Please find part two of the periodic FAQs we have created in response to questions recieved about the awards. 

Q: I design silks, under what catergory shall I submit these?

A: Silks fit best if the intimates.

Q: Can I sell my items in my store immediately?

A: Absolutely, you can have it available for sale via the onrez vendors available on their site. Please do note that only sales made via the OnRez systems (online or via the vendors) will be recorded. 

Q: May I still enter my items after the official submission date?

A: Yes you may. However it is better to start early because in theory a submission on the 10th means two potential sales days lost, but you can counter this with effective communication and marketing tools

Q: Is there a category for ethnic items, such as Kimonos?

A: There is no specific ethnic category for Kimonos as such. However such items can be submitted within the exisiting categories depending of the type – i.e. is it a kimono that can be worn on casual occassions, then it can be submitted under the casual category.   

Q: There are no categories on like that ones listed in the competition. How do I correctly tag my items?

A: The OnRez categories do not correspond to the competition categories. In order to list you and tag your item correctly, you must list the item under the standard OnRez categories and then enter the category title, i.e. “efada-single-skin” in the tags field of the listing. To check that you entry has been correctly tagged and searchable, enter i.e. “efada-single-skin” in the OnRez search field after you have tagged it to see if it appears. If it does, in theory, it should also be visible under a larger list if you reduce the search criteria to “efada” and also “efada-single”. If you do not find it, check the tag strings on the listed item.

Q: Aren’t designers who spend thousands on advertising disposed to win? 

A: Designers you know more than anyone that being successful is not just about making the most “beautiful” clothes.  Designing is about designs that engage your target customers and yes, marketing yourself well.  Furthermore, marketing alone will not necessarily translate into sales in a saturated, discerning, and dispersed market like Second Life.  After all, beauty and desirability is also subjective.  Furthermore, most will acknowledge that the most effective ways of marketing a product in Second Life is not necessarily through advertising, but what others say about you.  While we understand your concern that great marketers with infinite advertising money (Wal-Marts) will win, we believe that successful marketing need not be prohibitively expensive; while marketing can include paid classifieds and advertising, it can also include blogs, in-world groups such as FashCon, and your former clients.  The contest is very targeted– only one item entered per designer.  It may very well be that the designer with the most original design and most faithful fan base will be able to get enough targeted interest to win.

Q: Why are the winners determined just by sales volume?

A: With regards to pricing, we would like to note that winners will not be determined merely through sales volume, but through revenue (sales * price).  As such, a designer who sells 10 outfits at L$ 100 will be beat by a designer who sells 6 outfits at L$ 200. By designating a minimum price for each category, we avoid using price as a competitive advantage. We do not, however, place a maximum so as to give designers an opportunity to sell at a higher price…and perhaps win.

Q: How do competition rules safeguard against “gaming” the figures? 

As for the “gaming” of figures, the data extracted by our technology partner, OnRez, will give us useful information about who bought items, when these were bought, and how many were bought and we will investigate any suggestion of wrongdoing. Incidentally, these figures are just for the EFA competition tagged items and no other items you may sell through OnRez. The sales data for those competition items will also remain safe and confidential.  You do not send your item to us or to OnRez to be listed— you list your item with OnRez as directed by the website, but your item is merely placed in a box provided by OnRez and remains in your possession.  As such, your item cannot be altered by either OnRez or by us.  Partnering with OnRez gives us access to some of the most secure sales technology available in not just Second Life, but in other common retailer websites.  We will be able to see transaction details such as who, when and for how much and will therfore be able to identify and investigate “tricks”. We have also fixed minimum guide prices, to avoid cheating (and this does not contravene the objective to make it a day-to-day thing, because normally market forces obliges the designer to charge minimum market rates in order to survive).

Q: Why not use a jury to decide?

A: Having studied and learned from previous contests that appointed a judge and jury, we have decided that this is not necessarily a fairer way to decide who the best designer is in Second Life.  Finding knowledgeable judges who themselves are not designers and/or do not have conflicts of interest is insurmountable.  Finding panelists who meet that criteria but also represent the large swath of fashion in SL– casual, neko, postpunk, Victorian, couture– and who will agree on an ultimate winner would be a perhaps insurmountable challenge.  Moreover, accusations of impartiality would abound, thus undermining the contest as well.  Finally, if we want to have a contest that is open to all designers, we need to have a system which allows for a great number of entries.  A panel jury cannot able reasonably expected to commit to review all the designs and enter a long decision process while maintaining unwavering focus.  We feel that it is more democratic to “listen” to the voice of those who actually buy. That is why the RL/SL contests that let the pulic vote have more credibility.  

By asking people to put their money where their mouth is, we are asking for the commitment that your clients show you day-in, day-out and nothing more. The success of a designer is not determined and should not be determined by the opinion of a one-time composed jury who may not even buy the designs. In the day-to-day running of a fashion house, the work does not stop at designing amazing pieces. The design is just the beginning. Then there are the blogs, the shows, the marketing, the interviews and so forth – it is all part of being a good designer and all these elements form part of the competition.

Click here to view EFA Design Awards ‘08 – FAQ Part I