Designer Download is a new continuing feature at It’s Only Fashion that will focus on interviews of Second Life’s® greatest asset, the content creators who have made our world and everything in it. For our first interview in this series, we turned to Siddean Munro of Slink whose decision to license Developer’s Kits for free to other content creators has revitalized the SL® economy and created an entire new industry in SL complete with its own event. From the interview, we learned that Munro has been thinking like a creator since her first day in Second Life.
It’s Only Fashion: What was your first day in Second Life like? What made you stick it out through the learning curve?
Siddean Munro: My first day I spent wandering around the world looking for the exact right hairstyle for Siddean, this was right at the beginning of the flexi craze and I must have wandered for hours and hours before I landed at Girl6 and some very kind person gave me 250L for my very first hairstyle. It was a great style, but not exactly what I wanted, so I thought maybe I should make it myself….I remember being very ill with motion sickness those first few days until I got my SL sea legs. The learning curve back in 2007 was nothing compared to what it is now. It’s grown on me gradually, but I don’t at all envy new creators coming in these days.
IOF: What’s the craziest thing you ever did in Second Life? Most exciting? Silliest?
SM: I think that the craziest and most exciting have to be the same thing – making my feet files and scripts available for other creators. I expected a few people to go “cool” make a thing or 2 and then it would all just fizzle out. I never expected or intended it to become as big as it has, and that is the most exciting part. Quite a few SL’ers have actually *started* successful businesses, based on creating around my products and being able to encourage, support and promote that creativity is kind of brilliant!
IOF: When did you begin creating? What was the first thing you made. Did you save it? Did it work?
SM: I began creating around 2 days after I first logged in. blog.machinimatrix.org actually provided the first ever tutorials on prim building I saw. I made a long hairstyle with straight bangs, a “gorgeous” (haha) flexy coat and some thigh high texture boots. (I remade that coat a few months later after spending many hours repainting and tweaking the texture and I think that release saw more people in my store than I had ever seen before) I think I still have those original creations around somewhere. They worked great, a nice man saw me testing my coat out in a sandbox and asked to buy one for his girlfriend.
IOF: How did you choose your store name? Does it have a special meaning for you?
SM: I like the word Slink, I like the sensual connotations of it, it’s a dark sexy word, especially when used in reference to the way an attractive woman moves, and I liked the play on SL. I did change the large SLink to a small Slink some time ago but the word SLink seems to have stuck.
IOF: What is the most challenging part of being a creator in Second Life? What is most rewarding?
SM: The most challenging part is getting customers to read the instructions or follow the tutorial that you painstakingly write and re-write and re-write in an effort to make them more understandable and less likely to generate customer service where you are simply repeating the instructions. That and the challenges that LL feels the need to place on us, like difficult to almost impossible slider fitting systems. The most rewarding is seeing your creations out in the wild! I love visiting other stores and seeing people shopping there wearing my creations. It’s still a huge buzz, and especially when someone spots me out of my workshop and messages me to tell me how much they like what I create! 🙂
IOF: Where do you get inspiration for your designs? What is your process like?
SM: I get inspiration from all over the place. Browsing the internet, seeing what people like and are talking about, people watching and window shopping in my local mall is one of my favourite things to do, although Australian fashion trends tend to be on opposite seasons to the rest of the world. I remember once I spotted a woman on a scooter in Amsterdam, briefly from the window of the tram I was in, and she was wearing some really great shoes – I whipped out a pen and scribbled a design on the back of an receipt right there. I’m the worst at being an artist – for some reason I *never* have a sketchbook on me! I usually start with a photo, or more often a sketch of an idea I’ve partially formed – since I don’t like copying directly from real designs, open up Blender and my foot lasts file (yes, I use the same one that I have given to other creators to work around) make a cube and see where it goes from there.
IOF: How do your first and second life design aesthetics resemble and contrast with each other? How would you describe your design aesthetic? Who is your customer – the person you are thinking of when you design?
SM: I have fairly simple taste, really. I wear a lot of black IRL and the most favourite thing in my wardrobe is a pair of very pointed toe ballet style flats. I love them so much that I bought them in black AND red! I like objects that have been made with care and attention to detail and quality because nothing annoys me more than having to replace things that have been made cheap and shoddy. I don’t enjoy plastic. When I create, I am creating for people who are like me, really. I mostly create in SL for “Siddean” and the fact that other people also like what I create is immensely flattering
IOF: One of the challenges of creating is Second Life is dealing with IP theft and the DMCA process. Many of those problems are due to flaws in the DMCA legislation itself. What changes within the control of Linden Labs that you would like to see
SM: Linden Lab has really very little control over the actual DMCA process. They do what they must as the content host under the law. I retain hope that the DMCA will eventually catch up with the real digital age, but the fact is that it exists in it’s current form to help Disney retain the exclusive right to use the image of Mickey Mouse. That it helps original content creators in services like Second Life at all is purely coincidental.
IOF: How has your second life changed your first life?
SM: Immensely. I was in a very unhappy job a few years ago, while trying to build my SL business on the side because I could see it had some potential. I’ve gone from commuting/daily grind with terrible micromanagers to spending my days with my best friend doing something I absolutely love, and it’s helped me develop some very valuable skills. It has good days and bad days but I would like to keep doing it as long as people keep enjoying what I do! I’ve often said that I think Second Life saved my life. When I think back to life before SL, I have no doubt about it.
IOF: Is there anything else you would like to share with readers?
SM: Yes. We spend a lot of time and effort to make sure Slink customers are happy with their purchases. If you have any problems at all with anything you buy at Slink, please contact us!