Still searching for your signature scent? Scentbird is a monthly perfume subscription service that promises members access to 30-day samples of men’s and women’s designer fragrances at a fraction of the full-bottle cost.
Founder and CEO Mariya Nurislamova was first inspired by the idea of a scent-sampling service as a teen. Mariya, nicknamed Masha, grew up in Berezniki, Russia—a place she describes as dilapidated and industrial. In an interview with Inc.com, Masha tells of her early appreciation for perfume; first her grandmother’s bottles of Red Moscow, then the growing collection of international favorites secreted home in the suitcases of an aunt.
What makes Scentbird special? Described by InStyle as the “Netflix for perfume,” Scentbird does more than give commitment-phobes an opportunity to try out products before shelling out hard-earned dough for the full-size version. To help members explore potential hits, the subscription service claims to employ technology to make smarter recommendations, tracking their feedback for future recommendations.
For bloggers, social influencers, and trendsetters, Scentbird offers an additional opportunity to earn through their affiliate program. We’ll look at the claimed perks in a bit, but first:
How Does Scentbird Work?
To begin exploring what Scentbird offers, you first have to sign up at their website. New customers will be prompted to complete an interactive quiz to help the service identify your preferences. Based on your answers, Scentbird will suggest different perfumes. You can then select the best options and place them in a monthly queue. For August, you could get Agent Provocateur. For September, Anna Sui, and so on for the length of your subscription.
According to Brit.co, customers who aren’t interested in signing up for a Scentbird membership can order individual 8 mL cartridges of perfume or cologne, the equivalent of a 30-day supply, without a subscription.
However, there’s a catch: Before you answer whether your preferences lean towards floral or woodsy—or place an order sans-membership—signing up requires that you enter your payment information. If you’re sure you want to shop, this isn’t a problem. However, know that customer reviews complain about unexpected charges (more on that later).
By clicking “Buy Now,” shoppers agree to purchase a continuous subscription right off the bat. A subscription results in monthly billing. Further, your Scentbird plan will automatically renew, which means the company can continue shipping you scents for a monthly fee indefinitely. Again, note that this is before taking a questionnaire or shopping Scentbird’s selection.
Once you’ve signed up for Scentbird, your first order will ship either between the 15th–18th, or the 25th–28th of the month, depending on when you place your order. All recurring orders are shipped between the 15th and 18th of the month. You will receive an email confirmation of shipment each month and should allow 7–10 days for delivery. Also, note that Scentbird only ships to the US.
How Much Does Scentbird Cost?
Scentbird offers customers three different ways to receive perfume: membership, full-size bottles, and gift boxes:
Scentbird Monthly Subscription (Membership)
A Scentbird subscription costs $14.95 each month, and includes free shipping of each month’s selection. Dedicated scent-lovers can save by signing up for one of their multi-month plans:
- 6-months: $84.00 ($14.00 /month)
- 12-months: $164.00 ($13.50/ month)
It’s important to note that, should you choose one of their two multiple month subscriptions, your card will be charged the entire fee at one time.
What do you get by signing up for Scentbird?
- Upon subscription, you’ll gain access to over 450 scents—all guaranteed by Scentbird to be authentic.
- Your first shipment will include a complementary carrying case to hold and protect your vial.
- Each month, you’ll receive a 0.27oz spray of your selected scent. This is claimed to be 120 sprays, or enough for one month of moderate use.
According to Scentbird’s website, you may cancel your automatic subscription renewal any time by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org. However, Scentbird does not offer returns or refunds of any kind on their subscriptions. (Something to consider before signing up for that multi-month plan.)
Scentbird Individual Bottles
Scentbird also sells full-size bottles of perfume and allows members to apply a single month’s credit towards the purchase price, resulting in a $14.95 discount. If a full-size bottle is too large, you can also purchase a single cartridge for $16.95. Shipping on individual bottles is a $7 flat-rate for orders $49 or less. Shipping is free on orders over $50.
Full-size perfume bottles (not cartridges) can be returned for store credit only within 15 days of purchase. (No cash returns.) Additionally, customers are responsible for the cost of return shipping.
