Maddox DuPont Interview in Too Sexy Magazine

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): Correct me if I am wrong – You started out selling shapes and turned that business into an incredible one stop location for the men of SL. Was that always the plan? or did it just expand as you saw fit?.

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): I actually started as a glamour photographer. I did lots of styling for my clients during photography sessions, that over time I was sought after for my appearance and styling expertise more than photography. It was mainly custom work that I was doing – redefining shapes and improving style of my clients.

One day a man walked into my studio and paid me 10k for the look I was wearing, so I came up with the idea of packaging the looks and selling them as shapes. I started with only 4 male shapes and as they were selling well I expanded the collection to nearly 100 shapes within 6 months. Then I met Kirk Claymore, my SL and business partner who has marketing background. Within less than a year we outgrew our small store on mainland and decided to purchase a sim and create KMADD City, which was at that time the only sim dedicated entirely to male fashion. It was only a natural progression as we were already promoting quality content creators within our style cards and we wanted to make male fashion more accessible to men who did not have much patience for shopping and who loved the convenience of one stop shop. This proved to be success as it encouraged more designers to start creating for men and left men with no excuse of dressing poorly. We then continued to grow our business opening MAD Agency Modelling and adding appearance based products (hair, eyes, poses) and beginning to collaborate with skin designers to bring Complete Avatars and skins to KMADD.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): Your business partner is Kirk Claymore, has he been your business partner from the start? and how hard do you think it is to run a successful business in Second Life with more than one person?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): I already had a business before I met Kirk. As most of my time in SL was spent in the store by either taking photos, making shapes or helping customers Kirk simply joined me so to spend more time with me by helping with customer service, marketing and building our network. I think it is harder to run business on your own than in a partnership. We both had different strengths so when combined together it was successful combination. Also when you are in partnership you tend to have common goals to work towards which drives you and keeps you motivated.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): As stated you do a lot more than just sell shapes now, over the years with the expansion of your store MADDesigns, what has been your favourite addition after shapes, to the business and why?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): Well male hair has been the most successful product to date. Simply because it is cheaper and you sell more units. Unlike shape which you possibly buy only a couple of times, hair you change depending on the outfit.  It was a great addition to our business and it provided men of Second Life with more options, when there were only few. It also allowed me to create hair styles I needed and could not find to style my shapes. However, it is a lot more time consuming to make and learning curve is huge – still in it! My female couture hair collection that debuted at Modavia Fashion Week last week has been most enjoyable to make. I was truly inspired when I made this collection of hair and shapes to match and ladies seem to like it.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): MADDesigns the store is also only part of the MAD empire, what other businesses do you and Kirk own/manage, and how have you expanded into them over the years?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): There are 2 main sides to KMADD Enterprise ~ service and product.

The service aspect of KMADD: MAD Agency Modelling, KMADD Events, MAD Studio photography and MAD Image styling. Lot of MAD!

MADesigns is product side of KMADD and it is what keeps our business afloat. MADesigns offers mainly avatar and appearance based products, we started with shapes and added hair, eyes, poses and we also feature skins and complete avatars within our store.

Although KMADD City (men’s fashion district) is no longer in existence we kept the same group of designers expanding it over the years, and are still featuring their creations in our New Releases in Men’s Fashion and Designer showcase sections of KMADD. We are currently looking at rebuilding KMADD to better suit our customer and business needs with fashion being important component and perfect accompaniment to our appearance based products and new directions we are planning to take.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): MADDesigns at one stage shared space at Glam World, many newer residents won’t know that, did that exposure due to being connected to a Male skin store have some influence on what direction you took? and how do you remember that experience?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): Minnu Pallen is a very dear friend of mine and one of oldest friends I got in SL. I met Minnu when I first took photos of her at MAD Studio at KMADD Enterprise sim, we hit it off straight away as we had the same cultural background, so we became friends. Later Minnu and Thora joined MAD Modelling Agency and soon after that began creating skins. We always helped each other over the years through support, feedback, promotion etc. One of the ways that MADesigns has promoted and helped growth of Minnu Models skins (currently LeLutka) was through our shapes. When Glam World opened, Minnu invited all the creators that best support her product line. During this period we had a small community of content creators who all knew each other, I remember number of KMADD parties where designers, models, fashionistas and socialites mixed together – it was the golden age of SL for my generation.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): You yourself have a very creative mind, developing incredible fashion show sets, such as the Modavia Fashion Week set that ends today. Have you always been that way in RL too? is there an art background in your real life that you have brought with you to Second Life?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): I have Bachelor of Visual Arts (Fine Art) Degree in real life, have been in number of theater productions and worked as an art director for short films. I have always been creative be it photography, writing, performance (in real life) or set design which I have done for MAD Agency shows & KMADD Events for the past 4 years. I also have background in people management and customer service which helps in running of KMADD Enterprise.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): As a business owner in a virtual environment that deals with the majority of American and European based clients, how do you manage when you live in a completely different timezone?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): I don’t have to as I am a night bird, so when I am awake we are both in same time zone. But seriously, health wise I realise this is not good so in the past 2 years I have tried to balance this and follow normal waking hours, unless there is an important event to attend in Second Life where my presence is needed.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): You and your business have been featured in RL magazines in the past, how was that experience for you? and did you celebrate that in RL with friends and family?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): It was great for Elle Magazine to do an article on virtual fashion. Both KMADD and LeLutka were featured at that time. Although there is nothing to be gained from that exposure as most readers would not be in Second Life, it is great to see creativity that exists in Second Life be acknowledged and given relevance. We just had a few drinks when that issue arrived.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): There has been a lot of changes recently to the grid, where do you see yourself heading in the next 12 months as a business? and do you have plans of expanding even further? or do you feel that what you have now works well enough?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): Over the past 2 years we have rebuilt KMADD and changed our product lines. This change brought about Complete Avatars, Shape only offering and Premium shapes (our original product) was changed to now include hair and eyes with each shape. These changes were made to better suit customer requirements and to add more value to original MADesigns Shapes. This also meant that we had to lose all our female shapes that did not fit within new model (so not to confuse the customer), mainly because our female hair range was limited. Over the next 6 months we will be working on expanding female hair collection which has already occurred with recent debut of our female Couture line at Modavia Fashion Week. This will provide us a with variety of styles needed to start expanding our female shape collection.

