Once upon a time (like, up to a couple months ago), I swore never to wear those evil, headache-inducing things called 'fragrances'. Yet through the gateway drug of scented body lotions, I've very recently become interested in perfumes--particularly indie ones.
I was looking for a coffee scent that wasn't a full-sized $18+ (before postage) Arcana that I'd never smelled before (looking at you, Demimondaine), so my expert Google detective work led me to Bath Sabbath's Duncan Hills.
Now, I'd never ordered off Etsy before--my opinion of the site was born in, molded by the now-dead Regretsy. I imagined the site to be a handful of people who were trying to pass off crap as 'handmade' at ridiculous prices; and the rest, those who feel the need to share (and sell!) every single crap they push out.
But the super-reasonable sample prices over at Bath Sabbath--5 for $10 ($2 each) for the general catalogue, and even slightly better for full the seasonal collection I picked up--plus my desire to not only drink and use for an enema delicious coffee, but also shove an oily recreation of it up my nostrils--convinced me to go for it.
And I'm super happy that I did, because Virginia's shop is awesome.
Here's a censored picture of the package:
Right when I opened it:
Business card, sticker and HANDWRITTEN NOTE. It almost makes up for not being hugged as a baby.
Proof that I pay for stuff like a fleshbag, I mean human, definitely not an alien:
Bundle with the sexy paper bag paper off:
Bundle with the bubble wrap/helmet off:
Holy perfume oil, Batman! I ordered 11 sample vials, and I got four free samples. That is extremely generous.
Seriously--Haus of Gloi and Sixteen92, two indie smell-makers I've become quite fond of--give out one 0.7mL and one ~0.5mL(??) sample, respectively, with each order. So 4mL of freebies is impressively generous. Obviously, there are other factors at work here, including variety of offerings, stock, development time... but still. Like, woah, dude.
My shipping estimate for two sample packs was estimated at around $5, which is reasonable, considering that the owner does not send samples in bubble envelopes like indie stores that ship for less.
She refunded me $1.00 for overestimated postage. Haus of Gloi does the same, and it really reflects well on the seller's honesty--they could have easily pocketed the difference. Big gold star!
Choose-your-own sample packs come in at $2 per vial, which is very reasonable. You have the choice of either perfume or beard oils, with the latter offered in a smaller selection of scents. They're even less ($1.83) if you pick up a seasonal collection - I also got the six-piece spring collection for $11.
For comparison: Haus of Gloi sells 0.7mL samples for $3.50 each. Sixteen92 has 2mL samples for $3.60. Sugar & Spite samples compete at $2.60 for a half-dram (1/16 oz, or about 1.8mL), but don't have dabbers. Of course, indie shops can be all over the map.
A 10mL rollerball (here) is $20, which seems standard for indies. A one-dram (1/8 oz, or 3.7mL) rollerball (here) is $9, which is great - not all shops offer this smaller size in the convenient roll-on packaging.
And as I mentioned above - the four free samples (for a $21 order!) was super impressive. This may not happen to every order, as the shop may have been more generous with older stock from the last season, but still. More gold stars!
As shown above, everything was securely wrapped with lots of bubble wrap, and paper to keep everything from bouncing around in the box like kids in a nice restaurant.
For a nice touch, perfumes (separated in plastic bags) come inside tiny black organza bags.
Perfumes come in 1mL glass sample vials with dabbers, which are great for clumsy people like myself who are prone to accidentally dumping the product all over themselves.
Usual TAT (turn-around time) is listed as three to five days, though that may change during holidays.
I placed my order on a Monday afternoon, The owner, Virginia, also sent me a thank-you message the day after, on Tuesday. I received a tracking number on Wednesday. This is good for an indie shop!
I live nearby, so I received my package that Saturday (three days).
As mentioned, my shipping was $4.05 for a 14oz package in a local area.
Fantastic. The owner sent a thank-you message via Etsy the day after I ordered, which she called a 'late reply'. The handwritten note was even nicer than a lot of indie shops, which usually do a "Thank you $name !" (not that I'm complaining about those). My box also had my hand-written address before being crowned with a printed shipping label.
The refunded shipping charge was impressive, and the generous number of free samples even more so. I might be out of gold stars now, even though I ordered a box of 2600 of them (true story)...
I'm currently testing these with my noob nose, but I wanted to give a shout-out to Virginia at Bath Sabbath for having fantastic customer service, great pricing, fast TAT and, more importantly than any other aspect of running a busi ness, a punny name.