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Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spotlight on Zooby and Creator Carrie Tatsu- Piers Diesel Reporting...



Zooby is best known for its babies and pets. It has been a booming business in Second Life for many years.

 Zooby is a name that is not only trusted but is also a company which has formed a “family” within the SL Community and Zooby groups where everyone helps one another when they have an issue or problem.

To find out a bit more about the company and how it was founded. I sat down with Carrie Tatsu CEO and founder of the Zooby.


Interview with Carrie Tatsu


Piers: How did the concept of Zooby occur? Also, what inspired the name?

Carrie Tatsu: I joined SL in 2006 and spent several months looking around. I bought myself a pet and took it with me everywhere. I realized that my virtual identity was connected to my pet, specifically when people would point out the pet when meeting me. I have a background in art and advertising as well as some 3d modelling experience and thought I could make a better pet then the one I had purchased. So I did. My partner (real life husband) joined me in 2008. He also has a background in art and advertising.
My partner and I were having dinner and came up with the name Zooby's because it was catchy and had an animal reference to it. We first made pets before selecting a name.


Piers: Can you tell us a bit about Zooby?

Carrie Tatsu: We have a team of developers and designers and customer service reps that help develop products for Zooby's. I manage the business.


Piers: Did you ever believe that from just an idea Zooby would become such a household name in Second Life?

Carrie Tatsu: No not really. I just worked hard and listened to feedback. I never spent more than I could afford to lose and slowly built the business.  We started off with $300 USD and rented land until we could afford to purchase an island. 

The business grew as we made more products and offered a role playing experience for users.

Piers: What do you feel is the reason why Zooby has been as successful as it is today?

Carrie Tatsu: Well we have a team of dedicated people who are invested in making sure it grows.  Although my partner and I work from home, we still work quite a few hours here.  I never think, "Oh this will last forever."  There is always that worry and drive to keep pushing forward.




Piers: Congratulations on winning the Avi Awards 2013. How does it feel to be recognized by the residents of Second Life?

Carrie Tatsu: It feels great. I wish that Linden Labs would make some changes that could help SL, but overall I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to work here

Piers: Zooby's is a trademarked name and all custom pets and babies are copyrighted. Do you feel that when business becomes so successful in Second Life with a concept, content creators should think about protecting their ideas outside of Second Life also?

Carrie Tatsu: The recent TOS says that Linden Labs owns our content, so I am not sure how protected we ultimately are. I have always played by the rules and followed proper protocol. That means paying taxes, keeping track of billing and managing products effectively. I wanted to protect the name at least from other residents because branding is important.  I also did not know if we would eventually make products outside of SL, so owning that name had value.

Piers: You have an affiliated program for Zooby. How did this occur and has it been successful?



Carrie Tatsu: When we started making baby clothing there was such a huge demand and we could not meet it with the limited staff.  Also the amount of time it took to make clothing in relation to what we could sell an outfit for was not worthwhile.  We wanted to make sure that the customers got a variety of new and interesting things (clothing and accessories) and we needed to provide a way to allow for that. We decided to sell our scripts that "affiliates" could purchase and make their own profit selling baby clothing and accessories. This not only provided a path to allow others to make content for our products, but it offered affiliates a revenue stream from a popular product. It gave customers a lot more options for their babies and allowed us to focus on new things.  It has been successful.

Piers: What do you like to do when you are not creating in Second Life?

Carrie Tatsu: I have family at home and I spend my time primarily with them. I also exercise (running + yoga) most every day which helps me emotionally and physically.

Piers: What is next for Zooby?

Carrie Tatsu: We are actually working on a mobile app!

To find out more on Zooby or to purchase a Zooby product if you do not have one already follow the links below:

Zooby Affiliates: 7c977e5b-21b0-538b-ffe3-3cd6250b10dc
Zooby’s Babies: 8aea7b2f-a812-ffe4-daa3-33c76c796d82
Zooby’s Breedable Trading: 032ca427-027b-4fa7-58ac-b6dbc282daa2
Zooby’s Breedables: 032ca427-027b-4fa7-58ac-b6dbc282daa2
Zooby’s TRAINAPETS: 0a8f8701-997f-538c-6df8-0d1c4d596059


Reactions:

1 comments:

  1. As a CSR for this amazing company, I have to say how lucky I feel to be a part of it. You hit the nail on the head when you called it a family. Our chat room is filled with helpful parents, people who have formed a bond over their babies. We truly are a community. I have had an affiliation with Zooby for many years, beginning with my first baby over 3 years ago. Then, continuing on when I opened a maternity clinic. I have been exposed to just about every baby created in SL. I have seen how parents have bonded with these babies, in very therapeutic ways. For some people, these babies represent children they never have, or have lost. For others, they are enjoyable babies to enhance their family RP. Either way I have seen these babies grow and develop (quite literally) from what they started as, and the profound effect they have on people. I am so proud to be a part of this and to be able to say I know Carrie on a personal level. Not only is she a creative genius (in my humble opinion) but she is also a generous, down to earth person with a beautiful soul. From her compassion that she shows our parents, to her staff, to her charitable contributions (helping to recently raise 1300 USD for a RL charity). I proudly wear the Zooby tag, and if anyone has any questions about our babies they may contact me in world- Sincerely, Rhyannon Paragorn (Zooby CSR)

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