Saturday, January 21, 2012

What Love Creates...

Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence.

Eric Fromm

I thought that title might catch your attention. Although, I can’t take credit it for it.  It’s the name of a hunt taking place in Second Life (SL) in February and is being put on by FAR Hunt Group.  I found out about the hunt and the company from Kaii Kiranov  whom I wrote my last blog about.  She told me about Ava Runner and the hunt that she is organizing and asked if I’d like to meet her.  Never needing a second invitation for an interview, I quickly said yes and went off to schedule an appointment. 

I meet Ava at FAR Concepts inworld  which is the home of FAR Hunt Group.  FAR Hunt Group is a subsidiary of FAR Concepts which focuses on hunts, networking, and marketing for vendors across the grid. 

I begin by asking Ava about herself and what brought her to SL in the first place.  She replies that she first arrived inworld in 2006 after reading a news article about SL.  When I ask why she stayed, I receive the answer that I’ve heard from many residents, because she learned basic building and was hooked!  (I wonder if Linden Lab (LL) ever wondered in the beginning that the Linden Script Language would be responsible for so many staying in SL?)

Ava has found SL to be, as she puts it, an amazing creative outlet.  During the course of six years, presenting as different avatars, she has built homes, furniture, jewelry, clothing, and even sims.  SL has been both a business and a hobby for her.  When she was not building for her business, she was building for friends or herself. 

My questions turn to where the idea for FAR Hunt Group came from?  Ava tells me that while discussing the SL economy with her partner and husband, Falk Runner, they felt there should be more ways to help businesses promote themselves and others in a way that was not overkill to the consumer.  Knowing how popular hunts are in SL, they decided to move forward with a new division and dedicate it entirely to that. 

(BTW, Ava and Falk are another one of those couples who met in SL and became a married couple in Real Life (RL).  They now have a six month old daughter (in RL).  Later this year, I’ll do a story on folks like them.) 

Within two weeks of its inception, they had filled their first hunt, “What Love Creates”.  They put in place a successful VIP vendor program as well.  Ava feels that through all the networking that they are doing with customers and other vendors they are building an impressive content base.  If approached by someone outside of her field, Ava is confident that there are other businesses that she can work with, and will, to help her customers. To date, they have been profitable enough to work on a new project for the benefit of her customers. 

I ask about the first hunt, “What Love Creates”, which is being held from February 1st to 14th.  Ava replies that it’s theme is what does love create for each of us individually.  As an example, she cites Athena Naminosaki, a VIP Vendor, who chose comfort and crafted a special outfit for men and women.    

Future hunts will be monthly and each will have a different theme.  Since, Ava’s first hunt begins in February, normally associated with Valentine’s Day, the “What Love Creates” was chosen as the theme.  She and Falk wanted something that would be familiar enough, and yet open enough, to be a creative challenge for the vendors.  Ava expects the emotions created by the theme in the vendors will inspire them to create original, one-of-a-kind items. 

FAR Hunt Group’s business model is to create monthly themed hunts for its clients and then to promote them.  They also promote specific businesses through their VIP Vendor program.  Participants receive blog mentions, photographs, and an interview.  They also benefit from special notices sent to FAR Hunt Group’s members as well as special sales.  Ava works with these vendors outside of hunts and she enjoys the special r elationships that she has with them.  In short, FAR Hunt Group acts as a marketing/advertising-cum-publicist (I’ll bet you didn’t realize that I just made this term up.) for its clients. 

The February Hunt will have fifty-two extremely talented vendors specializing in everything from full perm content (Mattie Rae’s Fabrics and Notions), to clothing (Shey Fashion by Cuba Avedon), to furnishings (BagLady Designs by Tattoodive Jules).   A complete list of vendors and information on how to apply to participate is available on the FAR Hunt Group blog. 

FAR Hunt Group charges a onetime fee to its clients which secures them automatic acceptance into all future hunts.  Ava says this fee is a fraction of what other hunt organizers charge for similar packages. 

I ask about potential competitors in other hunts and the SL Marketplace.  Ava doesn’t view these as competitors but simply as additional opportunities to promote their vendors.  She mentions Mariposarosa Resident, owner of Tiende de Textura, who owns a company called TDT Hunts.  Ava views her hunt programs as an additional means of promoting her won clients and encourages them to avail themselves of this potential channel. 

FAR Hunt Group is also developing a retail center where all their vendors can be found in one place. 

As for the SL Marketplace, Ava views it as just another tool to increase revenues.  But, since some customers prefer inworld shopping to avoid Marketplace fees, they can take advantage of a convenient, event filled location provided by FAR Hunt Group. 

I leave Ava at this point because a customer has arrived and I’m through with my questions.  (People must get tired of me.)  Ava had also called out the FAR Hunt Group staff who help her and Falk, Auburn Firelight, her executive assistant, and Athena Naminosaki of Tragic Beautiful Photography, their staff photographer. 

I feel good after this interview because I saw a small SL business getting started and being successful.  I met a business owner who is positive and upbeat about SL’s future. And, finally, Ava and Falk are building another one of those communities that I keep finding in SL and keep proving to me that there is stll plenty of life left inworld. 

And, please remember to visit “What Love Creates” between February 1st and 14th so that everyone who’s working on this program can have the satisfaction of having other residents participate.  (I can sympathize, I like to think someone is reading my blogs!)

I would like to thank Ava Runner for taking the time to meet with me and talk about herself and her work in SL.  I would also like to thank Kaii Kiranov for introducing me to Ave.  As always, I’m grateful to all for their kindness and time in stopping to talk with a stranger who was passing through their lives.
I welcome feedback from readers, please either comment on my blog or e-mail me at . 

     If you would like to read about my other adventures in Second Life
please click here.

Photo No. 1: Ava Runner

Photo No. 2: FAR Concepts Main Location

Photo No. 3: Falk Runner

Photo No. 4: “What Love Creates” Poster

Photo No. 5: Mattie Rae’s Fabrics and Notions

Photo No. 6: Bag Lady Designs

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