Wednesday, 25 April 2007

Preliminary Thinking: Hair Pricing

This is just me working off the top of my head here... but I admit, I'm setting foot into turbulent waters. The Second Life hair market is a tough one to break, what with a number of well established, and extremely talented builders already out there making names for themselves.

I admit it... I'm still learning a few tricks, and my repertiore of workarounds increases with every new style... as such I doubt I'd be able to make any headway in the market if I launch with all my style costing what is regarded as "normal" prices. In fact, it's already quite clear that only the top few designers can make serious money from a single style... For example, Lost Thereian can get away with charging $L235 for a single style in a single colour (because, in short, they're THAT good); and Helyanwe Vindaloo, who's Deviant Kitties styles are certainly stunning (if not as "photorealistic" as Lost's) can do very well for herself charging $L175... but us mere mortals are unlikely to impact the market if we roll in charging $L200... So I figured, the best thing I can do is aim low... not to undercut the big guns, but more to make what I do have available at a price that more people will be prepared to pay for work by a relative unknown... So I've been thinking...

There are four levels of complexity that I work to... so each style will be costed on the basis of how much effort it took to make... This may be retweaked at a later date should the need arise.

The most complex styles, requiring development of original textures, will be charged slightly more than other styles... so, shall we say $L125 in the first instance? Sounds about right to me.

Slightly down the scale come those with flexis, but a regular bank of textures. These in themselves aren't necessarily overly elaborate, but do take time to put together. I'll be happy to see them go for $L99.

Down once more to styles where flexis aren't used... primarily as short hair looks terrible if flexible, as any movement is jerky and unnatural... but in turn, people aren't prepared to pay full price for a non-flexing hairstyle anymore. These will market at a fairly realistic $L75.

And the ground level... while it might seem a little counterintuitive, it is in fact pretty easy to create any number of hairstyles around the same basic setup... say, for example, a ponytail available in three lengths could be based around the same head covering, bangs and associated. Here it would be kind of rude to charge full price for each, bearing in mind they are essentially the same style... So in this case, I'll be launching at $L49 for an individual style, or $L99 for a pack of three related styles... ad I do have a few of these planned... announcements to follow!

Then of course, I have to start thinking of what to do about multipacks... so many people offer them - hair colours grouped in such a way that you get a number, or even all available colours in one single box... Well, in the first instance I'm offering 32 colours, with the potential of expanding the range at a later date... so what can I charge? Here's my thinking...

The box price for every colour in each style should be sold at the the price of the style, times the square root of number of colours... I know... I know... sounds complicated but the pricing is relatively straightforward... Basically it means that a 32-colour box costs just over 5.6 times the cost of a single style... while a 64-colour box (if I ever get that far) would cost 8 times... which I figure is pretty reasonable... So pricing for the four tiers listed above, adjusted to the nearest 25 for ease of not confusing too many people with odd pricing, works out at:

Tier 1 - $L125 each or $L700 for all
Tier 2 - $L99 each or $L550 for all
Tier 3 - $75 each or $L425 for all
Tier 4 - $49 each or $L275 for all

What this'd mean is someone could expect to get no fewer than 2 sizes x 3 lengths x 32 colours (or 192 hairstyles) in an all colours threepack for a mere $L550 - or $L2.86 a hair... Sounds like a reasonable deal to me!

Regular single packs, even for the most complex styles I'll offer would work out as $L10.94 a hairstyle...

So there you have it... comments, analysis and suggestions are welcome, of course!

As always, until next time,


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