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  1. #1
    Basenotes Member
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    Default How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I've been meaning to ask this question for a while now. Requesting a sample at the fragrance counter is the most obvious way, of course, but I'm often greeted with, "We're all out of samples." Really, Macys? You have no samples whatsoever? Psh. When I purchase a bottle, I usually have to ask for samples, and it seems like every other one is Spicebomb. Sigh. I have found the most generous samples-with-purchase at Bloomingdales, whereas at Sephora or Macy's it's like you're asking for a free bottle even though you've just purchased something. Yesterday at Sephora I bought a 30ml of Neroli Portifino and received one lousy sample. For $135, they should be able to do better than that. I attribute it to the sales associate actually having to create the sample (in other words, do something) whereas in the past usually they're small products from the designer themselves.

    Anyway, if you're not getting samples from the fragrance counter, are you purchasing online via the decant websites? That can get somewhat pricey, especially if you want to sample some of the more niche brands.

    I'm interested in hearing everyone's thoughts.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Interesting experience at Sephora... My personal experience with them is the opposite - every time I go there, I end up with a handful of samples, most of the time without buying anything at all. The only Sephora I recall that didn't want to make any samples was in LV at Ceasar's Palace. Ghastly customer service there, compared to other locations.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Luckyscent. I browse their site and add samples to my cart if the scent seem interesting.
    Seasonal rotation:

    Original Santal
    Dior Homme
    Ambre Topkapi
    Rose 31
    Green Irish Tweed

  4. #4

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Mostly from swaps/gifts from friends, and seldom generous houses/shops. I used to buy a lot more in the past, now I do it a lot more rarely and only for stuff I can not get other ways (like I did for Slumberhouse some weeks ago).
    My current top five:

    Yohji Yamamoto - Yohji Homme (vtg)
    Jil Sander - Man
    Comme des Garçons - Black
    Naomi Goodsir - Bois d'ascèse
    YSL - M7 (vtg)

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  5. #5

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Yeah, I echo what remik said about Sephora. I am usually forced to take samples lol. Last time I was there the lady asked if I wanted a sample of everything I picked up....I left with 8 samples and never even had to ask for one.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I live in a relatively small town and Sephora is the only retailer with perfumes. I'll hit them up sometimes and also purchase there to reward their great service. I also buy decants from Surrender to Chance and Perfumed Court.


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  7. #7
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Forgot to mention parfums raffy for Amouage samples..


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  8. #8
    hednic's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    All the samples I have received (hundreds upon hundreds) have been free with large bottle purchase orders made with different online fragrance retailers, or in stores, over the years. I personally never buy samples.
    Remember that while it is perfectly acceptable to criticize the content of a post - criticizing the poster is not.
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  9. #9
    Dependent del's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Free samples from Sephora
    Free samples from Hermes, Molton Brown when I asked
    Free samples from Bergorf, Nieman Marcus, Saks Fifth, Nordstrom, etc. ...
    Purchased samples/decant from Surrender To Chance, LuckyScent, The Perfumed Court, Aedes

    Some BN members email houses and the results sometimes are positive... I have yet to try that method though, but it sounds fun.

    5886

  10. #10
    Basenotes Junkie Trilby Lark's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Free samples from Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and Scent Bar; purchase samples online from Luckyscent and the Perfumed Court; given samples by BN friends.

  11. #11

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I went to a department store here in athens that carries the tom ford private blend line.
    I asked for a sample of neroli portofino and told the woman at the counter that if i like it i will come and buy it. She said "sorry but we hardly ever have samples". And i told her that 135 euros is alot for a fragrance that i haven't sampled. She just stared at me.
    She told me to use the tester..."that's all i can do sorry"...

  12. #12

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Many of my samples came with purchase (Luckyscent mostly). A lot of my samples were purchased from Luckyscent, The Perfumed Court, First In Fragrance, Surrender to Chance, etc.

    Occasionally, I get handfuls from generous SAs at Neiman Marcus or Saks. They like to load me up with samples of other stuff when I am making a purchase. I don't think I have ever actually just asked for samples - at least not without making a purchase.
    Seasonal favorites:

    1. Creed - Spice & Wood
    2. Creed - Aventus
    3. Dior - Vetiver
    4.
    by Kilian - Straight to Heaven
    5. by Kilian - Cruel Intentions
    6. Puredistance - Black
    7. Brückner - Aoud 1
    8. Neela Vermeire - Trayee
    9. Creed - Royal Oud
    10. Chanel - Egoiste

  13. #13

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Sephora usually gives at least 3 samples without even purchasing a fragrance.

  14. #14

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by remik View Post
    Interesting experience at Sephora... My personal experience with them is the opposite - every time I go there, I end up with a handful of samples, most of the time without buying anything at all.
    Quote Originally Posted by sjg3839 View Post
    Sephora usually gives at least 3 samples without even purchasing a fragrance.
    This has been my experience at Sephora, too. I have noticed with more expensive fragrances (Tom Ford, Hermes) they usually only fill the sample vial up halfway or so. Recently when I was at Sephora, the SA was practically begging me to take a sample of YSL L'Homme Sport!

