In conjunction with the launch of our "Gen-X" skins, we've changed our exhibit at the super stylish LE.LOOK! designer sim from "The Fae" to "Gen-X". We'll also be downsizing our special event center for "The Fae" at our main store soon into the skins and shape areas, so come and check it out while it lasts if you haven't already!
Zanzo is proud to announce our new men’s range of skins titled “Gen-X”. Capturing a suave mature adult look, “Gen-X” skins are highly detailed and comes in four shades: Milk, Cream, Cappuccino, Latte.
Each pack you buy has TWO skins in, one with natural chest hair and the other smooth. We’ve also categorized the fourteen skins into three parts: Essentials (shaved and facial hairs), Dark Soul (emo and goth style), and Urban Renegade (flawed, scarred, battered, bruised skins).
At $900L, they continue Zanzo’s policy of high quality stuff at good value, pricing our skins lower than much of the market does. There are also fatpacks, each with a 20% discount. Come and see, we have demos AND eight fully optimized shapes for the range! Here’s a selection of them...
Satellite stores are an important part of any brand in Second Life, because they give you (usually) smaller outlets than your main store in places that attract people that might not normally know about your brand.
We've had many and closed many. It usually takes a great location or great deal for us to stay at a place. The longest lasting Zanzo satellite store has been in Undercity, which was actually the host of our first real "main store". It typifies everything we could want from a satellite store: a good price for a good prim amount, an interesting build, a shop right near the landing point, and visitors that fit one of our main buyer demographics (teenage avatars).
We're in the process of letting a bunch of satellite stores expire, as at this point we can afford to be more picky. But we can never pass the chance of interesting deals. Here are two of our latest outlets!
This one is at Juicy Boardwalk, which is a major hotspot for female shoppers. Few gals have their finger on the pulse of female fashion in SL like Gogo, who owns the Juicy sims and has a popular blog, and we were one of the first to grab a store in Juicy Bella Plaza. When this died due to the Lindens' new Openspace pricing, we were one of the few stores there given the option to move to Juicy Del Mar. We did but our location wasn't as well placed there, as the sim was already largely occupied, so we let it expire. Then, a few days ago Gogo sent out a notice to her group as she does, announcing a rare premium spot with a "first come, first served" policy. I rushed there along with about five girls (more were to follow) and somehow grabbed this gem, right on Juicy Boardwalk, right by Juicy's main store. Not bad, eh?
Yesterday, I was invited to one of my favourite shopping hotspots, the uber-charming creators pavillion, a Japanese sim. I'd spoken and exchanged gifts with the owner Hiroyuki a couple of weeks ago and asked him to let me know when some space came up, and he did. I managed to get this tiny little store, which only allows 20 prims, but this is a hard place to get in, featuring some quality designers like Arai and AOHARU. Speaking with Hiroyuki in a mix of my poor Japanese and his translator-assisted English, I agreed on this spot. We can't get much in there, but in places like this it isn't so much about what we'll sell, but rather being part of a lovely setup and contributing some of our style to it. With a few more prims, Dru and I would love to decorate the interior like we did at Juicy, but alas...
I just found out earlier today that Zanzo is up for an award in the Vain Readers' Choice Awards this year. We're up for the "Best Kawaii Wear" award alongside some pretty cool stores like Aoharu, Sn@tch, and Barerose.
This is pretty big for us considering we only launched in April. Voting is over so we can't bribe our friends to vote (kidding!) can only wait and see if we come anywhere close to winning.
Hopefully next year we can get ourselves in other categories. While we lack our defining mature adult range right now - something we're confident our Gen-X skins will change - I think our skins are of excellent value (none even hit L$1,000, a considerable rarity) and excellent quality, which keeps improving with each new release.
I also tend to think our shapes fill several niches, as while many male shape stores offer the typical 7'0"+ big men, we offer a huge variety from little kids to said massive men. We've often wondered if catering to all avatar ages will keep us from ever entering the posh, high street-dominated "SL mainstream" if we're indeed destined to ever reach it, but its something we refuse to change and always will do - everyone, no matter what their avatar appearance or age, has a place in SL and we intend to give all of them something of interest.
