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Because perfume must now be shipped by ground, it is important to pad and seal the samples extra well. Include some absorbent material, particularly if shipping glass vials.
Your package will be traveling in the company of lots of heavier ground packages, so take this into consideration.
Postal regulations have become more restrictive since I wrote this blog. To be in compliance with the law, samples must be shipped by ground, and must be brought to the counter so that the postal employee can put a biohazard sticker on the package. This will not increase the cost-- a first class package sent by ground will cost the same as it would if sent by air. You will be directed to click "yes" on a screen that asks if there is hazardous material in it.
This also means international packages cannot be sent legally.
Thank you, queen cupcake!
Really useful tips--thank you!!
Good, Twolf, glad they were still in reusable shape when they got to you! Conservation is a wonderful thing!
You know, I realize sampling groups aren't for everyone. There are lots of people who have extensive collections of samples, which they keep for reference, and revisit whenever they wish. Although even these folks might like to be in a group, if they can be the last to receive-- and keep the samples.
But for those of us who prefer to let samples come and go, who do not want to amass large numbers of them, groups are a good way to share.
Even if we have to spend a bit mailing them to one another, it's still less than the cost of purchased samples (which also have a S&H charge.)
Besides, I expect to have to spend something on my hobbies.
Guilty as charged -- reused many of your boxes and envelopes.
These are great tips for everybody to use, not the newer people only.
It's true that getting started requires a bit of time and money: assembling your atomizers/vials, mailers and packing materials. But once you have them on hand, it's easy.
Don't let all this detail put you off if you want to try starting a group-- you can use the packing materials you already have around the house-- reuse mailers and bubble wrap, use sandwich size ziplock bags, bunch up a little paper towel for padding, use cellophane tape etc.
But please don't reuse atomizers and vials -- the plastic components retain odors. I buy my atomizers and vials from AccessoriesforFragrances.com (the seller is called seattle_4 on eBay, but prices are a bit lower from her website.)
I also buy bubble mailers, packing peanuts and bubble wrap in bulk on eBay; our BJ's (warehouse shopping club, like Costco) carries bubble wrap and packing tape. If you want only a few mailers etc., visit an office supply store, Walmart or whatever discounter is in your area.
When mailing to the first person in a group, I like to print out the address label (not too large) and tape it on, so that it's easy for the recipient to reuse the mailer if they wish.
It goes to show you how much work goes into setting up and maintining a sampling group...
This and the previous blog post are invaluable to anyone who wants to get involved.
I edited the previous post since there was more I wanted to say.
The numbers have varied according to how much of the perfume we had available.
• We have an Hermessence group (2 groups with 7 members each) going now in which we were able to pool more juice of some of the fragrances than of others (ranging from 2-3 sprays of some to 4-5 sprays of others.)
• In wooznib's group (40 members-- no group larger than 3 members) each member gets 6 sprays (6-7 sprays really, but I said 6 to be sure the last member has enough.)
• In the Penhaligon's group (4 groups of 6 members each), we had 15 different fragrances. The amount of juice varied-- for some of the fragrances we had 2 or 3 vials; for other fragrances only one vial. We made do. This group moved too slowly. 15 perfumes is too many to test.
• With the Jo Malone samples (5 groups of 2 members each) each group tested two official Malone spray samples (1.5ml sprays). These moved fast and were lively groups.
• Our current roses sampling group has 2 groups of 5 members but each person tests 30 different rose samples, which are about .7ml each. We had good intentions with this group, but 30 samples take too long to test and leave the members sick to death of roses! Live and learn!
As you see, there is a wide range.
Having done this enough times, I definitely favor more groups with fewer members each, testing only a handful of different samples, keeping them no longer than 10-14 days. To me that is ideal.
I like to see people get an absolute minimum of 2-3 sprays. I've noticed that the men seem to want more juice while the ladies tend to be able to make do with less.
This may not necessarily be enough for the tester to determine if they want to buy a bottle, but it may help them know whether a fragrance is not for them. If unsure, they can always get another sample or decant for further testing. Or they may only wish to sample in order to get a sense of what a house or a line is like, or what a note is like-- or just to satisfy curiosity.
Usually I have not had 20 ml of any one fragrance to pass around-- usually it's smaller amounts of multiple fragrances.
But people can do whatever they like with these groups-- there is no one right way! Tailor it to whatever amount of perfume you have that you wish to share.
Thanks, 30 Roses,
How many people do you usually have in a group?
I actually like to test a sample with 3 sprays: one on my wrist, one one my wife's wrist, and one on a piece of paper towel. But then it's a stretch to make a 20 ml sample satisfy 7 members.
OK. Thanks for clarifying. I thought something like "in a speedy manner" or "rather quickly" or "without much of a delay", but I see your point.
Hi Twolf-- thank you!
Actually there is no word missing-- I meant to say that the fact of a deadline forces one to finally test a perfume that one has been meaning to try but putting off.
Thanks for the tips and for all the samples you have sent to other people within the last couple of years.
Read this one -- some sort of an adverb is missing, IMO.
4. You have to test the samples ________ because there is a deadline for mailing them on.
You are very kind, RM!
This is awsome and I'm sure everyone here appreciates the wonderful work you've done for this community.
Thank you for sharing your experience and organizational wisdom. As far as I have seen, your sampling groups go pretty smoothly, so it is a model worth emulating.
C Rose-- I'm glad you found it helpful! The 50ml is better for me as well. And I can do without the wooden box!
Yeah, it's a bit obsessive, but in the past I've come home from such excursions and realized that in all the busyness, I'd forgotten to test or get a sample of something I had really, really wanted to try. (Maddening!) This way I didn't miss any on my "must try" list.
I didn't write notes on each fragrance but on some, yes, I did write a snapshot impression. For example, Jeux de Peau: "buttered popcorn flavored Jelly Bellies" (not good, not for me.); Gris Clair: "lavender"; Ouarzazate: "peppery" ; Rosine Clair Matin: "boring fruity floral" and so forth.
Simplistic, but it helped me sort the ones I liked right away from the ones I preferred not to test further just yet. Some I mentally filed away to get samples of-- like Jaisalmer.
My husband and daughter didn't pre-plan, just looked at and tested whatever appealed to them. That works, too! My daughter especially liked the jewelry at Bendel; she is not so much into fragrance, prefers fashion. I promised her that the next family trip to NYC would be for something she enjoys more.
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