SL Christmas Expo Merchant Spotlight Interview with Cara Cali of Botanica
WE ARE DELIGHTED YOU CHOSE TO BECOME A 2016 SL CHRISTMAS EXPO SPONSOR! WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO GET INVOLVED WITH RELAY FOR LIFE OF SECOND LIFE AND THE EXPO?
MY brother was only 55 when cancer took him. I don’t know anyone whose life is not touched by this disease. So naturally I support the RFL in Second Life. But I don’t have the time to do a lot of events, so it makes sense that the one I do, I do in a big way.
WHAT ARE SOME ACTIVITIES OR THINGS YOU ARE LOOKING FORWARD TO AT THE 2016 SL CHRISTMAS EXPO & WINTER BREEDABLES FAIR?
I always love the Christmas tree lot. I love the exhibits where artist are given a theme and then you get to see their interpretation and personal style.
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN SL? WHEN DID YOU OPEN YOUR BUSINESS?
Nearly 6 years. Soon after I arrived, I joined a pirate estate to meet other people interested in history and have fun. The homestead was little more than a bare rock with a fort and garrison town on it so I asked the commander if I could have a few prims to green it up. There were historically important plants such as breadfruit and coffee trees that were either not on the market or were too high prim. I had to buy sculpted plant forms and textures to make things myself and squeeze the most green out of each prim. About the same time, I met Ample Clarity when shopping for a one prim piano. We became friends and he invited me to landscape around his new store PrimPossible. Ample was a great mentor to me; he encouraged me sell the things I had made, gave me a prim allotment to open my store and imbued the one prim philosophy into me.
WHAT PRODUCTS DO YOU CREATE?
I create one prim home, garden and holiday decorations geared towards the homestead market. Sometimes I have to go up as high as 2 or three prims, but that actually hurts, I feel like I am letting my customers down. Lag kills the play in roleplay, so I also work hard at keeping script and texture lag down too. Most of my items are sold copy/modify individually so customers can use them to create their own world in SL. I also make harps, clavichords and some furniture under different brand names..
TELL US WHAT INSPIRES YOUR CREATIONS.
Mostly history and literature. I try to make things as accurate as possible, and often do a lot of research into a product. I am also a great home and garden enthusiast in 1st life. Whenever I go on on vacation, I am sure to check out the local botanical gardens, I was also a decor hobbyist in 1st life. Putting this creative energy in sl has meant no more mess and glue guns on the dinning room table.
HOW DO YOU KEEP UP WITH THE LATEST TRENDS IN SECOND LIFE?
That is hard. I have yet to learn blender, and that has decimated my tree and shrub business. I never make anything unless I can make it better than what is already on the market. Essentially I make things I like and can use in either my Linden home, roleplay life, or inworld store. Sometimes friends or customers make suggestions. I get so absorbed in building, my friends know I have to be dragged out of my workshop for my own good and take me exploring to see what’s new or simply to appreciate someone’s else creative vision.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST FAVORITE ITEM YOU HAVE EVER CREATED AND WHY?
It’s not one item, its Walden Pond. Henry David Thoreau is one of my favorite authors, I believe being in touch with nature is important for heath and peace of mind. So many people I have met here have disabilities and can no longer take a walk in the woods on an autumn day. It’s for them and anyone else who can’t get away from the stress of modern life but can take a quick brake and refresh their spirit by visualizing themselves in nature. Including me!
DO YOU HAVE AN IN WORLD STORE? DO YOU MAINTAIN A PRESENCE ON THE SL MARKETPLACE?
I do. Botanica is a little different than most stores. It is set out as a botanical garden where you can buy the things you see. This can be very frustrating for customers looking for a specific item, so they are best off searching my Marketplace store. On the other hand walking around the store can be an outing in itself and will give them landscaping ideas.
We also have hunts going on throughout Botanica, and I like these to be educational. So when hunters come to Botanica for our Birding Hunt, they are bird watching and learning about each bird they have to find. I do that same thing with our Butterfly Hunt and others.
IS THERE ANY ADVICE YOU WOULD GIVE TO A PERSON WHO IS STARTING OUT IN YOUR CHOSEN CAREER?
Few SL creator’s actually make money, and most can earn more working at 1st life job. So make what makes you happy and makes other people smile. If you are not having fun you are doing something wrong.
AS YOU KNOW WE ARE ALWAYS GROWING AND LEARNING. IS THERE ANY ONE THING YOU WOULD LIKE TO TAKE THE TIME TO LEARN MORE ABOUT (SL or RL) AND WHY?
Blender and Photo shop. Technology and techniques keeps improving. The people who create in second life are not graphic artists but true artist bringing their own vision into being and sharing it with others. They just more comfortable impermanence.
IF YOU COULD HAVE DINNER WITH THREE FAMOUS PEOPLE FROM HISTORY, WHO WOULD THEY BE AND WHY?
Buddha, Lucretia Mott and Lenard Cohen so we could sing some songs after dinner. If you don’t know who they are look them up and you will figure out why.
WHAT ONE WORD WOULD YOUR FRIENDS USE TO DESCRIBE YOU?
TELL US ABOUT YOUR SHOP AT THE EXPO. ARE YOU OFFERING ANY EXCLUSIVES AND IF SO, WHAT ARE THEY ?
Oh there will be lots of interactive fun things things for Christmas.
WHAT IS SOMETHING WE CAN LOOK FORWARD TO IN 2017 FROM Botanica ?
I am currently collaborating with Merry Chase on updating her History of the the Tarot exhibit to make it a more interactive learning experience. I think virtual worlds have a huge potential for teaching by adding the dimension of immersion and intuitive layer of experience one does not have access to in real life.
Visit Botanica at the SL Christmas Expo