If you didn’t know it, you could walk right past one of Mayfair's newest shops, and that could be a big mistake if its a new hair style you’re after. Almost hidden away is a little gem of a shop, dealing in hairstyles for every occasion and everyone. Owned by Katey Watkins, who I believe will become one of the future trendsetters, hopefully to the London scene.
The shop is known as, 'Designs by Katey' and is situated on the first floor, just above Lavish Couture. Access to Katey's shop can be gained via an old style elevator, with teak panels on the walls and stone tiles on the floor. Walking into Katey's shop for the first time you will be impressed with the quality and styles that are on show. Katey's designs are not just for the ladies, she also designs hair for men! so you guys don’t have to feel left out.
I was so impressed with the styles and quality that I even spent some of my own money---- (sorry almost fainted) lol, yes spent some money! and brought one of her designs.
I needed to know more about this woman, so I invited Katey over to our office for an interview, gladly she accepted, or the rest of this article would be blank! (Ok, who yelled hooray?).
I arrived for the interview wearing one of Katey's hairstyles, I was wondering if she might spot it! Katey showed up promptly, and as you'd expect, hair to die for--- jealous me? you bet I am.
I asked Katey if she had been in business for long. She explained to me that she was relatively new, and that she had started posting items on the streets in October last year and she opened her first ‘in-world’ store right before Christmas last year. So you have more than one shop? I enquired? ‘Yes’ she replied ‘I have seven little shops scattered throughout Second Life.’
I asked if all the designs were her own, and where did she get her inspiration from. Yes she answered, ‘All my hairstyles are my original designs, and I’m inspired by just about anything and everything. I’ve taken a couple of specific requests from customers, but I’ve also been inspired by real life magazines, movies and television characters.’
How is business? are you busy I enquired? She replied, ‘Well the great thing about Second Life business is that its really self managing for the most part, especially with a smaller operation like mine. I’m handling all my own design, marketing etc right now, so it does keep me busy. Business has been a little slow to start with, but it’s growing surprisingly well now. My first goal was to make the venture self sustaining with no overhead expenses, and I’ve already surpassed that, so now I’m looking forward a little bit.’
I asked Katey if she could remember why she started in business and why hair? ‘Yes I can' she replied. 'for the first year in second life I refused to do any work of any kind---I was pretty stubborn about it. I have always been very cautious about spending money in SL (in fact for the first six months my avatar consisted entirely of freebies!). So in order to be original, I had to improvise a bit. I started taking apart copy/mod freebies that I’d found around the grid and putting them back together to make something new. My best friend Stephannie Piaggio, who I share the shop with in the Mayfair sim, saw some of the things I had made, and insisted that I start designing original things. My friend sent me a mannequin head for designing, and that’s what really got me started.’ What made you choose Mafair? I asked Katey, she repliedm 'well my friend Stephannie found the location actually, She rented a shop for her designs 'Lavish Couture' and she offered me the upstairs floor. I like Mayfair because the traffic is great and there are many talented, high quality designers with a presence there.’ I asked Katey if she could remember how she felt the first time she sold her first item. ‘Oh yes’ she said, ‘it was wonderful. it wasn’t about the money, it was just the fact that someone wanted something I’d created, It really is a great feeling. My real life job/career path isn’t very artistic, so this happens to be a nice creative outlet, and it does feel good to know that others like it to.’ Have you any future plans? I enquired ‘Yes I have’ she replied, ‘when I feel I have enough items to make it profitable I want to open a large main store. I’m also looking into making hairstyles for men as well, and I would also like to venture into accessories.’ I wanted to know if Katey had a business in real life, she explained ‘No, I’m actually teaching and tutoring maths. I finished my masters degree this past summer in maths and computer science, and I hope to start work on my PhD this coming fall.’ 'Wow that’s very impressive I replied, but can you drink a pint of cider down in one like I can? No thought not!’ (oops sorry just me getting jealous again lol). I asked clever cloggs 'oops' I mean Katey, if she had a web site, she informed me that she has a small page made just for the web tab on her profile. If you want to go to Katey's site it can be found at http://www.kateywatkins.freehostia.com/ . I asked Katey if she thought it was a good idea that she could use Second Life in this way. ‘Absolutely I do, I think that it’s great that anyone can take a stab at growing a successful business with relatively minimal risk and start up cost--- and if nothing else, have fun whilst doing it.’
I was just bringing the interview to an end when Katey said ‘curly sure suits you, its suits your face very well’ ‘Ahh you noticed! I have one of your own hairstyles on!’ ‘Yes I’m still new enough to notice when people are wearing my styles’ she said.
Katey who is only 23 years old doesn’t keep a residence in London as yet, in fact she lives in Mississippi USA, but if people show enough interest in Kateys designs, then maybe in the future she would consider opening one of her big stores here in SL London, I hope so, it would be a shame to lose such a young, intelligent and talented person like Katey Watkins.