We released some new underwear yesterday and they are pretty hot! Called "Skinny Briefs" they are low-rise, super tight briefs that come in 15 different styles. The most basic of them, suitably titled "Old Skool", are modeled in the photo above by our 18-year-old emo brat, Pete, who agrees they are really comfy despite being a tight fit! Only $60 each and like with other undies, we offer a 50% discounted fatpack!
After lots of planning and work, we've finally released our "Gen-Y" skin range. "Androgyny" has been a hit among younger avatars, but not everyone wants flawless perfection, thus the arrival of "Gen-Y". Detailed, realistic, and authentic skins for teenage and young adult avatars, these will help fill a gap that has been long left open in SL.
The range offers four shades - Milk, Cream, Cappuccino, Latte - and each range has six options: Bare, Freckly, Blush, Light Eyeliner, Heavy Eyeliner, Dense Eyeliner. Each box features TWO skins - smooth and pubic hair versions. If the range is as popular as "Androgyny", we may introduce a bunch of concept skins. We're also thinking of adding a "Femboy" range with the same style, for those boys who like a feminine touch in their avatar.
Anyway, please come and try out the demos at our store and grab one for just $900L (20% discounted fatpacks available!) if you like 'em! We again reshaped the skin and shapes area today to try and accomodate our growing stock, adding a second floor to the skin area and giving it an amusement arcade feel.
Oh, and to go with the new skins, we've released eight fully optimized shapes. Here's a few of them. :]
We've been touching up our main store a little. Trying to make it more attractive, better themed, and easier to navigate.
Some of our older skin ranges like "Androgyny", "Nekoism", and "Machismo" were starting to look outdated just plastered on walls, when we have the much more stylish "Frat Boy", "Bishonen", "The Fae", and "Madame de Pompadour" displays. So we've overhauled the backgrounds a little and themed them a little better so that now the men's skin area looks a little less factory-like.
As for the male shapes, well they were all packed together until now. We recently closed our teenage area "Midnight" as skin ranges were just being repeated there, so it was sort of redundant. Instead, we've merged them in with the adult shapes and now we've categorized our shapes by what skins they are optimized for. They are still ordered by age WITHIN those categories, but many people want to know quickly what skins the shape looks best with, and this helps.
Pink Bubble is probably our most popular sub-brand, yet the store was bland in comparison to Union 82 and Kakkoii!. So we've given it a big overhaul, made it way cooler, and added a second floor to it. Hope you like it!
One of the issues we're having to tackle at Zanzo is that we only have around 5,000 prims to work with and limited space. We're now having to be a lot more prim and space conscious. In January, "The Fae" exhibit will be downsized, freeing up a lot of space and prims for new projects. Like I said in my last post, we hope we can reach a stage in time where we can upgrade to a sim or half-sim to allow our product range to grow without too many worries.
We recently had the honour of being invited to be part of the new LE.LOOK! sim. LE.LOOK! is a new high concept, very exclusive project to bring together many top designers from around Second Life. Its pretty amazing that we've been given the honour of display our stuff alongside the likes of Aitui, Aoharu, Damiani, Find Ash, Truth, and UncleWeb Studio - the sort of places Dru and I love to shop at and who now we can show off some of our stuff alongside with. A lot of effort and money has and is being invested into the project, justifying rental costs that not every designer could afford.
We are privileged enough to be at the front of the men's skin area on the men's fashion wing of the sim. We made a special display of our Fae skins, featuring a select range of makeups (and basics) from what we believe are our highest quality skins yet. We don't expect enormous sales, as this range is very much niche and specialty, but we hope it can show people what we can do.
We've come along way since our little store in Diagon Alley earlier this year. Not only have we made more products - far more than we ever imagined - but the quality of our work has improved massively. We now have a big following, lots of new customers, and we continue to grow. We're hoping to get to the point sooner or later that we can buy our own full 15,000 prim sim for our store and maybe some other projects.