Over the next 12 months KMADD would also need to go through some restructuring to better meet the business and customer needs.

Everybody is talking about mesh, but we are not convinced as yet that it is at the stage that would make it commercially viable in terms of cost, customer support and flexibility. It looks good but with all things in SL, it needs time to develop. We will be keeping an eye on it and act on opportunities.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): You built the set, created hairstyles for shows and did the majority of the DJing LIVE for Modavia Fashion Week, how did you get involved in that, and were you pleased with the outcome, show wise and people showing up for the shows themselves, as it did seem to be a very appreciative audience every show.

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): Me and Poptart Lilliehook (Modavia owner) have worked together previously on numerous shows for MAD Agency. As Pop models for us and I have always done music and sets for MAD Agency, she was already familiar with my work. End of 2010 Pop invited me to do a set design and music for Modavia’s Pop Art Show. This was our first collaboration. After this, Dahlia Joubert (Modavia) landed her styling expertise for Derezzed ~ Tron Legacy inspired show by MAD Agency. We have very much influenced each other’s success for the past year before Modavia Fashion Week so I guess we were confident in each other’s ability to work together on such a huge project.

Last month, leading up to Modavia Fashion Week has been absolutely exhausting. I’ve created 23 female styles to be included within the shows, made 40 music playlists and over 20 sets (of which only 8 were used). I also had to work in a different time zone to my own (American instead of Australian) to meet the requirements of Modavia Fashion Week. Although I thoroughly enjoyed the experience, I am glad it is over work-wise.

For anyone that enjoys fashion, Modavia Fashion Week should be an important date on Second Life’s fashion calendar. I believe that Modavia Fashion Week encourages designers to produce new work and successfully promotes it. We need to nurture our talent or we may lose it and what would Second Life be without our creators?

I was so pleased with how everything went and for someone who is stuck in his studio most of the time, naked, creating whatever it may be, I enjoyed seeing many familiar faces and socialising as much as I could during the shows. I would like to thank anyone that came to support our designers and Modavia Fashion Week, countless hours of work that has gone in producing event of this magnitude have been made worthwhile thanks to you.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): If there was an ultimate show you could create in Second Life, what type would it be? no av limits or prim limits…what kind of show would be your extravaganza so to speak?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): I always wanted to do an art performance in SL. It would be good if we could move our AVs ourselves instead of using animations, sort of Lawnmover Man/Surrogates concept.

I hope one day to be able to also create a world or a scene where every aspect of it including avatars in it is my own creation.

Sasy Scarborough (too Sexy magazine): lastly, is there any advice you would give someone just starting out in business in Second Life?

Maddox DuPont (KMADD): Follow your passions, find your niche and take care of your customers no matter how big you get.

Maddox Dupont fashion sets from MODAVIA Fashion Week is now available for sale at KMADD.

Gay Worlds News Interview with Maddox DuPont

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 !

Maddox DuPont Interview for GLANCE Magazine

Maddox DuPont was features on the cover of this months issue (April 2011) GLANCE Magazine.

Hello Maddox! Tell me a little about you. Where are you from? What do you do in Second Life?

I live in Melbourne, Australia. In Second Life, my partner Kirk and I own KMADD Enterprise which specialises in appearance based products and fashion/style services. In addition I love to build for MAD Agency shows and KMADD Events, get involved in Second Life charity work, and help new brands grow and develop their business.

I know that you are running several businesses under KMADD Enterprise. Could you explain to us which are they and what do they offer (MADesigns, etc.)?

KMADD Enterprise or simply KMADD, is the name for a conglomerate of several product and service based businesses. MADesigns, which is our product based brand, offers mostly avatar based products like shapes, hair, eyes and poses. Other service based aspects of KMADD Enterprise are MAD Agency, MAD Image and MAD Studio Photography.

MAD Agency is a boutique model management company that provides top models & style services to photographers, advertisers, designers and production companies in Second Life. Our focus has always been on quality over quantity therefore we are very selective about projects we choose to produce and people we employ.
MAD Image which consist of blog and styling services provides style inspiration and appearance/personal style assistance to Second Life residents.
Where did you find inspiration to name your different ventures?

