Free Samples

Today’s blog post is about the free sample requests and to address the increasing customer anger we are experiencing for not posting them out. So, let me start by explaining how the system used to work.

A customer would visit our show stand or our website; they requested scent samples which we would post out. These people were interested in our company and our product range and would generally go on to purchase from us.

Typically, we would post out about 25 per day, and about a third of the recipients would purchase from us. Each sample pack, including postage, costs us about £2 but it worked well and was a win-win situation for our customers and us.

Then everything changed.

Unbeknown to us, someone shared this offer onto numerous “freebie” websites. The number of requests exploded. To date, we have had about 70,000 applications for free samples. We are a small company with very limited resources and certainly not £140,000 in the bank to post them all out.

Recently we sent out a test batch of 1000 samples to this new list of prospective customers at the cost of £2000.  If the conversion rates remained the same, we would have expected to receive about 300 orders which would have totalled about £12,000. More than enough to cover the cost of the stock, the shipping, the original samples with their postage and for us to make a small profit on the transaction.

But when we analysed the results from this test batch of 1000, they were almost unbelievably bad. We received just four orders totalling £97. This is unsustainable, and we cannot continue to send them out for free.

Sadly, a system that worked very well is now broken and corrupted by a group of people who have no interest in our products; they simply want a freebie. This is fair enough on their part, but it is now having a very negative impact on our reputation.

Each day we are receiving hundreds of angry emails demanding the free samples. We don’t even have the resources to answer each one. Andy, who is responsible for this part of our business, only has one pair of hands and he answers the phone to customers, replies to all their emails and then wraps and packs all the orders.

The problem is that we cannot identify who is a “real” customer requesting samples before buying and the thousands of others who have put in a request.

To be honest, it’s a nightmare!

So, as of now, I’m writing to explain that we will no longer be sending samples out free of charge. If this is the only reason you are on our email list and do not wish to hear from us again, then please feel free to unsubscribe. If, however, you would still like to receive samples, then you have the following three options.

Option One: Make a purchase from us, and your samples will automatically be included with your order.

Option Two: Pay £2 to receive your scent samples and you will also receive a £5 voucher to spend on our website.

Option Three: Visit our stand at one of the many shows we do and smell the scents in person.

I’m very sorry that we have had to make this change and that we can no longer offer the samples for free, but it is the only way that we can see to move forward. Thank you as always for your continued support. Justina and I, along with all our team really appreciate it.

Hi, I'm Luke Bream, the author of this blog, and one of the co-founders of Valentte. Thanks for taking the time to read about our journey.

We are small business based in Nantwich on an old dairy farm. We make affordable, luxurious home fragrance and natural skincare. It smells amazing, works like a treat and comes beautifully wrapped.

Would you like to try our range for free?

If you subscribe to our email newsletter, we will send you a voucher for a free candle. Saving you £20. The candles are 100% natural and scented with pure essential oils.

Choosing the perfect present can be hard, but it doesn’t have to break the bank!

Valentte make affordable, luxurious home fragrance and natural skincare. It smells amazing, works like a treat and comes beautifully wrapped.

74 thoughts on “Free Samples”

  1. Hi Luke,
    This is terrible! I’ll admit that I am one of those people who signed up for a “freebie ” after receiving an email from a third party advertising your offer and thinking that your products looked good and that I’d like to give them a try. I didn’t however know that this was not something that you had signed up to and could jeopardise the reputation of your company and I’m sure that I’m not the only one. Thank you for taking the time to explain, I’m sure that you would rather be blogging about something else! I’ve ordered my samples and am looking forward to receiving them and I hope that others do the same and then reorder. Good luck for the future!

    • Hi, just wanted to say good for you in spelling this out for people. It’s so different being a small company not a multi national giant and people don’t seem to get this! It’s always nice to get a freebie but not at the cost of the company going broke. I’ve bought twice from you at shows like Malvern and your products are lovely and fairly priced anyway. As I live a long way from London and am not planning more shows this year, having an option to pay a small amount to try new scents is a really good idea though.

