Against Niggardliness in Modern Perfumery. Plaint 2. Part B.

    Against Niggardliness in Modern Perfumery. Plaint 2. Part B.

    post #1 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    ...
    Let me make my position crystal clear: I do not oppose the provision of samples by small niche emporia which represent the perfume houses whose wares they sell. Take Aedes, for example. I love Aedes. I buy some products from them, and they allow me to select seven samples of other perfumes which I might want to buy in the future. It's a win-win situation: my knowledge of perfumes is expanded through being sent samples of perfumes which I might have acquired through the manufacturer, but instead, I am receiving them from one of their retailers, which acts as the house's representative.

    There is accountability in this scenario, accountability which is inherent to the very concept of customer service. Satisfied customers return again and again to the same places to empty their purses and wallets. When the company has a license to sell bottles of perfume, then they have a vested interest in making sure that customers are happy, since then they will return naturally to their store, rather than one of the hundredsif not thousandsonly a few keystrokes away on the internet.

    My complaint about decanters is not merely that they mark up the prices of perfumes by 1000% in order to keep their little businesses afloat. No, I oppose the very notion that this entire invented profession should exist parasitically off the products and industry of others and with no accountability to consumers, who are literally at their mercy, left to accept on faith that the liquid in that tiny vial is what the label says.

    For the very same reason that perfume houses approve only certain sellers as licensed purveyors of their bottles of perfume, I believe that they should exert some sort of control over how samples are dispensed as well. We all know that when we buy a bottle of perfume from an e-bay seller, we risk the real possibility that the sale is a scam, because the juice is a fake. But we know with near certainty that if we purchase a bottle from a licensed provider, we are getting precisely what we paid fornotwithstanding, of course, the vexing issue of reformulation (which I cannot seem to purge from my mind!).

    I am not alleging that decanters pipette from bad bottles or dilute the perfumes they provide to customers, but given their general niggardliness, this would not surprise me in the least, to be perfectly frank. In any case, if it were true, it would be nearly impossible to prove, since by definition the people purchasing samples are trying to find out how a particular perfume smellsthe sample in their vial is, then, in the vast majority of cases, their sole reference.

    But even if no decanter ever knowingly and willfully cheated any customerthough few patrons, I think, will deny that there have been, on occasion, mislabeled vialsthe point is that I should not be placed in the position of having to act on faith in people whom I've never met and who are, by definition, parasites. People who have made and do make mistakes, and some of whom appear to adhere to the strict antithesis of the first precept of Customer Service 101, that The customer is king (or queen).

    I resent being placed at the mercy of parasites in any area of societyand I am only all too aware that the thick tax code will not be going away in my lifetime, barring nuclear holocaustbut this is one arena where the situation can actually be remedied. Yes, perfume houses possess the power to take back the night, so to speak, to reclaim their territory by offering sample programs as helpful and mutually beneficial as those of Keiko Mecheri, Tauer Perfumes, Ineke, Ormonde Jayne, Bond no 9, Sonoma Scent Studio, The Different Company, and others as well.

    I exhort those straggler houses who continue to resist the entirely rational development and maintenance of a sample program to revisit this issue at your very next board meeting, before any more decantersempirically indistinguishable from e-bay sellersarrive on the scene. Perfume houses do not wish their wares to be peddled illicitly by e-bay scammers, so why would they condone the very same enterprise being carried out by wolves dressed in sheep clothing, who suck the blood of none other than YOU?


    (End of Plaint 2)
    post #2 of 49
    Are you talking about actual decanting businesses like The Perfumed Court, or about individuals who sell decants from their bottles on sites like Crystal Flacon? Or both?
    post #3 of 49
    Couldn't disagree more.

    I enjoyed reading your piece all the same though.
    post #4 of 49
    I also love The Perfumed Court. They provide a valuable service. Besides the decants, their web site provide good guidance to 'fume types & where particular fumes fit in the spectrum.

    A solution you make like better is the selling of samples and sample sets by many houses - orchidscents.com, Neil Morris, Ineke, Andy Tauer.

    Whether you buy directly from the house or from a decanter, you shouldn't complain about paying to have your curiosity satisfied.

    Or, live the way my mother did - buy one bottle of Joy every other year, make it last, and wear nothing else.
    post #5 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by morrison74;bt5430

    Are you talking about actual decanting businesses like The Perfumed Court, or about individuals who sell decants from their bottles on sites like Crystal Flacon? Or both?

