Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Truth About 13Gypsies Perfumery, Part 2.

My Experimentations With Creating Perfume Oils and 13Gypsies:

In late summer of '09, I decided to start playing around with oils to see if I wanted to make perfume for a living, so I began to poke around and ask questions on a reputable perfumer's message board community, Basenotes.  I posted about wanting to experiment with making my own perfume oils, but not wanting to spend money on the expensive stuff in case it goes south.  A kind person there suggested that I check out, among a few other places.

I spent a few hours there, and I came across some oils with familiar sounding names and descriptions, so I ordered the ones that sounded familiar because they sounded yummy. The first week of September I got my 13Gypsies order the day before I got my first order from SOS. Like I previously said, the last order I placed with her was an absolute nightmare.  The next day I got my SOS oils, opened them up, and: Oh. My. Effin' GOD!! I realised that I already owned them!! I had a good feeling who the culprit was here, and a lot of the 13G and Macabre Undertakings (MU) oils had the same names as the SOS ones I ordered. Not to mention, a lot of them had the same consistency and colour.  I was furious, to say the least.  Why?  here I was, happily buying her ridiculously over-priced oils over the last 3.5 years when I could have gotten a 1/2 oz at SOS for a fraction of the price.

From 2006 to 2009, I literally spent over $600 on her crappy stock oils, and all this time she had her nose high in the air, claiming these STOCK oils were "comparable, if not better than BPAL". Not to sound dramatic, but I actually cried when I discovered this. You would too if you spent all this money on oils you thought were hand-blended by a master perfumer, only to find out that this oh-so-nice woman was only nice to you because she was taking your hard-earned money.  Not to mention, how much I supported her, and tried to get a lot of people turned on to her perfumes.

My Failed Method of Confronting Her:

I used to also sell on Etsy, so I did not want to get my main account suspended.  So, I made a sock puppet account, and I began to peruse her feedback and hand-pick some of the people who purchased from her the most often, and decided to warn them. Two of them called me an amateur and a liar, one said they didn't care if she repackaged oils to pass off as her own creations (hey, who am I to stand in the way of their stupidity ?), and one of them actually agreed;  they were unhappy with the oils they got as well.

Not even an hour later, I received a response from the owner. Here is the screen-capped version of the email she sent to me, I just highlighted the interesting parts for you. :)

"This serves as an order to cease and desist, in regards to the messages you are sending to customers of 13 Gypsies Perfumery. What you are doing can be construed as tortious interference and if it continues, you will be hearing from my attorney."

Looking back in retrospect, what I did WAS childish and somewhat crazy. There's no excuse for it other than the fact that I reacted in the heat of the moment, and I should have settled down and devised a more thought-out plan on how to go about this. However, the fact that she mentions that she has an attorney. for a SMALL-TIME indie perfume oil shop on Etsy just had me in stitches.  I mean, I could understand BPAL having attorneys because, well, they're rather huge and have an enormous fan base.

It wasn't worth the risk, so I knocked it off. she nipped it in the bud which is what any business person would (and should) do, and I'll give her that much.

 "I actually have close to 20 years of experience and am a certified aromatherapist.  I have customers who have been purchasing oil from me for over 15 years and can attest to the fact that I personally blend each and every oil, as I've done so right in front of them.  I do not currently, nor have I ever purchased any oils from any of the vendors you mentioned."

20 years, huh?  In 2006 you had "a little over 10 years experience", in 2008, you had "over 15 years experience", and 2009, it's "actually close to 20 years" Hmmm......

All of your proof is unprovable, unless I fly out to Detroit to witness this myself. And if you haven't ever purchased oils from any of the vendors I mentioned, then why are you using their descriptions AND names, and why do the oils smell exactly the same?

"I also do not use fragrance oils.  The oils I use were specifically formulated to be used as perfume oils.  They are not formulated to be used in soaps, candles, or anything along that line." 

Well, the vendors I mentioned also sell fragrance oils that are formulated specifically for use with perfume oils, in addition to being compatible with soap, candles and the like. Some are not suited for body wear or for candles, however.

