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In the vast virtual universe of Second Life, where creativity knows no bounds, certain individuals rise to prominence with their exceptional talent and entrepreneurial spirit. Among them, Kiria Velour, the renowned creator behind the Velour brand, has captured the attention of both virtual fashion enthusiasts and fellow creators alike. In this exclusive interview, we delve into Kiria’s remarkable journey, focusing on her unique experience navigating the modifications to Second Life’s Marketplace algorithm—a change that resulted in a downturn for many creators, but paradoxically led to an upswing in Kiria’s sales.
As the virtual world evolves, so too does the landscape for content creators. For years, the Second Life Marketplace has served as a platform for creators to showcase and sell their wares, including Kiria’s stunning array of skins. However, when an algorithm update sent shockwaves through the community, causing a contraction in sales for numerous creators, Kiria’s business took an unexpected turn.
In this captivating interview, we uncover the secrets behind Kiria Velour’s triumphant ascent amid the algorithmic upheaval. How did she manage to turn adversity into an opportunity? What insights and strategies allowed her to navigate this unprecedented shift in the virtual market?
Oema: Kiria, many creators have reported a decline in sales after the algorithm change, but your store, Velour, has experienced an increase in sales. What strategies or changes have you implemented that you believe contributed to this positive outcome?
Kiria Velour: First, thanks for giving me space to talk about it.
I didn’t care much for the SL marketplace, in fact, I had no idea that it could be a lucrative market, I thought it was in disuse, but when the Bonnie Bots controversy came to light, with the leak of sales data, I saw that yes, it was a lucrative market, then I started to list all my products on Marketplace.
What I did was use all my data from my vendor system in my favor. When I listed a face skin, for example, I searched in the vendor system what skin tone was the most sold, and then I put that in Marketplace Listings, always listing on the home page & payment receipt page.
Also, I noticed that the people who consume on the SL marketplace are a different audience, so I always try to keep the store updated with new things, placing items little by little, so that if they come back in the future, they will have new items.
I realize that in SL if you disappear for a while, you are easily forgotten, as it is our culture to be consumerist, and so designers are obliged to always be in evidence, releasing new things. I used this observation to keep the marketplace always updated on a weekly basis.
With that, since March 2023, we have had an increase of 213% in Marketplace sales.
Oema: Could you share any insights or observations you’ve made about the changes in the algorithm and how they might have impacted your store differently from other creators?
Kiria Velour: I’m seeing many creators complaining about this algorithm change in Marketplace, so it must have been a very sudden change, but I honestly don’t know what I’m doing differently from the other stores, since I know some of them also use listings in the products and have sales going down and down.
Oema: Have you noticed any specific trends or patterns in customer behavior that might explain the increase in sales for Velour despite the algorithm change?
Kiria Velour: I have a theory, for example, Velour is mostly a beauty store, and we don’t sell just one type of product in this field: we sell face skins, body skins, lipsticks, eyeshadows, face add-ons, and eyebrows.
My theory is, the person sees one listing of ours on the home page or payment recipes page, checks the item, and then looks at the whole marketplace store, then buys more products. I see many customers buying many products at once like face skin + makeup + face add-ons.
Also, I used to make clothes in the past, so I have a few old clothes in the marketplace too. Maybe they feel like in a place where they can buy everything at once?
Oema: Did you make any adjustments to your marketing or promotional efforts to adapt to the new algorithm, and if so, what were they?
Kiria Velour: The only thing I did differently was hiring a person to make my marketplace listings, but it wasn’t because of the algorithm. The point of me wanting to invest in putting products on the marketplace had only the objective of earning more passive income after I discovered that the Marketplace was a potential market after the Bonnie Bots controversy.
Oema: Were there any changes in the way you designed and developed the skins that you believe made a difference in attracting more customers and boosting sales?
Kiria Velour: Regarding the face skins, no, but regarding Body Skins, we released the new Picasso babe body skins this year, in February, and since then we released for the first time the VELOUR Body Skins in Marketplace, and it’s our best body skin ever, we put so much work on it, so I think maybe it has affected in a positive way all our sales in Marketplace since people buy skins for the body and then buy more stuff from us.
Oema: Did you actively engage with your customer base or community during the transition period to address any concerns or provide them with additional value? If so, how did that contribute to your increased sales?
Kiria Velour: Unfortunately, I didn’t.
Oema: Have you received any feedback from your customers regarding the changes in the Marketplace algorithm and how it has affected their shopping experiences? How did you respond to their feedback?
Kiria Velour: Unfortunately I haven’t also, but I would love to hear that since I’m always open to feedback.
Oema: Have you collaborated or formed partnerships with other creators or businesses within Second Life to leverage their audiences and increase exposure for Velour Store? If yes, could you elaborate on the impact of such collaborations?
Kiria Velour: Yes I did, an in-world collaboration. In February we released the Picasso Babe Body skins with ItGirls, the owner is my Real Life best friend.
For the release, we invited Lelutka to release a new head, Legacy set the mesh bodies with a 50% discount, MASOON released a lingerie set with the Picasso Babe skin tones, and several skin stores to release matching face skins, such GLAM AFFAIR, GLOOM, IVES, REVOUL, LUEUR, PURPLE & DEETALEZ. Since then, we always promote collaborations when we have new stuff for Picasso Babe in our mainstore.
It was an epic collaboration, all the designers were satisfied with that, the store reached 100k traffic one of the days, and it was such an amazing experience for both designers and customers.
Oema: How do you think the quality of your skins, in terms of design, textures, and overall user experience, has played a role in attracting more customers and sustaining the increase in sales?
Kiria Velour: I believe that the name VELOUR is synonymous with quality and excellence in body skins, so the customers always associate that with a great choice for their avatars.
In addition, it is a store where they can count on big compatibility, since today, at the end of June 2023, we have more than 750 stores that make face skins compatible with our bodies.
Oema: Looking ahead, how do you plan to maintain the upward sales trend for Velour Store in light of potential future algorithm changes or shifts in the virtual marketplace landscape?
Kiria Velour: I hope to keep the marketplace updated, and always release things that complement the avatar, so customers can feel like they’re in a place where they can find almost everything they’re looking for. It’s a strategy that I replicate very well at VELOUR MALL, the mall I created with my personal friends in 2020 and people there can buy skins, shoes, cosmetics, and soon even hair.
Thank you so much, Kiria, for sharing with us your experience and knowledge in improving our Marketplace Sales Strategy.