Today I talked with Tigerlily Koi, of Calla. Calla is one of Second Life’s most popular hair shops. Run by Tigerlily and Haedon Quine, the company has been in business for a little over a year. From its humble beginnings as Tigerlily Creations in a tiny skybox through its growth to a full sim, Calla has maintained a presence in SL as a generous, collaborative company assisting newcomers to SL, assisting upcoming designers and donating to many charities.

Tigerlily shared her corporate and personal philosophies and business practices with me in an interesting discussion, which appears below.

 

Tigerlily Koi

Liz Pinazzo: Tigerlily, can you please describe what an average day is for you?

Tigerlily Koi: I’m usually here about 3am SLT, with coffee in hand. I go through emails, note cards, that kind of thing. If there’s not too much I have to take care of, I run through the blog feeds to see if anything catches my eye. Sometimes fixing missing item issues and that sort of thing takes a while. The days that it doesn’t, I’ll work on whatever in-progress thing I have going. It’s a series of helping customers with issues, building stuff, finding out why X isn’t working, waiting for something to rez. Building when the grid cooperates.

Liz Pinazzo: I’m sure that’s been challenging this past week with so much down time and inventory problems.

Tigerlily Koi: Ugh, no kidding.

Liz Pinazzo: I’m wondering how that’s affected your business? A lot of people simply haven’t been able to log in.

Tigerlily Koi: The past week specifically, yes! There has been a lot of standing around, not even being able to TP into the shop to help someone. No one on the grid can go anywhere, so it’s been pretty quiet the last week. Probably much the same everywhere I’d guess. A lot of crashing, a lot of people not getting things if they do manage to get in to buy something.

Liz Pinazzo: Has that given you more time to create new designs? Do you do your designing mostly in-world or out of SL?

Tigerlily Koi: It’s actually made me a little nervous to work on too much for fear of it disappearing. Everything I build is done in world, so if the grid won’t let me rez anything, I’m pretty stuck

Liz Pinazzo: I can see how that would be a huge problem. So grid stability is crucial to you.

Tigerlily Koi: Yeah, it can be really frustrating with major issues like these.

 

 

Liz Pinazzo: If you create in SL, how do you strike a balance between business management and time to create? I’d imagine that this week you’ve been spending more time helping customers and problem-solving

Tigerlily Koi: Sometimes there is no balance. Usually though, clearing out whatever’s happened overnight while I was sleeping at least gives me mornings to create. There are typically fewer people on at 3am SLT.

Liz Pinazzo: That’s true – so you have some quiet mornings to focus.

Tigerlily Koi: Yeah, I’ve done quite a bit of standing around doing nothing this week and answering IMs. Then customer service issues usually pick up again in the SLT late afternoons and I get less actual creating done. I hate having to answer questions via IM, it feels impersonal to me. So if I can, I try to TP into the shop to help people.

Liz Pinazzo: So you prefer an in-person approach. I know I’ve seen you in the shop many times myself.

Tigerlily Koi: Yeah, I really like being able to talk one-on-one with customers. That’s really important to me, that they know I’m there and am willing to help.

 

 

Liz Pinazzo: You have a partner, Haedon Quine. How do you split the responsibilities of managing the business?

Tigerlily Koi: We don’t really have any set “I do this, you do this” things as far as every day stuff goes. We both do it all when we’re here.

Liz Pinazzo: Do either of you have areas of expertise where you’re more comfortable spending time working? I know that Haedon was involved in building your original shop, your sky box. Do you also participate in building?

Tigerlily Koi: Haedon rocks the decorating. She does most of that kind of stuff, the decor, the holiday decorations and that kind of thing. She’s much better at it than I am, especially building non-hair things. So I mostly just stand back and let her go.

 

Liz Pinazzo: How nervous were you when you bought the island?

Callatropia Island

Tigerlily Koi: LOL! Ohhhh soooo nervous!

Liz Pinazzo: It’s such a big investment

Tigerlily Koi: It is, and a huge commitment too. If you can’t make tier next month, you’re out that whole island fee. It was one of those “I know we really have to do it” things, but it was really scary at the same time.

Liz Pinazzo: How long have you been there now? Is it a year on the island?

Tigerlily Koi: not quite a year yet. I think February will be a year.

Liz Pinazzo: Ahh ok. So it’s been a while. Are you happy that you made the choice?

(more…)

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