By Cybergrrl Oh
Getting to Know Rolig Loon, Clothing Designer
“I started about ten months ago, making simple things like T-shirts for myself. They were pretty bad, but the experience piqued my imagination,” says Rolig Loon, a clothing designer who opened her first in-world shop on Elysian Isle and has recently opened a second, larger one, on the Rich Idiot island plaza. “I became fascinated by flexi and the challenge of creating fabric textures that would look good in SL.”
Loon designs her own fabrics and patterns – rarely anything is bought or borrowed from other designers. Her shop, Så Roligt! – Swedish for “Such fun!” – is a tastefully appointed space featuring her pastel-toned feminine and classic designs. She says she is fearless when it comes to experimentation, and she works quickly.
“I’ve always liked designs that draw on nature – not necessarily literal butterflies and flowers – although I like them too – but organic themes that conjure up a natural, outdoors feeling as opposed to stark geometricals,” says Loon. “I prefer soft lines as opposed to sharp, hard ones, and I like flounce – clothes that flow with you.”
Loon admits that marketing is by far her biggest challenge.
“My shops are not in high traffic areas – I am not a mall person in SL or RL – so helping people find me is a continual challenge,” she says. “I put a lot of effort into maintaining a blog at http://sarolig.blogspot.com, but I am not sure how much business it brings in, or even who reads it. So far, word of mouth has been my most reliable marketing tool, but it takes a while to build a client base that way.”
For Loon, her greatest rewards being a Second Life entrepreneur and clothing designer have been the people she has met and the friends she has made inworld.
“I have never done anything like this in RL, so having a great community of women behind me has been a real help,” Loon explains. “The other great reward is finding that people actually like to buy and wear the clothes I make.”
Designing dresses, separates, and now bathing suits, is fun for Loon, but she admits that she still has anxieties about her work until she sees that someone likes her designs enough to wear them.
Loon’s advice to other aspiring SL entrepreneurs?
Says Loon, “Starting a business sounds like a very big deal, and it is in RL. In SL, though, you can start with a small cash outlay, you don’t need to have a complicated bookkeeping system, there are no worries about employee benefits, and there’s no inventory to warehouse.”
The biggest risk, Loon points out, can be to your ego.
“I hate to fail, and I get really nervous when sales are slow, because I tend to take it personally,” she says. “You just need to hang in there and believe your friends when they give you moral support. You really are smart, and you really can do it.”
The sign on the front window of her shop says it all “Smart clothes for smart women.”