DarlingClandestine Shark Friday Interview!

Thursday, November 05, 2015

darlingclandestine bitsy vials

Hello, hello! I have an exciting, EXCLUSIVE (ooh, ahhh) interview with Evonne of DarlingClandestine to share with you! Today she will be talking about her upcoming Shark Friday sale, how she helps us international customers save money on shipping, and how her store differs from big box retail. Check it out below! (Also be sure to check out my previous interview with Evonne, and my reviews of some of her fragrances!)

B∞I: What is Shark Friday?

DC: Shark Friday is DarlingClandestine's version of Black Friday (that day after the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday when everybody loses their freakin' minds to the almighty dollar), without the inconvenience of leaving your house, getting trampled by hoardes of humanity, or putting on pants. Traditionally it happens a bit earlier than Black Friday. In the past, the reason it happened earlier was because I worked a big medical conference in Chicago the week after Thanksgiving, and I wanted to have everything packed and shipped before the conference. This year, I've decided not to work the conference, but Shark Friday will still happen a bit earlier than Black Friday. It starts November 13, at 10:00 am Central Standard Time, and continues as long as supplies last. Remember, Friday the 13th!

B∞I: How did you decide what to do for Shark Friday this year?

DC: I gathered input from my magical customers! When I first started doing Shark Friday a few years ago, I planned sales with holiday gift shopping in mind---offering many of my "classics" in giftable formats, at a very nice discount, along with one or two Christmas/winter-themed fragrances. But in the past couple of years I've noticed various trends in my customers' shopping habits. With these trends in mind, I asked a series of survey questions on the DarlingClandestine Facebook page. I found that, overwhelmingly, DC customers are shopping for *themselves* on Shark Friday, rather than using it as an opportunity to gift fragrance, which is highly personal. I also found that customers liked the fact that Shark Friday happens a bit earlier than other holiday season sales, so they don't get caught up in a rush.

Furthermore, I found that customers generally like to see at least one or two brand-new fragrances in the shop for Shark Friday, along with a couple of seasonal/holiday items. And many customers have their own personal "darlings," fragrances that don't usually appear this time of year or have been out of the rotation for a while, that they're dying to see come back to the shop.

Since I'm limited in how many things I can make at once, I have to take a hard look at the sales numbers for individual fragrances. Even if one or two people clamor for a particular scent, sometimes I'll invest the $$ and effort to bring it back and it turns out those were the only two people that wanted it, lol. So I asked fans, "If you could bring back any one DarlingClandestine item to the shop, what would it be?"

I considered all these answers very seriously, and I'm happy to say that there will definitely be something in the shop to please everyone.

darlingclandestine club 22
DarlingClandestine Club 22

B∞I: Any hints about what will be for sale?

DC: I'll do you better than hints! This will be the MOST COMPLETE SOURCE for Shark Friday offerings before the collection goes live. I won't tell you *everything*, because there's no fun in that, but here's the list:

1. MY LADY SER, that gritty, complicated fragrance inspired by the grudging, tender relationship between Brienne of Tarth and Podrick Payne of the A Song of Ice and Fire (Game of Thrones) series, will appear in a very special collectors' edition.

2. GRAM-NEGATIVE, velvety and green and dirty and amazing, will appear in classic formats---15 mL oils, Bitsy vials, 1/2 ounce solids, and Bitsy solids.

3. CURIOSITIES' BALL, fantastic ivy-crawled stone halls dancing with the great, black sky. This fragrance was created with holiday parties in mind, and it's been on hiatus for a couple of years. Don't miss its return in classic formats---15 mL oils, Bitsy vials, 1/2 ounce solids, and Bitsy solids.

4. CLUB 22 was originally created as a limited-edition exclusive in honor of those DC fans who had devotedly collected an astounding number of DC fragrances. It's effervescent and rich, like expensive champagne in a very private club. It'll return in oil format only---15 mL bottles and Bitsy vials.

5. SELAS, requested by Caitlin of Shiro Cosmetics and inspired by lovely, dusty Denna at her debut in The Name of the Wind, will make an out-of season comeback in 15 mL bottles and Bitsy vials. I'm not sure if there will be solids yet. I'll know on Shark Friday, lol.

6. One spring fragrance that got neglected this spring will spring back in a small but satisfying sa . . . aaaaaaaa. Oh, now I'm just being silly.

