Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Price of Pride?

One of the greatest pleasures I get from SL is spending obscene amounts of lindens on complete and total crap. It's true! I don't earn any money in SL, but the way I see it is that my £20 goes a lot further in here, than it does out there *shudders*. However one thing I've always found interesting is the vast difference in the value people place on the items they've lovingly created to sell. Prices vary hugely, where you're roughly paying Leezu Baxter a grand for an outfit. All very nice and wonderful but consider Bare Rose. High quality, enough options to cloth a small army and with some pretty innovative shit going down. All for around 140L$.

It's the same with skins, when the skin thief picketing kicked off I duly trotted along to have a look (I'm a nosy bitch). The thing that struck me was that the majority of the stolen skins on sale at most of these places were RaC. Now before y'all start thinking this is me slagging off RaC for being ridiculously overpriced, it's not. I've forked out me 4k to own some of Mallory's skins and the ones that I like are gorgeous. But I can't help feeling that paying that much money for six different lipsticks is a bit, well, crap. It's no surprise that people aim for her skins to rip over other skins, they don't see a difference in quality or popularity like most of the fashion community. What they see is cash, and 4k a skin set is a pretty sum of money. It's also no surprise that people buy these 'ripped' skins if they feel they're being unfairly charged for the real thing. Even with all the theft that abounds it doesn't seem to effect the creators. You only need to take a peek at the prices paid for the classifieds. If Mallory Cowen gave me the money she pays for her weekly classified for one week, it'd pay for my sim for three months. Minnu is the same, up until recently she was paying much the same for her ads. Now however the only classified you'll find for her store is for 50L$ and belongs to Aradia Dielli.

It really makes you wonder why these prices are so high? I mean people must be paying them but why? You're not necessarily paying for quality, and taste is a personal thing. Is it that we're buying into the hype? Is there some personal kudos to be had in swanning around in an outfit that cost much much more than other peoples? Who decides that the skin from Minnu is better than the one from Celestial Studios and why are you paying 200L$ more for only one skin from the former? Who says that the 500L$ jeans from Redgrave are more deserving of you money than the 145L$ ones from Armidi? Oh, and what the fuck is the point of these classifieds anyway?

I'm not expecting to change anything with this post, shit it'd be nice if people dropped some of their prices of course, but it's very unlikely to happen. Which is a shame really. If RaC skins were available in single skin packs for 1000L$ I'd probably have spent a lot more than 4k there. If Leezu Baxter dropped one of the numbers in her four digit sets I would have actually bought something from her store.

But my linden contribution is a small drop in the ocean, but I'm pretty certain I'm not the only one who feels this way. Who knows, maybe there's a small fortune these high end creators are missing out because they are alienating people with their prices and maybe one day they might just realise this.


Phoenix Chapman said...

For a long time I thought the classified ads didn't do anything, but after talking to both Minnu and another designer who has recently made very large classified ads, I can tell you the difference is huge for sales. It's probably directly attributed to the newbies who know about classifieds, but not about out-of-world advertising venues.

Dove Swanson said...
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Dove Swanson said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dove Swanson said...

I think Phoenix is right. I remember being a newbie who knew how to figure out classifieds and thought anything that hit real high up had to be a total win. But I didn't know about feeds, blogs, etc and so on. Then again, I'm not even sure when I started that stuff was all that popular - kinda like the sims now that incoporate a ton of different shops in one place - I don't remember a ton of that going on when I started either - most people were still stuck on crappy mainland sims.

ANYWAY! heh. I ramble.

I totally agree Kitty...I have my guilty pleasures, but I can be quite a penny pincher when I want to be. (or have to be, I used to give myself only a 20 dollar monthly allowance - holy, try making that stretch!)

I've come across probably five shops in the past two weeks that I purposely stated "Nope, I won't buy that. I love it, it's beautiful, but it's the same quality as XYZ and they sell it for half the price. I won't feed this insanity."

It sucks. Cuz I really really really wanted those fucking shoes. Dammit. But I refuse to pay that much for them. (no, not talking about those Moody shoes everyone is wonky over lately)

I've had people tell me over and over that my prices in my own shop are too low, that I could have charged double what I do and they still would have bought them. I've also had tons of people thank me for keeping my prices so reasonable.

