Around 3 years ago, a friend in sl approached me and said "I have a long list of t-shirt slogans I came up with. You can photoshop. We should open a t-shirt shop."
I was really reluctant at first, partly because I didn't think I'd have the time for this, and partly because this friend in question, is totally nuts and I was sure we'd get into arguments about pretty much everything. But, another friend, gracefully gave us a little plot of land, and before I knew it, there I was, the creative part in the team behind Another Stupid T-shirt Shop.
The shirts were ugly and overpriced and of course no one would buy them. I trusted my friends sense of business and just made stuff, leaving marketing and selling to her. Eventually though, since my friend always was an sl'er in periods, she went on a longer absence, and when she came back she just handed the whole thing over on me. Said she wouldn't be around anyway and that I could take over the whole ownership. So, I did.
At this point, I started making other things, not just ugly t-shirts. I made some ugly sweaters and jeans too, and made my first attempts at eyes. I lowered the prices, and somehow, slowly but surely, the ugly stupid little t-shirt shop grew. I started running some MM-boards, which where hugely popular at the time, and had a really steady crowd of people who'd come over and slap them and stay a while, hanging out at the shop. Sometimes they even bought things, and I was getting a small but rather faithful group of regular customers.
For the first two years of A:S:S, I was in an sl relationship with a mostly absent partner, and while waiting around for him, I made stuff. I made so much stuff. I never had a plan for the shop, no visions, no clear directions, no style and I never ever called myself a designer. I just made stuff.
About a year and a half into the shops existence, the place where I lived and had my business in Fordham went up in a huge drama flare. Someone danced with the wrong girl, which resulted in a bar getting torn down to the ground. (literally, not kidding)
So, I decided it was time to move on.
I found this nice 1/4 corner of a sim in Space Illusion II, and thought it was scarily huge. But I closed my eyes, took a deep breath and bought it. The joy of suddenly having a plot of land, where I could do exactly as I wished, was enormous. I think I could have spent the rest of my sl days just fiddling with the landscape.
Anyway, the shop was set up here, and it grew even further. Now I didn't have to cram the vendors together anymore and I had so many prims it made me dizzy! At this point, I also broke up with my mostly absent partner, and focused almost entirely on A:S:S when I was inworld. I let my friends use what I didn't need of the land and fiddled around happily. I think it possibly could have stopped there, I didn't want more, wasn't looking for more, and I think I had come to a halt in my development as a creator. But, it didn't. I met Storm, who quickly became a friend and a lover and eventually a partner. For the first time, there was someone close to me who actually had an eye for detail and beauty. Someone who could tell me when something I'd made wasn't good, without trying to force his own ideas onto me. (Oh hang on.. now this is turning into a love story? Well.. I think that's ok..)
The last year a lot has happened to A:S:S. I still don't have a plan or concept, I just make whatever comes into my mind, but I'd like to think I've gotten better at what I do. Me and Storm opened Al Jamal on the side, and are now working on a new line of accessories for A:S:S together. He has the patience I lack for fiddling with tiny prims, and he has an eye for design that I never had.
Sometimes I get hubris, and I want to be a part of those little cliques of cool people on plurk and the blogs, or wishes I was a slebrity. But then I remind myself that I'm happiest when all I do is create and love. I'm not even into fashion, never was. Ending up in these part of the woods was really just a fluke. (hey, wait.. I can see clear parallels to my rl career here, but that's another story..)
Where do I see A:S:S in another three years? I have noooo clue... hopefully still around though, 'cause I love this little misfit of a shop. And hopefully I'll be even better at it then.
And! Every January, there will be some kind of anniversary celebration. This year too. But I'm not going to tell you what that is yet.