Thursday, March 20, 2008

Of Excellence In Customer Service

Because I am, as you know, a confessed shopaholic, I have the opportunity to meet and interact with designers from all over the grid everyday...just as I am sure many of you do. I have my favorites, of course, but by and large the majority of content creators that I meet go out of their way to be exceedingly kind and helpful. The past couple of days have provided three illustrations of how customer service in Second Life should be and I wanted to share my experiences with you.

This past weekend, I became a Storm Schmooz fan...and until this week, I had never even slipped my size zero tootsies into a pair of his shoes. You see, while wandering the grid with Guy, he mentioned how he would like to find a new pair of shoes. I remembered seeing some great men's dress shoes at Storm's shop and tp'd us there. After hemming and hawing a bit, I finally sauntered over to the gift vendor and purchased a pair of Men's Black High Gloss...which Guy, not knowing what I was up to, promptly declined. (Who declines shoes?!? Must be a man thing.) The following day, I sent a notecard to Storm, explained to him my dilemna...which, mind you, he had no obligation to fix, the product had been delivered properly, the recipient just didn't accept it. Within moments, my Guy was wearing a brand new pair of Men's Black High Gloss shoes. Storm could not have been more gracious, more understanding or more quick to fix my problem. So, right then and there, I vowed to snatch up some Storm Schmooz shoes of my own...and I've got the pictures to prove it.

One of these days I will learn to read the Official SL Blog before setting off to do some major damage to my Linden bank account. Alas, it seems I'm always a few steps behind. I made a quick stop at the Relay For Life Summer sim (more on RFL in an upcoming post) to pick up a couple of items that I knew I wanted right away. One of them was the Q-T Pie dress by Kiana Dulce. I donated the required amount, but the dress was not delivered. Eh, probably just the lag, so I wandered around a bit more, picked up another outfit and it was delivered, so I thought, "oh goodie, I'll run back and get that dress at Kiana's booth." I donate the required amount (yes, I made a second donation, RFL is near and dear to me...I'll make lots of donations during the event...whether there is an item attached or not), but again, the item is not delivered. I sent a notecard to Kiana, who accepted it as soon as she logged in and sent over the item right away...turns out there was a problem with the donation kiosk. She was kind and gracious and professional...I can't wait to visit her booth, and her store, again.

Lastly, you all know I am a crazy about Iota Ultsch of Tres Jolie (see my previous post here). Her latest release, Chasm, really caught my eye, so I ran over to pick it up. Sigh, it also wasn't delivered. I dropped a quick notecard to Iota, who tp'd me back to her store as soon as she logged on and a few moments later, I am wearing Chasm in Steel (and it is a fabulous!) In case I failed to mention, Iota is a ton of fun to chat with and is always filled with great information. Oh, and by the way...the smashing number at right is her latest release, Tigress. Absolutely stunning in person with a fabulous little brooche that settles right into the plunging neckline. Had to throw that one in just for fun.

So, what is the proper way to communicate a non-delivered item or problem with a transaction to a designer? (Hint: This is not it!) First, read their profile. Many designers will list their policies there or on their Picks tab. Find out how they want to be contacted and follow their instructions. Second, if there are not instructions or policies listed, put all of the pertinent information in a notecard. Content creators get alot of IMs and if they are offline, those IMs get capped. A notecard is the best way to communicate with them in a professional manner. What is the pertinent information? I have found that this format works best for me: Title the notecard with the Issue and Your Name, ie. Item Not Delivered - Gabby Panacek. List in the notecard your proof of purchase from your transaction history. This is important! It shows the designer that you did indeed pay for the item and that the $L were deducted from your account. Finally, be goes along way on the grid, and you will find that more people are willing to assist you if you approach them openly, honestly and politely.

Okay, that's all for now...happy shopping. Look for more this week about Relay for Life, Long Awkward Pose, and much more!

What I'm Wearing:
Photo 1:
Blaze Boyfriend Buttondown
ETD Charley in Blonde
Storm Schmooz Bots Red
Shoes from Left to Right, all by Storm Schmooz: Kammykaze, Mimmi in Red, Suomi Suede in Naturel and Vampirelle
Blowpop Mellie 3 in Caramel - Sinner

Photo 2:
Q-T Pie by Kiana Dulce
ETD Elizabeth II in Platinum
Maitreya Slinky Slingbacks in White
Blowpop Mellie 3 in Caramel - Sinner

Photo 3:
Tres Jolie Chasm in Steel
Sheer Tights in Zebra
Stiletto Moody Bitch Bootie
ETD Luth in Smoke
Blowpop Mellie 3 in Caramel - Seether

Photo 4:
Tres Jolie Tigress
Storm Schmooz Kammykaze Slingbacks
Analog Dog Pom in Brown
Blowpop Mellie 3 in Caramel - Seether

More Photos and Info After The Jump

Saturday, March 15, 2008

A Rose By Any Other Name

During a recent shopping spree, I was searching the grid for a scarf to go with a coat that I had just purchased...and having no luck. That is, until I ran into Rose Farina, who pointed me in the right direction. After chatting with her for a bit, I learned that Rose is the creative force behind Rose Petal Creations. Being the generous soul that she is, she graciously offerered me a landmark and gift certificate to her store.

