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  1. #1

    Unhappy (UPDATED) Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Well, I have some VERY bad news for all of us fragrance lovers that are addicted to samples. I was just at Von Maur a few moments ago (I'm posting this on a Mac at a nearby Best Buy), and I found from the SA there that they, and other department store chains like Macy's that use vendor reps, are getting rid of samples.

    Basically, it's budget cuts from the big department stores... They found that they would spend for samples or vendor reps, but not both. And, of course, the big fragrance companies budged. The Von Maur SA was very mad at the news, as she said that the samples brought a lot of people into her store and made a lot of transactions. Why can't fragrance manufacturers afford simple vial-on-card samples?

    UPDATE: The rumors are true for Macy's, too. See post #26.

    P.S.: While not a department store, I wonder if Sephora will keep offering samples as well... either way, I hope they open a store here this year.
    Last edited by MFfan310; 3rd March 2010 at 11:43 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Darn, that sucks. The Sephora here in Singapore don't offer samples except with purchases. But many smaller stores are blatantly selling carded samples already marked 'Not for sale'... Giving things away for free is generally not recommended here on this little island.
    “...too many among us die at thirty and are buried at eighty.” - Robin Sharma

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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    We don't get many free samples in Japan either. However, Diamondflame notes that people are paying for samples in his neighborhood, and many websites also offer small sample-sized decants. I would be willing to pay for samples, and I am often more willing to buy bottles if I have had a chance to live with a few wearings first.

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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Samples are few and far between here in Asia where I am currently which sucks anyhow. Sad news re. the samples at dept stores back home. The recession effects trickle down in the most surprising ways .
    Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
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  5. #5

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    This isn't good news, but it's not surprising, either. Where I live in the States samples are hard to come by in the dept stores. And in addition, the dept stores tend to keep the testers under lock and key, so a customer often has to hunt someone down just to use a tester. Can't speak for the local Sephora simply b/c I haven't visited there yet. I can only hope it's better than the local department stores.

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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Oh, well, the ladies of The Perfumed Court must be clapping their little hands.
    ...Do Less. ... Own Less..... Say "no" More Often.
    Currently wearing: Rose de Mai by Fragonard

  7. #7

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    I find this hard to believe. Giving samples is part of doing business, isn't it? It's like offering a cracker to a customer with the hopes the customer will fork out money and buy a whole box.

    This is beyond me, when the retail mark-up is so insane for a a product like perfume.

    Maybe the companies will just hope we will spray in the store and buy on the spot--which I never do. I had this happen at a Jo Malone counter.
    "That lover which is like fragrance
    Whose voice is as beautiful as Urdu.

    She who hides in the flowers
    you can only find her from her fragrance."

    "Chaiyya Chaiyya," from the film, "Dil Se."
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    It wasn't until I brought cologne in the US that I was offered samples. In Australia samples are not freely handed out even though a lifetime of samples might be below the counter.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by Marc Anthony View Post
    It wasn't until I brought cologne in the US that I was offered samples. In Australia samples are not freely handed out even though a lifetime of samples might be below the counter.
    Marc Anthony, I agree. I *know* the SAs are hoarding the samples behind the counter. The generous ones will give you a handful of them when you make a purchase.

    Once, I went a good distance to go to a Sephora that had a product I wanted. When I got there, the embarrassed SA said they sent to item back to the warehouse. He apologised profusely and offered to order it for me off the Web and then went into the storeroom and packed up a "huge" bag of perfume and skin care samples. I received lotions, vials and rather large samples on this occasion.

    When an SA makes a simpering smile when you asked for samples and they say they don't have any, you can pretty well bet they are lying. They are either hoarding the samples or are too lazy to go into the back room and get some for you.

    It was also discussed that some SAs take the samples/minis and then sell them.
    "That lover which is like fragrance
    Whose voice is as beautiful as Urdu.

    She who hides in the flowers
    you can only find her from her fragrance."

    "Chaiyya Chaiyya," from the film, "Dil Se."
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26125293.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26125293.jpg"> Hypnôse by Lancôme</a></div>

  10. #10

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Might as well pull the testers off the shelves, too.

    I don't think anyone buys fragrance anymore. People just ask for samples and they are never seen again. Everytime I am at the fragrance counter I see several people just spray and walk away. No intention on buying anything.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    In an ideal world, the customary rule would be to be receive at least some samples even due to buying from legit Internet retailers.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by SirSlarty View Post
    Might as well pull the testers off the shelves, too.

