Iain Wandsworth: Kimber, thank you for taking the time to talk with me about your Second Life. I’d like to start right at the beginning. What first brought you into this virtual world?
Kimber Carter: Curiosity. There is always something to discover and learn. Everything here is complex yet at the same time simple. If you look closely you can figure out how something works and then put it into the big picture. It’s like a dream, a very happy one, a dream and a fantasy. I love fantasy and, here in SL, you can live it.
Iain Wandsworth: Are you still learning? SL hasn’t disappointed you in that respect?
Kimber Carter: (laughs) I’m always learning; it has no end here.
Iain Wandsworth: Well, you ‘learned’ that you could design around December 2009. How did that happen? How did you discover you could make beautiful things here?
Kimber Carter: I had purchased a ring one day while shopping, and when I looked closely at it, it wasn’t made very well. So curious again, I wondered if I could make a beautiful ring.
Iain Wandsworth: You decided you could make your own?
Kimber Carter: Yes… Well… I started searching for textures and then found other things that gave me ideas; that triggered more ideas and interest (smiles) and it became a passionate mission for me. Finding out how, what, where… I was amazed with the endless possibilities.
Iain Wandsworth: A mission that became BodyWear Jewelry?
Kimber Carter: (smiles) Yep. My first business name was “Elegant Designs by Lake”. I soon changed it to BodyWear Jewelry.
Iain Wandsworth: Lake is your other avatar, Lake Swords, the owner of BodyWear Jewelry?
Kimber Carter: Yes (smiles).
Iain Wandsworth: Can you tell me a little about BodyWear? How that first ring became a whole store and franchise operation?
Kimber Carter: I had always dreamed about having a lot of merchandise and a large store. When I rented my first shop, I had about 15 items and I think I sold perhaps one of them (lol). I looked for a busier sim and had more success, and I just kept going… kept moving… kept changing… I call it “experimenting”.
Kimber Carter: I soon found I was consuming a lot of my time, setting up around 3 to 5 stores each week. Then I got curious about making it a franchise business. I analysed the figures and decided that it would work great if I let other people sell my products and this would give me more time to devote to designing… so the BodyWear Franchise was born.
Iain Wandsworth: And then in August 2010, things changed again and you bought CCD from Caithlin Carter?
Kimber Carter: Yes (smiles)
Iain Wandsworth: Was this decision part of your dream or just a wise business decision?
Kimber Carter: Both. When I first heard that CCD was for sale, I was totally intrigued. I couldn’t stop thinking about the possibilities but I was also concerned about the amount of work that would be involved in the transition. I would go visit Caithlin’s store and carefully look at each item. At first, I didn’t think I would be able to handle such a huge project of converting everything but as time went by and after numerous visits with Caithlin to discuss the details, I decided to go for it. I am deeply grateful to Caithlin for everything she did during the sale process and it helped me tremendously when she put the reference in her profile to me and the new CCD. I was now owner of one of the most elegant and prestigious jewelry and avatar beauty-supply stores in Second Life. The dream became a reality.
Iain Wandsworth: So you now own and manage 2 businesses and a franchise operation. How do you find time for all this as well as designing new products?
Kimber Carter: (grins) I prioritize and work hard. I narrow the list down each day and just somehow get it all done.
Iain Wandsworth: The task seems enormous. Do you have a good supporting team?
Kimber Carter: Yes. Absolutely. There are key people in my life that have contributed immensely to the success of CCD; I couldn’t do it without them. LarryB Writer, his photography, support and professional business help has been a major role in my business success from the very beginning until now and is the creator of the beautiful CCD plaza. Caithlin Carter, who is one of the most talented & creative designers in second life. Iain Wandsworth, who’s creative writing skills and business understanding has developed the ongoing online CCD legacy. CCD Models, the beautiful ladies of CCD, who devote their time to be part of this CCD family, many of whom have been with CCD for a very long time. Hugs to Loxley Tatham, Jamlady Renfold, Sahra Freschi, Jodette, Aden Rae, Dearra Silbersztein, Adriana Ellisson, Marijana Aries, SterlingZen Harbour , Serafili Eisheth, Janet Nitely and Genevieve Kamala.
Iain Wandsworth: I would like to ask you a little about the process of designing. Are you a very creative person in Real Life also or is Second Life your only creative outlet?
Kimber Carter: Well… I’ve always had some creative hobbies in RL and I love making things with my hands. I once put together a large Victorian doll house… glued all the tiny pieces… down to extreme detail, painted, carpeted, furnished. I’ve always loved calligraphy too and unique arts, like painting on mirrors, glass etching, macramé, etc. Lots of creative things.
Iain Wandsworth: I’m sensing a consistent theme here. A mixture of being able to see the big picture combined with a huge talent for detail also.
Kimber Carter: I enjoy both yes (smiles).
Iain Wandsworth: And what inspires you? Where do your ideas come from?
Kimber Carter: I really don’t know; it just happens… As I think of one thing, I get new ideas. It’s a ‘flow’.
Iain Wandsworth: In almost 2 years of designing, what do you think have been your greatest successes?
Kimber Carter: Being able to sense what is going to work well. Watching everything up close and from a distance, then making decisions from both perspectives.
Iain Wandsworth: So that mix of detail and big picture again?
Kimber Carter: Yep… Now that you’ve pointed this out, I can see that it is part of everything I do.
Iain Wandsworth: What do you want a customer to see and feel when they first arrive at CCD plaza? What do you like them to notice?
Kimber Carter: Ideally, I would like them to see the openness of the store and really notice the quality of the products. I want the store to give them a nice warm feeling with the mix of sounds and setting. I like the open galleries so that people catch a glimpse of what’s in the next room. So, to summarize, I would like the experience of shopping at CCD to be completely immersive and truly inspiring.
Iain Wandsworth: It’s a beautiful store Kimber. Are there any of your products that you are particularly proud of?
Kimber Carter: I’m proud of everything (smiles) but I would especially recommend the nails. The length and shape of the nails, the wonderful textures and the way they are fitted. I’ve not seen any other nails that even come close.
Iain Wandsworth: And what about the future Kimber? What are your challenges and your vision? What are you going to do next?
Kimber Carter: I want to fill the plaza with brilliant new products, products that set the pace for Second Life fashion and products that really make use of new viewer innovations and trends.
Iain Wandsworth: When we first started this interview, you told me you came into Second Life to live a ‘fantasy’. You are now a successful designer and businesswoman with a thriving creative business. Have you lived the fantasy? Has it been everything you wanted it to be?
Kimber Carter: My main goal has always been to make this my perfect world… Perfect in every way… And along this journey in second life, I learned that this so-called ‘fantasy’ is actually ‘real’. Real people, real friends, real passion, real feelings, real challenges, and real business. I have also found ‘real’ happiness from this wonderful opportunity to do something that I love and something that brings a little beauty into people’s lives.