Our growth and quality improvement is the reason that we have two new skin ranges in development that follow up on two existing ranges.
The first one is "Generation Y", a new range for teenage/young adult avatars. "Androgyny" has been our best selling range, as it offers a flawless, beautiful look for avatars in a world somewhat starved of non-mature looks for avatars who aren't kids, but don't want a fully mature adult look. "Generation Y" will offer an alternative style look. Very much a teenage style skin, but less "perfect" and more "authentic", with lots of subtle details on the face and body. We'll offer four shades, the basic ones - pale, medium tan, heavy tan - along with a new Asian style pale. The variations will be Bare, Freckly, Blush, Light Eyeliner, Heavy Eyeliner, and Dense Eyeliner. Each pack will come with two versions - smooth and pubic hair. Depending on if the range catches on, we might add special concept skins. This range is well in development and should be out in the not-too-distant future.
Coming up in early 2009 is an untitled second range of full adult skins. "Machismo" is our only mature male adult range, but again we've learnt so much that we can now offer a different, more refined and authentic style of skin.
We're really hoping next year can be big for us, as we've only just scratched the surface of what we can do. Please keep supporting us and send us any suggestions you have!
Zanzo will be part of Lil Punks' Teen Fashion show this weekend (12th-14th of December), beginning at 2pm SLT. We decided to display some of our "Kakkoii!" outfits that have been very popular among avatars of all ages, young and adult. They are funky, stylish, and should fit in with the hip teen concept well. Not only do we have a stall there to show off our goods, but we'll have several models flaunting a select range of them. Many other cool teen fashion designers will also be there, so come and have a look, it should be fun!
We've released a new line of jeans at the Union 82 area of Zanzo's main store. We've titled the line "Concept" as we gave each pair of jeans a special concept/theme and each has a nice low-rise fit. $118 per pair, mod/copy/no xfer, come and check 'em out!
We've doubled our range of Pink Bubble tees at Zanzo that have been so popular in all their kawaii uber-cuteness. Eight new designs mean sixteen tees in total in the PB area of our main store, and they are just $70L each!
(The bottom row is the new lot, the top row the existing lot)
The gate has opened at last on Zanzo's special exhibit that we have been working on for about three (grueling) months now. Titled "The Fae", this offering was created with several things in mind.
Shopping is one of the coolest things to do in Second Life. In this world, we have the chance to look -exactly- how we please at a low cost. But often, shopping is a repetitive experience and there is little more to it than teleporting to a store, grabbing what you want, and leaving.
At Zanzo, we put great effort into presentation. You may have noticed how we theme so much, to the point that we sub-brand our products in special areas. We think shopping should have a certain ambience to it in order to make it more than a point-n-click experience.
"The Fae" is our most ambitious attempt to do that yet. It is a story-driven area where, yes, you can buy things - skins, shapes, and eyes - but you can also immerse yourself in an environment created to enhance these products. We have developed a concept and tried to put a new spin on a popular race that has many stories.
We hope you enjoy "The Fae" and would love your feedback and suggestions on it.
Okay, well updates have been few and far between in this blog and our in-world group lately. That isn't because we're lazy, but because we've been working overtime - crazy hours (20 hours the other day!) trying to complete our projects. So I thought I'd write this post.
Our mystery project is about 70% complete now at a rough estimate. We're really excited for it and think it'll be an awesome example of what our brand is all about - color, creativity, visual/virtual beauty. Okay, so we are a store by concept, but we also like creating stuff that is just cool to look at. So this project will have its own exhibit/event area that I think will make it interesting not just for shoppers, but for people who just like getting out and about, and seeing stuff.
Anyway... the first half year of Zanzo has been amazing for us. It has grown way faster than we expected and we've worked incredibly hard, so we sort of think we deserve the mini-fame it has gotten us so far. We look at the big brands of SL and realize, well, many may be awesome but lack a certain... fun factor. High street/high fashion or factory-style builds/concepts dominate the upper tier of SL fashion (Muism and Armidi being good examples), though there are exceptions like the uber fun Gritty Kitty, which I'd say was one of the inspirations behind Zanzo's colour-driven theme.