      • Hi there I’m not sure but I think my daughter got me one of your candles a few years ago,really can’t remember any of the smell’s,can’t wait to get the samples,+there seems to be an error,can’t see the £10,candle?
        Kind regards June.

  2. Totally agree with you and the earlier comments. It’s one thing for the multi-nationals who have the financial backing to do this but to jeopardise your wonderful company is not acceptable. I am a keen crafter and if I want samples of materials then I have to pay for them, and I do, because I really want them. Of course we all like a freebie, but not at the expense of someone’s livelihood.
    Completely support what you are doing and I am always delighted with my purchases from Valentte, with or without free samples!

  3. Completely support you and your decision. The freebie sites are great but not at the e expense of someone’s business that really isn’t on. Anyone who cant see that doesn’t deserve any respect or even acknowledgment. If they cant see the damage that has been done to a small business by over sharing that offer then they really are blind and selfish and only out for what they can get

  4. Excellent level of information provided and I think all 3 options are absolutely right. It is shocking that only £97 of sales came from the 1000 free samples – I can only think that people couldn’t have bothered trying them when they arrived as the products are top quality and smell divine. Furthermore customer service is great, friendly and professional

  5. Hi Luke,
    This is a real shame for your company and for potential customers like me.
    I have read your blog after submitting a request for samples.
    I have read about your company on Facebook this morning, interested in what I read I have visited the company website. It is clear to see that you have great reviews for the products, but they are a little expensive for my pocket, so for me I would have to love the scent before I committing to a purchase. This is sad as it potentially excludes a group of customers who could become loyal if the product was for them. These freebie advertiser are not understanding the impact that they are having on small business and potential customers who are not in a position to try before they buy.
    That said, I understand and respect the position the company has taken

  6. You have such a fantastic company Luke. Well done for initiating the 3 options re free samples. I could not believe the number you quoted as requesting samples.. That is shocking and fully support your response. Keep up the good work and be blessed!

  7. What an absolute shame! I got given a sample of hand cream at car fest north and loved the stuff will be ordering some more xx

  8. I have bought a two diffusers and a room spray, my free sample did not come with the order, the first order was £24 & 2nd order came to £36 still yet to receive sample, i love the scent and have my Jasmine & Rosewood diffuser in my kitchen.

  9. I completely understand your position regarding the free samples. Perhaps, in that case it would be a good idea not to give out cards inviting people to send for free samples. I attended Countryfile Live at Blenheim today and was given just such a card with a code to send for free samples. Not much point doing that really.

  10. I did purchase a £30 box (3 items) from you at the Countryfile Live show on Fri 2nds Aug however I didn’t request a receipt so you will be unable to verify my email address. I was actually requesting free samples of other scents. I don’t understand why you are handing out free samples of hand cream with the 6 digit code if you are not prepared to honour it & you should certainly have pointed out to me when I declined a receipt that I would not be able to use the voucher.

  11. I am truly sorry to hear that people have been so unjust and unfair in it’s true meaning by taking advantage of a kind gesture.
    I read your blogs which never fail to inspire
    Thank you.
    I love your product and have shared it with many of my good friends family and colleagues bringing a little pamper and comfort into their lives
    Looked for you at Hatfield house ? ?

  12. Hi I am really sorry you have been treat this way, I actually visited your stand a triplet castle back in June, was given a small hand cream sample of Lemongrass &Rosemary Hand Cream have only just opened it and used it today and read the free sample on the back and would like to know more, at the moment my finances are minimal so would have liked the samples first prior to purchasing. I do love the small of the hand cream so might use this up first and then purchase from you

  13. Hi I have requested a free sample however I would like to know where your stand is and what day in Covent Garden as I’m coming down from Yorkshire Bank Holiday week August 25th, I would like to purchase some of your hand cream.
    Many Thanks
    Maeve Rogers

  14. Hello. I am going to be honest and tell you I found you through the freebie site. However I’m in no way inclined to take advantage of your kind nature and have played the £2 for the samples. I can’t wait to try them out because I love handcream! So if I like one of the scents I’m probably going to buy some.
    Sorry this happened to you
    Genuine people will pay <3