    Greetings, morrison74!

    I am talking not about communities of swappers who have relationships with one another and sell decants, etc., in an avocational way but about businesses like TPC. I realize that lots of people like them, but they only exist because so many niche houses and manufacturers make it prohibitively difficult to sample their wares.
    post #6 of 49
    There is another aspect to decanters that is important: you can get vintage and discontinued fragrances from them. Otherwise, you are forced to dig through the dregs of ebay and maybe pay a high price for a fake or something that's gone off.

    If a person lives far from a big urban center with stores like Barney's or Saks or even a perfumania, say, then decanters are also a good option-- and ultimately
    far cheaper than flying to Boston to go to Colony Drug (or Paris or LA for Lucky Scent.) So I guess I don't feel like they are the bad guys. They give me access to something I otherwise would not have. I would rather spend 70$ on samples than buy a 200$ bottle of yuck blind.

    It is true that at 3$ a 1 ml sample, they make 300$ for a 100 ml bottle (minus expenses). But even requesting samples online is pricey now. Czech and Speake now wants 2.5 pounds (plus delivery plus card fees-- about 10 pouds all told) to send you samples, Histoires des parfums wants 10$ for 6 samples and some niche perfumers want as much as 65-109$ for sample packs now. At least with decanters you control what you get.

    And you are right-- it would pay companies to dispense more samples. They should keep them in buckets in the perfume section!
    post #7 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gandhajala;bt5431

    Couldn't disagree more.

    I enjoyed reading your piece all the same though.

    Dear gandhajala,

    Thank you so much for the comments! There are few things I love more than a healthy dose of dissent!

    post #8 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ECaruthers;bt5433

    I also love The Perfumed Court. They provide a valuable service. Besides the decants, their web site provide good guidance to 'fume types & where particular fumes fit in the spectrum.

    A solution you make like better is the selling of samples and sample sets by many houses - orchidscents.com, Neil Morris, Ineke, Andy Tauer.

    Whether you buy directly from the house or from a decanter, you shouldn't complain about paying to have your curiosity satisfied.

    Or, live the way my mother did - buy one bottle of Joy every other year, make it last, and wear nothing else.

    Hello again, ECaruthers!

    I must not have expressed myself clearly enough. I am all for purchasing sample sets. I am all for purchasing manufacturer- or house-produced samples. I really have no objection whatsoever to that. What I find perplexing is that there are houses who have no sample program whatsoever. So people who want to know what their perfumes smell like buy expensive samples from decanters. My impression is that some people spend more money at decanters than at houses. Assuming limited income, anyone who is spending hundreds of dollars at a decanter is not spending that money at the houses.

    I am not suggesting that perfumers cut out the "middle man" completely, only those who are not connected in any way to them. In other words, I do draw a stark distinction between licensed retailers, on the one hand, and ebay sellers and decanters, on the other.

    Anyway, my little manifesto is intended to be hyperbolic--to provoke thought more than to incite a revolution.

    Thank you again so much for your comments!
    post #9 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    There is another aspect to decanters that is important: you can get vintage and discontinued fragrances from them. Otherwise, you are forced to dig through the dregs of ebay and maybe pay a high price for a fake or something that's gone off.

    Dear lisa16,

    Thanks so much for your remarks. As for the above, my question is: what is the basis for your alleged distinction between ebay and decanters? There is no accountability to the customer or the houses in either case. How is using a decanter different from, as you put it, "digging through the dregs of ebay"? Didn't TPC begin as an ebay store? And where, after all, do decanters acquire their vintage bottles, if not from ebay?

    Any light you might shed on this puzzle would be most appreciated!
    post #10 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    I would rather spend 70$ on samples than buy a 200$ bottle of yuck blind.

    Agreed!
    post #11 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    Czech and Speake now wants 2.5 pounds (plus delivery plus card fees-- about 10 pouds all told) to send you samples, Histoires des parfums wants 10$ for 6 samples and some niche perfumers want as much as 65-109$ for sample packs now.

    The prices you cite seem quite reasonable to me and are far less than the decanters charge. Why should I pay $10 for a sample of a Pierre Balmain perfume, when entire bottles are available online for $20?

    I find sample packs to be a fantastic value, whether they cost $25 (Ineke) or $80 (the large set chez Keiko Mecheri) or whatever I paid (probably more) for my set from The Different Company. So far I have loved only a couple of the perfumes from the Keiko Mecheri set, and only one from TDC, but it is a wonderful experience to be able to explore their aesthetic worlds and find out which of their perfumes are really unique--even the ones that I would not wear.

