SL Entrepreneur Profiles: Saffia Widdershins owner of Prim Perfect Magazine

September 24th, 2008  |  Published in SL Entrepreneur Magazine, SL Entrepreneur Profiles  |  3 Comments

By Sigmund Leominster, News Editor

When your staff creates a special blog suggesting you for Entrepreneur of the Year, it has to be a good thing. This is the case for Second Life® resident Saffia Widdershins, owner of Prim Perfect Magazine, Prim Perfect blog, and host of SLCN’s Meta Makeover show.

I TP’ed first to her Northpointe sim, an area where she spent a lot of time developing, partially based on her experiences during the Second Life SL5B celebrations. Saffia enthusiastically explained how things came about.

Saffia Widdershins, owner of Second Life Magazine Prim Perfect

(Saffia Widdershins, owner of Second Life Magazine Prim Perfect)

“The first thing here is the exhibition hall. It was inspired by what we did at SL5B. I applied for some land and said I would use it to display design in SL. I didn’t hear anything – so I assumed it was a no go. Then, two weeks before the celebrations, I was IMed. My land was ready – ‘what did I want to build?’ To be honest, I gazed at this vast space and thought, ‘What AM I going to build?’ But what I said aloud, very promptly, was: ‘I’m afraid I’ll need more prims.’ What we ended up with were two stunning halls, and a lovely café.”

I asked Saffia what brought her to the Second Life virtual world.
“I was really just thinking of having some fun and checking out the role-playing potential. Saffia’s actually an alt. I was asked to investigate SL™ at work and assess whether it would be useful for teaching purposes. I very rapidly realized that there was a huge amount of potential that I wanted to explore on my own time. So I created an alt to do that. Initially, I had no idea of starting a business but very rapidly I perceived a gap in the market – although there were dozens of magazines and blogs covering fashion, there was nothing for the homes and gardens market. So I started one, “I didn’t actually put much seed capital in, except in terms of time, and very rapidly, I paid my costs from the business. When I started six months earlier, I had moved from a full-time job to a part-time one, and was running my own small web development company in real life. So that company’s focus shifted from creating websites to Second Life consultancy and mentoring charities into SL – and, of course, building a media …erm… empire.”

What types of charities?

“One of the charities I’ve worked with [in early April] is Contact a Family and the build for that is currently in the SL Showcase. That was the first thing I commissioned Jeremey Ryan to build, so the RL and the SL tie up together.
“When I’m speaking to non-profits who want to come into SL, I always say that they should see it as a foreign country where the locals are mostly friendly. But you need to take time to understand the culture. People who have the ‘If you build it, they will come’ philosophy are WRONG; the successes in SL are the communities that have been created.
“Business will work best when it works in conjunction with SL. There are fascinating experiments going on here – look at the GossipGirl sims, the work being done on Orange Island, the things that Northcliffe Digital are doing – and many more.
“I think that’s why Contact a Family works. I was one of the companies offering to help mentor them into SL. One of the others was offering to give them a build on the company’s own sim in one of their very stylish, standardized builds – and charging them rather more than me, I suspect. I based them on Non-profit Commons Aloft, where they are in a community of non-profits, so they get support and can give support too. They work together with that community on generating publicity that benefits everyone, and through me they employed an SL builder who was responsive to their needs. So, the place ended up looking the way they wanted it to look – only better – because Jeremey and I had the in-world experience.”
I asked about Prim Perfect, the magazine she founded, and how long it had been in existence.
“Over a year. It launched May 1st 2007. Originally, the plan was to sell the magazine for L$10 and then have advertising but it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t a viable business model. Although we were offering an in-world and an out-world version, to justify the charge, we had to hide the location of the pdf. And then the New York Times wrote about the magazine, at which point, hiding the pdf would have been crazy. So I gritted my teeth and made it free.”

I commented that I know of no SL publications that actually sell.

“Lipstick used to. But I think all the others have a free model and sell advertising. This seems to be the model that works.”
I asked how she made the move from magazine editor to SL TV personality with the Meta Makeover show.
“I thought that moving from the magazine to the TV was a logical progression so I approached SLCN (Second Life Cable News) and suggested that they should have a design show. My plan was to produce it rather than present it but I ended up doing both.”
Saffia then took me to a coffee bar decked out in autumnal colors and large, comfortable chairs. I sat back with my feet up and asked about her involvement with the Gossip Girls TV show and how that came about.

Cafe for the Gossip Girl sim was featured on the Meta Makeover show.

(Cafe for the Gossip Girl sim was featured on the Meta Makeover show.)

“Our last show was a makeover of a cafe for the Gossip Girl sims – i.e. Warner Brothers. Davon Westland, my producer, wrote to them and asked if they’d be interested in having a makeover for one of their builds – and this is it. This is the Upper East Side cafe that Gwen Carillon designed. Now they want us to come back and make over a nightclub for them”

So what factors have helped you be successful here?

“One important thing – I don’t do this alone. I’m the figurehead and the CEO but it wouldn’t work without the dedicated people working with me. So one of the more vital elements of the development phase is making sure you have the right people in place. There are four of us on each team. On Prim Perfect there’s me, my designer Perry Applemoor, and my advertising manager, Diva Regina. There’s also Qwis Greenwood who handles the blog posts.

Meta Makeover location in Second Life

(Meta Makeover location in Second Life)

“On Meta Makeover, there’s me, my producer Davon Westland, my director, Matelisse Criss, and my studio manager, Darleez de Cuir. Plus, of course, there’s the whole SLCN technical crew.
“Then, on The Primgraph, there’s me and Diva again, and Alesia Marksten, who, at the moment, is both editor and designer.
“The magazines come out every six weeks and then we have all the freelancers on the magazines, writers and photographers.”

I was curious about future plans.

“What next? Possibly another TV show. I have an ambition to create real water-cooler TV. That hasn’t happened yet in SL but I believe it can be done. There may be a critical mass needed. The whole Gossip Girls experiment is showing one way of doing it.”
Finally, I asked what three pieces of advice she would offer budding Second Life entrepreneurs and she enumerated pretty much everything she had already outlined.
“First, don’t expect to make easy money and be prepared to invest time as well as money. Second, remember that SL is a foreign country with friendly locals. Use that. And finally, build teams and communities because they’ll be your greatest strength.

Key Points
• Be prepared to invest significant amounts of time
• Build teams to support your enterprise
• Treat the Second Life environment as a foreign land
• Look toward communities as a resource

Further information
• Prim Perfect magazine:
• Prim Perfect blog:
• Daily Telegraph article: Second Life: Clicks and Mortar
• Nomination blog:


  1. Sahoni Tigerpaw says:

    November 8th, 2008at 4:50 pm(#)

    Thank you Saffia for taking time out for this interview! Great information and advice.

    ~Sahoni T.

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