"Of course other places are going to have similar scents - it's no secret that perfumers constantly copy one another.  Plus, certain fragrances blend well with one another and become staples in everyone's repertoire.  As for your theory as to what my blends are made of, you're quite wrong and clearly do not have a very strong nose."

Sure, places will have similar scents, but none that are EXACTLY the same (unless they repackage and resell their "handmade perfume oils". *Cough*). Perfumers all have their unique signature ways of blending their oils, much like an artist has a personal signature method and style of painting or drawing, the same with musicians, photographers, chefs. you get the point.  Bottom line: They are ARTISTS.  You just sell repackaged oils, with semi-clever names and artwork that you took from Google's "public domain" search engine; that does not make you an artist, that makes you a fraud.

I have a very strong nose.  So strong that it smelled your heaping pile of bullshit all the way from Michigan!  And I'm at least 1,000 miles away from you. Besides, you don't have to have a strong nose to detect what I picked up or what other people detected back in 2007.  Also, I did stop making perfume oils due to getting bad headaches from long exposure to them, so I gave them away to a friend who also was fond of your oils.  I told her about what I discovered back in September, and she noticed the similarities right away. Does that mean she has a bad nose, too?

"As for the descriptions, the fragrance lab has both standard descriptions & names authorized sellers are allowed to use and occasionally I'll use one or the other.  They also have labels & photos, but I do not use those."

Let me ask you this: let's say that you are actually a perfumer. Why would you admit to using their descriptions for your oils when just a few moments ago, you said that you do not repackage and resell perfume oils?  If you did make your oils, wouldn't you want to give them imaginative, artful descriptions to match the equally creative and artful aromas they yield?

It just doesn't add up why somebody would use a stock name/description for an oil THEY made. So, you say you're not a reseller, yet inadvertently admit to being one in the same email. Nice.

Clearly, you do not use the same packaging.  You use some rather nice packaging, I'll admit, but it is in violation of several different copyrights, being that some of them are from the Google image search engine, while the majority of them are screen shots from old horror movies.

if you are so confident these oils were created by you, why did you change the descriptions of your oils right after I contacted you on it?  You've changed them quite a few times in the past, and now that I see some women at the forum knew of your scandal back in 2007, it all adds up.

Legitimate perfumers have a vivid imagination and sense of smell, which is why they began making their own perfumes.  They take their time; often days, weeks, months and sometimes even years to formulate that magical blend that is exactly the way they imagined it would be, and wouldn't settle for anything less.  They give their own perfumes clever and creative names with equally clever, original descriptions complete with creative note combinations.  They don't go onto some wholesale site and copy/paste their descriptions and names because they were too lazy to write one themselves.

"Every single oil I sell is hand blended by me, I do not sell straight out of the bottle scents.  I have a pretty good idea who you really are and if this does not stop, I will be forced to take legal action."

Again with the lies and legal threats.  If you even tried to sue me, I would research and contact all of those artists, movie directors and artists' images you used for your packaging, and see if they didn't take legal action against you.  Some of your oils are either named after songs (does "Tainted Love" ring a bell?) or other movies and some movie characters that are, in fact, copyrighted as well.  Also, I would counter-sue you for selling me fraudulent products, and I have all the proof to back it up, including all of the old pamphlets you sent me with each order that also prove that you change your descriptions constantly, and how you used a lot of the descriptions verbatim.

I intentionally excluded this little tidbit and saved it for last because I felt it deserved its own spotlight:

"I deal directly with one of the largest fragrance labs in the country, not resellers.  BPal and many other perfumeries use the same lab as I do."
And you know this information how?  Also, fragrance lab?  I thought you didn't use fragrance oils. Claiming that you know for a fact that BPAL uses some crummy stock fragrance oil company is quite insulting. Her oils are extremely potent, robust and high-end.  While yours, on the other hand, are not.

Also, is BPal really that much different from BPAL?  I doubt it.  Nice try on covering up your tracks.

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