Well originally I started out as a photographer and my studio was based on my SL name – MAD Studio. I then moved to making clothing for a very brief and embarrassing moment and this is how MADesigns brand was born. I then used the same brand for shapes and all other products, and once I met Kirk, we added K in front of MAD which is how KMADD came about. It actually all started as a joke as this was the time when tabloids referred to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as “Brangelina” therefore Kirk, my marketing genius, thought it would be cool if we combined our names together. So we tried number of combinations and KMADD was the one we liked the best.

MADesigns is mostly known for its shapes and then recently for the poses and hair collections. Do you remember the first item you ever designed?

My first item was actually a T-shirt.

I made whole collection of T-shirts using my RL artwork and sold them for a while under MADesigns brand, until I realised they all needed to be made in an untucked version. It was a “Doh!” moment. Around that time I started playing with shapes, so the clothing project – which was not doing well – was completely abandoned so I could focus only on shapes. I found it inspiring to bring characters to life by combining other people creations. It was also a time when there was not many male clothing stores and Kirk and I saw this as an opportunity to focus on exposing men to the fashion that is available and to encourage them to dress well, which would hopefully motivate designers to create more for men as well.

The first shape I ever made was actually never sold in my store. The same night I finished it, I remember being in MAD Studio trying some clothing from Form and Dessert Moon, when this guy came in wanting photos for his alt. He said he just broke up with his girlfriend on his main account and he wanted to create a hot avatar to seduce her. He heard that I do good photos and help people with their appearance, which I was doing a lot of at that time – helping people with their shapes and style before taking their photos. He then offered 10,000L for my shape and everything I was wearing, so I took him shopping and helped him piece it all together. He was very happy and told me that I should sell avatars. This is how the idea for style cards was born.

Do you remember the feelings when people did start to buy your products?

It’s always exciting when you create something and people find value in it enough to buy it. I think ideas are driven by your passion but if you can have both passion and monetary reward for your time and effort it can become a powerful motivator to continue creating.

I know that there are quite a few people in Second Life who think that this is just a game and that everything in Second Life should be for free and we should just do it for fun. This I’ve observed over the years is typical mindset of a person who copybots or wears stolen items. What these guys do not understand is that all creation costs someone both time and money; for many people and for whatever reason Second Life could be the only source of income and stealing from them you steal from their dependants and their livelihood.

Second Life would not look as good as it looks today if it was not for creators and customers who reward their time and effort by buying their products.

When I sold my first item I felt valued and that somehow I am contributing in some meaningful way to the overall wonderful community of Second Life.

KMADD is often referred to as the mecca of virtual fashion. What do you think got you this title? How do you both feel about your success story?

Fashion has always been an integral part of our business, as mentioned before by supporting other designers through what we do – everyone benefits. The customer can locate sometimes hard to find stores. The designer gets exposure and we have fantastic fashion at our disposal to use in creation of someone’s avatar. I believe that our dedication to the growth of male fashion through creation of KMADD City which at the time was hosting over 150 leading brands for men in one convenient location, has been somewhat a contributing factor in perception of KMADD brand. I am not sure if perception of KMADD being “mecca of fashion” is still there however, as new people have logged in and KMADD City does not exist any more.
Although, for anyone who has visited KMADD, since that change would see that we still continue to expose people to new and quality brands for men, through ever dynamic fashion section NEW RELEASES in Men’s Fashion (our little ever changing male fashion department store) and of course Designer showcase which features new designer bi-monthly, who often bring ever needed, want it! must have it! exclusive items, available only at KMADD.

Our success story is surreal to me. I think it is good that way. It allows you to focus on the things you love doing even more and that’s what it is all about for me. When you love what you are doing, it shows and people buy into it because of that. The most important thing is to never stop believing and to continue to do things you love till you achieve success. The funny thing is, when you get there you won’t even care or notice it, because you took the journey and there is no greater success than that.

What would you say sets you apart from other shape, poses and hair stores?

What KMADD does in everything that we create is to think like a customer, what a customer wants and needs. We make things available and keep things simple. We are also focussed on giving customer the best value for money,  always lots of love goes back to the people that support our work through: hunts, group freebies and participating in various charity events. Great customer service is what we are really focussed on. Providing you have a quality product,  your brand will gain a good reputation quickly if you can make each and every customer that walks out of your store happy.

Which product do you find the hardest to produce and why?

Hair can be tricky, especially short men’s hair, especially if it is high detail. And to my detriment, I often do both. It is extremely time consuming and it is kind of work that does not stop once the hair is made.

I think creating is an easy part in SL, it is part that every designer loves. Getting the item from when it is created to when it appears on the wall available for a customer to buy, has been promoted to every possible social network, blog, marketplace etc. is the most tedious work for every designer I am sure.

I personally, do not cope well with repetitive tasks but thanks to my wonderful manager Eve Petlyakov, whom I can trust with my full perm inventory, my life in SL for the past 12 months has been made far more pleasant.

You proudly state that you bring real personality into your shapes and help assert the fashion identity of avatars in SL through poses and hair as well. Are your SL skills related to your real life skills ?

I always had an eye for detail and I am no stranger to style. I get my creative side from my parents and have pursued studies in RL in this area. I also managed people in Real Life for many years and worked in customer service for nearly 20, so I definitely have good skill set when it comes to business and dealing with people. Kirk has a passion for marketing, so all these were important skills to have in addition to creative ideas and our ability to bring them to life.

Who are some of your favourite SL fashion designers?