Read my interview with Rose and see some of her designs after the cut.

Gabby: Okay, lets get the easy stuff out of the way. When did you begin your Second Life?
"September 16, 2005"

What was your first day on SL like?
"In one word... it was overwhelming... everything was so amazing! It was so vast and so much to see that I couldn't decide what to do. That was two years ago.... can't even imagine what it would be like as a newbie now."

I can only imagine how much things have changed in the year and a half that you have been here. Did you always know that you had something creative to offer SL? How did you come to be a designer?
"No, actually it was about 6 months later that I first rezzed a prim, I was sure it would be to hard and complicated for me! I started designing several months after that, mostly because so much of what I wanted couldn't be found at the

Tell us about some of the people who have offered advice and guidance along the way.

"One of the first people I met in SL was Nonna Hedges, I don't see her as often now as I once did but she taught me quite a bit in those early days about working hard and being kind to new people.

June Dion is a great friend now... I can remember when she had 10 outfits... I know... amazing isn't it? LOL She offers amazing detailing on all that she does and then sells them so cheaply. She gives so much to everyone around her at the same time. When I first started designing I said I wanted to have the same spirit.

Simone Stern who caught me wandering her store once and I told her I had been proud of my latest creations and came there to remind myself that I really suck after all and have a long ways to go. Simone told me to never give and to keep trying... and here I am.

The most credit, although I hate to admit, goes to my ex partner ... who once helped me believe in myself and saw my potential."

What inspires your creations?
"So very many things! Books I've read, ads on tv, the latest theme at one of the clubs I hang out at that I don't have a costume for already!"

You put so much into your work, how long does it typically take for you to see a new design through from concept to release?
"That really just depends... some are easier... some are pains pains pains lolol."

What recommendations do you have for anyone that wants to get into the fashion business?
"Don't think that just because someone out there doesn't like your items that no one will. Tastes are far flung in here, it doesn't make yours any less's just different than what they are wanting ATM."

Who is your favorite designer? RL and SL
"Carolina Herrera. In SL it just depends on the type of clothes really :)"

When you are not working, who do you spend the most time with in-world?
"My partner and friend Rezago Kokorin... SL artist, amazing man. Who honestly believes in me whole heartedly and helps me in anyway he can."

What types of things do you like to do outside of SL?
"Spend time with my kids! I'm a single mommy of 4...a job takes up a lot of time. :)"

As you can see from the pictures posted here, Rose's designs run the gamut from classic, fun and flirty dresses in vibrant colors to formal eveningwear and enchanting fairy outfits with wings.

Also at Rose Petal Creations, you will find an assortment of costumes perfect for club theme nights, just as Rose mentioned in her interview, some classy business-like attire and a even a couple of games, Lino and On-A-Roll, where you can hang out with your friends for an evening of friendly competition.

Be sure to visit Rose Petal Creations in-world or check out Rose's blog for information about her latest releases.

Until next time...happy shopping!

Featured Outfits from Rose Petal Creations:
RPC Mera - Black and Purple Miniskirt with Stockings, Belt with Flower and Bangles
RPC Clymene Formal - Pale Blue Gown with Scripted and Non-Scripted Skirt Options and Bangles
RPC Zephyr - Fairy Dress with Wings, Belt (With and Without Flowers), and Scripted and Non-Scripted Skirt Options
Hair: Aden and ETD
Skin: Fleur and Tuli
Shoes: Maitreya, Shiny Things and Lassitude & Ennui

More Photos and Info After The Jump

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Friendship Week At caLLie cLine

"A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg...
even though he knows that you are slightly cracked."
- Bernard Meltzer

It is friendship week at caLLie cLine and what a fun week it has been so far! Last night, I popped in to pick up the Day Three gift and, of course, shop around a little bit (I managed to exercise a bit of self-control for once, but I know it won't last the week, so you can be sure there is a CC shopping spree in my very near future). As is the norm in caLLiefornia, you can't stop in without making a new friend (or five) because all of the girls in the Cal Gal group are just so amazing! Taking advantage of the poseballs caLLie has set out, Joonie, Sky2, Kurvy, Chanteusse, Clover and I set about creating our pyramid (that's me at bottom center). I think I need to find a good chiropractor.

If you haven't yet joined the Cal Gal group, now is the time! And not just because caLLie is so generous (though I gotta tell you, she lavishes gifts on this group like no other I am, or have been, a member of), but she is also an amazing designer. I simply can't resist picking up each new release and by now, I think I own almost all of the first floor.