    Buying bottles blind is fun when they cost $10 at TJMaxx, but paying $200 for something that I may or may not wear is not something that I'm prepared to do. Niche houses which offer sample sets make it possible for me to explore their distinctive collections, and the money I spend goes back into the art of perfumery itself through its practitioners.
    post #12 of 49
    Histories des parfums' samples are refundable for a 120ml bottle purchase. I think this is great. I wish more houses would offer the same kind of deal.
    post #13 of 49
    As my fragrance explorations are almost always note-led, l prefer to buy individual samples of scents l like the sound of. l cannot justify paying for a full sample set from a line when l may only like one or two of them. That is why l appreciate the existence of places like The Perfumed Court.
    post #14 of 49
    Thread Starter 
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by morrison74;bt5443

    Histories des parfums' samples are refundable for a 120ml bottle purchase. I think this is great. I wish more houses would offer the same kind of deal.

    Ineke offers the same deal. I agree: it seems like the perfect solution. I found two perfumes from the Ineke set which I wound up buying, but I would never have done so scent unsniffed, since before testing their perfumes I had no way of knowing whether they were just another fly-by-night among dozens of others...

    I purchased Histoire des parfums samples from beautycafe, and I was really impressed with their wares. So that's a clear example of why excellent perfumers should permit people to take a good long sniff: high-quality products sell themselves (and mediocre ones should not be purchased anyway...)!
    post #15 of 49
    To me, it's no different than buying and selling on Basenotes. Yes, there are risks; yes, there are occasional frauds; yes, one sometimes gets ripped-off. But, it gives one access to an unparalleled range of discontinued and exclusive perfumes one simply can't access otherwise, often at excellent prices. ( A perfect example: a Caron sale at TPC a while ago gave me access to a number of rare Carons, some discontinued, and ALL at a better price per ml than Caron was selling them new. )

    8/21/11 at 3:51pm

    sherapop said:



    ...
    Let me make my position crystal clear: I do not oppose the provision of samples by small niche emporia which represent the perfume houses whose wares they sell. Take Aedes, for example. I love Aedes. I buy some products from them, and they allow me to select seven samples of other perfumes which I might want to buy in the future. It's a win-win situation: my knowledge of perfumes is expanded through being sent samples of perfumes which I might have acquired through the manufacturer, but instead, I am receiving them from one of their retailers, which acts as the house's representative.

    There is accountability in this scenario, accountability which is inherent to the very concept of customer service. Satisfied customers return again and again to the same places to empty their purses and wallets. When the company has a license to sell bottles of perfume, then they have a vested interest in making sure that customers are happy, since then they will return naturally to their store, rather than one of the hundredsif not thousandsonly a few keystrokes away on the internet.

    My complaint about decanters is not merely that they mark up the prices of perfumes by 1000% in order to keep their little businesses afloat. No, I oppose the very notion that this entire invented profession should exist parasitically off the products and industry of others and with no accountability to consumers, who are literally at their mercy, left to accept on faith that the liquid in that tiny vial is what the label says.

    For the very same reason that perfume houses approve only certain sellers as licensed purveyors of their bottles of perfume, I believe that they should exert some sort of control over how samples are dispensed as well. We all know that when we buy a bottle of perfume from an e-bay seller, we risk the real possibility that the sale is a scam, because the juice is a fake. But we know with near certainty that if we purchase a bottle from a licensed provider, we are getting precisely what we paid fornotwithstanding, of course, the vexing issue of reformulation (which I cannot seem to purge from my mind!).

    I am not alleging that decanters pipette from bad bottles or dilute the perfumes they provide to customers, but given their general niggardliness, this would not surprise me in the least, to be perfectly frank. In any case, if it were true, it would be nearly impossible to prove, since by definition the people purchasing samples are trying to find out how a particular perfume smellsthe sample in their vial is, then, in the vast majority of cases, their sole reference.

    But even if no decanter ever knowingly and willfully cheated any customerthough few patrons, I think, will deny that there have been, on occasion, mislabeled vialsthe point is that I should not be placed in the position of having to act on faith in people whom I've never met and who are, by definition, parasites. People who have made and do make mistakes, and some of whom appear to adhere to the strict antithesis of the first precept of Customer Service 101, that The customer is king (or queen).