Our new "Kakkoii!" range is probably our most eye-catching line yet, and I'm so happy to say that it has been a huge success so far. We were a bit iffy on whether this sort of fashion would sell well in SL, but sales have been incredible and we think we've found our latest niche with them, so will probably expand the range when we get chance.
Our to-do list at Zanzo never shrinks. We finish a project and then think, "Oh, wouldn't (something) be cool...!", and add another project to our list. After our mystery project, we have a few things we want to get done. Two more skin sets for females to companion our "Madame de Pompadour", for example. Our best-selling skins at Zanzo have been the "Androgyny" range that give a flawless, smooth look to male avatars and have been especially popular among SL teens and young adults. But the thing is, since we made them, our ability to create and present skins has improved tenfold - and so we plan to create a sequel to "Androgyny" with the same sort of concept, but far more detail and refinements.
We've been multitasking between two projects at Zanzo - our big one and the addition of a new line in our main store.
Introducing Kakkoii!, a colourful and stylish line offering full outfits (generally male with unisex leanings). Inspired by Asian youth fashion brands, each offers a unique look with careful thought into colour and presentation.
We've launched the area with 10 complete outfits and its to the right of the teleporter as you enter the store. A fatpack of the whole freakin' line with 20% off full price is also available.
After working so hard to finish our new range of female skins and a bunch of new shapes to go with, we've been relaxing a little in the past couple of days. Today we visited the Mao region that has a replica of the Great Wall of China filling much of an OpenSpace sim (Dru and I wondered if the Lindens' plan changes for these will deprive Second Life of another great sim). Stretching around the sim, this was a great way to relax and just roam, and with Brian Eno ambient music playing on my Winamp, I was really chilled out. The wall itself is for sale at a whopping $95,000L, which is out of my price range, but its certainly a sight to behold. Check it out!
I said several posts back that we wouldn't be releasing anything else of note before our big mystery project, but then we went and put out the "Madame de Pompadour" skin range. The amount of girls visiting Zanzo has shot up, so we've brought forward some of our female-oriented projects. Not sure what has caused the sudden influx - possibly because of popular satellite stores at Juicy Bella Plaza (now moved to Juicy Del Mar, with the Lindens' plan changes killing off another great sim) and Horst von Starlustinberg, or because of our exposure in Vain Inc., or maybe me fiddling around with keywords in our classifieds constantly. Anyway, at first Zanzo was almost 100% for guys, male visitors and male goods, but little by little we've introduced stuff for girls and much more is coming (including "Nell Gwynn", companion skins for "Madame de Pompadour", a paler skin tone with other makeup variations). Our "Pink Bubble" t-shirts and jeans have proved to be a massive success, with lots of sales, so we'll be adding more similarly themed stuff there when we get time.
We've added two Lucky Chairs to Zanzo. The main one is near the landing zone, but there is another down by the Sakura trees, opposite the sale stall. Right now, the main one has five offerings and the other has two offerings, but we plan to add more and more stuff as we get time. Included so far are a skin, eye combo, two photoboxes (great for photographs/modeling), and full outfits for guys and girls. Everything in these chairs isn't on sale in the store, so may be worth waiting around for. Here are two examples of whats on offer and what is to come (pardon the squished textures, I had to export them from SL).
Union 82 Palm Beach (long sleeve polo shirt and low-rise damaged jeans)
It has been a long time in coming, but we've finally released a new range of skins for ladies at Zanzo. Titled "Madame de Pompadour" after a famous French courtesan, they are super high quality skins that come in three lines Beauty, Metallic, and Naturals. Each pack includes a Bare and Freckled variation of your choice. At just $800L, these are hot value for money and fatpacks are available for each of the three lines. We've also released a bunch of new shapes optimized to them, so come and check 'em out!
