Monday, December 16, 2013

The End of "Boo's Bits", The Rise of "Boo's" and the Future to come

I honestly can't remember if it has been 3 years or 4 years I have been doing this. I think it is probably 3 and a half. Not a bad run for a merchant that only started building because I wanted to make stuff I liked instead of buying stuff that never quite met my needs. Also I blame Iris from the amazing "Digs" store for kind of being my merchant muse at the beginning (and still today as I periodically check in to be amazed by her products. I so wish we had remained friends)

I probably wouldn't still have a store without all the things my generous customers have purchased over the years and I am so very thankful for that. I will never understand merchants who don't appreciate this part of being in business. I absolutely do appreciate you, even if there have been times my support was a little weak, or I was travelling and not putting my all into it.

Let me just elaborate on how much I appreciate everyone who shopped at my store. Because of you I was able to get out of debt (a couple thousand dollars worth), travel to Cardiff UK for a Doctor Who convention (you hate me for that I know, but I'm not saying sorry!), gave over $600 to local charity (mostly due to guilt for going to Cardiff.... I kid), buy a new computer (because my old one died) and get a good series of dental issues taken care of (Take care of your teeth kids!).

All of that was possible just by me making some stuff for you to have fun with, and you making the choice to buy it. To me, that is absolutely incredible. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

The last couple of years has been very hard on me personally. I have lost a couple good friends to illness and accidents, and lost another due to arrogance (on both our parts). I have fought depression and loneliness and felt a bit like I was having an emotional break down for a good part of 2013. My desire to maintain Boo's Bits was overshadowed by my need to just go somewhere and scream for a while. I even tried the alt Avatar route but then I didn't know anyone and didn't feel like trying to start over again.

I have no doubt we have all been there. I have no illusions that this is somehow just something that has happened to me. Most of this year I logged in and did not have any desire to work on new products or even maintain the store. I have been back and forth a hundred times on if I should even keep the store open. It was only in the last 30 days that I found a spark of inspiration to make something again.

After releasing the 4 new products in this last month I feel like I have found my second wind. That said I still feel like I need some kind of change. So I have made some decisions going forward in Second Life that will hopefully renew my love of this virtual world and renew my love of being a merchant. These decisions will however affect my loyal customers as well.

I have decided that January 31st is the end of Boo's Bits in its current form. This does not mean I am closing my doors, only that I am changing my focus by re-branding and streamlining my products. Boo's Bits was always supposed to be a hobby, something I did on the side for fun and it surprisingly took off. I was ready to be satisfied if I just made back all the money I had put into it but instead exceeded all my expectations by having made a pretty popular Lapdance chair. It was the hobby that became a business.

Not going to lie though, I did hope I'd make some money at it, and I'm really glad I did. I just wish I had kept my mindset in that "Hobby" frame. So now, going forward, I am going to try and do exactly that. Make it something I do for fun, not as something I find myself stressing about in my first life, affecting my relationships and my self worth. I want to enjoy logging in and creating things instead of feeling like I have to.

I started this process a few months ago when I sold the "Isle of Boo" Sim and moved to a half-sim parcel. Now I'm ready to begin the next stages. I hope you will join me for the ride!

Here are the main changes that will be happening in January: Important stuff has been made bold.

1. Many of my products are being retired and will no longer be available again. These items are currently on sale on the marketplace and at my in world store.

2. I will be re-branding as "Boo's - Furniture and More". Basically just dropping the Bits and no longer saying I sell prefabs when I gave that racket up with the introduction of mesh!

3. All my products will be sold in only a Modify/Copy format. This will mean some products will be priced a bit higher, but I have decided to not go overboard. This is the best solution for Customers and for me because it will reduce lost item replacements and give you a bit more freedom to play around with them without consequences.

4. Products that do not sell well will be retired more quickly to make room for newer, more interesting products. Even some of the ones that sell moderately may be replaced with a newer hipper version.

5. I'm reverting back to my original mission statement. When I first opened Boo's Bits I only had a small number of animations available to me to make products. So my mission statement at the time was "You could buy something with 300+ generic animations and maybe use 10 of them, or you could buy something from me with 70-100 animations and end up using all of them". I was very picky about the animations and wanted to make sure they were all practical.

 Over time I acquired more and more animations. It was a bit of an unhealthy addiction to be honest! My products became more packed full with animations and were not always practical... just you know... lots of choice. Choice generally is a good thing but when there is too much choice our avatars spend more time discovering the options rather than getting on with using them!.

So I'm starting over and keeping that mission statement alive. This doesn't mean I won't have any products with 200 or so animations. It just means that when I do I'll make sure they are all practical and worth being there.

6. Some products will be only available on the Marketplace. Mainly PG products, now that I am on an adult sim.

7. This is a big one. The Boo's Bits VIP group will be retired and a new "Boo's VIP" group will be created. It will cost 50L to join this group to make it more exclusive. This may not be an appealing idea to you but I want to a) avoid group hoppers who just join for 5 minutes to get the discounts, and b) I am not as interested in just having a group of customers but I'd like to create a community. The discounts, gifts and specials will be there still as well as a chance to beta test new products, submit product ideas and suggestions and get real time support from others in the group when I am not available.

A second "Boo's Update Group" will be set up for those who just want to get the product updates and it will be free to join. But there will be no discounts and no free gifts in that group. Just updates when new products are released. It may end up being a subscriber group instead of a Second Life group. I'm exploring my options.

I am still not 100% married to the above idea yet on groups but the more I think about it the more I think it will be better in the long run. Let me know what you think. I will consider other opinions. Feel free to comment on any of the changes.

I have already started planning the new store layout and logos. Here is a sneak peek for you

As you can see it's still a work in progress. When Boo's Bits lives its last day in January my parcel will be closed for 24 hours as I set up the re-brand. Then like the phoenix it will rise again better than ever before!

Well... hopefully better. If not better at least more manageable for my sanity :)

Thank you all so much for everything the last few years. I hope you will join me for the next couple! As long as it remains fun I expect I'll be around for a while!



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