    I don't think anyone buys fragrance anymore. People just ask for samples and they are never seen again. Everytime I am at the fragrance counter I see several people just spray and walk away. No intention on buying anything.
    I feel the same way as well. I've even overheard guys chatting that they just go to the Department Shop counters just to ask for samples (!). As well, I never smell fragrance on any men. Is mens fragrance passe ?
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by SirSlarty View Post
    I don't think anyone buys fragrance anymore. People just ask for samples and they are never seen again. Everytime I am at the fragrance counter I see several people just spray and walk away. No intention on buying anything.
    Probably Basenoters...LOL.
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  14. #14
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Frankly , noone in Sephora has ever offered to make up a sample for me . I have only received samples from Macy's ! Online discounters are better at giving away samples ( reirien for example- I am not including Fragrancenet here because their samples leave much to be desired ! ;D )
    Last edited by Mimi Gardenia; 6th February 2010 at 08:04 AM.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by mysticknot View Post
    Frankly , noone in Sephora has ever offered to make up a sample for me . I have only received samples from Macy's ! Online discounters are better at giving away samples ( reirien for example- I am not including Fragrancenet here because their samples leave much to be desired ! ;D )
    I asked one Sephora SA to make up a sample decant for me and she played dumb about the mini-atomisers. Then I *told* her about the mini sprayers and she finally had to fess up. The amount in the sprayers was not generous. On another occasion, a Nordstrom SA was very reluctant to makeup a vial for me--very obviously to her distaste as I guess she had to "soil" her hands as with perfume a she sprayed into the vial--but she made up a vial and carded it with a label.

    I agree with Surfacing in that many men no longer wear scent, sadly. (My father made a point of grooming/scent as an essential part of being a gentleman. As a child, I witnessed scent as a part of grooming.) Then you come across some young buck smelling like he bathed in some common, generic, trendy aquatic scent-of-the-moment as you are left gasping in his sillage...

    Niche online retailers seem to be the best at samples. Beauty Habit and Beauty Encounter will include samples. Lucky Scent are the best in allowing you to request samples of specific scents when you make a purchase. In fact, I have been persuaded to buy scents based on the samples! If you don't request samples, they will usu. include samples based on what you bought (notes like gourmands, leathers, white florals, etc.) Isn't this what retail samples are all about--to encourage product sales? I agree with mysticknot in that the discounters are not the best in including samples.

    Again, the stinginess in giving out samples baffles me...
    Last edited by Primrose; 6th February 2010 at 12:27 PM.
    "That lover which is like fragrance
    Whose voice is as beautiful as Urdu.

    She who hides in the flowers
    you can only find her from her fragrance."

    "Chaiyya Chaiyya," from the film, "Dil Se."
    <div class="bnsotd"><b>Currently wearing:</b> <a href="ID26125293.html"><img src="http://www.basenotes.net/photos/products/33/26125293.jpg"> Hypnôse by Lancôme</a></div>

  16. #16

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    A few thoughts on points above:

    1. Sample hoarding is very common among SAs. A friend used to work as SA in Bloomingdales here in NYC (sadly no longer), he would always give me a whole bag of samples when I asked, sometimes even full size tester bottles. He always had a few tester bottles at home.

    2. Few samples are available. The samples he would give me were always what is being promoted: new or poorly selling products. The stores simply do not receive samples of fragrances that move well off the shelves. It is always the manufacturer who asks the retailer to give away samples, never the other way around.

    3. People wear less fragrance. This is very pronounced here in NYC, where foreign population is comparatively large. White Americans, both male and females, almost never wear any fragrance; all they usually smell of is fabric softener. Immigrants are much more likely to wear something; foreign visitors almost always do. This is quite amazing, considering the amount of fabric fresheners, house sprays, scented candles, perfumed toilet paper, tissue and an amazing array of other scented products sold in the country. We now even have pet fragrances, yet the owner would rather wear nothing. Perhaps it is because everything else smells, people detest wearing more scent.

    4. There are quite a few sites that will gladly sell you samples, God bless the Internet. I am curious if BN will not jump onto the bandwagon some day.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by xilonic View Post
    A few thoughts on points above:

    4. There are quite a few sites that will gladly sell you samples, God bless the Internet. I am curious if BN will not jump onto the bandwagon some day.
    Oh,Grant, Are you listening?

  18. #18

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    I think samples sell more than pushy reps, but that's just me.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    It goes hand in hand with perfume companies putting most of the money and effort into the creation of the top notes, hoping we'd spray and buy based on that first minute. They assume their customers are an unsophisticated bunch who know nothing about base notes, body chemistry and scent development.

    Last week at Henri Bendel a very stubborn SA tried to convince me I needed to buy a couple of their new house perfumes and if I end up not liking them I can always take them back. She told me it was a business decision not to invest in samples. I managed to sweet talk the senior perfume guy there into making me a sample, but that's the exception to the rule.

