popular nail art has become in RL fashion, it’s crazy to me that LoveSoul isn’t all over somewhere as highly visible as the SL Marketplace, raking in L$!
I’m crazy about the weirdly wonderful skins of .::MotherGoose’s::., which feature “flaws” like baggy eyelids and beauty marks that can make your avatar look incredibly adorable without making you look like everyone else at the same time. I even chose a MotherGoose skin as the face of my Felicia Day elven avatar makeover, because of it’s realistic and imperfect beauty. There are even tons of shapes being sold on the Marketplace which are being advertised with MotherGoose skins, and yet the brand itself is nowhere to be seen. I’d love to see these striking skins taking center-stage there!
If someone asked me to name a store that I felt embodied my personal style in SL and RL, I would say *G Field* without hesitating. Floral prints, adorable bows, pastel and neutral palettes, *G Field* is fabulously feminine and always flawlessly crafted. But would you believe that the only *G Field* products on the Marketplace are a handful of ancient items like prim grass, and absolutely none of the precious dresses and shoes that the brand has become famous for? It’s practically criminal!
Another skin brand, but this one sits somewhere between MotherGoose and LAQ with skins that are flawlessly cute with the girl-next-door appeal of chubby cheeks and moistened lips. If it was possible to wear a skin until it was ragged, all of my Mynerva stuff would be in tatters by now. Hell, even my MOM’S avatar wears Mynerva and wears it well! But, once again, I can’t find a scrap of a presence on the SL Marketplace, and it’s practically baffling considering how polished and lovely their products are.
Grendel’s Children is to nonhuman avatars what BareRose is to human ones, a massive repository of amazingly low-priced and high-quality goods with an incredibly unique and strong community. Like BareRose, it can also be a huge pain to find anything specific in the main store. Enter the SL Marketplace. Of course, one of the big deterrents for established designers is how long it can take to create new listings for hundreds of old products. Many designers start with their newest and most popular creations instead of trying to list everything– and that’s still way better than having no presence at all.
If you’re a content creator who has yet to put your work on the Marketplace, whether you’re listed here or not, it’s well worth considering how much more visibility it can give your products. It makes them easier to find, easier to share, and easier to buy for a significant number of virtual fashionistas. Although that initial time investment might seem daunting, there’s no doubt in my mind that every second spent will be worthwhile.
Iris Ophelia (Janine Hawkins IRL) has been featured in the New York Times and has spoken about SL-based design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan and with pop culture/fashion maven Johanna Blakley.