Silly mood, silly post with some information.
So realistically, Moms and fashionable college students both have something in common: A desperate need to stick to a budget, and a desire for quality products.
So what do you do when you want all of those amazing indie scents and skincare, but are on a way-too-tight budget?
Quite often what sounds great in text translates to less than flawless on. When you spend $10-40 on blind-buying a single dram of perfume, it’s heartbreaking to have it smell awful on you(even after waiting and retrying).
What’s one to do?
First, look up the fandom communities of the companies you love, and join a group(or six). Get to know the moderators(those busy bees juggling real-life AND overseeing a HUGE fandom of fashionable fanatics), and all the rules. Look also for decanters and how well they’re recommended.
Second, learn the difference between PayPal’s Goods and Services versus Friends and Family payments. If you pay via FNF, your transaction is NOT protected. If you do not know the people in real life, don’t pay with this. GNS transactions are protected by PP.
Third, go shopping!
Finding a seller selling what you want(especially after launch day and a buyer(for that traitor bottle) is usually fairly easy.
P.S.- To my scent-obsessed friends and family, yes, you still get dibs on all the traitorous bottles and vials. After all, they’re the easiest presents ever, plus less clutter and headache for me.
Also, there are a group of dedicated folks that make a hobby of dividing up bottles and sending them in small vials(because they too get to try them all). Give them loads of love, as they make no money off of it. If you’re afraid of getting burned by the bottle, there is an up-side, as well as a down-side to decants.
The up-side: Smaller amount to gamble on, less hit on the pocketbook. Also, you can pour them into cute rollerbottles and stick them in an Altoids tin for travel. Great if you are also commitment shy, or have wonky chemistry changes.
The down-side: That limited may not be available when you are ready to commit due to turn-around times to the decanter, and then them shipping to you.
Here is where that fandom comes in. Now, I ALWAYS will recommend you buying from the actual companies and support them, but in cases of decant groups, they buy them from said companies and split them for you often, at a personal loss(cute packaging, supplies, time decanting, and losses if people back out after the orders are placed, etcetera).
So after buying those decants, you find a few you love. When you go to buy bottles, they’re sold out. Don’t despair. You have options. Ask around if they’ve made similar scents before. Sometimes a general catalogue scent is close enough, and folks offer to share decants of it so you can try before you blind buy, or you buy a bunch of samples on the main sites. I’ve been gifted sample vials of scents, and ended up having to have a bottle.
Goto the fandom groups and put in an ISO(in search of), or if you know you love it, a DISO(desperately in search of).
Look for keywords like “cleanly tested”. What this means is they’ve dipped a toothpick in and skin tested it from that. Or BNNU(bought new, never used). Afterward, look for US v. International members. Sometimes that $5 partial bottle translates to $30 with shipping costs to you because of overseas charges.
So you find your loves at a bargain, they arrive, and inside the parcel are some cute extras. What? What is this? What is this?
Never a given, but often a nice thing some folks in the swap/sell secondary market do is put in things they think you may like that are in the same line as what you just got from them. Sometimes it’s not the same company. So you try it and like it, and now have more companies to search from. What started as a single search for ZOMG Smells, flows into Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, Black Phoenix Trading Post, Villainess, Possets, Blooddrop, Sucreabeille, and oh goodness, down the rabbit hole we go!
I’ve made some pretty scent-sational penpals from this market.
*waves hi like they can see me behind the screen*
That said, I’ve also met my fair share of jerks. Buyer beware, know the mods and PayPal rules, and don’t be afraid to talk. I always want to talk to the folks I’m potentially buying from. If I get an ick feeling, it’s prolly best to move along.
I’ve also had the pleasure of chatting with a few of the creators of these wonderful scented treats that turn heads.
I still say support these folks directly as often as possible, even though the secondary market usually pumps their sales straight back into those very companies.
One, it feels amazing to get it straight from the creators hands to you…
Two, when donating to one of the many charitable causes companies like BPAL/BPTP support by buying charity scents, you’re directly helping them…
And three, it feels amazing to get that gorgeous packed just for your order swag(Looking hard at BPAL/BPTP, as it’s simply amazing what they shove into a small USPS cardboard mailer. Also looking hard at ZOMG Smells, as I swear they stalk my cart and watch how often I changed my mind before buying, and manage to slip in one or two of our curiosities.).
My son is collecting all of the neat BPAL/BPTP pitchcards(Just the neutral themed ones, he ‘shares’ with me by giving me the more risque ones), buttons, stickers, and velvet pouches. He’s even repurposed the shipping boxes and logo packing tape to make neat holders for vials, cards, pencils, etcetera.
So yes, it’s possible to smell good on a budget(bathing, bathing first is probably the most important bit. Good thing a lot of these places sell scented soaps and scrubs. Get in that tub and scrub!).
The more you know!
So I’m still not back to whatever passes for normal. I’m reminded almost hourly of shenanigans my siblings pulled, and as promised, sharing this at the bottom with another story:
Before I wrote this, I was reminded of taking my brother home from college one day, and how kind-hearted he was in the face of unpredictable well, acts of Murphy.
He always dressed sharp to school…well to anywhere really. Even looked flawless in jeans and t-shirts (Remember this fact, it’ll be important later.).
Well anyway, we were driving down the highway and just about to make the exit to home(we were literally four minutes from home), when my car started chugging. He tells me I should pull over to the shoulder and I do just as it quits. I mean completely stopped. To make it even better, the heavens open up and poured down on us just then. So my son starts fussing(he was a tiny tot at the time), and my brother squeezes into the space between the front seats and slides into the back and does a one-man act to keep him company while I try to start the car. Twenty-two minutes later, it finally lessens, and I pop the hood to go out and look at it. He makes me stay in, saying that I was better equipped to take care of kiddo, so getting sick…not an option. He opens the door, takes a single step, slips, and falls right into mud, dressed very nicely. Nice clothes just took a mud-bath. Not just shoes and socks, but I mean completely covered in mud, thick, freshly made mud, icy cold.
“I meant to do that,” he said as my son clapped and giggled, and I’m trying not to cry(and laugh, but not crying was more important).
Meanwhile, one hour and five minutes have passed, and a county officer, a state officer, and the highway helpers come to “help”.
Turns out the timing belt had sheared. Completely shredded. Had he not suggested I pull over when he did, we would have slid into a whole mess of trouble.
The car got a tow home, my brother, son and I all got a ride(I actually forgot who came to pick us up, so when you see this, I’m sorry the sludge monster got your car all messy), with Chris’fer in a mylar blanket shivering and cracking jokes to keep my son smiling. I was trying to not cry.
Yes, he caught a cold. Yes, I pretty much brought him whatever he asked for for the next two weeks because he prevented that from being me.
There are more tales, but for now, I have this.