There are so many great designers in Second Life and so many that I probably have never heard of as yet but do an amazing work. This is what is so wonderful about Second Life, you are always discovering great creations regardless how long you’ve been here.

But I will pick my 2 brands, not based on what I like to wear but on work I admire, that has made me dream, and inspired my collections.  Of course I mean no offence to other designers who have not been mentioned here.

LeLutka – simply amazing style, marketing and products. Sisters and their team through massive amounts of hard work over the years, have created many memorable fashion moments/images that have made me proud to call my self a Second Life creator.

Cheerno – Cheerno is an absolute creative bomb with every collection. His work is always fun, inspiring and absolutely “out there”.

It is no surprise to me that both LeLutka and Cheerno won Glance Fashion Awards recently. They look after their customers, have amazing following due to that and great products to back them up. Knowing both Minnu and Cheerno when they were just starting their brands it is truly a proud moment for me to see them succeed and be acknowledged in some way.

Are you working on new products actually?

Always!
I try to release something each week, depending on my other projects. I do build a lot and I love doing that, so that bites a big chunk of my time. New poses will be coming for Pose Fair, new hair for Hair Fair, and new Complete Avatars collection in collaboration with new skin designers is something I am really looking forward to.

What are your future plans for MADesigns?

We have been neglecting the female section of MADesigns for a while, so this year female hair will be our main focus as well as a revival of female shapes collection. Thalia Jie is back and does styling for MADesigns female shapes and is my eyes and ears in female fashion. Having her back will allow to expand the female section of MADesigns and perhaps even bring few female designers to KMADD.

The best compliment you received so far?

I actually save compliments when I get them and over the years I collected quite a few – they are in my SENTIMENTAL folder. No, seriously they are!

I could never pick compliments based on how good they are, as even simple “I love your hair” would do it for me. Knowing people appreciate what I do is the best part of my job and truly touches my heart each time.

When you get a feedback on your product, you think great it works!
When you get a feedback on you service you feel yeah I successfully connected with my customer and provided the service they are happy with.
However, when people love certain experience you created for them which can be anything from KMADD party to MAD Agency Fashion Shows, I think those are the best compliments to have. Here are the few that stood out…

“Maddox, I have to tell you.. this build.. it touches something.. resonates in my soul…. it makes me emotional somehow.. the incredible detail and the things you put here.. I am more than just transported or immersed.. something is awakened from when I was a small kid and I experience this build like no other.. thank your for a singularly amazing experience in this spectacular creation.. being associated with you and just knowing you is always an awe inspiring experience.
Seriously, I could cry at thinking of this being destroyed”

“The build is magical. You know, you are a man of remarkable talents. When you think about it, all we really have at the end are memories and you have created some of the most magical and enduring memories that people could have. Your quite remarkable. When I’m an old old lady, I know I’m going to look back with smile on my virtual world days, and remember Kirk’s “Alice in Wonderland Birthday Party” … and the rabbit … and all the amazing people who have dressed up and I will smile gently and say … *thank you Maddox*”

Now is time for the bad question… What is your worst customer experience as of now?

Anyone running their store in Second Life would have a share of their horror stories and they are never fun to listen to unless you like to get angry. To be fair sometimes these conflicts are driven by merchant as well as customers.

Even though I have over 20 years in customer service, I can tell you that there were times when making customer happy was difficult in both Second Life and Real Life. But you do the best that you can, by balancing business and customer needs positive outcomes are always possible.

If you are a customer remember to be respectful, you’ll have a better chance of “winning”.
Merchants on the other hand, should always welcome customer feedback and develop their products in accordance to it. If the customer is happy, it often means your product, packaging and information is clear and of high standard. If you are not sure, ask them. You will be surprised what people got to say if they are given a chance.

What matters to you most as a content creator?

Freedom and imagination.

Lastly, where can readers buy your designs?

MADesigns products are available at KMADD (SLURL) as well as on Second Life marketplace.
Search KMADD or MAD in places in search or visit our blog for direct links to our various departments – https://madimage.wordpress.com

Maddox DuPont Interview for MENStuff Blog

Interview with Maddox DuPont by Ivy Maverick (MENStuff blog/group)

Ivy (intro): Being a Shape Maker myself this interview is very special to me. I met Maddox in Oct of 2007 and I have a fond memory of him taking me around his newly build sim dedicated to men and showing me and even teaching me about new designers. I am not sure if he remembers but he also taught me how to adjust prim lashes!

Ivy: Hi Maddox, thank you for taking the time to let me Interview you!  I am always curious how a person finds SL and what the beginning was like for them. What were your beginnings like in Second Life?

Maddox: No, thank you Ivy.

I found out about SL through television program and it was about furniture maker who was living solely from their work in SL. I never joined with an intention to become creator and soon when I joined I realised it was not going to be an easy thing to do. Learning curve was enormous and I was overwhelmed by the talent I found in SL.

My first experience of SL was magical! No, actually it was rather painful. I was one of those people who skipped Orientation Island completely then struggled for months on end to learn how to use the damn interface. Luckily, I met this cool English chick who thought me everything from editing prim attachments to adjusting hair to how to dress. We had lots of fun together me and Sky and I almost went broke from shopping so much with her.

This eventually forced me to create.

Ivy: Was your first job in SL making shapes and were you the first creator making the “style card” to go with your shapes?