Issue 15 of the SL-famous magazine Vain Inc. features... Zanzo!? Whoa, yes it does. We were lucky enough to be offered a feature in Vain, which is read by over 20,000 people each month and is one of Second Life's most stylish zines. Six and a half pages are devoted to us from page 55 to 61 and focuses on some of ours shirts, jeans, and eyes. I'd like to send thanks and much <3 out to Nykki Heartsdale and Faadal Mokeev for taking the time to visit our store and run a feature on us. As a growing brand in the fiercely competitive world of Second Life, publicity like this is great for us and will hopefully bring new people to our always expanding store.
We recently received our first invitation to a fashion event. [haco?] is a Japanese-based project that gives highly touted up-and-coming designers a chance to show a sampling of their goods. But it is also a challenge to the designers - they are given a small "[haco?]" (3x3x3 box) and 9 prims in which to express their creativity. The title of the event is "GUYS, HERE COMES CHRISTMAS! 2008" and it has a "Christmas comes early" type theme.
Many fashion events in Second Life are female dominated. Well, Second Life fashion at large is female dominated, simply because they are the biggest shopping demographic. But there are many guys out there who love to shop too, and this festival is more aimed at them (but they are urged to bring their girlfriends along).
We were offered not one, but two boxes to go side-by-side. On the left is our main Zanzo box, and we chose to exhibit our "Bishonen" skin range (and a couple of shapes optimized to it) in there, as we think that "Bishonen" and the new "Frat Boy" series are our highest quality skins yet (even if "Androgyny", which we're also proud of, is our best-seller by far). We had set our box up before we finished the new "Frat Boy" skins, or we may have had a debate on which to showcase.
On the right hand side is one of our sub-brands, Pink Bubble. We sub-branded stuff at our main store to not only be creative and make the store less factory-like, but also to make navigating the place a lot easier for newcomers. Even though the festival is male-dominated, they do expect female visitors, so wanted some female or unisex boxes. We put our four Harajuku inspired outfits in the Pink Bubble box, along with some of our popular "Hands On" decorations, and a dollarbie outfit called "Sink Pink" that we originally made for the launch of our satellite store at Juicy Bella Plaza.
With more time, we would have liked to produce 100% original goods for the event, but since we're still an upstart brand with lots of projects ongoing, we're struggling to find the time for that sort of stuff yet.
Please check out the [haco?] exhibition, as there are tons of awesome designers there. It is at the Thisbe sim in-world, but here is a SLurl so you can get there quickly. They also have a blog in English that you can find by clicking here. The event runs from 11/1 to 11/9, so there is plenty of time to check it out and take your friends along for a peek. We're awfully proud to be part of it and hope we can take part in many other events like this in future.
We've released our first shoe range at Zanzo, called "Chunkies"! They're called that because, well... they're all cute and chunky. Sculpted and with stylish designs, they come in fourteen variations, separated into two areas of our main store, the cutesy ones in Pink Bubble and more preppy/casual ones in Union 82. This is our first attempt at shoes and we'd love feedback for future releases. Each pair costs $150L, and comes with mod/copy/no transfer permissions.
If you aren't using one of the new Second Life client releases, there is a chance that the shoes could appear all distorted. This is because only the new releases support a sculpty technique we used to make them, so please be aware of that before you buy 'em... the shoes aren't horribly broken, its just a Second Life thing~! :O
Our new releases will probably slow somewhat for a while now as we tackle the new mystery project head on, but there will still be shapes and occasional other releases between now and then, I'm sure.
Oh yeah, we switched to Subscribe-O-Matic in-world, so please head to one of our stores and click the group sign (doesn't take one of your 25 slots!), then you can leave our other update group (does take one of your 25 slots!).
Woot! We have a brand new skin range out at Zanzo! We've released a lot of pretty boy skins, so our new set - titled "Frat Boy" - offers a less pristine but still very cute and handsome look for the young adult avatar.
