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The embodiment of love is more than just a feeling; sometimes it is an action that is expressed in our daily dealings with others. And while love can sometimes be seen as an elusive thing that runs through the hands like water, Krystali Rabeni is a reminder that love is not only tangible, but something that can be held and savored. In this sense, it is safe to say that Krystali Rabeni’s LOVE business emulates love on the daily…rather its in her daily dealings with customers or embodied in the products she lovingly creates.
The name LOVE, according to Rabeni, is an acronym for Life’s Only Valuable Emotion. In operation for over a decade, LOVE specializes in creating home and garden items, as well as hair products. In terms of the latter, LOVE introduced hair products in late 2017.
Krystali Rabeni explains how she decided to break into the hair business by outlining her previous SL history of creating products for role playing sims. She says, “I tend to touch right across the board from creating half to full sims, villages and towns for role play, creating for my store and customers, and I also take part in lots of fairs supporting charities across the grid…”
Elaborating, Rabeni continues, “[Because of my involvement in all of these things, I decided in 2017 to break] into the Hair industry, purely on the back of headdresses that I create for popular fairs, [because I found that]…people [often] ask if I have hair to go with the headdresses and crowns, so this is a new and exciting venture…of course I will be following my brand and [incorporating the name] LOVE HAIR….”
Prior to creating LOVE HAIR, Rabeni was pretty similar to many budding business owners. “Before I began creating seriously…” Rabeni explains, “I did what a lot of people do and I opened a store full of affiliate vendors. But if a customer had a complaint I quickly realized there was absolutely nothing I could do to help them. I wasn’t the creator and it resulted in both them and me getting a little disillusioned so I began learning and creating items on a more serious scale rather than just for myself. People began IM’ing me asking where they could buy the items and then LOVE was born.”
Besides creating products that emulate LOVE, Rabeni also credits her family as a huge support when it comes to running LOVE. “I have a wonderful, very understanding and supportive family who also play in SL…” Yet, in the midst of their support, she still relies on herself to create the products featured in her LOVE line. As quickly as she says this however, she adds: “I would say that the SL residents play a huge part in helping me run my business. They promote LOVE through blogging, passing out landmarks and bringing their friends to the store. It’s amazing how much help you can receive just by being there for your customers and helping if they need it, in return, they help you and their kindness is touching and humbling.”
This customer-based support is what makes Krystali Rabeni work harder to address the needs of her clientele. Specifically, Rabeni also relies on the element of surprise when it comes to creating her products. She explains, “I tend to specialize in creating items that people didn’t know they wanted such as props, scene sets and items that mix fantasy with reality. [In fact,] one of my most popular sets is the Fantasy Deer range.” Please take a look at the slide show below:
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LOVE’s Fantasy Deer range are deer that not only feature blossoms and/or other foilage that grow from their antlers, but also features deer that has antlers entangled in fairy lights. LOVE also features animated mesh deer that seemingly gallop around a parcel in what appears to be a perpetual state of happiness.
Rabeni, in keeping with her mixture of fantasy, reality, and the creation of items many did not realize they wanted in the first place says, “Who knew anyone would want deer with summer blossom and fairy lights as antlers? But they do, and it opens a gateway to the more unusual which is well received across the grid…”
II. Who are LOVE’s customers?
When Rabeni is asked about the kinds of customers she creates for, she explains: “I have clients across the grid, from role play sim owners to club owners, to people starting out with their own stores right down to the guy next door who just wants a nice garden. Every one is special and whether the clients spend 10L$ or 100,000L$ they are all treated with the same respect and quality of service…
Yet there is also another important quality that distinguishes her from other creators. Rabeni says, “SL is about equality, and we are all equal regardless.” In this sense, Rabeni’s notion of equality is noticeable by how she interacts with customers.
If you join LOVE’s inworld group for instance, Rabeni creates an online atmosphere that is whimsical, fun and loving. She makes a point to personally inquire about her customers’ well being, and often shares monthly gifts that are filled with detail and depth. Like her LOVE line, Rabeni encompasses warmth and personalization that not only makes a customer feel a part of somethinDiscuss her incorporation of love and personalization, particularly in terms of being my friend….
III. Recycling, As Featured in LOVE
Besides the creation of all things fantasy, Rabeni’s LOVE business also believes in showcasing the beauty of reusing and recycling. For instance, LOVE has a Garden Bike available on Marketplace for $175L. This bike is not for riding though; it is meant as a garden area that showcases planted flowers and other foilage–all of which are planted on a bike that is no longer useful for riding. The bike not only features a basket full of flowers, it also has foliage that grows at the base of its tires. And while many of us may never dream of using a bike to showcase flowers and other foilage, there are many in RL and in SL that would. Specifically, there are many RL gardening enthusiasts who rely on things that are no longer used. Items like old tires, cars that no longer work, and even abandoned furniture can be incorporated in landscaping to not only bring beauty to an area, but to make use of something that is otherwise difficult to dispose of. LOVE, in this sense, encompasses giving and reusing, all in an effort to create something totally unique and new. It also reflects RL, because right now recycling plays an imperative role in saving our planet and the species that inhabit it.
