It was a crisp, warm, breezy morning when I dropped in Shopping city, a sim-wide Tuscan city that houses Aphrodite Shop goods. The city was minutely bustling with clientele for this time of morning.
Marina was standing, awaiting my arrival as she towered over my virtual being, partially rezzed. She was clad in all black, a dramatic contrast to the Valentine's Day decorum, flora and fauna, and delicious romantic culinary fare. We retrieve a bistro-style table, presumably her creation, and she offers me coffee. I take a sip and snap out of my drowsy stupor, as it was needed to handle this lady-on-the-move. She immediately takes this look of enthusiasm and readiness that I had to honor with the swiftness. So, I obliged and immediately delved into the conversation that I so excitedly looked forward from the moment we had agreed to huddle for a glimpse into her life.
Interview with Marina Ramer
Mikile Vinciolo: Tell me a bit about Marina as a businesswoman.
Marina Ramer: okay, specifically, what would you like to know?
Mikile Vinciolo: How did the idea for Aphrodite Shop come to be?
Marina Ramer: Well I started over 5 years ago in SL working for a Restaurant as manager, and I liked the idea so much that once that restaurant closed I opened my own, "Aphrodite Restaurant" with a new concept, bringing aphrodisiac food in SL and the most romantic experience for couples. We had at that time a full sim called "4 seasons" divided indeed in the 4 themes as well as 11 honeymoon suites, 7 wedding platforms and the restaurant in the middle. It was a huge success and became first in SL.
I still have the restaurant now renovated with a new concept, "Author Cuisine" and two chefs managing it together with a staff manager and 7 waiters/waitresses. This brought me to create more food also to sell as well as many romantic gifts, and always using Aphrodite brand. 3 years ago I partnered in RL and SL with Jaylin Whitewood, he creates the buildings and furniture. so my little store now because a megastore adding houses and furniture as well to my gifts, deco and foods... we have together over 1000 products now, many of them best sellers on the marketplace. Our group inworld and subscribers are getting a total of 30.000 persons/customers that follows our creations, as well as customers of our Restaurant, new opened Bed and Breakfast experience and honeymoon suites :) The services aspect let's say.
Mikile Vinciolo: You are telling me that you are the first on-grid to emerge with the idea of a Second Life restaurant?
Marina Ramer: No, I was not the first one, but I became the best since 5 years ago till the present day- he most popular and visited yes the customers’ favorite.
Mikile Vinciolo: Is that because of the aforementioned offerings, or do you think you offer that pizazz, that special something that customers are loving and continue to look for?
Marina Ramer: what I offer is something that no one else in SL has it because has been created originally for me, a very extensive menu of 52 pages of the highest haute cuisine dishes creations, original author cuisine, together with an incredible RP that my staff makes everyday a gift for them (the customer) with the most pleasant experience. So yes, they keep coming back to try another dish, or to try out any other of the places for dining or breakfasting...Sometimes they come with their partners or a friend, others with family and locations also changes. its the same with our products, on our furniture Jaylin creates himself the animations and no one else has them as we do not sell them, so the pieces are quite unique. And custom made originally for each particular piece of furniture.
Mikile Vinciolo: Let's talk more about "Author Cuisine food, served at your restaurant, "Casa de Aromas".
Marina Ramer: author´s cuisine dishes incorporate unusual textures, aromas, flavor combinations, and contexts while stimulating the senses, pleasing the palate, for you to enjoy an amazing dining new experience. The dishes are very original dishes created by "the author" which is our chef and his sous chef with an unique presentation and flavor pleasing the palate, and provoking thought. Dining is meant to be fun. It’s meant to be interesting, and that’s what author’s cuisine is!
Mikile Vinciolo: Is it tradition, you think for food producers to have an establishment to showcase their virtual foods?
Marina Ramer: I think it’s more a need rather than a tradition. Generally people which sees the product on MP whatever that product is also like to see how it looks in-world. So if you sell it is like a need to have a shop to showcase your creations.
Mikile Vinciolo: Speaking of production, I find it interesting that you create and sell aphrodisiac foods. That sounds more like a seasonal, Valentine's day, menu to have.
Marina Ramer: Now, I am not doing much food anymore, because of a few "semi freebie" food makers around that makes hard to compete. We are more dedicated to making houses and furniture with Jaylin.
Mikile Vinciolo: Ah! A transition from one domestic experience to another...I guess you can say it’s only natural to do so, eh?
Marina Ramer: Yes, it was!
Mikile Vinciolo: Is it just houses and furniture that Aphrodite Shop focuses more on now?
Marina Ramer: it focuses more on that yes, lately; but is also seasonal products like: Xmas valentines, St. Patrick’s Day, etc. We make always a little market inside our shop, as you see here with all season-related products. Like the little Valentine's Day market, we do that for all holidays.
Mikile VInciolo: Any more projects that you are looking to dabble in?
Marina Ramer: not right now, only trying always to be original and make the best products for people in SL. My today project is to make a table for customers of china, they asked me for a Chinese table with placemats that rezzes traditional realistic Chinese food and I am finishing that right now
Mikile Vinciolo: Ooooo! That should be something amazing. I love Chinese food. So, you take custom food production requests?
Marina Ramer: Yes, I do. Before the Chinese food project, I made all the kids themed buffets for camping in SL-made over ten different buffets with children characters.
Mikile Vinciolo: How can prospective customers make custom request?
Marina Ramer: they just have to contact me and I see what they need and if the project is possible and I get back to them between 24 hours with a quote.
Marina Ramer: My pleasure and thank you for the interview. Have a great day!
....And off she went to complete her commissioned food and beverage piece...POOF!
Marketplace: https://marketplace.secondlife.com/stores/31025SLX: https://slxconnect.com/index.php?a=profile&u=marinacv