  15. I adore candles and asked months ago for a sample I couldn’t make my mind up for which fragrance I would be prepared to pay for p&p for a candle and a catalogue if you do one I like to buy candles for Xmas presents and I’m already buying for Xmas

  16. i tried to get a free sample months ago and i still have not got anything from yourself its not fair or right ur putting everyone in the same boat thinking we just want a free sample i cant even pay the postage as i dont have a bank account only a post office account so now what should i do i am really waitin to hear back from yourselfs hope i aint waitin months again to hear nothing

  17. Hi Luke……..I have just tried to order my free samples and consequently read your post.
    I visited your stand at the southport Flower show and have a Free Scent Sample code SC5501…..but can not see anywhere to enter this code…….maybe its just me…..anyway, I am also about to place an order so I hope I can also get my free samples??!!

  18. Hi Good morning, I’ve just read the snippet of your blog and the part about the freebies!! I am so sorry to learn this happened to your company!! What a nightmare. I have to confess, as I’m a single parent living in expensive rented apartment in London I liked freebies, but with little return for the company I was getting my freebie from, I feel a bit ashamed to admit that but it’s true. Now that you have pointed out one of the pitfalls regarding, giving out freebies, I’ll try to be more mindful in future. I thought companies had a limited amount and once that amount was hit that was it, first come first served basis. I’m a little alarmed to find out the people would be angry NOT to receive one, wow.

    Anyway moving on to your blog, I found it very inspiring and definitely a method that I’m veering towards more now that I’m getting older. I shall try and pass on this concept to my son. Also, I would like to read the story about the two different out comes for the two expositions to the South Pole. Sounds like a educational and interesting story. Thank you for your blog it’s fun and interesting.

  19. Thank you Luke for explaining about the free samples. Totally understand. It’s so sad that these days everyone wants something for nothing without understanding the cocos to a small company like yourselves. It was a long time ago that I saw your products at a show, but I bought there and have ordered your gorgeous products since. Thank you for the blogs. Good luck with everything in the future!

  20. I bought a gift set for my daughter at the ideal home exhibition. Your products have the strongest most delicious scents I have experienced. I should have bought a gift set for myself. I have requested free samples absolutely with the intention of buying and would be happy to pay for the samples.

  21. Treated myself to a gift box at Burghley Horse Trials yesterday. I mixed and matched a lemongrass & rosemary reed defuser and hand cream with a lime and grapefruit candle…..already my new favourite company and on my Christmas and birthday list

  22. Just ordered my free samples with code on back of hand cream. Then read your blog which explains how much this costs you and now feel really guilty for having ordered them! When I visited the stall at Chatsworth I only saw 4 scents and was keen to try some others. Maybe I just missed the rest with the crowds around. Really love your products and I hope to see you at another show soon to try new scents out.

  23. I am very disappointed to read the content of your website about your offer of free samples, clearly this message has been posted prior to Burghley 2019 when you were still handing out the information requesting us to ask for free samples this is very poor business ethics as clearly a unique code could have been used for this event and I’m sure not legal marketing in this misleading way. I’m a qualified beauty therapist with the salon of my own and I was interested in your products but I wanted to get some samples to test them further having received the hand cream at the stand. I now have concerns about your business ethics and support to small businesses. I have applied for these samples as you website allows and only afterwards when you have received all our contact information do you say we have to pay for them or purchase in advance I’m sure trading standards will be very interested in this marketing method. I await your reply with interest.

    • Hi Anne

      I’m sorry that you feel the free sample you received at Burghley is misleading. Our postcard offers you a set of free scent samples, it says nothing about free postage which we are no longer able to offer customers as sadly this system has been abused by countless freebie websites that share our offer. The samples are free and they come with a £5 off voucher to redeem on our website with your first purchase. The £2.00 charge is to cover the postage costs. If you don’t want to hear from us again then please contact me on and I will unsubscribe you from our list. We are no way trying to mislead our customers, but simply to offer them a method to sample our range of scents. Best Wishers Luke

  24. Hi Luke. So sorry to hear about your bad experiences. I bought your special offer lemon and rosemary diffusers on Saturday at Hampton Court. Love the perfume (and the hand team btw). I quite understand that you cannot send so many free samples. It must have cost a lot just to have a stand . Hope to see you next year.