    If I'm making a purchase online I'll usually add some sample vials of my preference to the order for a few extra bucks.

  15. #15
    Dependent chili_willi's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I didn't even know TFPB's were offered in 30ml sizes. I learned something today. Cool.

  16. #16

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Macys,Nordstroms,Nieman Marcus(Great niche samples),Sephora,Hermes(call them and ask)remember when asking for free samples over the phone,always ask them what kind of samples are they,vials,carded,peel offs,etc..

  17. #17
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by chili_willi View Post
    I didn't even know TFPB's were offered in 30ml sizes. I learned something today. Cool.
    I've only ever seen NP offered in 30ml size, exclusively at Sephora. Everything else is 50ml+ in size, I believe...? (at least here in the US)

  18. #18
    Dependent bigbz's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Early on I ordered samples from Scented Monkey, but their list was way outdated and their customer service leaves a lot to be desired. Now I just get samples from Basenoters who I purchase frags from mostly.(or the occasional crummy samples from ordering through FragranceNet or another online place)

    It would be nice to find a place that sales true manufacture samples like the Bond "candy wrapped" samples for a reasonable price.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Lucky Scent and Essenza Nobile, though the 2ml sprayers from Essenza Nobile are much preferred and are included at no charge when purchasing a fragrance.

  20. #20

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    All of my samples have been purchased from Luckyscent. I wish they could send their bottles through USPS as well.
    High end stores are limited in my area, overpriced and cheap giving out samples.
    I buy most of my frags from online retailers where I save 50% or more.

  21. #21

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Buying splits and used bottles.

  22. #22

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Ebay for the harder to find stuff. Sites that offer free shipping with no minimum like say scentedmonkey, although the selection isn't that great, prices are low and shipped for free during special promotions. If I'm ever at the mall, I try to stop into Sephora and get up to 3 samples as that is their maximum. I tell them "I wanna take these home and see how they transform on my skin, before buying anything".. when they hear the word "buying" that's good enough for them, they will gladly fill 3 samples.

    But, the best place to get the most diverse samples is right here on BN, swapping with others, or buying. Getting to try the obscure, the rare, and the discontinued.
    My 3 Signature Scents:

    Rive Gauche Light (2004)
    Fahrenheit (1988)
    Paul Smith Man (2009)

  23. #23

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    My samples come from decant sites like The Perfumed Court, Decantshop, and Surrender to Chance. I also get stuff from basenoters.

  24. #24
    Basenotes Plus
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    To swap decants with other BNers, do you just go to the swap section?


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  25. #25

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I am fortunate to live near Luckyscent where they are very generous (which pays off as I usually come back and buy something) and I find that the boutiques for Hermes, Tom Ford, etc., in Beverly Hills are more generous than the department stores.

  26. #26

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Most of them as freebies, both for (and as a consequence of) regular retail but also online purchases.

  27. #27
    Super Member Ghosst's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Nordstrom and Sephora are always good. If I ever want to buy a full bottle at full price, I go to either for it, and even if I don't buy, I still can get many samples from both.

    I've also had good experiences with Saks and as usual, Macys and Ulta are very stingy. Can't blame them for not wanting to give customers freebies, but as soon as I ask, they typically get upset,.......

  28. #28

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Being in the UAE, most everything is available here.
    If I'm genuinely interested I'll but a sample, some times friends send samples too.
    When I'm solicited try something, thankfully solicitor just requires my mailing address.

    for swap/sale:





  29. #29
    Dependent Francolino's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    ..when buying at shops (never buy online!)....Sephora and most shops are generous...spent more than 500 euros at Mazzolari's in Milan they gave me nothing and I didn't ask...what can you say ..some people are cheapskates with no class at all..other are generous..tons of samples ended up to friends...Chanel boutique in Rome?... cheapskates with no class!
    the good, the bad, the ugly & the ludicrous...

  30. #30

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Macys is hit or miss. Depends on if its a girl there or not, someone youre friendly with, and even the area. And also sometimes they are kinda sketchy on it, like I had one time a girl was like ya heres a bag of samples I was like oh sweet you didnt have to do all that. I got home and opened it, and litterally like TWENTY of those paper sticker samples... -____________-''

    Nordstrom and sephora are generally the same. If you ask for a sample they give it to you as long as its within reason. Nordstrom near me up to this year actually use to keep a box full of decant/atomizers whatever and you could just take a handful and get a sample of everything in and out constantly. They wised up to this though lol...

    As for saks and fith and nemian marcus cant say. Sadly when ive gone I totally forgot to ask them for samples to see how nice they are about it. Tempted to go next week though and see....

