They have been in business since 2010, but few know about them in Italy: Kun Soup (skins designer in SL since 2009) and Niky Dorben (shapes designer and head of sales, in SL since 2010), together with the photographer Kissmebaby Allen (whom is also in charge of advertising, in SL since 2007) are the soul of 8 Designe, a “skin maker” which in Second Life started from zero coming to be appreciated by the international audience of users of the virtual world of Linden Lab (that in spite of what feels good part of the Italian press next June will celebrate 11 years in business, is in good health and continues to be developed: these days, for example, the Californian company has announced the upcoming introduction of the deformed mesh, which give a jolt to the producers of shape, skins and accessories for avatars, no less than the builders). We got to chat these days, on Facebook, with Niky and here’s what we found.
Lukemary Slade: Is it a long time since 8Designe is active in SL?
Niky Dorben: It‘s 4 years old, not bad right? Also because we really made on our own. At first it was difficult, in the world of skins there were giants, but eventually we found our space and I think that, especially with regard to male skins, we really are at optimum levels.
L.S.: One of the nice things about SL is that it still gives you plenty of room to start “from below”, far more than can be said about the real economy, isn’t it? How have you discovered SL and how did you came up with the idea of 8Designe?
N.D.: Yes, so true. I discovered Second Life for fun, reading, then after entering I met my future partner (Kun Soup), a true “ace” in the use of Photoshop. We enjoyed temperamentally, I am Neapolitan, he is a Roman, and we decided to start this adventure, then about a year ago joined us our photographer, Kissmebaby Allen.
L.S.: Have you attended graphic schools, or pushed you the simple passion for drawing?
N.D.: Both of these things: at first I did not even know what it was Photoshop, thanks to Kun and Kissmebaby now something I can do, even if I’m not yet able to create a skin from scratch as Kun does.
L.S.: What do you do to promote yourself, only in world activity and/or on socials as FB, or you even have blogs, Flickr’s galleries, etc?
N.D.: Kissmebaby has a blog where he advertises only our skin (along with other designers outfits), then gradually are increasing the bloggers that make us a testimonial talking about our skin on their blogs. Of course we have more international bloggers (and customers) that follow us than Italians, in fact until about a year ago you can say that Italians do not even know who we were there.
L.S.: You have the feeling that SL over the past four years has improved, stayed the same or gone back?
N.D.: Good question: technically improved slightly, but maybe the spirit in which it is born, the project was a little lost, though, I think, is inevitable in the long run, even if economically speaking our business holds up pretty well.
L.S.: What would you recommend to anyone wishing to start a business like yours now?
N.D.: Humility first and curiosity, but I guess this is advice that is always good in all fields. You do not need special initial capital, while a minimum of competence of a graphics program definitely helps, although it is true that you can make them even by buying skin templates (but in this way you will never propose anything original to emerge).
L.S.: Last question: is there a store “in world” or you are also on SL Marketplace?