How I Discovered her Company and My History With Her:
In 2006, I discovered her oils through a mutual friend. They told me about Darla and her oils. She added me right away and I went to her perfume oil blog where she sold as "Macabre Undertakings". I felt somewhat uncomfortable and uneasy about ordering oils, but she was sweet, and made me feel confident about buying from her. I ordered a big lot of her samplers and got them right away, and I loved them, despite her descriptions being too bland and not enough thought put into them.
She also had mentioned in her blog that she has a little over 10 years experience in the perfuming industry, and smelling her oils; I believed it.
I continued to purchase from her regularly, but sadly she shut down her blog suddenly, then re-opened it after a few weeks to announce that she moved over to an actual website. I was happy to see her finally create a website for her oils, because I felt like she deserved it. Perhaps this was a mistake on my part, but I mentioned that in terms of potency and staying power, her oils were almost as robust as BPAL's oils. She actually never heard of the company before until I mentioned this to her.
Lo and behold, she slapped the "Comparable, if not better than BPAL" label on her website, citing that "a lot of people have been comparing my oils to BPAL's lately". I thought this was kind of strange, but I still bought her oils and figured it was some advertising shtick.
A few months into running her site, she shut it down and remained closed down for a while, before re-opening her blog to sell her oils. This time, she came back with several new scents, and I bought all of them. This was during early 2008, then she shut down her blog, yet again, then came back with an Etsy store this time around. She no longer sold under the name "Macabre Undertakings" and her new company's name was "13Gypsies Perfumery".
I was excited that she finally put some true effort into making an actual shoppe and that she still carried the same oils from her MU days. I did notice that some of their descriptions were slightly altered, and I thought that was a bit strange. I chalked it up as her starting a new company and wanting new descriptions for them. I bought some more of her oils and fell in love with the packaging which was adorable!! I loved the new oils, however, the duplicates I ordered seemed a little bit more diluted and were not as potent as before and some even smelled completely different.
Well, her Etsy shoppe was really beginning to take off, and I figured that she was trying to save money by diluting them some, and there's nothing wrong with that as long as the oils are still of excellent quality, which they were.
The Red Flags:
The first major red flag went up when I saw on her profile that she now had "15+ years experience in the perfuming industry", when just in 2006, she had just "a little over 10 years". Fishy, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt. I purchased from her again, the oils seeming even MORE diluted than the ones before. I was beginning to get annoyed by all of this, especially when the prices for her oils went up dramatically. I began to contemplate whether or not I wanted to continue buying her oils. I was really unhappy, as it seemed like 13Gypsies was more about the packaging rather than the actual product. Still, I left her glowing feedback because I was very pleased with her customer service skills, and even though they smelled pretty weak, they still smelled good. I just had to put a lot of it on.
She unleashed nearly a dozen oils (red flag #2) within a week's time and I thought that to be odd since I never saw a one-woman outfit create/release perfume oils so quickly like she was doing, especially since it began to become a pattern. But still, I purchased a sampler set out of curiosity and I was rather pissed off when I received it, because the new oils smelled cheap and even more diluted than my last order ! Not to mention, I noticed she included a free sample that she poured into a plastic flip-top vial and when I went to open it, it leaked EVERYWHERE! Stupid me, I left her glowing feedback before I noticed all of this and when I only opened the sample she included. This sample smelled fairly decent, but smelled AWFUL when I spilled all over the place. On top of all that, some of the 1/2 dram vials' necks got chipped and began to leak. I was so angry, I decided to just stay away from her and her company. I spent over $300 on her oils through her new Etsy, and it was such a waste of $$.