Name: Felicia Helendale
Store Name: ~*~ Felicia’s Fashions ~*~
How long has your store been open: Since June 6th, 2008
What do you sell:
Primarily Female Fashions and Accessories. All my outfits are designed as a full set, which included shoes. Though I am slowly trying to branch out into men’s fashions.
1) Sl offers its residents a wide variety of opportunities for creation and design. What elements inspired you, to begin creating? (Detail what particular items you offer to the residents of sl)
When I first joined the SL community back in the middle of 2006, there were already a lot of wonderful designers, but very few that offered the style of clothing I preferred to wear. Or if they did exist, they were really expensive, especially for newer players. When I first decided to try my hand at designing, I wanted to offer a complete outfit and shoes to a player at a price that was reasonable for the customer and for my time as well. I still try and cater to the needs of the customer. It isn’t always easy to anticipate what a customer might “wish” was included, but I try to design an outfit based on what I might like to see included if I were purchasing the outfit. I also offer a wide variety of colors and options for custom coloring. Right now I have a standard 27 colors that I tend to work with, giving an option for most people to find one they like.
I am also a role-player, and while I spent a little time in some of the role-playing areas in the past, I haven’t done so as much lately. But a lot of my ideas for what I wanted to see or own in clothing, came from my own modern character’s need or desire for a certain ‘look’. More lady-like or professional, less club styles or provocative in nature.
2) Success is often the ability to turn obstacles into opportunities. What have been some of your greatest achievements since you began designing?
This actually relates to your next question as well, but many people who know me now, also knew me as another avatar before I started designing. When I first started designing, it was also a way for me to focus my love of 3d graphic artwork into a different kind of medium. I had just been recently diagnosed with cancer, and design in SL had given me a way to keep my mind focused on something other than what I was going through. Just earlier this year, I had to have surgery because of the cancer that took me away from SL for months due to complications, in which time I lost my store because I wasn’t making the sales or the designs to keep business flowing. Coming back after that ordeal, rebuilding and reopening my store was a challenge and it might have been easier not to try, but SL and designing got me through some really tough moments in my life after my diagnosis, and I owed it to myself and the customers who had been so loyal to me these past four and half years, to put in the effort, and I am more than pleased now that I had.
3) Learning is a lifelong process, and none of us are expect from the lessons life teaches us. What has been the hardest things to overcome, and what lessons has it taught you?
My own fear of failing. I am a perfectionist by nature, but more on myself than on others. In the past four years I have found myself constantly comparing myself to some of the people who inspired me as designers, sometimes doubting myself so much that I will lose focus and creativity. I have at times found myself thinking I would never be able to do what they do, but over the years, I can do it. I may need someone to explain a technique or idea that I can’t quite get a grasp on, and learn a new way of doing something. But learning to embrace what I don’t know or don’t understand yet, has helped me to grow as a designer and as a person. We all start somewhere.
4) What are your plans for the future where your business is concerned?
As I mentioned earlier, I am planning on trying to include more male fashions in my designs. Ironically enough, they still intimidate me, but I will get there, eventually. I have no plans to expand the store itself, just the products I offer. Though I had been highly resistant to it at first, I have recently started creating some MESH outfits, but my focus will still remain on system clothing for a while. While MESH is an incredible addition to SL, not everyone likes it, and I still find I like the flow of a prim gown.
As a cancer survivor myself, I take many opportunities throughout the year to participate in fund raising activities with RFL and FFL specifically. This is something we will continue doing. I will also be hosting an event next year to bring awareness to another cause near and dear to me. I will be hosting a benefit for Cystinosis. More details will be also sent out about this in the months to come.
We are also in the process of creating our own “role-play” area and place for people to just come in and hang out. This is across from our store and will provide a place for people who would like to socialize, to have a place to do so. Once we decide on our ‘look’, we will send out an announcement to our group. Right now, for the holidays, we are building a winter area for people to come and hang out, ice skate, take photos and the like.
5) Based on your own experiences, what advice would you offer to new builders, designers and content creators?
First off, try. I put off designing at first because I was afraid I couldn’t do it, and when I look back at some of the things I first created now, as proud of them as I was when I had made them, I have come so much further than where I started. But like I said before, we all have to start somewhere. Just try.
If you are like me, and feel you need some guides, then by all means, use templates, but make the effort to change them into something of your own. Don’t just slap a texture on it and call it good. Pick it apart, see how things were made, cut, reshape, etc. Learn by doing. Templates are perfect for this. What is the worst that happens? You need to start over? I have been there and have an entire folder of projects I started that I never finished because it wasn’t working. But we all learn from our mistakes. Ask, ask, ask. The only silly question is the one not asked.
We are designers, not Gods. Just ask the poor designers I stuck up out of my reach on a pedestal, just how human they are too. *Winks* We are all going to make mistakes, but as long as you are having fun making them, then go for it!
One of my favorite quotes: “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.” ~Scott Adams
Felicia’s Favorite Design?
“There are a lot of reasons I love this gown. It was one of the first gowns I designed that didn’t have a traditional ballgown skirt and I love the elegance of it. It was a tie between this gown and the Erikah. But I went with the Dianna Bridal.”
Felicia’s Fashion is stop number 3 on the hunt path and definitely worth the visit. She has loads of great designs and amazing deals often. She added a bit of information regarding her store that she would like to share with you all. Grab the slurl and a clue to her Secret Santa Hunt gift on the Merchant Hint List.
“I currently belong to a number of sales groups, a few of the more notable ones, the $60L Weekend Groups, WomenStuff, Best of SL & Fabulously Free. Each week, I place a number of items up in my discount area and they remain for the entire week, not just over the weekend. I also send random gifts at different times of the year to my subscriber and my SL group. If you do have a group slot open, I encourage you to join. This group gets additional perks for giving me one of their SL group spots.
Also, every three months, I hold a store-wide secret sale, where I will randomly pick items in my store and put them one sale for more than 75% off. All of these are always mentioned in my notices sent out once sometimes twice a week, but never more than that. I do not spam my group with notices. Sometimes a “whisper” is more effective than “yelling” something.”