7. Sharkling-sized body balms will be available in most, if not all, of the Shark Friday fragrances. (No full sizes this time around.)

8. One EPIC holiday fragrance will appear, epic-er than---and an ultimate culmination of---DarlingClandestine holidays past. It will be BIG. It should be at the TOP of your list. TRAIN your mouse pointer upon it. :P

9. And then there will be a real surprise. Many of you know that for the past few years I've created an all-natural fragrance---meaning, I use all-botanical ingredients---with a holiday theme. A portion of the proceeds from that fragrance goes to a charity of my choice. This year, the all-natural fragrance will come in a solid format and will be TOO ADORABLE FOR WORDS. Get ready.

I don't have the prices all worked out for each individual fragrance yet, but full sizes will range from $14 to $26, Bitsy vials $5 to $6, 1/2 ounce solids $9 to $11, Bitsy solids $4, and Sharkling-sized balms $9 to $11. The natural perfume solid will sell for $14.

How's that for some detailed info, eh? :)

darlingclandestine gram-negative
DarlingClandestine Gram-Negative

B∞I: As a Canadian, I find that ordering from shops outside of my country can get expensive. How do you make the process easier for us international customers?

DC: Ooh, girl, I know that international shipping is $$, and I'm always honored that international folks are willing to pay the price to make DC theirs! But there's no reason you have to get milked for shipping on every order you place. If you drop me a note in your Message to Seller, I'm happy to hold your order to combine with subsequent orders and ship them in one package. It makes a HUGE difference in costs. I can do this for multiple international orders up to three weeks apart.

Several months back, I put out a question to DC Facebook fans, specifically with international customers in mind. I asked them how they felt about me allowing the combination of orders up to one week apart for domestic customers and up to *three* weeks apart for international customers. See, the thing is, I had a collection of customers who were used to my system of holding and combining---which I openly encouraged---and would have me hang on to each order indefinitely, not knowing what sorts of surprises I had up my sleeve next. (Domestic customers were doing it, too, btw, and again, I encouraged it.) But then Etsy started yelling at me for being "overdue" , and I found myself combing through multiple "held" orders in my queue to get to the new ones. So I decided to take a hard look at the timing of my various releases, and to start giving plenty of warning to customers about what was coming to the shop next, so there wouldn't be a need for holding orders indefinitely.

Somehow, me asking for opinions from my fans---even though everyone who answered me directly said they were fine with the "three weeks" rule---turned into grumblings elsewhere on the internet, and I heard rumors that people were taking this to mean that "Omg Evonne doesn't care about international customers." That really stung quite a bit, since I was directly asking for feedback, and especially since the folks who were saying this evidently didn't realize that I have COMPLETELY REVOLUTIONIZED the way I handle seasonal releases, specifically to accommodate my customers outside the U.S. I'll explain:

In the early days of DarlingClandestine, I of course had a much smaller customer base. When I created a new fragrance, I'd put it up in the shop, and sometimes it'd stay there for as long as a year before it completely sold out. So my repertoire got larger and larger as I created new products, and it simply meant a more diverse selection of items in the shop as time went on. And I would spring new offerings on my whim as "surprises." Folks liked the surprises, especially since they knew they had plenty of time to buy them.

But as time went by and I gained new customers, products started flying off the shelves much more quickly. It meant that if you didn't have the $ to buy them right away, you might miss new releases and end up having to wait for them to come around again. My veteran international customers found it very handy that I was willing to combine their orders, so they wouldn't have the financial drain of paying shipping every time I came up with some new crazy idea.

Gradually, as my catalog became too big to offer everything all year 'round, I began to divide my fragrances into seasonal offerings, to make sure I could give them all a chance to come back into rotation, while still maintaining a manageable workload and reasonable turnaround time. And as my seasonal releases became more and more . . . intense (lol), I devised new ways of helping to ensure that customers got a fair shot at them.

Folks that are paying close attention will note that now, each of my releases---including the periods when I reintroduce the general catalog---is timed so that there's no more than two weeks between them. Right now, for example, you as an international customer can grab any of the general catalog items currently in the shop, as well as the super-awesome Jason FrankenSolid which entitles you to a HUGE Shark Friday discount code, and you can let me know in your Message to Seller that you'd like me to hold your order until Shark Friday. You can even use the free shipping code FLYYOUFOOLS if you intend to combine, so you don't have to worry about paying shipping in advance.

