On Sunday, May 1st, Meiling launched her SL store with a trunk show held at the BOSL country club.The launch was a study in RL meets SL where Meiling herself chatted in voice to the audience and answered all questions.
The intimate crowd of selected bloggers, fashionistas and fashion mavens then moved to the innovative and beautiful new store on Vade Mecum. Meiling - Au Courant Style
These are some of the questions and answers.
1. What is your impression of SL so far?
Frankly, I am in thorough amazement over SL. The opportunities and creativity is boundless and I am extremely impressed with the people I have encountered so far. A few years ago when I heard about it, I never thought in my wildest dreams that today I would be launching a store here and collaborating with such the professional and experienced BOSL team from around the globe. I also want to say that couture fashion in SL is of such a high standard and our hope is that our designs will contribute to it.
2. How did you learn about SL and what made you interested in coming to a virtual world to introduce your designs?
Chigadee London, who has had one of the premier hat shops in SL for several years now introduced me to SL. When she first told me about it, I was the typical skeptic and couldn't wrap my head around the whole concept. However I did give her the go ahead to quietly test a few of my designs under another label. She also continued to send me articles from the media including the New York Times piece about fashion in SL and that was when the light bulb went on. I am indebted to Chigadee who has created and translated my RL designs to SL designs to make sure they are up to the high SL standards. I also could not have had a presence in SL without the master sculpty building skills of Balthazar Fouroux who also designed and built the dream store I wish I always had.
3. I understand that you yourself is pretty new to SL but having seen this world so far, do you think that fashion business is SL is similar to doing business in real life? If so, in what ways?
OMG.. the opportunities are boundless to reach an international audience in a unique but tangible way. The business process was not unlike RL. We had to find a location, design and build a store which encapsulated my brand, create the clothes for a collection which tells a story and embark on a marketing plan to get the word out. We have set budgets like any RL business and my SL presence is infact part of my RL advertising budget. The only difference to the SL way of doing business is that I dont' have to make the outfits over and over again from scratch!
I would also like to finally add that I am also impressed with the sense of community in SL. In the same way, I have a community in RL which I call the Meiling Family made up of loyal customers, models, photographers, artists, media folk - you name it. I could not have been as successful as I am today without their unwavering support. My hope in SL is to also replicate the Meiling Family SL where I am accessible and approachable to residents.
4. Do you think being a designer in SL will help your business in real life? If so how?
Yes we thoroughly believe that our presence in SL can only enhance my RL business. Even before we have officially launched in SL, my RL website's traffic has increased dramatically as people from all over the world are now seeing my work for the first time. The feedback has been nothing but complimentary and encouraging. Here is the website address
As a designer I am always up to date on the latest innovations and trends internationally and regionally. My SL entry is literally 'keeping ahead of the game' as a fashion innovator and cutting edge designer especially in the Caribbean.
I am also preparing to enter new markets in Europe with my export lines and SL offers an opportunity to 'set the stage' for my RL business. The Meiling brand will have already been out there on the avatars of the vicarious fashionistas, so when the real thing finally arrives, they are familiar with it and know what it stands for.I hope my entry to SL will encourage more RL designers to make a commitment to SL as we have.
Meiling on BOSL stage with slide show behind her
Part of the stellar BOSL team, (L to R)Kay Fairey, Umberto Giano & Viola Rookswook
* A shout out to the Avalon Estates sim management team who made sure everything ran smoothly as the sims were invaded with fashionistas from all over the grid