A couple of months ago, I believe through Twitter, I learned about a new perfume offering through a website called Olfactif. Olfactif is a subscription service, much like Birchbox, that provides three niche perfume samples each month to their subscribers. The following is from their website:
Ah, the sweet smell of surprise. Receive a curated collection of three niche fragrances each month from perfume artists around the world. On the first day of each month, we reveal the featured theme, artists, and fragrances. All month, we post behind-the-scenes stories about the perfumers, their inspirations, and their creative processes while you immerse yourself in their creations.
I was intrigued. And besides, they were offering a first month at no cost. Thereafter the charge is $18 per month. At the end of March, I received an email stating that my package had shipped. Then on April 1st, they revealed the three perfumes that were part of the month’s offering. Once you receive your samples, if you decide you want to purchase, you can do so through their website and your $18 subscription fee can be used towards the purchase of the full bottle. I received my package on April 2nd.
Let me say that my package came in the most beautiful and thoughtfully designed an elegant box. If you are in the fragrance business, you need to ensure that your packaging lives up to the luxury aspects of the fragrance. Olfactif did this to perfection. Once you opened the box, there was a perfectly fitted card that provides the theme of the month’s collection. For April it was Vignettes of Spring, a collection of fragrances that are meant to brighten the days after the dark days of winter.
- The Soft Lawn by Imaginary Authors
- Fig Tree by Sonoma Scent Studio
- Voleur de Roses by L’Artisan Perfumeur
I loved the theme, I loved the packaging and I was lukewarm about the fragrances except for Velour de Roses which really was a nice surprise as it’s not a sweet rose, but one that’s more earthy and woody and one that does invoke the smell of springtime earth. But for some reason I felt cheated. Why?
- 1ml samples come out to be around $6 a piece. Why couldn’t they have provided 2ml instead?
- I thought that I would be receiving newly launched fragrances. OK, The Soft Lawn was launched in 2012, Fig Tree was launched in 2011 and Voleur de Roses was launched in 1993!
- Is L’Artisan Perfumeur really a niche perfume company anymore?
- The prices that were offered on the site were consistent with retail prices, but I found that you could purchase the offerings for lower costs elsewhere. I want a good bargain.
Now I’m just sounding like a cranky old man. I should really love this service but I just don’t. Then a comment made by the all-wise Undina of Undina’s Looking Glass was made to me: “This program – while interesting in principle – isn’t for me. Or for you. Or for most other perfume enthusiasts who has been into that for a while.” She is absolutely right. I am too knowledgeable about perfumes and I can direct my own destiny towards sampling and purchasing without the need for a “curator”. It just isn’t the right fit for me. Once I let that thought takeover, I realized that for the right person, someone who is interested in perfume, but knows little besides what Macy’s has to sell, this is a perfect opportunity to get introduced into this world of perfume that we all love already. This subscription comes in a pretty package, with interesting background information and it offers up a world that many do not know about. Perfection!
I’m going to give my subscription one more month just to see what they’ll send in May But I know, that if there is a fragrance that I want to try, I can always find a sample through places like Surrender to Chance and other sampling services. And once my subscription is over, I”ll still continue to check out their site to see if anything they are offering tickles my fancy.
Good luck to Olfactif, I think that they’re off to a good start. See, I ‘m not so cranky after all!