Maddox: No, my first job was as a photographer. I had a small photography studio (MAD Studio) at Glenboon on main land, which was laggy as hell and was set in location that looked very trashy. It was on free piece of land which Linden Lab was giving to all new residents from memory so I could not complain.

When you start out as photographer your clients are never SLebrities but dancers, escorts and walk-ins. Most of my clients did not look so good so to cut my time in Photoshop processing and touching up images I spent time styling them, even went shopping with them. Soon people came to me for advice on improving their look and not just photos.

I started to make custom shapes and took people shopping. One day one of my returning clients suggested I start selling shapes with style cards, so idea is not mine as it was the case with many improvements I made in my store over time. It is important to listen to your customers and deliver on what they want, it has certainly been key to our relative “success”.

So, I am not sure if I was the one to pioneer style cards as I did not really check the competition before I started, but I definitely was responsible for the way shapes are displayed today. Our rectangular displays, showing shape in 3 poses (face, waist up and full body) in surroundings that perfectly matched their character\ and brought them to life – you can say this was KMADD’s “invention” and soon become standard for many shape stores. Nothing is new in SL, as it often comes from the need or is inspired by RL. As long as you put your spin on it and are not obviously copying someone you can claim it as your own.

Ivy: How have things changed in SL as far as shape business goes. How have you adjusted?

Maddox: A lot of things have changed not just in the “shape market” but in SL and RL as well. Economy has been major factor in changes to people’s buying habits, which made us reconsider our pricing structure and product range.

MADesigns shapes, as you know have never always been priced on the higher end of the scale. Although they do not take long to complete in comparison to hair or skin, people do not buy them as often so price we selected was based on frequency by which people would buy them, their quality and time invested. It is true that people value things more that they have to earn or make substantial investment into. Because not everyone can afford MADesigns shapes they guarantee exclusivity and certain level of uniqueness than let’s say cheaper brands and that was something everyone wants in SL, to be unique.

Although our pricing has not changed since the early beginning with an introduction of new MADesigns products (eg. hair and eyes) we have been able to add value to our shape packages by including them with each PREMIUM shape purchase. Our premium collection which is called now is original shape product we sold from the beginning.

We also added another collection which we called SHAPE ONLY collection as it contains only a shape and avatar skin, hair, eyes info and as it is less time consuming to make we were able to offer this product at lower price than premium shapes.

Once started to collaborate with skin makers which we always wanted to do, we were are able to offer COMPLETE AVATARS which is great for new residents in need of affordable and quick transformation as it provides total package which include shape, skin, hair and eyes. I think we will continue to collaborate even when we release our own skin as it is important to provide variety and support quality brands.

We also got LIMITED Collection which takes care of customers who do not want to have same shape as everyone else but do not want to spend as much as the custom shape would cost. We only sell 20 of these and adjust them to 4 different skins – hair and eyes are also included with style info.

All these changes were made in response to customer feedback, changes to the market and economy and natural growth of our business.

Ivy: How did you get started designing hair, and what inspires you for your designs?

Maddox: I decided to start making hair because I could not find many short men’s styles that I liked. They were either overused, outdated or all medium length or anime/asian looking. I really just wanted conservative short everyday styles that suited number of occasions and did not conform to any particular style or race. So I decided to make them.

I must give credit to Ice from Muism for spending time with me when I first started making hair as I really did not know what I was doing until I saw him do it in front of me. Ice has been a great friend, inspiration and amazingly generous creator I ever came across in SL.

It is worth mentioning that most creators avoid making men’s hair as it is harder to make and sells poorly. We all know men do not shop as much and tend to stick to one style once they find it, so I saw this as an opportunity when I first started as market was small and men were starved for new styles.

I am inspired by need (what can not be found in SL), current fashion trends and often what I personally like and see on the street. It has to be something that excites me and I can successfully make in SL.

Ivy: What is your favourite thing to design these days

Maddox: I actually enjoy building the most. I always enjoyed making sets for KMADD events and MAD Agency fashion shows. It is really creative release for me and I love seeing people being immersed in it once it’s done. I just finished TRON build for the fashion/dance event that is happening on weekend February 26th and was responsible for the build for GLANCE Awards, also on this Sunday.

I choose my projects wisely but if you hire me you better have whole sim ready for me as I am a prim whore. < Laughs >

Ivy: What kind of work do you do in RL and how does it help you in Second life?

Maddox: I have worked in people management and customer service for most of my life. I also have fine art degree, with major in Multi-media and performance. I have done everything from writing, performing, video and art installations. My favourite thing was painting and multi media but most of my time is spent on creating in SL these days.

As you can imagine all these came handy in SL, as each business is part creation, part business/marketing and looking after your customers. All 3 are every important and to succeed they all need to be done right.

We certainly would not be here today if it was not for marketing expertise of my partner Kirk Claymore, our strong focus on customer service and customers who loved our products and spread the word about it. I am very thankful for that.

Ivy: I know you have this amazing relationship in SL with Kirk. How have you been able to stay together so long in here, with all the temptations? You have been together forever by SL time!

Maddox: Indeed, it’s now coming to almost 4 years. Amazing ha? As I was saying to my friend 1 year is like 7 years in RL. You are born, you shop, work, party, you fall in love, get married and leave SL all within 12 months usually. My friend insisted she did not want to be a dog, but said it was so true.

