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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Celtic Corsets: Interview with Tiana about Life, Business and Celtic fashion - © Orchids Reports…

Celtic attire of the past was all made out of materials that, unfortunately, broke down over the centuries. 

These materials, such as linen and wool, made for many spectacular articles of clothing, which can only now be re-constructed from information found on stone carvings, and in stories and written descriptions. Celtic clothing has of course been changed by modern hands, and there are many variations on the types of clothing that was worn centuries ago.

An interview with Tiana (azhdeen wirefly) ; a Scot gal into Celtic fashion who in spite of an RL battle with her heart, has found a good mix in life, business and partying in SL.

Orchids: who is Tiana?

Tiana: Sharp tongue, a quick wit, with a crazy, wacky sense of humour; who just enjoys having fun.  I've been called a Superior Trollop, because of my flirtatious and risqué behaviour at times. I am a submissive, fetish for latex, latex and more latex *fans herself* is it me, or is it getting hot in here?

Orchids: Though I called you a business woman you're friends say you are not business in the strict sense...
Tiana: I guess for me the business I have (Celtic Corsets), is a hobby rather than a business for profit purposes.  I love graphic design, I love experimenting with designs to see what I can come up with.   The corsets and more recently evening gowns are the products of my experiments.  The main focus of my SL time though is the events at Roissy; where I spend a lot of time trying to make them fun and different each week.

Orchids: Have you mixed RL with SL?
Tiana: I'd say the only cross over, is in the graphic design work I do.  In rl I paint, in SL I paint digitally with the canvas being the prims I decorate each week.

Orchids: You've said you don't like mixing RL/SL, but many already know you were born with a heart defect; how do you stay so upbeat and positive?
Tiana: It's hard sometimes, but always at the back of my mind is that I don't want to let people down.  They come to the parties to have fun, which is what we all want in SL.  Usually it turns out I forget the real world troubles and lose myself in the fun for a few hours.

Orchids: When did you enter SL and how? What did you do initially as a newbie?
Tiana: Wow a long time ago for me, as my SL age doesn't really tell the full tale.  I arrived in SL about 5 years ago, I'd seen it on CSI: NY actually; thought this looks like fun.  In the first couple of years, I did a lot of things from camping for lindens, raiding freebie stores; eventually working as a dancer in several clubs.  Thankfully I wasn't alone back then, my best friend from RL (Julianna Jonstone) joined up as well.

Orchids: How did you get interested in business?
Tiana: JJ and I started up a business called Big Sis Designs, after a couple of years in SL.  It didn't last long, mostly because we were still pretty new to SL retail and designing things in general.  It wasn't long after, that I left SL for about a year and half.

Orchids: When and why did you open the store?
Tiana: Celtic Corsets came about, because of my love of mesh corsets.  The advent of Mesh was like fire to a cavewoman.  I think I bought dozens from all makers in SL, just because I loved it so much.  JJ happened to mention one night, that there was someone selling full perm templates; so she loaned me the money and the rest is history.

Orchids: Celtic Corsets... wonderful name... What was the inspiration?
Tiana: Erm honestly, other than I am Scottish and I love corsets; there isn't much in the name.  That said, it took me 2 weeks of thinking to come up with it, as I couldn't decide on a name.  Nothing seemed to flow out right if you said it out loud; then I came up with Celtic Corsets (or CC of short)

Orchids: Tell me about the process to get to this point, what have you done?
Tiana: A lot has happened in that time, I came back to work for JJ as her Hostess and kinda got sucked back into the whole SL experience.  Hosting at Roissy has been the mainstay of that, with a spell hosting at another club called the Wet Kitty.  It was about that time that Celtic Corsets came about; which probably wasn't the best time as I was working at Roissy and the Kitty by then. 

Orchids: Who was the person who most influenced you, and how?
Tiana: JJ has always been the constant companion in everything I do in SL.  Seems I go on about her a lot, but if it wasn't for her Celtic Corsets wouldn't even exist.   We have known each other for 10 years now; I got her into SL in the first place.

Orchids: Are you active in social media use?
Tiana: I don't use social media of any kind (for business); though I do believe it greatly benefits a business to target an audience.  I worked with JJ for a while on her blog as well, when I had the chance; but compared to her I looked amateurish lol.

Orchids: It seems your work stems from passion...?
Tiana: My passion comes mostly from a desire to make people happy; it's why I love being the hostess and event manager at Roissy Residential.  I have to admit though that the events are a real buzz for me, the challenge is to make people feel welcome and included in the fun from the moment they arrive.

