Good customer service isn’t dead: an Opulent Alchemy review

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

About the seller

Nicholette, the blending brains behind this whole op (har har, Opulent… sorry. I’ll stop.) is such a wonderful seller — the customer service is great, she’s really accommodating, and the samples all look divine! You can really tell that everything’s been filled, labelled, and packed with care; my samples came super-full and carefully labelled. Plus, they arrived bundled safety in four or five perfectly-wrapped pieces of tissue and a bubble mailer. No cracks, leaks, or other packaging mishaps here!

Unlike a lot of sellers who promise “carefully chosen” extra samples “if available,” Nicholette actually pays attention to her customers. I had asked her to switch out L’Artisan Parfumeur Tea For Two for a sample of Annick Goutal Petite Cherie at the last moment, and was disappointed when I opened up the package to find Tea For Two… until I saw that she had included both! My other surprise sample was a dupe of Serge Lutens Un Bois Vanille, and I’m guessing it’s because (even I had to sort through old emails to figure this one out,) I had mentioned my budding vanilla addiction when I first asked about samples.

Now that, my dears, is dedication.

About the dupes

This section is long. I know, and I’m sorry. The really important stuff’s bolded, though, so you could always just read those bits!

Coco (Chanel) smells absolutely nothing like Coco, if you ask me! This was the first dupe I tried on, and I was horrified — it’s not sophisticated, and it’s not spicy. Which is not to say that some people wouldn’t like it, but on my skin, at least, it just smelled like a mess of soapy essential oils! It was far enough off the mark that I almost burst into tears. What can I say: I had my hopes up, and I was having a really awful day!

Chinatown (Bond No. 9). Everyone describes Chinatown as one of the most entrancing things they’ve ever tried; something that never gets boring. Now, I haven’t smelled the Bond No. 9, but this was pretty much what I was expecting. It opens as a very sweet, very bold ”big white flor(ient)al,” and while it is definitely not a scent for the timid, it’s quite well-blended. The first few minutes are a bit overwhelming for me, but would be heaven for a lover of white florals and warm, sweet scents! As the top notes evaporate, Chinatown’s peach blossom accords, smooth, woody notes, and light spiciness are revealed. However, as to the claim that it is one of the most complex, fascinating scents around? For this dupe, at least: it isn’t, in my opinion.

(Also, it makes me think of an Anthropologie shop. I think it might be the bergamot-sandalwood blend, which is common in a lot of the candles and body lotions throughout the store. *shrugs* I don’t know. It kinda smells like a really pretty room spray or something, rather than a perfume.)

Un Bois Vanille (Serge Lutens) was a sample I didn’t end up ordering, because I thought I’d hate it! (Hint:  I did not.) I’ve sampled the actual Serge UBV before, and it has a very specific note that I don’t care for — “animalic” would be the proper term to use, but honestly, it’s just icky and body-odour-ish. (Most people don’t find a lot of b.o. in UBV, but even the smallest amounts of it drive my sensitive nose nuts.) Opulent Alchemy’s dupe, however, has much less of an animalic note, delivering instead a very smooth, carmelized vanilla — incredibly sweet, yes, but if you’re a lover of sweet vanillas (and especially if you love Serge’s Un Bois Vanille,) this is a great one!

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Cozzette brush review roundup

Friday, December 3, 2010

  • Reviews of the D225 and D230 {here}
  • Reviews of the S125, S135, and S175 {here}
  • Review of the P350 {here}

I know, I’ve kind of OD’ed on Cozzette over the last little while… but I have some serious love for these brushes, ladies. I may stop writing theNotice just so I can spend all my time with my S125.

(Kidding! Calm down. It’s going to be okay).

Anyhow, I did want to wrap this up with a bit more info about the Cozzette line (aside from the fact that all of the brushes feature gorgeous purple handles). There are some things inherent to the Divinity collection, so I didn’t bother to mention them in every single review!

Things to remember…

  • These brushes run at about the same price (or less) as MAC brushes, so while they may be a bit of an investment, the prices aren’t too bad. (Plus, they’re totally worth it if you ask me!)
  • I’ve washed these numerous times already (I try to make sure to wash brushes at least 3-4 times before reviewing them), and I haven’t had a single problem with shedding — of any of the brushes. Gotta say; I’m impressed.
  • Cozzette brushes are all cruelty-free, and they’re made out of the *softest* synthetic ever. I challenge you to find a softer one, seriously. And you can’t be on hallucinogenic substances when you find it.
  • The line is independent. In other words, a really cool makeup artist is profiting from your purchase, not a huge multinational corporation. For some reason, that makes me really happy!

