Sometimes trying new things is a good idea and sometimes it turns out not to be so good. This has certainly been the case when it comes to perfume bottles. It’s really hard to find interesting and fully functional bottles off the rack. All of the really unique and/or attractive ones that you see in stores are custom designed and manufactured, with minimum orders far beyond anything a small-scale indie perfumer could afford or use. Unusual-looking bottles are also available ready-made, on a wholesale basis, from manufacturers in China, but they’re generally ugly and cheap-looking and reportedly tend to malfunction in every conceivable way. I haven’t been tempted to try them.
What I was tempted to do was to buy a bunch of 5-ml spray bottles with metallic gold and silver cases (above photo) from a US supplier I hadn’t used before. They cost less than the sturdy shiny black or red ones I’d been using, and supposedly held more juice, 7.5 ml to be exact. Once I started using them, though, I discovered that they might be able to hold 7 ml or so if one were able to fill the glass interior bottle all the way to the brim, but that if one left enough space to accommodate the rather bulky spray mechanism and screw it on, the available space was back down to about 5 ml. Something ventured, nothing gained.
The other thing I didn’t like about these bottles was the fact that the outside casing was designed to make them look like they hold more than they actually do. Like a lot of packaging, they feature a big exterior box with a small interior container, and take up more packing space than they need to. A couple of the sprayers on the testers didn’t work properly, and there was no way to test the unsprayed ones before shipping. I didn’t get any complaints about malfunctioning sprayers, and I hope no one got one, but I’d like to minimize that possibility in future.
I’ve gone back to the old model 5-ml sprays with a sturdy glass bottle, a shiny black casing, and a better quality sprayer. I’m holding a special sale to sell off all of the old model sprays, including testers, so that I can completely transition to the new bottles.
The other mistake I made was ordering a lot of 30-ml spray bottles from the new supplier as well. They’re basically functional and attractive, but the sprayers seem lower quality than those from my old supplier. The cost is about the same. I just used up the last of the “new” 30-ml bottles and have transitioned back to the better ones. The difference probably isn’t immediately obvious to the consumer, but I hope the sprayer will be more reliable with long-term use.
Over the next year or two, I have plans to change my
labeling from the stick-on labels that I currently use to labels printed
directly on the bottles. These will look nicer, be more resistant to damage,
and make my life easier since I will no longer have to print, cut and apply
labels. Getting them all done is a far away dream, but I’ll be starting in July
with the special edition that I’m making for Blackbird, a Seattle boutique
specializing in men’s clothing and fragrance and will make the transition one
fragrance at a time.
Upgrading my packaging has been a continuously ongoing, trial-and-error process over the entire three years that I’ve been in business. A major makeover is one of the goals, and I’m sure that, even if it doesn’t all get completed, at least some headway will be made on this project over the coming year. I know that quality packaging is an important aspect of perfume, and will be doing what I can, as I can, to make sure that the packaging better reflects the quality of what’s inside.
[Fountain of Youth painting by Lucas Cranach, 1546]