making ofwhat's up?

simple calculations on samples

This spring is absolutely stunning and under an immaculate blue sky all kind of flowers are popping up and shine in brightest colors. It is wonderful and a plentiful compensation for a cold winter that did quite some damage to a lot of plants. Today’s picture shows you one of these beauties, slightly overexposed with the purpose to bring out its contours.

Besides me telling where I am traveling, sharing some pictures and thoughts of the day,  this blog fulfills the function to explain what creating perfumes is all about and what presenting perfumes to the world is all about. One part of presenting perfumes are samples, especially when you are a little indie perfume house and work as a 1.5 man show from a tiny little factory somewhere in Zurich consisting of two rooms. Samples are a way of presenting my creations to perfume lovers who live far from a perfumery that has my line. And for some, samples are a way of getting my scents because the investments for a full bottle are too large.

For me, personally, it was always important, never to move into a corner where I am bling bling, becoming super expensive by adding a $ or two for my packing and then selling stuff for 300$ or more. Technically, I could. Since I do what I do, I tried to stay in a territory where you can afford my products and I wanted to be approachable, by offering samples that are affordable, too. And I want the experience of my samples to be a part of a larger picture.

Samples are the entry point into a brand, a world, in my case the world of Andy’s scents, and I always wanted the samples to be nice and reflecting the quality of what is inside. Thus, I prefer glass vials to plastic, I offer samples with some information of what’s inside and I try to offer more fragrance than just a little dab.

On the other side: If you are a small artist/creator/business operator like me, then selling samples are not a source of an income,; in the contrary. And I do not produce samples in hundred thousands automatically in China/Vietnam or where ever, in pre-labelled glass vials, that then go out to shops where sales assistants can give them away.

I need to label the glass vials by hand, put in the juice by hand, put the vials into boxes, handle the shopping cart interface and confirm orders, fill out CN22 custom forms, print shipment labels, sometimes do commercial invoices (yes, for a sample…), put samples into a shipment envelope, and post them and sometimes send with registered mail to countries where the post is not reliable.

Yesterday, before going to bed, I tried to diagonally follow a thread on, where perfume lovers discuss samples and their pricing. I did not read in detail, but realized that the discussion is very broad and covers many aspects, hence it is worth sharing here. I figured, I can a bit of information, too. Thus, this post. I think it is important to consider that the time to fill and ship a bottle is not equivalent but close to the time of filling and labeling and shipping a sample. When you buy a sample, you pay for what is inside. And for the service of putting it all together and out.