Big hugs to caLLie and all of the Cal Gals for making this the best week all rock!

Oh...and one last thing...I was playing around with a black and white skin that I picked up from La Sylphide at the Rue d'Antibes sim opening, so I took a couple of pictures and sent them to Tucor, who added a little lighting effect to come up with this finished product. Here is a different take on the Fun in the Sun Dress, Fat Belt and matching bracelet that was the Day 2 gift.

What I'm wearing:
Dress: Fun In The Sun (Friendship Week Day 2 Gift) - Callie Cline
Shoes: Stiletto Moody Pumps (Color Change Version) - Stiletto Moody
Skin: Liliana Black and White-Noir - La Sylphide
Hair: Davina II in Black - ETD

More Photos and Info After The Jump

Monday, March 3, 2008

Cure For The Blues

This past Sunday, I was feeling a little blue...Guy wasn't online yet, Pyper was nowhere to be found, Tucor was busy building his Lunar Landing and my inventory was just sitting there glaring at me, begging to be organized in some way. So, what's a girl to do? Why, go shopping, of course! I logged into my reader and checked out some of the blogs that I hadn't kept up with over the weekend and decided to visit the Gossip Girl Street Fair, based on a tip I picked up in the SL Free*Style blog. While wandering through the vendor's booths, I came across Rebel Hope. My eye instantly went to the stunning blue gown on the back wall. I immediately decided that this deep blue, sparkling confection would go a long way toward curing my Sunday Night Blues...I was not disappointed.

As if by magic, the instant I purchased the dress, Guy appeared online. I teleported home to show him my new dress and let's just say that his response erased any lingering blues that might have been hanging around. After adding a few accessories, Guy whisked me away for an evening of dancing aboard the RMS Titanic. (Another fantastic build...don't miss the poseballs at the bow of the ship for recreating the movie's iconic image.)

After dancing and exploring on deck, we decided to teleport to another dance venue where we encountered my old friend Ted and his lovely Ashby. ::waves:: It is always so nice to unexpectedly run into old friends on the grid.

Now, let me tell you about the dress that was the catalyst for this fantastic evening and the cure for my blues...

Rebel Hope's Lumiere Azure Limited Edition gown was created to celebrate Rebel Hope and RH Engel's third anniversary as Second Life content creators. From the high neck and plunging back to the mermaid skirt, this gown sparkles and shimmers in a deep shade of royal blue. According to the Rebel Hope blog, the dress was created in Windlight and this is the only color that it will be made in. Even after dancing in it for three hours, I still can't find the words to describe how beautifully it moves as it swishes and swirls around the dancefloor. The skirt comes in five parts, so that you can adjust the fullness to your individual liking.

To accessorize, I wanted to keep the jewelry light in color and chose classicly simple pieces. I opted for Rebel Hope earrings that I also picked up at the Gossip Girl Street Fair, the Claris White Pearl and Diamond Choker in Silver from Muse and the white gloves from Simone Stern's Cotillion Gown (awwww...this was my Maid of Honor dress from Pyper's wedding). For shoes, I chose Stiletto Moody's Elegant Slingbacks in Silver Twinkle. When it comes to hair, I normally stick to colors similar to ETD's blonde, but I tried on this Platinum shade from ETD and haven't been able to take it off. If only I had figured this out during the sale...*sigh* (see below for complete details)

The other thing I can't seem to take off new skin from Fleur. It is the Feline in Bronze 3 and I just love the cat-like liner on the eyes and I'm in love with the lip color. I purchased this skin with the 500L Gift Certificate that Roslin and CJ, in a display of their usual (and unparalleled) generosity, made available to members of the Fleur Update Group. A very big thank you to the Fleur team!

Okay...time for some accountability... I was out of commission for a week or so, and then I was just lazy. So, here is what I plan to bring to you this week (I'm thinking that if I put it into writing here, I will have to stick to it): An interview with Rose Farina and a review of her store Rose Petal Creations, more looks from Last Call, and a tour of some of my favorite places in SL. Then, for next week, I'll be working on a peek into my inventory spotlighting designs from Icing and Cupcake

All the Details:
Dress: Lumiere Azure - Rebel Hope
Gloves: Cotillion Gloves (part of outfit) - Simone
Necklace: Claris White Pearl and Diamond Choker in Silver - Muse
Earrings: Diamond Drop Earrings - Rebel Hope (free gift at the Gossip Girl Street Fair)
Ring: 16 Diamond Silver Band (London Collection) - Debbie Watson
Shoes: Elegant Slingback in Silver Twinkle - Stiletto Moody
Skin: Feline in Bronze 3 - Fleur
Eyes: FreshBlue, mid size - Glanz
Hair: Davina II in Platinum - ETD

More Photos and Info After The Jump