  25. So sorry to hear about your troubles with the free samples. How horrid that people took advantage of your company – but that’s humanity for you! A few bad apples spoil it for the majority. I’m very impressed with Valentte so far and have just ordered some more products after buying some at the Handmade Festival. Also thanks for being so up-front and explaining about the free sample problem. (However, wouldn’t it be better to remove this feature from your web page?) Sue D

  26. Just to say that I brought the gift set of the neroli which included the diffuser, candle and hand cream and I absolutely adore it. Will need to purchase some more. Well done guys beautiful products and hand cream is so rich.

  27. Hi, I received a free sample of your lemongrass and rosemary handcream awhile ago, ripped off the cardboard backing and popped it in my handbag.
    A while later I found it in my handbag and started using it, it was absolutely gorgeous and the smell was amazing and lasted until the next time I washed my hands, the consistency was fabulous , lovely and thick but sunk in a treat and nongreasy!
    I’ll definitely buy some more of that I thought!
    But to my horror there was nothing on the pot and I have thrown away the important piece of card that had your details on. I had no idea of your name, I googled the scents of the handcream in case that brought something up, but you were lost to me forever ? every time I used a drop of my precious handcream everyone commented on it.
    So you can only imagine my delight when I came across your stall at this year’s handmade festival, it absolutely made the show for me I have to say!
    I now have all of your details firmly locked so I will never be without your amazing products!
    Thanks so much you really deserve to do well!

  28. I bought a candle and diffuser set from you at Southport Flower Show this summer. I returned to pick it up and because it wasn’t quite ready i was given a sample of your lovely handcream. I would love to buy some from you as aXmas present. Lovely as it would be to receive some free samples from you i really would like more information on the handcream. Many thanks

  29. Very interesting blog – not too often but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I bought your diffusers at Countryfile and all the family said how lovely they were. Look forward to receiving a handcream sample.

    • I was given a small pot of hand cream at the Xmas and Gift Fair in Cheltenham this week. I really do think that you should stop giving out the card with free sample code if you are no longer doing this. I am disappointed that this information did not appear BEFORE I entered my name and address on-line. I’m left feeling this is a sneaky data-gathering exercise which I’d like to think is not actually your intention. Sorry, but it just smacks of poor customer service.

  30. Hi I visited your stand yesterday at the malvern show, with my sister and niece, we had a look and loved the beautiful fragances, myself and my sister bought reeds, and my niece bought a candle. The white Neroli and lemon reeds I bought are in my living room and smell Devine, I love it and wouldn’t hesitate to buy again. Also the customer service we recieved from was excellent. Thank you

  31. I purchased 3 Reed diffusers a few months ago at Bramham and the scents are gorgeous and all the better for being natural and not synthetic. The hand cream is also really nice, quite rich but great for putting on at the end of the day. Thank you also for the blogs. I always enjoy reading them and what you say always resonates with me. Keep up the good work!

  32. I have placed an order and when I chose some free samples they disappeared from my order
    I fully understand you can only send samples to customers
    Would it be possible to enclose my free samples with my order
    Thank you

  33. Hiya,

    A very fair and sensible way of dealing with people I think Luke. I have placed an order today and have previously ordered also. Was only enquiring about the samples as a way of testing new scents so I could maybe order something different next time. Completely understand if not possible. Will still be a future customer.

