Original article can be found here.
GWNews: Hi Maddox, We feel so honored to interview you! You have created an amazing brand in Second Life, MADesigns & KMADD, very famous to many. How did the adventure start?
Maddox: Thank you very much for having me.
My Second Life adventure began in August 2006. When I first arrived in Second Life I was overwhelmed by it’s talent and creativity. I never imagined of owning a business here one day. I spent first 6 months learning SL, hanging out with friends and partying. When my credit card bill arrived I realised I need a job in SL to pay for SL. And where is one to begin?
I looked at what I was good in Real Life and what I could do in SL so photography seemed like a good place to start. I opened a small glamour photography studio on mainland and called it MAD Studio. I would love to tell you that I was a famous photographer back then and that I had a list of glamourous and famous clients but that is never a case when you first begin a new business. However, It is through photographing and touching up photos of poorly dressed models, dancers and prostitutes that I began to develop my photography & styling skills.
Back then, I spent a lot of time making custom shapes, taking people shopping and helping them dress and adjust hair. It was hard, low paid work but my customer focus and results I achieved with my clients began to earn me a name, so more people came to visit my studio. Over time, people came to MAD Studio for appearance and style consultations more than photos. One day, a man walked in and offered me 10K for the look I was wearing. It is then that I got an idea to sell shapes with style cards. I made a small collection of 4 male shapes and placed them in my studio. As they sold well, I expanded my collection and added female shapes as well.
Few months later I met Kirk Claymore, my SL and business partner of 4 years. Kirk, who had marketing background in RL, helped shape how KMADD is perceived today by introducing KMADD City and MAD Agency. KMADD City, was a premier shopping destination for men with over 100 top male fashion brands and MAD Agency modelling took care of promoting both male and female fashion through spectacularly detailed and immersive shows. Our business just grew from there.
GWN: Is that require much time ? How do you manage it ?
Maddox: Running Second Life business is same as any other business. First couple of years you can expect to work more and earn less, but if you put certain things in place like good customer service, quality products and brand recognition, you can expect better return over the years. Although I have flexible hours, I work pretty hard 16 hours per day on average. But I do love it so it is more of a play than work for me.
GWN: What is the Concept of KMADD today ?
Maddox: The concept of KMADD has not changed much since it’s inception; as we are slowly branching into female market, this is probably the only change over the years.
KMADD is one stop shop for everything relating to your appearance and style. We have everything from shapes, skin, hair, eyes, poses and fashion for both men and women. We are here to promote and assist new creators through mentorship, marketing and exposure. We support cultural diversity and equality in Second Life by offering products that focus on this and by participating in various events and projects that build community spirit.
GWN: How is the Fashion Business today in Second Life?
Maddox: Fashion is booming in Second Life, especially men’s fashion. Kirk and me counted the other day how many male skins we got in our inventory and in comparison to 5 years ago when there was really a couple of skins like Naughty and Max, we now had over 30 skins that we regularly use on our shapes. There is definite growth in terms of competition and choice consumer has.
I think what is more exciting is how all the changes like sculpts, mesh, even windlight and shadows have impacted on realism of our Second Life environment, avatars and fashion. I believe that over the years things will just get better in terms of realism and the choice consumer has but it would get tougher to make money due to competition.
GWN: Do you have an idea of the ‘typology’ of your customers ? I mean what about the Gay Community ? Do you feel it more receptive to fashion ?
Maddox: Today, KMADD caters to both male and female at different stages of their journey in Second Life. While our customers were mainly new comers when we sold shapes, our product range grew and so has our typical customer. I think today KMADD customers are as diverse as our products and services we offer.
GWN: What would you like to say to GWNews readers?
Maddox: The best way to ensure your favourite designers in Second Life can continue creating is through your support: buy them, wear them and blog them.
GWN: Thank you, Maddox !