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.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


It probably seems strange to get all excited about bottles and boxes, but I’m thrilled to have finally found boxes to fit my odd-shaped 15 ml bottles. They’re white with a very subtle embossed flower pattern on them, and they just arrived today! I packaged my first bottles in these boxes and shipped them out this afternoon. I just hope the labels stick tightly to the slightly uneven surface.

I’m not yet to the point in my business where I can have thousands of bottles and boxes custom-designed and printed, so I’m constrained by the selection of generic bottles and boxes offered online, which can be frustrating at times. However, I generally go with the policy that “less is more”, and try to find the simplest design that’s attractive and doesn’t look cheap, and customize it with a label. Those funny 15-ml bottles with the sloping triangular sides are the exception, my one packaging folly.

My challenge now is to find boxes to fit the 30 ml and 50 ml sizes, but that will come in time. I only wish I could find matching ones in exactly the sizes I need, but I suppose that’s too much to expect. For now I’m happy to have three standard bottle sizes and a box for the most popular one.

I know some people like to keep their perfume in its box, so I want to be able to provide one, even if it doesn’t have the typical commercial box-within-a-box design. A box also makes the perfume a lot easier to store and ship.

Do you keep your perfume in its box? What features do you like in perfume bottles and boxes? My pet peeve is bottles that won’t stand up on their own. What’s yours?


  1. Hi Ellen,

    I don't keep my favorite perfumes in their boxes because I am always using them. But I do save the boxes if I have the space. Your angular 15 ml bottles actually work quite well for me. They are easy to hold and don't tip over. More interesting labels would add a lot to the presentation. I realize that the size of the flat surfaces on these bottles probably makes artful labeling difficult.

    My ideal perfume bottle, of which I have several, are hand blown, art glass; small, round, heavy and squat shaped. They have round, ground glass stoppers with daubers. Perhaps at some later date you might consider offering bottles for sale. I'm not suggesting one of a kind, hand blown bottles, but rather good quality, mass produced glass or crystal bottles with ground glass stoppers and daubers, perhaps in colors to match the orchids?

    I really appreciate the tissue wrapping, packaging and labels that you use. When I open the shipping box I feel like I'm receiving a gift from a special friend. Lovely!


  2. Gail, I really appreciate your feedback. Thank you!!!!

    Everything you say is spot on. I'm still struggling with the label designs for the 15 ml bottles. As you pointed out, they're not easy to deal with. Eventually I plan to add some sort of graphic to each one, but right now I'm working with the default design. I'm thinking of a triangular, scent-specific graphic that fits right under the name, and a small logo graphic on the back. Slowly but surely the design is evolving and I'm getting faster at putting things together.

    I'm taking to heart your comment about the tissue-paper wrapping, and will make sure I do it on everything, including the new boxes!

    I like the blown glass bottles with ground glass stoppers, too, but the problem is that they can leak during shipping.


  3. Ellen,

    Regarding the glass bottles with ground glass stoppers: I was hoping that at some later date you would consider selling this type of bottle, at an extra price of course, empty but with those little plastic funnels for filling. Another idea would be to offer an empty bottle as a holiday special or promotion with perfume purchase (depending, of course, on the wholesale price of the bottles). The reason I mentioned this is because, even though I do like your 15ml bottles, I do miss a dauber. I also find the ground glass stoppers easier to use than a screw top. Most independent perfumers I have tried do NOT offer this type of bottle. Perhaps they don't want to be bothered or haven't found a good supplier. I know you are not in the bottle business, but personally I think it would be a great convenience and would be something different you could add to your presentation. I don't know how many customers even care about bottles, but I think the extras like bottles and packaging, as long as they aren't too expensive or labor intensive, can be another way to express the care you take in creating your fragrances. One more thing: I really appreciate that you take the time to solicit the opinions of your customers on these blogs.

  4. Hi Gail, I actually have some samples of bottles with ground glass stoppers and daubers, because I was originally thinking about that possibility. I like your idea of offering one as a promotion with perfume purchase or holiday special. The problem (aside from leakage when shipping) is that these bottles (at least the nice ones) are relatively expensive, so would add significantly to the cost of the perfume if that were the standard packaging. One thought would be to offer that type of bottle (plus funnel for filling it) as another option. I'll definitely think about it.

    I suspect that a lot of customers really do care about bottles. With a full bottle, it's something that you're going to live with for a while, so it makes sense to use the nicest design possible.

    My goal is to give customers something that will make them happy, so their (your) opinions are extremely important to me. Thanks again for your feedback!


  5. How about clear labels? Or labels printed on printed / textured paper? It might be interesting to stick labels to the bottom of the bottles (with the printed side facing upwards), so that you see them through the liquid...or you could put a picture on the bottom this way, and a clear plastic name label on the angled side. This could add dimension and interest. Just a thought...