(more…)

So I’ve been getting into fragrances recently.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I’ve always been very particular about them, and I attribute it not only to a concious decision but also to the fact that I have a very keen sense of smell — trust me, when you can smell everything, how things smell becomes very important to you!

Anyhow, I sent Guerlain a short email asking if they had an Albertan retailer for Jicky and/or Mitsouko, or if they sold samples online — I’ve been told I “need” to smell them, and neither are sold in the province, according to the SA I spoke to the other day!

This is the response I recieved:

Subject line: Lodge a complaint about a product
Right off the start I have a problem with this. I wasn’t lodging a complaint, I was asking about product availability.

Dear Miss,

I acknowledge receipt of your mail from 11/9/2009 and I thank you for sending it.

I am sorry to inform you that Guerlain is not able to send samples by post. They are kept exclusively in our shops and given out depending on the availability of stocks. Moreover, Mitsouko and Jicky are not declined in samples and samples are not for sale.
Really? Because… that sentence does not make sense.

In order for you to become familiar with our products, I advise you to go at your Guerlain distributor to discover or rediscover the Guerlain lines of fragrances, skincare and make up.
“Go at your Guerlain distrubutor”? So not going to happen — I might just have to have a go at you, though.
Also, I started the email by
specifically stating that my distributor (the largest Guerlain counter in my city) told me that my province doesn’t carry what I’m looking for. Which is why I emailed Guerlain in the first place — to ask if she was wrong, by some slim chance.

You will find all the addresses of our boutiques, our institutes and our points of sale in France as well as the rest of the world in our website www.guerlain.com
How does that help me? I’m not going to travel to France, or anywhere else for that matter, to sniff a perfume and then come home. I’m not asking where I can find Guerlain in the world, I’m asking if there are any retailers in Alberta that my SA didn’t know about.

“Guerlain Boutique & Institut
110 Bloor Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M5S 2W7
Tel / Phone: 416-929-6114″

“Guerlain Boutique & Institut
1350 Greene Avenue, 2nd Floor
Westmount, Quebec
H3Z 2B1
Tel / Phone: 514-933-6114″

Thank you for your interest in our brand.

Yours faithfully,

Isabelle ROUSSEAU
Customer Relationship Department
irousseau@guerlain.fr

I have to say it, Guerlain: I’m a little bit ashamed for you. I wonder how Pierre-François Pascal Guerlain, the original Guerlain, would feel if he knew his company was being run that way? The LVMH group really needs to knock their companies back into line – this isn’t the first time I’ve had issues emailing one of their companies. As they say… you’re only as good as your weakest link. And this link? It’s pretty damn weak.

If any of you have solutions or your own customer service stories to share, I would love to hear them in the comments! Confession: on a bad day, sometimes the best part is reading all of your comments and/or blogs. There are some pretty awful people on the internet, but there also some amazing ones.

(You guys are the awful ones.)

(I MEAN AMAZING! AMAZING! *shifty eyes*)

Mario Badescu: the company

Friday, August 1, 2008

To sum up my Mario Badescu series (I hope those links work!), I just wanted to do a quick review of the company itself. While I love the concept of free samples, I can’t understand why anyone uses their products – they were all disappointing in one way or another. I mean, I got sent a sample that looks so old and gross that it could probably be carbon dated. To back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

So, all in all, Badescu was a bomb. The bad kind of bomb, with products that are either boring, useless, or just generally suck. I really, really wanted to love them…but it’s just not going to happen.

The verdict? Don’t waste your money. But hell, if the samples are free, why not, right? Maybe you’ll find a gem.

The Body Shop

Thursday, January 10, 2008

By now, you’re probably all, “why is she so TBS-obsessed?!” Well, here’s my answer.

I adore the store, not so much because of the products (which are great, ftr), but because of the service I always seem to get there. And because even though they got bought over, they still don’t test on animals, and they still support fair trade.

Their salespeople really complete the company. I can wander in, describe my skin type and what I’m looking for, and wander out ten minutes later with a generous sample of the product they think will work for me. And if they can’t think of one, they’ll ask another co-worker – unlike people at, say, Sephora, they won’t just hand you the most expensive thing there and run for the hills.

I was considering their Vitamin C cleanser, the last time I was in, and a salesperson not only made me a sample, but told me a few things about it that were not on the bottle, and she didn’t have to tell me – for instance, it says it’s good for all skin types, but is better on oily skin. And if you have sensitive skin, it may make you red and blotchy. And how you shouldn’t wash more than twice a day with it, or the Vitamin C is too irritating for most skin types.

All of that information was unnecessary, and still incredibly useful – just like their salespeople. They will take the time to tell you the unnecessary, just because the company hires good people. They’re always nice, friendly, and always try to help.

That is why you hear so much about the Body Shop.

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