The range offers seven variations: Bare, Freckly, Busted, Eyeliner, Goth, Quarterback, Inked
They cost $900L each and a discounted fatpack is also available, offering 20% full price for the lot of 'em!
This will be our last skin release before the BIG project we're working on that we estimate will feature 90... ninety... NINETY! skins (45 male, 45 female), in addition to truckloads of other stuff. Obviously, that will take a while, but we're hopeful of getting it out before Christmas time.
So a lot of people apparently don't realize that not only can you create your own skies in Second Life now (and have been able to for a while), but there are also some wicked preset ones ("Sheer Surreality" being my favourite). I was messing with the settings and its really cool how much you can do - also useful for photography with the "Scene Gamma" setting, although I find turning off atmospheric shaders is still best for clothing and face shots, as I still can't find the best lighting setting with the full Windlight experience to give the face a non-shadowy or non-staring-at-the-sun appearance. Anyway, experiment with skies! World -> Environment Settings -> Environment Editor -> Advanced Sky
Running a store can lead to some very monotonous moments. We've moved to a "rack" system for most of our individual clothing items, meaning they look like this in the store...
Cool, but then one day you realize you want to put them on the web, like at Xstreet SL (the recently renamed SL Exchange), and, well... you groan at the realization that you have to get on the pose stand and reshoot a bunch of clothes you've already laboured over for hours. And that is what I've been doing lately, preparing a bunch of our stuff to go on Xstreet SL in hopes some people who don't know about our store in-world will find our stuff on there and like it enough to not only buy it, but come and visit our main store.
We're working on two - well, three, sort of - skin ranges right now. Coming soon is a stand alone set that we're calling "Frat Boy". We have skins for just about every age group under perhaps 40, and are getting more specific now - we recently released kids ones, and this set will be for the 18-24ish male type who doesn't have very mature features yet. They are looking great, and here is a preview of the base skin on a new shape I've made. We still plan to add a few details to the skin (and fix the slight nipple problem), but this is a good idea of how it'll look - sort of a bridge skin between boyish teen and mature adult, we think.
The other two ranges, male and female, are actually part of one range, related to that big project we're working on. After that, we need to kick out a new range of main female skins, as we don't think our current Nubile range is up to the standard we're capable of, which is why we're selling them off at just $200L each right now.
We recently opened a satellite store at the super creative Horst von Starlustinberg, a prison themed sequel to the popular Starlust Motel shopping mall. Anyway, to help celebrate the launch of Horst, Zanzo contributed an exclusive dollarbie (a $1 almost-freebie for anyone wondering) called the Prison Photobox, basically a prison cell left with +mod permissions so people can alter it around for model shots, RP, or whatever they want. Both Dru and I were both surprised by how many people picked up our meager offering...
... but even more surprised to see it is now being used in what is truly one of the coolest sims in Second Life: Torley Linden's ultra colorful and creative Here island, that is often featured in Torley's uber fun YouTube videos. Torley's friend, Ravenelle Zugzwang, has laid it out on the island and looks to be making good use of it for her CAJ (Click Action Jail) feature.
Check it out, and yup, the dollarbie is still available at Horst von Starlustinberg if you want it, both at the entrance and upstairs at our female-themed satellite store (please have a look if you visit!).
The open space at Zanzo has suddenly changed... what was once a cutesy gate housing a teleporter has morphed into something rather mysterious... ancient, you might say. A gate, slightly ajar, has appeared, with what seems to be the dismembered arm of someone trying to reach through. A face - or something like one - stares down from the archway, as if assessing a new discovery. Behind the gate seems to be a scene of carnage - fire, smoke, rubble - and yet there is no sound, almost as if those who fight there exist somewhere else, yet draw closer to Second Life.
Who are these beings and what brings them to Zanzo? I suspect we'll find out in good time...
Dru and I went to this really cool sim the other day for some relaxation time - sadly, it was a bit laggy, but as you can see, is a sight to behold. It is called Tempura Island and is already an established cool-place-to-go, but if you haven't already been there and can stand some lag, well... look above, speaks for itself I think.