    I resent being placed at the mercy of parasites in any area of societyand I am only all too aware that the thick tax code will not be going away in my lifetime, barring nuclear holocaustbut this is one arena where the situation can actually be remedied. Yes, perfume houses possess the power to take back the night, so to speak, to reclaim their territory by offering sample programs as helpful and mutually beneficial as those of Keiko Mecheri, Tauer Perfumes, Ineke, Ormonde Jayne, Bond no 9, Sonoma Scent Studio, The Different Company, and others as well.

    I exhort those straggler houses who continue to resist the entirely rational development and maintenance of a sample program to revisit this issue at your very next board meeting, before any more decantersempirically indistinguishable from e-bay sellersarrive on the scene. Perfume houses do not wish their wares to be peddled illicitly by e-bay scammers, so why would they condone the very same enterprise being carried out by wolves dressed in sheep clothing, who suck the blood of none other than YOU?


    (End of Plaint 2)

    8/22/11 at 2:51am

    morrison74 said:



    Are you talking about actual decanting businesses like The Perfumed Court, or about individuals who sell decants from their bottles on sites like Crystal Flacon? Or both?

    8/22/11 at 3:31am

    gandhajala said:



    Couldn't disagree more.

    I enjoyed reading your piece all the same though.

    8/22/11 at 4:03am

    ECaruthers said:



    I also love The Perfumed Court. They provide a valuable service. Besides the decants, their web site provide good guidance to 'fume types & where particular fumes fit in the spectrum.

    A solution you make like better is the selling of samples and sample sets by many houses - orchidscents.com, Neil Morris, Ineke, Andy Tauer.

    Whether you buy directly from the house or from a decanter, you shouldn't complain about paying to have your curiosity satisfied.

    Or, live the way my mother did - buy one bottle of Joy every other year, make it last, and wear nothing else.

    8/22/11 at 6:48am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by morrison74;bt5430

    Are you talking about actual decanting businesses like The Perfumed Court, or about individuals who sell decants from their bottles on sites like Crystal Flacon? Or both?

    Greetings, morrison74!

    I am talking not about communities of swappers who have relationships with one another and sell decants, etc., in an avocational way but about businesses like TPC. I realize that lots of people like them, but they only exist because so many niche houses and manufacturers make it prohibitively difficult to sample their wares.

    8/22/11 at 6:50am

    lisa16 said:



    There is another aspect to decanters that is important: you can get vintage and discontinued fragrances from them. Otherwise, you are forced to dig through the dregs of ebay and maybe pay a high price for a fake or something that's gone off.

    If a person lives far from a big urban center with stores like Barney's or Saks or even a perfumania, say, then decanters are also a good option-- and ultimately
    far cheaper than flying to Boston to go to Colony Drug (or Paris or LA for Lucky Scent.) So I guess I don't feel like they are the bad guys. They give me access to something I otherwise would not have. I would rather spend 70$ on samples than buy a 200$ bottle of yuck blind.

    It is true that at 3$ a 1 ml sample, they make 300$ for a 100 ml bottle (minus expenses). But even requesting samples online is pricey now. Czech and Speake now wants 2.5 pounds (plus delivery plus card fees-- about 10 pouds all told) to send you samples, Histoires des parfums wants 10$ for 6 samples and some niche perfumers want as much as 65-109$ for sample packs now. At least with decanters you control what you get.

    And you are right-- it would pay companies to dispense more samples. They should keep them in buckets in the perfume section!

    8/22/11 at 6:51am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by gandhajala;bt5431

    Couldn't disagree more.

    I enjoyed reading your piece all the same though.

    Dear gandhajala,

    Thank you so much for the comments! There are few things I love more than a healthy dose of dissent!

    8/22/11 at 7:03am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ECaruthers;bt5433

    I also love The Perfumed Court. They provide a valuable service. Besides the decants, their web site provide good guidance to 'fume types & where particular fumes fit in the spectrum.

    A solution you make like better is the selling of samples and sample sets by many houses - orchidscents.com, Neil Morris, Ineke, Andy Tauer.

    Whether you buy directly from the house or from a decanter, you shouldn't complain about paying to have your curiosity satisfied.

    Or, live the way my mother did - buy one bottle of Joy every other year, make it last, and wear nothing else.

    Hello again, ECaruthers!

