Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Nicky Ree, the designer and business woman behind the Nicky Ree label. We discussed her designs, her business, old movies, and her latest charity work. Here is our conversation.

Nicky Ree

Liz Pinazzo: Nicky, how long have you been designing for Second Life?

Nicky Ree: I entered Second Life in February 2006 but only started designing clothes for sale in May 2006. My good friend Sally Seattle, who owns Rezolution, gave me some free space in her store to sell bikinis. And she and some good friends encouraged me to make and sell clothes when they saw my own creations that I did for myself.

Liz Pinazzo: Ahh! And that was your beginning? Swimwear! I have to say, I love your beach collection.

Nicky Ree: Yes, I have to admit – I even camped for L$ during the early days to earn L$ to upload textures. And finally I caved in and bought L$ using my credit card. Hee hee.

Liz Pinazzo: Wow. Did you ever imagine you would come so far?

Nicky Ree: I could never imagine, but I had friends who were very encouraging and the advice they gave me then helped me a lot.

Liz Pinazzo: Do you still have that first outfit that you designed to sell?

Nicky Ree: Yes I do. I still sell them in my stores, the bikinis and catsuits. The catsuits are still a favourite among my customers and I get IMs asking for more colours.

Liz Pinazzo: So you started with beachwear and moved into your glamorous gowns. I notice that your latest releases have a 1940s inspiration.

Nicky Ree: Yes, I have been very heavily influenced by the Hercule Poirot TV series, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie

Liz Pinazzo: That’s one of my personal favorite fashion eras. Like the clothing shown in the movie “Evil Under the Sun?”

Nicky Ree: Yes! Those hats, those gowns, and the lace!

Liz Pinazzo: Oh I know!! When Christine comes out in the final scene – with the hat that’s 3 times her size. Just breathtaking!

Nicky Ree: Heehee

Nicky Ree: And those pearls! Now I wish I could find pearls like those!

Nicky Ree: I never really know what I will do next – as it really depends on what I am watching, reading or researching.

Nicky ReeNicky Ree

Liz Pinazzo: So how is it that you have time to manage your many shops and staff and still make time to create new designs?

Nicky Ree: Well I do not have any staff – although I am trying to see how I can have some staff – still looking at logging time clocks etc.

Nicky Ree: I work on average 10 hours a day, either doing designs or customer enquiries.  And I do a lot of research for my new designs.

Nicky Ree: Basically, I practice the habits I have picked up in my many years of designing – which is to research before putting my own ideas on paper.  And when I say research – it can be books, stories, elements that I might need to consider when I design.

Liz Pinazzo: Let’s talk about that a little more – did you have skills in first life that you brought with you into SL?

Nicky Ree: Yes, I am a experienced and trained graphic designer/illustrator, and have been for many years. Creating fashion in SL is an extension of my creative pursuits. But since Jan 2007, I have made the decision to make SL my main work. So I have devoted a lot of my work time to designing fashion in SL. It is a risk I am taking I know, but I wanted to try and see how far it would take me.

Liz Pinazzo: We’re so fortunate that you have.

Liz Pinazzo: Can you tell me a little about your involvement with SHINE?

Nicky Ree: Well, I was approached by Alaska Metropolitan and she gave me a note card – which I think she also sent to various designers – explaining Shine and its aim. I visited the website Doctors Without Borders  and saw the work they did and I decided that I wanted to help in any small way I can.

Liz Pinazzo: You chose an innovative approach. You’re selling 100 copies of a gown you designed specifically for the event; and you’re donating the proceeds from those sales to the charity. Do you think this helped generate more interest?

Nicky Ree: Yes it does – personally I feel this way is better then a one time auction as only one person would have the gown and you never know how much an auction piece will go for.

Nicky Ree: This way I know at least how much I can raise for the charity and more people get to enjoy it, and the word gets spread around by people wearing the gown.

Liz Pinazzo: Oh yes, and anyone can participate regardless of their time zone.

Nicky Ree: Yes, it allows more people to participate and they can donate in the donation vendors available.

Liz Pinazzo: Well thank you so much for sharing some of your time with me today Nicky. Any words of encouragement for those new designers just starting out?

Nicky Ree: Just try your best – and work with your own original work as much as you can. If you want to succeed in the Fashion Business in SL – stealing from other content creators is just shooting your own foot.

Liz Pinazzo: Wise advice.

Nicky Ree: Also, tutorials can be found by Googling. Google for PhotoShop tutorials, Google for stock photos, and templates guides are found in http://www.secondlife.com.

Liz Pinazzo: Thank you so much

Nicky Ree: You are welcome.

 

Nicky Ree has shops in many locations. Her newest is in Zurich, which opened on November 9th. Her flagship store may be found in the gorgeous Tropical Orchid sim.

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