  34. Hi sorry to read this, but thanks for the explanation.
    I wish you All the success with your business selling beautiful products.
    I purchased at the Cheltenham race course event on Thursday 17th October. Very pleased with x2 reed diffusers & candle set for £30.00. Beautifully packaged.
    I was undecided on scents.
    Good luck X

  35. Luke
    I just wanted to say I bought a candle and 2 defusers at the Homemade Festival Hampton Court and love the natural frangrances and was given a sample which I always loved. I only tried to order further free samples on your site as I grow lavender and wanted to sample yours as Lavender was not included at the show which I did think strange as i’m Sure it must be a best seller. Anyway sad to here about your free sample experience. At the end of the day you do need to make it profitable as well. I will also order something lavender fragranced from you anyway if your others are anything to go by! I buy a lot of fragrance products in my quest to eventually produce my own and yours are one of the best I have tried.
    PS love your ethos but not sure your branding, colour, font etc match’s this but just my opinion. ?

  36. I visited you at Cheltenham Racecourse fair and was given a sample handcream. I have since ordered a gift box for a friends birthday ( which is on its way) Today I am ordering
    another gift box for a Christmas present . So far everything is lemongrass and rosemary, like my handcream sample. I would love to get the samples so in future I can choose another perfume

  37. I now understand your predicament but wish I had realised before giving you my details! I never shop on line,nor bank nor make any payments by such means so I am unable at this time to try your products but hope to see you at one or other Christmas Fairs in the flesh as it were.
    best wishes Catherine Desmond

  38. Myself and 2 friends visited your stand today at the Horticultural Halls at Victoria.
    1 of us purchased from you and we were each handed a free hand cream sample. On the back of the card it invited us to enter a code into your website to receive a free sample. Which I did, but after going through all the procedure I then get told that you wouldn’t be sending any more out.
    Now I feel that is unfair and that you should remove this code from the back of the card.
    I feel a bit cheated to be honest. And that I gave you my information unnecessarily.
    I understand you are a small company, but you should not cheat people into thinking they will receive a free sample.

  39. I went to the Cheltenham racecourse Christmas fair in October, and purchased for the first time a gift set, OMG absolutely love the smell of the Patchouli and Eucalyptus. Every time I come into the house I am greeted with this wonderful smell. Thank you.
    P.S Also love the hand cream sample too 🙂

  40. Put this information on the packaging suggesting a ‘free’ scent sample attached to free handcream sample from Xmas Fair. Otherwise it is misleading for genuinely interested customers, disappointing and possibly discouraging further purchases without the free samples.

    • Same thing happened to me at Harrogate Christmas Fair. Whilst I fully understand the explanation you should not be compounding it by giving samples with code. Simply take the code off the card!

  41. I totally understand this and it’s frustrating. But I’d suggest you stop handing out sample codes at your shows, if only to avoid the frustration of wasted time completing the form. I made a purchase today, and came away with a sample code. I’m really happy to have subscribed, because I like the product. But honestly I’m a bit annoyed to have completed a form and been given this message only afterwards. Just stop giving out the codes.

  42. I too was given a code from the Spirit of Christmas London show yesterday to enter on your site which is clearly out of date! I do understand the problem you have but there are also genuine requests out there.

  43. I was sorry to hear about you free sample dilemma. I purchased approximately £30 worth of goods at Cheltenham Race Course recently. You should have my email details. I wanted to try different samples before purchasing further products from you.

  44. I was given the free sample code at Ripley fair today and have only just got this message after having completed the previous forms. This seems the wrong way round. So if I understand this right- I have made a purchase, been given a code, filled out a form on your website but won’t get the free samples of different fragrances? I understand that you can’t send out thousands but don’t give out the codes.

  45. Love your hand cream especially lemongrass and rosemary. I have very dry skin on my hands (too much in water) and this is great for them. Scent is lovely and fresh

  46. I received a hand cream sample from your stall at the CL Fair in London and the leaflet gave a free scent sample code SC5501 to use but can’t find that here

  47. So sorry to hear of the difficulties you have been through. I just signed up for free samples having been to your stand at the Malvern Autumn show and bought some Christmas gifts – which I am just wrapping and hence visiting your site now. I fully support your decision and admire your solution!

  48. Just received my second order of full sized items and I am most impressed with both product and service. Beautifully presented to. I want to keep everything but bought for xmas gifts … thank you .. . I did pop a request for some samples of scents I haven’t tried..& I am more than happy to pay post. I just love Valentte .. from one wee pot of hand cream came 1 very happy to spend customer.