To better understand how LOVE products reflect real life recycling efforts, please look at the slideshow below:
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IV. The Creative Force Behind LOVE
When asked what prompted her to create the LOVE business inworld, Rabeni explains, “I have always been a creative [person,] and SL opened doors to a new medium…couple that with a life time of self-employment, and the two went together naturally….I had toyed with the idea that it might be possible to create a successful business in a VR (Virtual Reality) environment and [have found that] it is….more than possible…and I recommend everyone to give it a try.”
LOVE, as Rabeni passionately believes, continues to be successful because of the growth and technological advancement in Second Life. “….[LOVE] continues to go from strength to strength as SL improves. I remember back in 2007 chatting with a good friend in SL and laughing about where we would be in ten years time. I had no idea LOVE would be so well received and I appreciate the support I have had and continue to have from every SL resident that visits the store. I prefer to say THE store rather than MY store as I feel the success of LOVE belongs to the SL community.”
When asked what she liked best about creating merchandise inworld, Rabeni first establishes the struggle inherent in learning how to create in a Virtual World. “Creating in SL is a steep learning curve…” says Rabeni, “…but once you get to the top, the rewards are endless…and every day you learn more. Once you find your niche, you just can’t stop. The drive to create more and to improve outweighs the business side…”
V. Real Life Reflected in SL, According to LOVE
Functioning as a Real Life business owner, Rabeni is not only an author, but also an Imagineer. For those unfamiliar with the term Imagineer, Dictionary.com defines it as follows: a person who devises and implements a new or highly imaginative concept or technology, in particular one who devises the attractions in Walt Disney theme parks. An Imagineer can also be responsible for devising and implementing new attractions, concepts or technology in a theme park based setting (Dictionary.com).
As an author and an Imagineer, Rabeni is accustomed to wearing different occupational hats when it comes to working in Real Life. When asked how, in her opinion, Real Life is often reflected in Second Life, Rabeni says:”I find skills used in RL translate well to SL and vice versa and, as with any work of fiction there is always an element of reality which draws the reader in and gives them something to relate to, hence in SL I find this is the same. I mix elements of fantasy with the odd touch of reality and a twist of the unusual and take each resident that sees the store, by the hand and guide them on to a path they may never have walked.”
The idea of leading SL community members down the road less traveled has also proven to be therapeutic for many inworld. In fact, Rabeni told me that she has had residents tell her that they come to the LOVE SIM for therapeutic reasons…specifically because it is so relaxing. Many of these residents suffer from real life disabilities and injuries, and often look to the LOVE sim as an aid to help them better manage their illnesses. The beauty featured on the SIM seemingly freezes nature, allowing patrons to observe and partake in the beauty around them.
Rabeni reiterates this realization by describing how those that visit the LOVE sim also benefit her. She explains, “… the best part is how inspiring SL residents are and how supportive they are when they enjoy a creator’s ideas. It’s something I have never found anywhere else in any creative industry. It’s unique and SL residents created that.”
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In addition to creating an atmosphere that supports the creative industry, Rabeni also contends that this support encourages her to create merchandise that is not only detailed, but often challenging. For this reason, Rabeni says that if a product is not a challenge to create, then it tends to not get released either. “So many items have gone to ‘Room 101,’ never to return….” Rabeni continues, “The finest part though is sometimes I release a new item and someone will ask me to change or add to it, even tailor it to their needs. This is great…I never shy away from a challenge and it becomes a collaboration between customer and creator and both of us appreciate each other. We usually go on to become friends and, if that person owns an SL business, I am more than happy to promote it in my groups and maybe introduce group members to new things. SL is a place full of challenges and help, friends and ideas and I say ‘Challenge accepted!'”
When asked if she would like to add any concluding statements, Rabeni said, “I would like to take this opportunity to thank YOU for including me in your wonderful magazine, and I would like to stand up and give the residents of Second Life a huge round of applause because without them there would be no LOVE and love is Life’s Only Valuable Emotion.”
To purchase LOVE products, please check out Rabeni’s products in Marketplace via this link: LOVE Home and Garden + Hair
Customers can also visit LOVE Home and Garden inworld here: LOVE Home and Garden Sim Wide Store.