Orchids: You organize sploders, dances and give out generously..?
Tiana: I took over the event manager’s job from JJ actually; she stepped down to concentrate on her business and blog; so there is irony for you.  Thing is, I am glad it happened, as I now consider the events as my main business.  I love it, as the themes are different each week; with each theme having a 'set' designed for it.   I can't take credit for the generosity, the money for the sploder and contest board come from the sim owner Mistress Arapaho and the former sim owner Sune Chajit.  We also have generous sponsors from time to time, most notably Inspirations.

Orchids: The themes you create in your events, do you sit down brainstorm or do you get inspiration from rl or SL experiences?
Tiana: When I took over from JJ, the format was pretty established.  The first few months were just themes I came up with; that I thought would be fun.  Most of them were popular ones like latex, fantasy/sci fi, public holidays or current affairs/events.  Slowly people have been giving me themes. Ones they would like to see turned into reality in the sets I build.  Some of them are really challenging, like the recent Bikers theme. The fun comes, from transporting people into the illusion I have created of that theme.  One of my personal favorites was the Steam punk theme; which had a zeppelin flying overhead.  I love the creativity of people as well, which can also feed into the fun elements of the party.

Orchids: Do you have a budget for the sets, or do you build your own props?
Tiana: I have a budget every week, but if you are willing to spend the time on the Marketplace; you can finds lots of good quality items for very little.  That said, there is plenty of weird stuff on the marketplace as well, it makes you wonder sometimes where people's heads were at the time they made it.

Orchids: What were the difficulties in business that you had to face?
Tiana: For me, market saturation.  I came into this a little too late I think, others have flourished and grown to the point there customer base is hard to beat.  That doesn't mean I have given up, as I stated at the start, this is more a hobby than a business for profit.

Orchids: What mistakes have you made? What have you learned?
Tiana: Not listening to those who know best, more often.
From SL in general, just enjoy yourself and leave the drama to others.  Business wise, I would say that if you start a business in SL; be prepared to flog it hard and often all over the grid.

Orchids: When did you realize that you have succeeded?
Tiana: The success I have is mostly from the events I run.  From the themed sets I design each week, I learn more about design and composition of a piece.  This in turn has helped me develop new designs for the business.

Orchids: What are the benefits over your competitors?
Tiana: I’m sexy, funny, bright red hair and I am Scottish, what more could I need.......

Orchids: What is your most popular feature/product/service?
Tiana: My witty banter and sexy smile....oh wait wrong job?

Orchids: Is it necessary to have an inworld + marketplace store?
Tiana: Inworld not so much, but definitely need a Marketplace store.  I am on there constantly hunting down items for the events.  It's amazing what you can find, if you know how to look.

Orchids: What kind of earnings should a newcomer expect going into this line?
Tiana: With the right products, good drive to promote it and the quality of product and service to match.  Someone could do well, paying the rent or land fees should be the main goal; with anything over that being profit to either invest of save for future products.

Orchids: What kind of clients/users do you have?
Tiana: Most of the customers I have are people I know.

Orchids: How do you deal with griefers/ rude customers? 
Tiana: With a Customer Service background, dealing with this is even easier in SL.  Ask politely once; boot up the ass the next.  Sorry, but I have no time for people that think arrogant, self centered narcissism; is how you should behave anywhere.

Orchids: What advice would you give to people thinking of entering this area?
Tiana: Leave quickly; before the mad woman gets you....shhhh do you hear those voices?

Orchids: Old timers- what would you advise them?
Tiana: Write things down, at our age you tend to forget things what was I doing again?

Orchids: Your biggest do's and dont's in business...
Tiana: Do take pictures that show the product, either in action or being worn.  To many times I've seen things displayed with little thought to the product.  Demos are always good as well, especially with mesh.

Orchids: Businesses closing down in SL (waka &yuki, Bliss Couture)... how do you think it affects SL?
Tiana: Stores close down all the time, for many reasons.  It is hard to see established names closing, but without knowing the full circumstances; it's difficult to consider any outlook other then 'It happens'.

Orchids: What features/expansion are you planning?
Tiana: With personal issues on the mend, things should be getting back to normal for Celtic Corsets.  I have lots of new designs waiting to be uploaded; so there should hopefully be something in a month or so.  JJ has also been talking me into releasing some of my patterns/textures for sale, as she believes they would sell as well.

Orchids: If you hadn't gone into business, what might you have done?
Tiana: Most likely what I am doing now, hosting at either Roissy or some other club in SL.  I'd even consider going back to dancing, as it can be great fun.

Orchids: If you could choose, due to unknown circumstances you had to take a break from SL and close shop, what would you like that your customers say about you?
Tiana: Has the trollop gone yet?



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