    Just another proof things are going downhill.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by xilonic View Post
    People wear less fragrance. This is very pronounced here in NYC, where foreign population is comparatively large. White Americans, both male and females, almost never wear any fragrance; all they usually smell of is fabric softener. Immigrants are much more likely to wear something; foreign visitors almost always do. This is quite amazing, considering the amount of fabric fresheners, house sprays, scented candles, perfumed toilet paper, tissue and an amazing array of other scented products sold in the country. We now even have pet fragrances, yet the owner would rather wear nothing. Perhaps it is because everything else smells, people detest wearing more scent.
    Oh I find this sad.
    Wearing perfume is not like smoking cigarettes though I get the impression that a lot of people in NYC think this is so. I hope it's nothing more than a phase.
    They would probably throw me right out of NYC with my 'fumes.
    Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by the non blonde View Post
    Last week at Henri Bendel a very stubborn SA tried to convince me I needed to buy a couple of their new house perfumes and if I end up not liking them I can always take them back. She told me it was a business decision not to invest in samples. I managed to sweet talk the senior perfume guy there into making me a sample, but that's the exception to the rule.
    Last summer we visited Bendel. I asked for a sample of an AG I was thinking of buying (and later did buy). The SA told me they didn't have samples, so I produced one of the empty 2.5 ml. atomizers I now carry everywhere in my purse and asked if he wouldn't mind spraying a little into it. Again a refusal! I gave it one last try, saying that I felt by bringing my own atomizer I was meeting the store halfway, and how did they expect people to buy something they couldn't try adequately? He then acquiesced. But wow, it was like pulling teeth.

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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by 30 Roses View Post
    Last summer we visited Bendel. I asked for a sample of an AG I was thinking of buying (and later did buy). The SA told me they didn't have samples, so I produced one of the empty 2.5 ml. atomizers I now carry everywhere in my purse and asked if he wouldn't mind spraying a little into it. Again a refusal! I gave it one last try, saying that I felt by bringing my own atomizer I was meeting the store halfway, and how did they expect people to buy something they couldn't try adequately? He then acquiesced. But wow, it was like pulling teeth.
    30 Roses- that's a really good idea- to bring your own little empty atomiser.
    Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Be sure to bring along a few labels as well if you do that, to keep them all straight! On that trip, most of the samples we got at Saks, Takashimaya and Barneys depended on our having had our own atomizers with us.

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    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Thanks for the tip 30 Roses. I will be doing just that ,the next chance I get- no more excuses from SAs ! *GRIN!*
    Petty small minded people have no place in my life.
    Currently wearing: Angel by Thierry Mugler

  25. #25

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Quote Originally Posted by mysticknot View Post
    Oh I find this sad.
    Wearing perfume is not like smoking cigarettes though I get the impression that a lot of people in NYC think this is so. I hope it's nothing more than a phase.
    They would probably throw me right out of NYC with my 'fumes.
    You cannot smoke indoors in NYC - it is the law. Only smoke shops and your own residence are permitted.

    People do get booted out of restaurants for wearing very strong fragrances. I have never seen such case myself, but I suppose one must be wearing a seriously obscene amount to be asked to leave.

  26. #26

    Default Re: Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Here's a little update that makes me think fragrance manufacturers are sending vial-on-card samples to the scrapheap: Now Macy's, the 800-pound gorilla of the department store world, is running low on samples. And they aren't expecting any more.

    I talked to a Macy's SA today, at the Fort Wayne/Glenbrook location. She said that her store is not receiving any more shipments of samples, and that the only samples she is getting are from the New Wave Fragrances (Ed Hardy/True Religion) vendor reps themselves, who receive samples. She also heard rumors that the vial-on-card samples cost the big fragrance makers $1 each to produce and distribute, and that is why the fragrance manufacturers are getting rid of them in favor of scented impressions (BPI in particular is increasing them threefold) and in-store vendor reps. Like the Von Maur SA in the original post, the Macy's SA was not very pleased at the news.

    Anyone else have a similar experience at their local Macy's?
    It's really quite pleasant, except for the smell (...)
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  27. #27
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    Default Re: (UPDATED) Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Wow, that's bad news. With cuts here, who knows where they'll go next? Maybe they'll even start reformulating the fragrances themselves, with cheaper ingredients!

    Oh, wait...
    Last edited by Sugandaraja; 4th March 2010 at 05:36 AM.

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    Default Re: (UPDATED) Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Assuming that the reformulations are as awful as I'm hearing that they are, maybe the fragrance companies don't want to give samples prior to purchase...over and over, people are saying that the new perfumes have no longevity.

    Seems like quite a few samples turn up on fleabay, though.
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    Default Re: (UPDATED) Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    Hmmmm...think maybe this fell off a truck?


    Oh well -- couldn't post the link -- it was a case of Prada samples being offered on fleabay for around $350.
    Last edited by Olfacta; 4th March 2010 at 02:01 PM.
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    Default Re: (UPDATED) Fragrance companies ditching samples to keep dept. store vendor reps?

    You know what this means? Carded samples, especially those with distinctive, embossed vials will become collectors’ items. We witnessed an era, folks.
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