And my general catalog will return to the shop about two weeks after the Shark Friday stuff, so even if you're not ready to swing an order now but you want to get your hands on a fragrance like Inked, you can let me know on Shark Friday that you'll be back for the general catalog in late November/early December, and I'll hold your order for you. You of course won't get your stuff in time for Christmas, but if you want to save bucks on shipping you have that option.

Now, granted, I'm not going to hold your orders indefinitely, if I don't have any idea when I'll be releasing a new collection. That's something I just can't do anymore. But if I have a new release on the horizon, and I have made an announcement of the release date, international customers are entitled to ask me to hold any order that's currently in my queue to combine with that future release. And I'll venture to say that any customer who has ever communicated with me knows that they can get a hold of me anytime and work out the best way to optimize the way you get your packages! I'M FUN TO TALK TO, DAMMIT. TALK TO MEEEEEE

darlingclandestine curiosities' ball
DarlingClandestine Curiosities' Ball
B∞I: How do you differ from big retail shops? What happens if there's a problem with an order?

DC: The nice thing about DarlingClandestine is that I blend, pour, cook, package, label, pack and ship every single one of your items with my own hands, so I'm right there on the front lines and can tell you exactly what's going on with your stuff. I don't have to ask my manager, or wait to hear from the warehouse, and I'll never ever tell you that you have to contact somebody else for an answer. If there's a problem of any kind, please don't hesitate to message me about it! Since I'm the one making and shipping your stuff, I can come up with the best solution so that you get everything you want and more. And that's the thing; you'll often get more. If something goes wrong, I'll do my best to make sure you're *more* than satisfied, even if it means coming up with an unusual solution.

Let's say you buy a pair of shoes from someplace like WalMart.com. (Sorry, Wal-Mart; I've gotta pick on somebody.) And let's say that for some reason there's a delay on those shoes and they're suddenly on backorder. What do you get? Well, if you're lucky, you get an automatically-generated email informing you that your shoes are on backorder, with no mention of a date they might return. If you're not so lucky, you'll simply sit in the dark and wait, until it occurs to you that you should reasonably own some shoes by now, and you contact customer service and find out that, oh yeah, turns out they're on backorder. And it kinda sucks and there's not a damned thing you can do about it. Well, if such a thing happens in the DC Universe---let's say I made a miscalculation on labels or whatnot---you'll likely get a personal message from me as soon as I discover the problem. I'll let you know what your options are (You wanna wait a few extra days? You wanna try a different fragrance instead? You want a refund? Etc.), and I'll very likely give you something extra for your trouble. I'll slip a surprise into your package, or I'll send you a sweet coupon code, or SOMETHING. Something that I'm able to do to let you know that I appreciate your business and your patience and YOU. I don't think that happens very often in the big-box world. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love you guys. For realz.

darlingclandestine jason frankensolid
DarlingClandestine Jason FrankenSolids

B∞I: Thanks for the interview! Anything you would like to add?

DC: If you haven't yet, get your fine virtual booty over to the shop right now (DarlingClandestine.Etsy.com) and grab those "Jason" FrankenSolid fragrances. They come with a Shark Friday discount of TWENTY-ONE PERCENT OFF. That's the ONLY Shark Friday code available this year! Also, please note that the general catalog---Circassian, Step Right Up, Tapadero, Falchion, Serpentina, Maudlin & Bedlam, Inked, and Supernova Sway---will NOT be available on Shark Friday. So grab 'em now if you want them in time for the December holidays!

Oh, and one more thing, in case you're pining for more winter releases: Those items will be back in January, when everyone's sad about winter again. :P So, depending on feedback and sales numbers, you could see fragrances like Hellbender, Vortex, Kendraberry, and Halochrome. Oh, and TEA!! I've had it in the works for a while, but I'd like to slowly start introducing gourmet teas, complex and weird enough to be DarlingClandestine. I'll keep everyone posted as that project progresses; it's been waiting for quite a long time.

And I'd like to thank you, Stephanie, for hosting this very informative session! Everybody, make sure you follow Beauty∞Infinitum for more spectacularly wonderful things, including CATS. Love y'all!


Thanks so much, Evonne! I of course love DC to bits and think everyone should try out a fragrance (or two, or twenty). And TEA??!?? Can't. Wait. Everyone make sure to check out the store on Shark Friday (Nov 13), or now, or every day! -Stephanie

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