She also canvassed opinions about the best place to buy decanting tackle in different parts of the world. Undina of Undina's Looking Glass has also compiled a very useful post on this subject, which Victoria referenced in her feature. Undina's top choice is BestBottles, which has a superb selection of atomisers at very reasonable unit costs. BestBottles is appreciably cheaper than Accessories for Fragrance, also based in the USA, with a pretty good range and ultra-friendly service.
But here's the thing - last night I had a jolly good trawl of the top perfume bottle websites and UK Ebay. I placed dummy orders on both BestBottles and SKS Bottle & Packaging, another site that was mentioned in Victoria's post. Hey, they would have been actual orders, were it not for the fact that the shipping in both cases - for a $50 minimum order approximately - topped out at $148 via UPS!!! And there did not seem to be any other postal option.
Accessories for Fragrance, meanwhile, has international shipping costs that are vastly more proportionate, albeit its unit product costs are a lot higher. So I ended up buying a large quantity of plastic atomisers from them in a selection of sizes - I really can't afford more than the occasional purchase of the glass ones on there (beyond the 1ml stoppered vial kind, that is) - and my shipping total was something like $22, ie much more in the ballpark.
I had never investigated the BestBottles site before, though I recognised many, many of the glass atomisers pictured!, which American swappers have sent to me over the years.
For a small-scale decanter like me, the only other overseas site I clocked with reasonable prices and decent international delivery rates - as in included in the price! - is Proud Style, which also gets a name check in Victoria's post, and which (sadly) I only explored after I had placed my Accessories for Fragrance order...however, I may venture there next time.
It is a while since I last looked on UK Ebay, which is a near total desert where cost-effective glass or plastic atomisers in the 2 - 5ml range are concerned. Where it does score is in knock-off Travalos, ie refillable atomisers of the Travalo style but very much cheaper. I even saw one seller called Max Trading offering them at £1.99!, compared to a normal retail of about £8 for the branded version.
Ebay also sells a lot of those burnished metal purse spray atomisers - some quite cheaply - but having had a bad experience with a seller in the Far East (where many of the cheaper ones hail from), I would be a bit wary again, tempting as their candy colours may be.
|Lovely but leaky!|
Ebay is also good for these odd little graduated snap top vials to which Freddie of Smellythoughts introduced me. They hold about 1.5ml or so, and though the lid is very secure when snapped shut, and they are easy as anything to fill commando, I do get splashback issues with them ie as the vial fills up - the impact of perfume hitting what is already in there causes the next squirt to ricochet out again. So unless my technique is totally to cock, I'd say these are only good in practice for a 1ml fill level at most.
So my assessment today would be: if I was an American I would use BestBottles in a heartbeat. As a UK-based decanter, I will try Proud Style next time, with Accessories for Fragrance as an expensive but faithful fallback - for plastic anyway, and for 1ml glass vials, which don't strike me as being all that expensive from them for a big bag. And then Ebay comes into its own for one-off fancier items such as Travalo-type atomisers.
Now I know there is a general preference for glass over plastic in the perfume community - partly for reasons of longevity, and partly on aesthetic grounds - but whilst I have had a few plastic atomisers turn in the past four years or so, it has only been the odd one. To be honest, I much prefer the look and feel of glass myself and would only ever use glass for decants of 8 or 10ml, say, because it is a much nicer way to present a larger decant, but up till now I hadn't figured out anywhere cost-effective to buy glass atomisers in any quantity (as in 12, for example!).
|1ml glass vials with plastic stoppers (somewhere in this bag!)|
I mention this fact about my plastic decants not going off because I have got...ahem...about 100 of the things on their way to me as I blog!, so anyone receiving a small decant from me between now and the foreseeable, is likely to cop for one or two of this less desirable variety... ;-) ;-)