    I must not have expressed myself clearly enough. I am all for purchasing sample sets. I am all for purchasing manufacturer- or house-produced samples. I really have no objection whatsoever to that. What I find perplexing is that there are houses who have no sample program whatsoever. So people who want to know what their perfumes smell like buy expensive samples from decanters. My impression is that some people spend more money at decanters than at houses. Assuming limited income, anyone who is spending hundreds of dollars at a decanter is not spending that money at the houses.

    I am not suggesting that perfumers cut out the "middle man" completely, only those who are not connected in any way to them. In other words, I do draw a stark distinction between licensed retailers, on the one hand, and ebay sellers and decanters, on the other.

    Anyway, my little manifesto is intended to be hyperbolic--to provoke thought more than to incite a revolution.

    Thank you again so much for your comments!

    8/22/11 at 7:11am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    There is another aspect to decanters that is important: you can get vintage and discontinued fragrances from them. Otherwise, you are forced to dig through the dregs of ebay and maybe pay a high price for a fake or something that's gone off.

    Dear lisa16,

    Thanks so much for your remarks. As for the above, my question is: what is the basis for your alleged distinction between ebay and decanters? There is no accountability to the customer or the houses in either case. How is using a decanter different from, as you put it, "digging through the dregs of ebay"? Didn't TPC begin as an ebay store? And where, after all, do decanters acquire their vintage bottles, if not from ebay?

    Any light you might shed on this puzzle would be most appreciated!

    8/22/11 at 7:13am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    I would rather spend 70$ on samples than buy a 200$ bottle of yuck blind.

    Agreed!

    8/22/11 at 7:27am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by lisa16;bt5437

    Czech and Speake now wants 2.5 pounds (plus delivery plus card fees-- about 10 pouds all told) to send you samples, Histoires des parfums wants 10$ for 6 samples and some niche perfumers want as much as 65-109$ for sample packs now.

    The prices you cite seem quite reasonable to me and are far less than the decanters charge. Why should I pay $10 for a sample of a Pierre Balmain perfume, when entire bottles are available online for $20?

    I find sample packs to be a fantastic value, whether they cost $25 (Ineke) or $80 (the large set chez Keiko Mecheri) or whatever I paid (probably more) for my set from The Different Company. So far I have loved only a couple of the perfumes from the Keiko Mecheri set, and only one from TDC, but it is a wonderful experience to be able to explore their aesthetic worlds and find out which of their perfumes are really unique--even the ones that I would not wear.

    Buying bottles blind is fun when they cost $10 at TJMaxx, but paying $200 for something that I may or may not wear is not something that I'm prepared to do. Niche houses which offer sample sets make it possible for me to explore their distinctive collections, and the money I spend goes back into the art of perfumery itself through its practitioners.

    8/22/11 at 7:54am

    morrison74 said:



    Histories des parfums' samples are refundable for a 120ml bottle purchase. I think this is great. I wish more houses would offer the same kind of deal.

    8/22/11 at 9:25am

    teardrop said:



    As my fragrance explorations are almost always note-led, l prefer to buy individual samples of scents l like the sound of. l cannot justify paying for a full sample set from a line when l may only like one or two of them. That is why l appreciate the existence of places like The Perfumed Court.

    8/22/11 at 9:52am

    sherapop said:



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by morrison74;bt5443

    Histories des parfums' samples are refundable for a 120ml bottle purchase. I think this is great. I wish more houses would offer the same kind of deal.

    Ineke offers the same deal. I agree: it seems like the perfect solution. I found two perfumes from the Ineke set which I wound up buying, but I would never have done so scent unsniffed, since before testing their perfumes I had no way of knowing whether they were just another fly-by-night among dozens of others...

    I purchased Histoire des parfums samples from beautycafe, and I was really impressed with their wares. So that's a clear example of why excellent perfumers should permit people to take a good long sniff: high-quality products sell themselves (and mediocre ones should not be purchased anyway...)!

    8/22/11 at 4:40pm

    Sugandaraja said:



    To me, it's no different than buying and selling on Basenotes. Yes, there are risks; yes, there are occasional frauds; yes, one sometimes gets ripped-off. But, it gives one access to an unparalleled range of discontinued and exclusive perfumes one simply can't access otherwise, often at excellent prices. ( A perfect example: a Caron sale at TPC a while ago gave me access to a number of rare Carons, some discontinued, and ALL at a better price per ml than Caron was selling them new. )





Loving perfume on the Internet since 2000