  49. Thank you for my latest purchase! I love your products and now advocate them within my workplace! You produce marvellous scents and I will always use them. thank you 🙂

  50. Purchased diffusers x 3 £30 today from Ascot Christmas show. Excellent value fantastic fragrances ..that last. Love this product. No hard sell which makes a change.
    Thank you

  51. I purchased 2 candles and a hand cream in the Patchouli & Eucalyptus fragrance. It’s such a wonderful scent and there was no hard sell . I shall definately be buying more goods. I love them

  52. I must say I am very disappointed not to be receiving my samples. I collected a free sample of your hand cream at the Ideal Home Christmas Show as was so pleased with it I decided to apply my code so that I got to smell your perfumes (the stall at the show was really busy) I am happy to sign up to your newsletter if that is the only way I will get to smell your aromas.

  53. I bought from you at a show. Since then I have been back again and brought you another three customers, who had visited my house and loved the scent of my reed diffusers and candles.

    We are now a group of four raving fans.

    I have a background in Marketing and I feel really sorry that what started out for you as a sound Marketing strategy giving a good return on investment has ended this way. It is such a shame.

    Keep doing what you do, because I think you and your products are great!

  54. I spent £90 on 3 gift boxes today for family .Wanted to spend more time taking in all the delicious smells but had to be quick as said family were approaching! Unfortunately didn’t get chance to sample all the different fragrances that is why I thought it would be nice to acquire some samples but understand your dilemma .The three packs I purchased today smell wonderful even through the packaging.

  55. If you are no longer sending out Free Samples without someone committing to a further purchase why are you giving out cards with a Free Scent Sample Code. I only received the card at the Country Living Fair on 8th December 2019 so it’s not as if it’s something that’s been lying around for ages and I’ve just rediscovered it. Also, I was quite surprised to be offered 3 samples. I only expected one.

  56. Hello,
    Thank you for your kind blog post that explains about the test samples. I completely understand. How frustrating for you and your team.
    I received the most delightful Christmas present from my Mum (we were at Spirit of Christmas fair back in November) she bought for me your Valentte gift set; patchouli and eucalyptus diffuser, candle and hand cream. I have to admit I didn’t take a lot of notice at your stand (or your brand name as such) as it was very hectic. But loved all the frangrances and organic so Mum went ahead and purchased (your staff there were fantastic, so helpful and enthusiastic).
    It’s now 2nd January; I’ve started clearing the Christmas decorations today; I lit my candle in the living room and opened up my diffuser and put it in my home office. I have never smelt anything so wonderful. I then looked at your brand name more closely; have been on your web site and I shall definitely be recommending you/Valentte and buying for myself, family and friends. Keep up the fantastic work!
    With all best wishes for a happy, healthy & prosperous 2020.
    PS with the test samples may I suggest you take the offer off your web site & send samples when a purchase is made. It was a complete surprise to me to see you were offering them; so perhaps just take it off and then people are none the wiser : – )

  57. Take the free samples off the website then. Or explain the process up front rather than in a very long and ranty blog post! I’ve just filled in all my details (with no request for payment details which I would have happily provided) to be directed to a ‘sorry we don’t do this long explanation’.

  58. Looking forward to trying your products, l am a keen jo malone and Penhaligons customer but finding the prices are getting over the top. Time for change my friend told me about your products and she said they are amazing so l am looking forward to trying and l am hoping this is my place to shop. Awaiting my delivery. And l will give a very honest review.

  59. Hi all!
    I’m sorry to read of your struggles last year and I sincerely hope that you’re back on top of the situation now?

    I’m just about to put my freebie order through with payment for postage.

    I noticed you use essential oils, which is lovely! but I have a question about that; will I be able to use the sprays etc safely around my dog? As I know some essential oils are toxic but I’m not sure just how much it takes to become so?

    Have you any idea about this at all?

    Thank you in advance and for taking the time to read this message.
    I look forward to your response.

    Kind regards,
    Shereen Heward.


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