I just never thought it was fair to charge so harshly simply because you can. I'm not stupid, I'm aware that I could charge more for my poses and probably still make a really really nice lump off of them...but I'd just feel like a real jackass, considering I know exactly what goes into making a pose.

So yeah, when and where I can, I try not to support the price-jackers. *weeps for those darn shoes*

If you want to buy me a gift card to said price-jacker's shop, I won't feel guilty at ALL about spending that! :D Yeehoo!

I edited this because in my moment of rambling I forgot to add why exactly I think it is that people will keep buying from the expensive places. Same as RL - status symbols. Kind of like fads and trends...whatever the new "IT" thing is - people will flock to it. One that I always find amusing is the 'hair industry' in SL - it is SO popularity-driven. I've seen some of the shittiest hair ever on so many heads simply because *someone who was somebody* (apparently) said it was cool and everyone had to have it.

Sorry this is so long. I suck.

Winter Jefferson said...

..... will you marry me?

No, seriously, that's exactly what I've been thinking. Standing in front of the boards at House of Ryfre (for example), and drooling - yet working out how may ensembles I can get at Bare Rose or Ravenwear for the same price. I can afford it, yet I choose not to on principle.

Lawless McBride said...

holy talky mctalkerton swanson stole all my comments!!!...but i do agree, one thing that burns my arse is buying a skin at the extremely high full price that i know is exactly the same as a skin i already own except for one slight variation, such as it has emo makeup around the eyes, or a soul patch, or freckles, etc...i think dove is right though, people do it because they like to brand name drop here just as much as they do in RL...and i second someone buying dove those shoes, otherwise im going to have to eventually and i was saving my lindens for my new brand name skin with arse pimples...

Anessa Stine said...

Selling skin in packs only is incredibly limiting. I would love to be able to own skin from so many makers - nice to have in my modelling arsenal, but i surely don't need a full set of 6. It's really sad that some content creators don't understand that some of us are buying a skin that we can wear daily and will pay the extra expense for the options, but many of us need to change skins regularly and really need the option to buy one.

As for other big ticket items, if I want it and I am willing to pay for it I am sure many more are doing the same. But it is definately apprecited when we see quality products for reasonable prices, I think it discourages content thieves and copycats.

Anonymous said...

Well said is all I have to say.

Willis said...




When I sold my sim and had a billionty lindens, I really didn't care much about prices, because I didn't *have* to. Now... I don't work anymore in SL, sure I sell a few shapes here and there, but nowt special, and I do the odd thing here and there.. but I have no *real* source of income.. and I am le poor.

I really can't afford to buy lindens, being on Mat Leave (and of course because I am providing for my baby! *nods* >.>), so i'm left with few lindens and a gillionty things to buy.

It makes me THAT cranky that sometimes I don't log in, because I am a brat and I want to stamp my feet and own all I want to own and still have my measley lindens left. I have learnt to be thrifty and utilise the 5 billion skins and hairs I have, and mix up the 10 jillion outfits I have.

But I still wish, sometimes, that some things were more affordable, or that I had a SLjob.. or just that things were free!

Pointless ramble over, continue!

Kitty Lalonde said...

@ Phoe

Ahh thankee!I kinda forget about the little nooblet creature things. Although I still maintain that the amount of money spent on some of them is, well, retarded.

@ Dove

You're a lovely little talkative bunny aren't you? And no, it's not to long, I'm beginning to rely on you to beef up my posts. I will put a word like umm "Cheese" and you can do the post in comments! I have to agree with you on the status symbol although even having that is little comfort when you spend over 800L$ on something that my cat might have thrown up.
p.s. Of course I'll buy you the shoes so long as I can drag you round on a lead wearing nothing but the shoes.


Polygamy's legal in SL right? I have to admit to doing that too, I think you can pretty much find everything at Bare Rose nowadays when you're brave/drunk enough to face the chaos *shivers*

@ Lawless

I'm buying Dove the shoes, but can I play join the dots on your pimply arse when you get it?