  31. #31

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by seekritdude View Post
    Macys is hit or miss. Depends on if its a girl there or not, someone youre friendly with, and even the area. And also sometimes they are kinda sketchy on it, like I had one time a girl was like ya heres a bag of samples I was like oh sweet you didnt have to do all that. I got home and opened it, and litterally like TWENTY of those paper sticker samples... -____________-''

    Nordstrom and sephora are generally the same. If you ask for a sample they give it to you as long as its within reason. Nordstrom near me up to this year actually use to keep a box full of decant/atomizers whatever and you could just take a handful and get a sample of everything in and out constantly. They wised up to this though lol...

    As for saks and fith and nemian marcus cant say. Sadly when ive gone I totally forgot to ask them for samples to see how nice they are about it. Tempted to go next week though and see....
    Nieman Marcus is pretty generous,the most I got from them was 4 samples,haven't tried Saks yet,but I will...

  32. #32

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by SCENTMASTER "OG" View Post
    Nieman Marcus is pretty generous,the most I got from them was 4 samples,haven't tried Saks yet,but I will...
    ya I went there today they were great. Dunno if there is a specific thread but I feel I should give Claudia and Eddie a specific shout out they were great to me today and really hooked me up. Honestly I felt like I coulda got way more out of them, but they were so nice to me today it honestly felt bad because I wasnt buying anything so I had to stop myself lol So ya thanks to them at the neiman marcus in troy if they by chance see this.

  33. #33

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Designer - Sephora
    Niche - Lucky Scent
    Beauty is in the nose of the beholder.

  34. #34

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Luckyscent, The Crystal Flacon, basenotes splits, and as a last resort The Perfumed Court/Surrender to Chance (they are expensive).
    Current favorites_____Black Tourmaline_____Gucci Pour Homme II_____Memoir Man_____Tuscan Leather______Montale Aoud and Pine_____Sel Marin_____Invasion Barbare_____Tonka Imperial____Dior Homme Intense_____L'Humaniste____Santal 33_____Bois d'Argent_____Nio_____MFK Oud_____Lumiere Noire_____Bois d'Encens_____Cuir Ottoman

  35. #35
    Dependent Davem81's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Quote Originally Posted by remik View Post
    I've only ever seen NP offered in 30ml size, exclusively at Sephora. Everything else is 50ml+ in size, I believe...? (at least here in the US)
    Yes, it's just NP as far as I'm aware.

    Re the samples - virtually all of mine have come with fragrance purchases. I don't like the idea of buying samples themselves. The only time I did this was for a particular scent that I collect anything & everything to do with!

  36. #36

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I've always done well with acquiring samples at Sephora and most department stores. It also helps that I sometimes will bring my 5-year-old daughter with me, who is obsessed with makeup and fragrances (apparently she takes after me ). The sales associates think she is adorable and hook her up with all kinds of random things, and I kind of ride on her coattails. Whenever I buy full bottles from higher end department stores like Barneys, Saks, or Neiman Marcus, they SA are always quite generous...but then again, I usually buy from the same SA who know me. Only once did I have to ask for samples, and the SA went into the back and came out with a handful of Creeds and a couple of Guerlains.

    However, if there is something specific that I really want to sample, I will just go ahead and buy a sample from LuckyScent or a decant from DecantShop. I actually like buying decants as samples because you get more and have an opportunity to try it on for multiple wears.

    One of the good things about buying full bottles from LuckyScent is that they will include a lot of samples with your order, and you can specify which ones you want.

  37. #37

    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    Don't know what I'm doing wrong because I can't even get anyone at my Sephoria to even acknowledge me half the time. In the 15 times I've been in not once have I even been offered samples. Even on the 5 occasions I've made a purchase. Actually just once a male associate threw in 2 pre carded samples, but the women just ignore me. I've actually never even saw anybody else get any samples either, come to think of it.

  38. #38
    Basenotes Junkie Wheatstraw2's Avatar
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    Default Re: How do you acquire most of your samples?

    I pay retail a lot, I treat most SAs like celebrities, I make return visits and remember the SA's name (always!), and I get more samples than I'll ever wear. I even get SAs (in department stores) to go to other brands at other counters to get samples, for me, from them. It's easy. Spend money and be nice. Show some enthusiasm for what you're doing. Shopping is fun, for crying out loud. Ask questions like you know a little something, but don't be a pedantic, know-it-all asshole. Be friendly and smile. A little unexpected kindness and tenderness can melt people on the spot. If you go in there with an imperious, I'm-the-expert-and-you're-a-dunce attitude, you're not going to get a lot of samples volunteered to you. And don't dress like a slob (tank tops, flip flops, pro sports apparel if you're over 40, etc.) Even under the best of circumstances, you still have to ask for samples, most of the time.

    Sometimes you're just going to run into a bad SA. It can't be helped. If you get a bad sense about the situation, just don't buy anything and go back another day. Sometimes people are just in a bad mood.

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