Look, joke on side I think the most important thing for any long distance relationship is communication and trust. Kirk and I are are very good friends to start with and having common interest and goals in SL that we can share and focus on has helped us stay together this long and kept our passion for each other alive.

Although, Kirk has been busy in RL for the past year or so, he comes in from time to time to our events and we speak to each other every day on Skype. We were meant to meet in in RL in January but due to floods in Australia this trip had to be postponed. I can not wait to finally meet him though so we can take this relationship further hopefully. If not, we will always stay friends and I thank SL for that.

Ivy: What is your most proud moment in SL?

Maddox: Oh I have so many great moments in SL that it is hard to choose.

Marrying Kirk in SL was a loving memory I will always treasure, getting our own sim was a big moment in KMADD’s history as well as creation of KMADD City which for a number of years was the only sim focused solely on male fashion.

The rest is not always the big things but small moments when customers/friends have showed their appreciation for support, advice/help or event we did – things like that. Both Kirk and I enjoy sharing our experience, expertise and success with others and we find it very satisfying helping young talented brands succeed and gain exposure. Some of the best moments in SL come from these experiences.

Ivy: Where do you see your SL business in two years?

Maddox: I do not have a plan to be honest. I did not even plan what has occurred so far so not having plan seems to work for me. Although we are business, we were rarely motivated by money but what we love doing and what SL needs at the time. I would like to make men’s shoes for example and possibly take on the skin as new product. I am slow with this and rather master one product before moving onto next. I also think that if you do everything too quickly you are in danger of loosing interest and leaving SL which has happened to many.

Ivy: You have been very supportive of the MENstuff hunt- how is it going for you and what do you think of hunts in general for your business?

Maddox: We have been proud supporters of Make Him Over Hunt since it’s inception and it was only natural for us to land equal support to MENstuff hunt when it officially replaced it. We think that men need to be exposed to more quality stores than ever before as there are so many popping our all over SL each year, which is great to see and much better than when I first started SL.

Everyone loves free stuff and it is a great way to reward your loyal customers, gain new ones and expose your brand.

Ivy: What new things are going on in your store?

Maddox: We recently renovated our store, updated hair vendors and made small changes that will make a big difference on the long run in terms of usability and customer being able to find things easily without needing assistance. As far as the new releases are concerned, we will begin on new collection of hair, eyes and poses in March and we are also bringing new skin designers to the store who we will be collaborating with on complete avatars.

Designers like Cheerno is our most recent release and BAD@ZZ who has recently released new skin that has already proved popular with guys looking for muscular look will be coming out by the end of February. If you would like to have a look at our COMPLETE AVATARS collection they can be found here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kmadd/sets/72157620503669973/show/

Ivy: I remember when I first met you I was pretty new to SL and I was TPed into one of your parties…there were so many hot avatars there my friend and I were just drooling.  You do great work and women all over the grid thank you!

Maddox: Haha yes! My manager keeps catching ladies in men’s section, as you say “drooling” over our displays. It is a great feeling to know that people like your work and find avatars we do attractive. Our whole focus on men from the start was designed to improve their appearance, fashion sense and style – for whomever they are trying to attract they would need all of these. We just wish more guys take better care of their appearance to please their partners in SL. Personality goes a long way but when you are dating someone who is on the other side of the ocean and live in world where you can create your ideal self at affordable price, why not do it?

Ivy: Thank you for your time Maddox!

Maddox: Thanks Ivy! I am truly humbled and both Kirk and I thank you for this opportunity to talk about work. All the best with MENStuff hunts in the future, we think that you guys have done an amazing job!

MADesigns wins GLANCE Fashion Award – The Best Shapes Store

GLANCE Fashion Awards were over the weekend.

Kirk Claymore and myself were in attendance since MADesigns/KMADD has been nominated in 3 categories: the Best Shapes Store, The Best Hair Store and New-Comer friendly. It was our first time attending this kind of event so we were quite nervous and excited at the same time. But biting our nails was not an option as we were also invited to be guest hosts and announce this year’s Best Menswear Store Award, which was won by our dearest friend Cheerno! Cheerno gave a teary speech which was very heart felt.

We certainly did not go home empty handed thanks to you, in addition to winning popularity Award…

MADesigns Shapes Won as The Best Shape Store

For the complete rundown of all the nominations in each category and winners of this years GLANCE Fashion Awards in each visit GLANCE website.

We would like to congratulate all designers who have been nominated and especially winners of this year’s Fashion Awards.

If you have missed the televised version of the event as it was not opened to public, here is how it went down (including our thank you speech)…

Charriol Ansar, the COO (Chief Operations Officer) of the GLANCE introduced Shape category by saying:

“I will be your Hostess to introduce the Best Shapes Store category”

“As surprising as it may sound to those new to Second Life virtual fashion world, shaping one’s style doesn’t take only clothes and accessories. Shapes work the magic of transforming our default avatar look into a personality with unique, identifiable body features. Should we be tall, short, slender, curvy, muscular, thin or many other alternatives, the three dimensional representation of our virtual character relies essentially on shapes. Shape makers make our lives easier when it comes to transforming ourselves: we can buy shapes for roleplay, parties and fun purposes with a single click. The Best Shapes Store award is about celebrating those who take the time to contribute further to the virtual fantasy and style worlds in Second Life.”

“In 2011, 63 brands have been suggested for the Best Shapes Store category by the voting panel of the GLANCE Fashion Awards.”

