What is the Perfume Project?

This blog is a constantly evolving forum for thoughts on perfume, perfume-making, plants (especially orchids and flora of the Pacific Northwest) and life in general. It started out chronicling the adventures of Olympic Orchids Perfumes, established in July 2010, and has expanded in other directions. A big part of the blog is thinking about the ongoing process of learning and experimentation that leads to new perfumes, the exploration of perfumery materials, the theory and practice of perfume making, the challenges of marketing perfumes and other fragrance products, and random observations on philosophy and society. Spam comments will be marked as such and deleted; any comments that go beyond the boundaries of civil discourse will also be deleted. I am grateful to all of you, the readers, who contribute to the blog by commenting and making this a truly interactive perfume project.

Monday, January 16, 2017

MOVE-IT-OUT-MONDAY #2

In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, I am trying to think positive thoughts about the state of the world, and am taking time to do the easiest blog post possible, another drawing for a bottle of perfume and a group of miscellaneous samples. The bottle is one by a small artisan brand that I shall not name here. It's one that you probably won't find very readily, so if you win, you'll have a "collector's item".

The main prize is in a small "full" spray bottle, but a recent post by Gail on Cafleurebon (along with the odd mixture of evoked comments) made me curious about what sorts of samples people in 2017 like and dislike. I imagine we all agree that none of us like unlabeled sample vials, but other than that the discussion is wide open.

One thing that seemed to get lost in the discussion was the fact that most small perfume companies cannot afford to give away unlimited free samples in any format up to 10 ml (!) spray bottles, with free shipping worldwide. Making samples by hand is a laborious process, and anyone who does it deserves to be compensated for their time and energy. The vials and bottles cost something, as do the labels, which we hope are put on the containers. Packing and shipping materials cost something. I think most (not all) companies sell samples pretty much at or below cost. I know we do. Although we don't make a profit on samples, I don't want our company to go into debt shipping thousands of free samples to anyone and everyone who wants them, so I do expect people to compensate us for the cost so that we can stay in business. The same goes for any other company. That's my soapbox speech for today.

To enter the drawing, just make a comment about what sort of samples you like best. I plan to announce the winner early next week.

16 comments:

  1. Personaly I really apprecitate when I have the opportunity to try a perfume with a 10ml sample. I can use it several days long and even return to it the next month or in a different context of open/work place - hot/cold weather. On the other side it's generally the EdT concentration (even if they say EdP or "intense" version) and it's very different from the concentration you use in Olympic Orchids. When I try one of your creation I only need two tabed drops and avoid to wash myself during two days to let growing on skin the slow evolution. It's an all other kind of experience.

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    1. Frederic, I have no problem with people using 10 ml samples, it's just that companies should not be expected to provide them free of charge to customers who do not buy anything.

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  2. I like the 5-6mL spray sample sizes the best. I find them very travel friendly. I've never had one leak in my bag. They're also easy to apply discreetly in a public setting. One spray and you're done. I tend to prefer purchasing full size bottles in a spray format, so the tester also gives me a good idea of sillage/longevity of a single application.

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    1. Anne, I really like the 5-ml travel size atomizers that I use for my perfumes because they are very sturdy and do not leak or evaporate at all. To me, that size is for long-term use and not a sample, but everyone's perception and perfume application habits differ. You and Frederic are entered in the drawing.

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  3. I also prefer the larger spray samples. 3ml gives me enough to be sure it's not just a passing fling. I have NO problem paying for samples and go out of my way to support perfumers who offer them. A sample set also makes a great gift for friends who aren't opposed to scent. I actually can't imagine anybody expecting to be given free samples. I mean, maybe during a launch to loyal customers but otherwise, no.
    My big complaint is the larger, well-known houses who don't offer samples for purchase and oppose decanting services. I'm not going to blind-buy a vat of something expensive just for the name. I'm still insulted by a sales associate for a luxury brand who suggested I travel 400 miles round trip to their nearest boutique when I asked about the possibility of purchasing samples. They only provide samples when you buy a full bottle. Really?

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  4. Liz, Wow! What an insulting SA and brand policy. I agree that every company should offer samples for purchase, preferably in a variety of formats and sizes. I'm the odd person who can probably get at least 20 wearings out of a little sample vial, maybe more.

    You're entered in the drawing!

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  5. Thanks for posting this info. I just want to let you know that I just check out your site and I find it very interesting and informative. I can't wait to read lots of your posts.
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  6. Hard to tell whether Marlen S is a real reader, a spammer, or a robot. Any post that links to another website is automatically suspect. Just so you know.

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  7. I like both the small atomizer samples and the glass vials with screw tops. I really don't like the 1-3ml sizes with the dabber stick attached to the cap. I find them very difficult to open and when I do manage to pry the top off with brute force, I usually end up spilling half the sample on the floor, my clothes, etc. Like Liz K, I find myself purchasing sample sets from perfume houses a lot. It's a great way to get a sense of their range and willingness to innovate. I enjoy trying to detect use of house accords (eg. "tauerade") as a common thread when sampling sets.

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    1. Triniti, it's always best to buy samples from the perfume house directly :-) You are entered in the drawing!

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  8. I am really intrigued by Northwest perfumeries.
    Having been living here, I get a better appreciation of some of their concepts.

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    1. Sudipta, you are entered in the drawing.

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  9. I actually like the little tiny vials with the dabber in the cap. They allow me to purchase a wider variety of samples! As long as there is enough to sample on at least two different occasions, I'm happy.

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    1. Laurie, I like the little vials, too. You're entered in the drawing.

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  10. I prefer 2 to 5 ml sprays and 5 ml roll ons but the vials do have their place.
    While I really don't expect artisans to give away free samples, I imagine the really big companies can afford to do so - or least offer free shipping (or free samples and charge for shipping). Free shipping AND free samples are admittedly impossible for most companies and simply my imagined Best of All Possible Worlds for consumers. That being said, I just hate it when I spend time selecting my little sample (or anything else) only to find, at the last step in the cart, that the shipping exceeds the cost of the item. Yes, I realize this can happen because shipping costs are so high, but it is a "shopping shock" for me. I would be more likely to make the purchase if an approximation of the shipping were built into the price of the item.

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    1. Azar, That's exactly what I do - build in the cost of shipping samples, with different prices for domestic and international customers. International shipping is ridiculously expensive, many times the cost of a sample, so it's not cost-effective for me or the customer to ship one small sample internationally.

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