This week I had the pleasure of talking with the owners of a new service offered in Second Life, Avatar Creations. WildWynter (Wynter) and Dude Starship2 have been running the business for a few months, ever since the experience they shared when approached by someone with a rather hideous looking avatar. He wanted his character to be suitable for presenting to students. Most of their clients use Second Life as a workshop in RL. Wynter does most of the makeovers herself, and Dude handles the website, AvatarCreations.net, as well as the before and after photos of their clients.
WildWynter and Dude Starship2
When I inquired about the service itself, they shared with me, “We take a newly created or existing avatar for one week. We source a new skin and body, hair and eyes and an AO with all the movements needed, complete with instructions for use. There is an element of trust here so we like to meet the client in world to ensure that they know exactly what we will do. None of the existing inventory is deleted so they can change back any time. For our purposes a new avatar is best. We then add a basic wardrobe for business and casual events. We use mesh so it is the very latest designs. We also take a profile photo and can arrange for a linked web site.”
Wynter further commented, “We only work with mesh products as it provides a much better look and on-line experience.”
I wondered why people wouldn’t just create their own avatar, instead of seeking a service where someone else would do it for them, so I asked Wynter, “What sets your business apart from similar services in SL?” “Most people can create a basic avatar, but often they just don’t have time or skill to make a really professional looking avatar. Often they simply have no sense of what looks good on screen. We understand what is required to create a professional looking avatar that is simple to use. One of the special things we will do is make the avatar resemble a real life person by using a photograph. We find that academics and teachers rather like this idea,” said Wynter.
I think it’s a great idea to offer making your Second Life avatar look like the RL you, but I can also see the other side. Personally, I would not consider myself particularly attractive in RL, so I choose to make my avatar look like the “me” on the inside. On the other hand, if I were a teacher or academic, I can understand the desire to present oneself with a more aesthetically pleasing and professional appearance.
Unidentified client's "before" photo
I asked what future plans Wynder and Dude have for the company.
“At the moment we are a new business and are still testing our market. A lot of business is currently via word of mouth and some in-world posters. Once we establish a long-term reputation for quality and trust then we can expand the market to advertising out of world. The use of avatars is now an expanding business tool and making them look right is something we are very good at.”
“Dude runs his own business hosting and creating web sites. The idea of linking the two areas together allows us to offer a unique service to all SL users.”
This seems to be a good strategy, not just for the ease of contact, but if I were a professional person in RL, I would very likely seek something that links things together.
One of the best compliments that Avatar Creations has had so far, came from a client’s child, who said the avatar was, “just like Dad – only better looking.”
Unidentified client's "after" photo
Unidentified client's "after" photo
For those of you contemplating whether or not this service is affordable, you’ll likely be pleasantly surprised.
According to Wynter, “We charge $6000 to $8000 in Linden dollars up-front, which allows us to complete the basic makeover. Costs for additional items like the web site are negotiated and this fee and any extra costs are paid via the web site and an invoice issued.”
Both Dude and Wynter have had many years of experience in SL and in other virtual worlds. Wynter has two avatars for business and one primary avatar. “We have learned that if you do have an SL business, it is best to have separate avatars for different uses. You can retain separate friends and business contacts and group affiliations. You can also have your professional avatar ready to work at any time.”
I had a wonderful time meeting and talking with both Wynter and Dude. My wish for them is for continued success, and I would encourage anyone thinking about updating or creating a new avatar to seriously consider contacting Avatar Creations.
** Photos provided courtesy of Dude Starship2
** Client names not disclosed to protect privacy