“This year’s Nominees are…”

”  Body Doubles by Lyra Blackthorne and Persia Christensen
MADesigns by Maddox DuPont and Kirk Claymore
Redgrave by Emilia Redgrave
Sophistishapes by Sophia Rossen
Unique Megastore by body designer Iarita Beck”

“For the first edition of the GLANCE Fashion Awards…”

“The winner of the Best Shapes Store category is… “

“MADesigns by Maddox DuPont and Kirk Claymore!”

——————————————————-

Kirk and I than walked up and accepted the award, giving our Thank you speech – this one goes to everyone who took time to vote for us, is involved with KMADD on any level and has supported us over the years. We love you guys!

M: I feel like I am at the Oscars, Kirk
K:  Truly a magical evening, thankfully without the paparazzi!

M: Seriously now, first thanks GLANCE for organizing this years fashion awards. I am sure I speak for every designer in this room when I say that is a great honor to be included and to receive some sort of recognition for the work we do.

Both Kirk and I very grateful to be part of Second Life community and to do what we love. Being nominated is great honor to begin with and winning this award is truly humbling experience.

K: We would like to thank first our supporters – without you we wont be here today.
Your support is truly appreciated, you keep us going guys.

M: I personally would like to thank to Eve Petlyakov, KMADD Manager, who not only has helped over the past 12 months with customer service but with tedious admin side of SL business which keeps us away from creating. Eve has been amazing friend, manager and inspiration to me and I could not have done it without her.

K: We would also like to thank Risa Bright, MAD Agency Director who is responsible for the  success of MAD Agency modeling for the past 3 years. And to our MAD Agency models who are some of the best in the business and have been with us since we started.

M: As you know we love collaborating with designers and skin makers in what we do, therefore our thanks also goes to all you amazing designers who have put trust in us to promote your product and share in your success.

K: We extend our thanks to all the bloggers including our own team of MAD Image bloggers who choose to promote our products, your hard work is truly appreciated.

K: Thank you all and have a great evening!
M: Indeed, thank you!

——————————————————-

” Throughout our years as residents of the ever-evolving virtual world that is Second Life, we can face situations (themed parties, role-play needs…) where shaping a new personality is required. Shapes stores throughout the grid along with this year’s Nominees and winners, MADesigns, are here to assist you in this metamorphosis and guide you with style tips to look your best in your new shape.”

Awards displayed @ KMADD

Music composer Eric Whitacre is coming to Second Life!

[ click to enlarge ]

Well known music composer and genius behind the Virtual Choir Video, Eric Whitacre is coming to Second Life to do an interview on Tonight Live with Paisley Bebe (Treet.Tv).

MADesigns has been approached to create Eric’s avatar and dress him for this occasion.

To find out more about Eric’s work and his appearance in Second Life in December, go to Paisley’s website.

MADesigns interview in ELLE Magazine (CHINA)

[ click to download MADesigns wallpapers ]

You can view original article in Chinese here, but here is the translation.

PROFILE

Maddox DuPont is co-owner with Kirk Claymore of Second Life brand MADesigns (part of KMADD Enterprise) which specializes in Avatar creation offering products such as shapes, hair, eyes and poses. Maddox works as a creative director/set designer for MAD Agency, modeling agency owned by KMADD Enterprise. Kirk & Maddox also host 100 top fashion brands for men on their sim ~ KMADD City.

Website: www.kmaddcity.com

Blog: www.madimage.wordpress.com

Elle: Where are you from originally and what do you do for a living?

I live in Melbourne, Australia and have fine art background, majoring in multi-media. I work in Second Life full-time.

Elle: How did you hear about Second Life and how long have you been creating for the game?

I have been in Second Life for 3 years in August and have been creating avatars for the past 2 and half years. I heard about Second Life via media, it was a television program about one of Second Life’s content creators who was selling furniture and lived solely from Second Life. I did not quite understand what I was watching, but I decided to try Second Life as the whole idea was fascinating and promised a lot of creative opportunities.

Elle: How did you first become interested in creating avatars of Second Life?

Being in Second Life for the first 6 months reminded me of my childhood and school years. I was overwhelmed with how vast this world was, how much there was to see, do and learn and I had no idea where to start. So I started with myself and what I had passion for in my Real Life and that was photography.

Working as a Second Life photographer I often came across clients that did not look good but wanted to have beautiful photos, so to achieve this I had to help them make lots of adjustments to their body (appearance) and what they were wearing (style). Eventually people were seeking my advice and help for their avatars look good instead of coming for photos so I decided to make business out of it.

I created brand called MADesigns which initially specialized in creating avatars & looks (shapes) and over time with a help of my partner Kirk Claymore (Avatar name) and our creative team, MADesigns has become full blown virtual enterprise – KMADD Enterprise.

KMADD Enterprise today represents a conglomerate of several fashion businesses:

–         MADesigns which is the largest store in Second Life for shapes, skins, hair, eyes

–         MAD Agency – boutique fashion/modeling agency that promotes both male & female designers

–         MAD Studio – fashion/glamor photography studio

–         MAD Image – styling services and fashion blog

–         KMADD City – which hosts over 100 top fashion brands for men in Second Life.

Elle: What was it about Second Life that interested you so much?