Sending Scentbird As a Gift
Shoppers can choose to send either a Scentbird gift box or gift a subscription. Gift Boxes are available for both men (cologne) and women (perfume), and each includes three vials of scent. Options include:
- The Hollywood Diva Set: Gucci Premiere, Estee Lauder Modern Muse Le Rouge, and Yves Saint Laurent Black Opium
- The Miss Heartbreaker Set: Dolce & Gabbana Dolce, Gucci Guilty, Giorgio Armani Acqua di Gioia
- The Miss Pretty Set: Lalique L’Amour, Salvatore Ferragamo Emozione, Nest Fragrances Midnight Fleur
- The Gentleman Set: Yves Saint Laurent L’Homme, Bvlgari Bvlgari Man in Black, Dolce & Gabbana The One for Men
- The Trendsetter Set: Versace Eros, Viktor & Rolf Spicebomb, Gucci Gucci Guilty Black
- The Mr. Billionaire Set: Bentley Bentley for Men, Paco Rabanne 1 Million, Tom Ford Tom Ford Noir
Each gift box costs $59.95 and includes the offer for one free month of Scentbird (for new members only). Shipping is free. Gift boxes can be returned within 15 days of delivery, although the recipient is responsible for return shipping.
What Is Scentbird’s Affiliate Program?
If you’re a blogger or social media trendsetter with a following, Scentbird offers an affiliate program that pays you to promote their service. The program promises the following perks:
- A $7 commission on all Scentbird subscription sign ups
- 45-day cookie length to track potential sign ups
- Text links, product links, and banners to help advertise
- Incentives and bonuses
Affiliate programs differ from multi-level marketing plans in that you’re not required to actively recruit customers. Instead, by placing a link to Scentbird’s store, there’s the potential to earn some cash.
These programs aren’t new and are used by many startups to help offset the high costs of advertising. While affiliates are supposed to disclose the benefits they receive (including free samples), sometimes it’s not so obvious.
This blurred line means that affiliate programs can make it difficult for consumers to know which blog posts positively reviewing a product are genuine, and which are purely promotional in hopes of earning the writer commissions. With that in mind, let’s look at…
Scentbird Reviews: What Are Customers Saying?
However, a look at the comment sections of one review reveals some less-than-happy customers:
Images via ByAdvisor.com
Those two customers aren’t the only ones who have experienced delays with Scentbird’s shipping, either. Here are several comments left on the company’s Facebook page:
While customers who have received their Scentbird shipment continue to leave positive reviews for their products, scrolling through comments shows that lagging shipment times and slow-to-respond customer service aren’t one-off concerns.
Scentbird’s Red Flags
Considering that Scentbird appears to send out the advertised size samples of genuine perfume, we don’t feel that this subscription service falls under the category of “scam.” Additionally, it’s not uncommon for newer companies to experience some growing pains (Scentbird is only two years old), which could account for their slower-than-average shipments.
However, due to our experience researching products, there are a few red flags worth noting:
First, Scentbird requires your credit card information immediately. This can mean that, unless you’re very careful about what you click on, you could end up with some unexpected charges. And remember, the company doesn’t offer refunds or returns.
Next up, Scentbird is an autoship program. As we mentioned above, these programs can result in unexpected charges (keep an eye on your credit card bill!) and are generally reviewed by HighYa readers as having poor customer service.
Finally, because Scentbird offers bloggers and social media stars a $7 commission for each time one of their readers clicks a link to purchase, searching through reviews means that you’re likely to be subjected to some biased opinions—just something to remember if you’re on the fence.
Looking for Another Way to Sniff Before You Buy?
If it’s niche fragrances you’re after, there are lots of great online boutiques with sample programs:
- Aedes: Seven samples for $15
- Beauty Cafe: Five samples for $5, but only with an order
- Beautyhabit: Six samples for $11 (I’ve personally shopped for samples here and was very pleased.)
- Les Senteurs: London, Six samples for £15
- Luckyscent: Samples individually priced
All of these stores will send carded samples when they have them in stock. When they don’t, they’ll send you a decanted sample vial if they can. For better scent sampling, be sure to provide one or two alternates in case they don't have all of the fragrances you're looking for.