@ Annessa

definitely with skins it would be so much better if they were all around the same place as all the skins have pros and cons. CS has occasional arse issues, RaC have old mans hands, Cake have a lack of skin tones between sunbed and goth. The list is endless.

@ Anon

OMG! A nice anon comment! *hugs*

Kitty Lalonde said...


How dare you sneak in while I was writing my loooooong replies and make me look mean! You complete cow! *glares*

I know what you mean, I've gone from buying muchos lindens and scampering about the grid scattering my money on deserving, and not so deserving heads. To hoarding them quietly in a big box buried underground, where I sit on top growling at people. Now I'm much less likely to see summit I sorta like and go "Fuck it" and more likely to spend 20 minutes analyzing usage from said item and working it out in cost vs time worn mathmatical equations (which is bad).

The upshot of that is that I get so pissy having to use my peabrain that I stomp off and don't buy it.

p.s. I actually have no clue what I just wrote, it made sense in my head though.

Willis said...

You COW!

But yes, I have a box like that too, and I am extremely growly of late.



Madison said...

Yanno, on the subject of RaC skins, I think they are down right gorgeous and I too agree single packs would bring me in to buy more. However, that store is always busy, and as long as the masses continue to pay the price, there is little incentive for change.

@ Winter
While I agree that there is a problem with a designer who charges 800L plus for an outfit that comes with 3 *average quality* pieces and no layer options, I have to take issue with your comment about RFyre. She offers sooo many pieces with variations, lots of layers, etc. Its not uncommon to get 10 pieces for that high price tag. That is one situation I don't mind shelling out the Lindens for.

Valryn Vandeverre said...

I'm just starting out with the whole running my own shop thing in SL. I don't consider myself a business type dealie. I make shit I want to wear if its good enough, i sell it. I don't make stuff just to sell.

As to prices. Well, I can't count the number of times I've strutted right past Harods of London and headed for Marks and Spencers :)

I dont own a MM skin or a RaC. Tried both on, numerous versions and as I stood there, cam zooming in on my titties and ass. I could not justify the price.

When I'm putting together an outfit for sale. I look at a number of things, with my basic skill/style of details at the moment, I'm still learning new tricks every day, a number of my first trail and error items are sold for 0L or 1L. The more advanced I get the better I feel about putting 50L price on a mini skirt or 75L on hairstyle.

I don't plan on raising my prices as my style and detailing advance. I want people to leave my shop looking good and FEELING kick ass about the fact that they got a whole bunch of stuff.. and still have some money left over to tip the Gigalo Dancers with :)

I guess I boil it down to a basic difference.

I'm not in SL to make money.

As such, I don't need to sell gear at gut churning prices. If I can buy a new pair of hooker heels once or twice a month and still pay my tier fees. I'm cool.

But remember, alot of those high price places, have some seriously high price tier fees ect to figure into their expenses.

-random side fetish-

Word Verification is 'Nazczhs'

Sounds like how a sneeze sound would be spelled methinks :)

Elaine Lisle said...

I was having that very same conversation with a friend just 2 days ago!

It all started because I got myself a few demos from RaC just to see what those prices were all about... and honestly, I still find it hard to justify.

The conclusion we reached was exactly the same as what Dove said - one of the many things she said ;-) - they're meant to be status symbols.

We the poor will have to stick to either more conveniently priced stuff (some of which is amazingly good) or the freebies that those generous and talented creators want to shower us with.

Ivey Deschanel said...

Very well said. This has been a big topic around the proverbial water cooler lately. I think the solution is to share our finds and links with each other and landmarks with the new people we meet. I always ask "where did you get that" and inspect prim pieces like hair and accessories. Thats how I get my fave stuff. My problem with shopping lately has been...why buy it when I can make something very similar for myself. This of course excludes wigs and shoes. I just can't stop splurging on those for some reason. As a designer I find I'd much rather sell items at a reasonable price for full outfits and have the traffic numbers than just a few shoppers a day that buy one or two overpriced things. Maybe cause thats the kind of shopper I am. I'd rather be succesful at getting a great deal than brag about my new designer blah blah. Anyhow...I completelty concur. Great Post!

