some lonesome statistics and stories

Here's a some statistical data for you.

I changed the sample pricing for my Lonesome Rider on and charge 4 $ (US) per sample now. I was kickstarted to do so after a couple of zero price orders from perfume lovers. Before I share the data, here a few anecdotes and bits that are funny.

On facebook, there was a lot of "ah I wish you would ship to ..." Canada and Lithuania, for instance. I learned that many of these wishes do not materialize in the end. And hence, ... well: You can draw your conclusion. Here's one funny experience. I never got an order from Lithuania, besides one, whereby the client could not order by credit card. Thus, I was super flexible and told them: Pay me what you think is fair by just sending money  through paypal and we'll ship to Lithuania.

I got an "order" for 5 samples, and was sent through paypal zero (0) $ for the samples (I got 4$ for shipment as this rate was fixed). I shipped it and - of course, as Lithuania is not top of the list when it comes to postal service,- the samples did not arrive, and the client asked for a reshipment; a wish that I did not fulfill but I just sent the money back.

I also stopped shipping to Spain, like 1 day after I started shipping there, because most perfume lovers there ordered their samples for close to nothing.

I also got an email from a German client asking me why he had to pay for samples anyhow, as samples are my marketing expense. My take on that statement: Very German, and totally true for your average industry brand where you pay for the marketing expenses. I like the statement as it tells me a lot about the race to the bottom.

My take on it all: - my lips are sealed. And yes, this was an interesting experiment and I will take the results into consideration for a couple of things that I want to get done over the year.

I leave it to you to come to your own conclusions.

Paid price in $ US on average per sample from Feb 1- Mar 21. In brackets:  total number of samples ordered by region.
USA 2.4 (366)
Switzerland 2.8 (33)
Germany 2.1 (79)
Netherlands 1.78 (30)
Spain 1.25 (44)

Picture of today: My left hand, pencil sketch.

12 thoughts on “some lonesome statistics and stories”

  • Amusing stories! You must get quite a lot of pleasure from your experiences.

  • Thank you for sharing your experience, Andy. It indeed is very interesting how people from different countries perceived differently what the fair price of sample should be.

    My experience is that in Canada and the US, we are used to paying for samples of niche fragrances. In a way, this expectation was set by Luck Scent, whose sample ordering service is extremely popular.

    Therefore, paying USD$3-USD$6 (EUR2-EUR5) for a sample is not uncommon for me and many of my fellow fragrance lovers. It is just the cost of feeding our obsession to try new scents.

    I do see, however, the German point of view that samples are marketing expense. Logically, I agree with this thinking but when it comes to small niche perfumers I take a more personal approach (i.e. not always logical).

    My personal view is that I would rather you save the cost of booting the samples yourself and spend the saved money there on creating your next masterpiece. I don't mind spending the equivalent to a Starbucks latte on a sample if that would mean that you would have more money to spend on creating another fragrance I'd love.

    Secondly, when I purchase directly from you, I purchase from my friend Andy who is this talented perfumer that makes amazing fragrances. I love his stuff and I want to further his art, so he doesn't have to ask me to pay for my samples - I'll do it gladly. In this case, I am helping the person Andy. Likewise, he will send me the samples with a card he personally signed to thank me for the support. :)

    Would I feel the same way if I were to purchase the sample from, say, Saks? No, I'd never pay them for samples - it's their marketing cost. I feel good about helping a person (Andy) and I don't particularly care to help a for-profit organization (Saks).

    Don't look for logic here. It's my personal observation on a socio-economic phenomenon.

  • good evening, Victor
    And thank you for your very thoughtful comment.
    Samples are always a big issue, for everybody, consumer and producer alike. one reason to do the "pay what you like" experiment was trying to learn what people think a sample is worth. I had not expected large regional differences, but now, like you explained it, I understand that there are differences and I get to see why the differences are there. Interestingly enough: The difference in how much folks want to pay is not clearly related to their buying power (I am talking about average buying power of consumer per region). What amazed me, call me naive, was the fact that quite some perfume lovers who are active in the community and buy their Roja's and talk about it paid nothing for their samples. Zero. Overall, the whole experiment supported my theory that we see the same happening, with maybe 10-20 years delay, what happened in fashion and the fashion industry. Fast fashion, T-shirts for 3 $ US, and nobody asking how it is possible and what's the hidden price of it all. The same, we will see in perfumery. Fast perfumery: Scents for nothing, changed on a monthly base, following the trend what sells. Made in China, made to be disposed after a couple of wears. For a perfumer, this might be nice: A lot of compositions to be created :-) Thank you again. I loved your words about why to buy from Tauer :-) :-) :-)

  • My thoughts are basically similar to Victor's. The data is interesting and would lead me to set a price that covers my costs and people can choose to buy samples or not. Regarding those who have the means to pay but choose not to, my father always pointed out how rich people stay rich: they are cheap. :-)

    I did not order any samples, just ordered the bottle blind, because I love most Tauer scents and was confident I would enjoy it (which I do!) and I am happy to support you as much as I can.

    Out of curiosity, what was the highest amount anyone paid for a sample?

  • I don't mind paying for samples but recently I have switched to buying samples directly from the perfumers rather than online sample houses because I do find it ridiculous to pay 6 or dollars for a quarter ml. and find out that three or four of six are not for me. Btw, you and your fragrances are Amazing !!!

  • I wondered how this plan would work out. It's unpleasant but not surprising, I guess, to see that people will always want something for nothing, as though things like perfume samples were conjured out of air.

    And I endorse everything Victor said. I too would rather see you put that sample cost toward your next creation! Perfume is a luxury, not an entitlement. We should be willing and happy to pay for such pleasures.

  • PS: Too little coffee results in an inability to spell my name correctly. But I suspect that you know who I am anyway :-)

  • What Victor said... and Melussa! Sorry, I couldn't rezist. Melissa I often enjoy your commentary, coffee or not.
    To add my thoughts on the subject: I gladly pay for the samples as it actually saves me the cost of purchasing an entire flacon that I may not enjoy. Another aspect is cost. Tauer perfumes are more than fairly priced in my opinion. There are other perfumers on my list of favorites, but at twice or greater the cost of Tauer, I hesitate to buy a flacon, let alone a sample. I'd rather purchase two different Tauer fragrances than one more costly perfume. And I do :)

  • Hello Andy! I´m a Spanish perfume lover and I understand perfectly your point.I don´t like at all people who don´t pay for something they admire, I hope that it is not so common in my country.

    The thing that I know is we are people with passion and we have respect for good works of art. 44 samples for just one day is a good number. I have no doubt that you have many followers here.

    I hope maybe in the future our "shipments relationship" could be better :)

  • I too agree with most of what Victor had mentioned, to me since I know you are an independent perfumer/brand I know what I pay for goes directly to you. Being a big splitter myself I also realize that when most perfumistas go around shopping for samples/decants (I do this too) I calculate the cost of the sample from the cost of the full bottle, which in this case you'd get about $2.25/per sample assuming that everything else is free. Which I'm sure you already know, it's not! bottles, labels, envelopes, packing material all cost $ and most people forget that.

    I bought two bottles without trying the samples because I knew I would probably love it and it's a worthy investment. As for sourcing worldwide, I really appreciate the effort you've made to work with suppliers in Europe that would ship worldwide like First in Fragrance and Essenza so I still have access to your scents =)

  • Fascinating! To be honest I didn't know how much to pay so I just went with your current sample prices. I see that was above average for the US.

  • Lorenzo Belardinelli 1. April 2016 at 10:13

    So, italians emigrated to Germany seems to lift the german average: we paid 2.5 each! ;-)


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