When I first found out about Second Life I just could not get my head around the concept so I was intrigued to find out what it was and experience it for myself. At first I thought it was a game (like Sims) but soon I discovered that in terms of creativity and networking it offered much more than any game could do. Because entire Second Life is created by its residents and you have freedom to move, interact and create unlike in most games, it offered great potential for creativity and entertainment.

Today, I see Second Life as my virtual home and playground. I have friends here, it is where me and my partner spend time together since we live on 2 different continents and it is place where I work, create and can express myself without breaking my budget.

Elle: Can you really earn a profit from selling virtual items in Second Life?

It really depends. To be successful in Second Life is not much different from being successful in Real Life. You would need right skills, experience and patience to succeed in Second Life.

People coming to Second Life with sole purpose to make money often do not succeed. Only your passion can sustain you while you are building your business and developing Second Life specific skills, during this time you often make no money.

Also creative talent is not the only thing that is important and would make you successful in Second Life. Making profit in Second Life is about having a right product, good timing, effective marketing strategy and it can also depend on network and sometimes luck.

Making a business successful in Second Life is a lot of hard work, but it is also loads of fun.

Elle: How do you feel about the competition in your Second Life business from the other players and famous fashion brands?

As a content creator for Second Life I welcome the competition. Without it I would not feel as innovative, focused and motivated.

Elle:You have created many looks with your avatars do you follow particular style or criteria when you are creating?

Kirk and I like to make characters that are real in their appearance; the style and presentation we use needs to tell the story of that character. When we style our products (Avatars/Shapes) we go for more classical looks that will withstand the test of time and that customers would understand and can put together easily. We basically take a trend and we interpret it in a way that would appeal to as many types of people as possible. The styles that we do on our fashion blog are more involved, have high detail and so they require more advanced level of skill to put together than the average customer has.

I also personally create hair styles and here situation is different. Here I can really let go and create anything I like as it is product that provides unlimited possibilities, can be inspired by real life fashion or not and is very easy to use.

Elle: Do you follow the runway trends when you designing?

I think it is important to understand what is happening in fashion to be able to show style that is appealing and appears current. When you are designing you try to satisfy the most discerning customer first as this will automatically please the rest.

Elle: What is the hardest part of creating virtual style?

Because my business depends on other fashion designers having the right ingredients is probably most difficult part of creating a look in Second Life. Not all Second Life designers create clothing that is flexible and that you can mix and match. Items have to come in a right color & texture, on the right clothing layer and option to modify them to be able to fit them properly to your avatar sometimes could be missing. Although this is sometimes hard it is also exciting as new looks can be created that often look complete and made by same designer when in fact they are combination from many.

Elle: What do you think about the future of virtual fashion?

I believe that Second Fashion is still at the stage of infancy. Many designers have created great basics for us to wear but only few have managed to create trend or make full use of the Second Life as a medium.

Second Life designers often take inspiration from Real Life brands, I think the future of virtual fashion would be when Real Life brands start taking inspiration from Second Life designers.

Elle: If you could change one thing about the Second Life world, what would you change?

Content theft is one of the biggest issues in Second Life and one of the hardest to address. I believe that this issue can be dealt with more effectively by Linden Lab (owners of Second Life) than it is currently. Content theft robs original creators of their hard work and can discourage designers from investing in Second Life business.

Elle: How to be an expert Second Life fashion designer and where should a beginning designer start?

You cannot graduate and master something if you have not finished the elementary school. So I would start with learning Second Life – how it works, where to go, what is available and what you can do. There are volumes of information available on Second Life website as well as tutorials on YouTube and Google. Once you understand what you can do in Second Life and what is needed, ideas will come and the only thing would be left is to use your skills to make your ideas come true.

Elle: Have you ever tried to design for any other fields of Second Life?

Yes. I build all MAD Modeling Agency fashion sets on monthly basis and also create textures that can be used in building and photography.

Elle: Do you have marketing strategy for your on-line business?

Yes we definitely do. I have been blessed that my parent in Second Life is in marketing in Real Life so we are at advantage.

Marketing in Second Life however works quite differently from Real Life. Marketing strategy of course would vary depending what type of business you have; while some things will work for one business they may not work for other.

The best thing about Second Life marketing is that you can test what works and what does not with no great monetary consequences. Because marketing strategies are not created by big companies but individuals who might not have done anything like it before, most people in Second Life are more forgiving of poor marketing strategies and you can recover easily.

One thing to remember is that if you do not have a quality product or you are offering a product that is widely available no amount of good marketing would help in selling that product.

Elle: Which do you enjoy more, playing or designing?

I am self confessed workaholic so designing is mostly what I do. But when your work is designing it feels more like playing so it does not seem so bad.

Elle: Who is your costumer? Do you know about their real life? How do you know if your work is popular or not?

Because of what we do our business attracts customers that are new as well as experienced players, we also cater to all age groups and both male and female.

People usually tell you when your work is good. What is great about Second Life is having access to designers and being able to talk to them; make requests and give them feedback. My business is successful only because I care for my customers and what they think.

Elle: Do you ever think of being a real life stylist? If yes, what is your next step. If no, why?

I did consider it in the past, especially when I first started styling. You get excited and carried away when you discover new talents that you never thought you had before. Second Life is like that – it can awake a lot of hidden potential and allows you to make your dreams reality.

I do not have a need to be Real Life stylist. I am quite content to do what I love doing and possibly earn just as much as Real Life stylist and all from the comfort of my own home.