Ivey Deschanel said...
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amaterasu said...

Have to say I totally agree with what you have said here. Lately have taken to buying Another Skin mods at $1, and the better done ones are just as good as many of the big name makers' skins.
As far as high end couture prices go, why bother paying them? Inevitably if you look around enough there will be a small boutique that is making a very similar item at just as good quality for a fraction of the price.
Personally I agree with you also on the comment about the money some of the high end designers are missing. To me it makes much more sense to sell 10 of an item at $300 than just one at $1200.

Winter said...

@ Winter
While I agree that there is a problem with a designer who charges 800L plus for an outfit that comes with 3 *average quality* pieces and no layer options, I have to take issue with your comment about RFyre. She offers sooo many pieces with variations, lots of layers, etc. Its not uncommon to get 10 pieces for that high price tag. That is one situation I don't mind shelling out the Lindens for.


@Madison - you are correct, as always. Rfyre was just the name that popped into my head at the time. I apologise to the designer.

I don't take advantage of all the options, though. I tend to pull together a look that I like, and the rest of the items languish at the bottom of my inventory for all time. What works for me doesn't mean that others should follow, but that's an explanation of how I dress.

.... I'm just a dumb, if remarkably sexy male after all.


bex hathaway said...

Not everyone who wears a Rac skin does so because it's a status symbol, I wear it because I love mine, and have been wearing it since the beginning of my time fact, when I bought my skin there were only two skins in my color tone available there. I have lots of other skins, but this one just works the best for me (although I agree about the old hands).
But, I think it was money well spent, I wear it day in and day out for over a year now, so I guess you could say I got my "moneys worth".

With clothes I think its different, I tend not to wear any article of clothing more than a few it seems like such a waste to spend that much on anything. I can't justify that to myself.
How many times are you going to really wear that 4 figure dress? Better off spending that money on a much more lasting and versatile mix-n-match wardrobe.
I don't mind paying for quality, but I don't want to feel like I'm being ripped off either.

Anonymous said...

Great post Kitty!

I tried on some skins from RaC but I thought the color palettes of the makeups were far too pale. The fact she only offers them in sets only turned me off even further.

I guess it's like how women are addicted to Louis Vutton handbags (which I think are ugly and don't match -anything- in most women's wardrobes). It's all about the status and saying that 'Hey I'm rich enough to have this'.

Sidonie said...

I own a RAC skin set, and I own several Minnus and I own Tuli and I own Fleur(formerly TAP) and several others. So, you could say that I have skins from all over the pricing spectrum.

What they have in common is that I liked something about them on my shape which has been refined ever since my first horror struck rez day. ;)

None of them felt perfect. Like, this is it. This is the skin that is me. This is the skin that defines me and I will go out and buy umpty jillion make ups in this skin because it is *it*.

And, I tried RAC and after much grumbling, bought RAC strictly for this reason. The thing I liked about RAC, for me, was that although I personally see some flaws with them - there is something about the face I wear (TASHA Smoky) that feels like me. I don't wear that face all the time, sometimes I think it's a little too sweet. But I wear it enough to justify the six pack.

I didn't buy it cause of the name. I explored pretty much every "good" skin suggested to me and some no name ones besides. I do notice, that RAC is a skin name that is suggested pretty much at the drop of a hat whenever someone says, what's a good skin to buy?

It is probably the most recommended skin in or in the top five most recommended skins in SL. That proves, if nothing else, that word of mouth is the best advertising bar none.

After you've seen the noobie offerings out there from "free shops" suddenly these "expensive" skins seem like manna from heaven.

I justified the skin purchase to myself this way. 4k for 6 skins (okay lipstick changes but many skins are like that) is about 825 per skin. This is in the ball park I can deal with. I admit though that 4k in a wad gives one pause much faster than 750 or 1k does.

And I do agree, that any store which does not offer layer options or really odd ones like a few do, that then charges over 1k for an outfit, is kind of not barking up my tree. I will buy any "cheaper" items i like though.