Select Page

Nerd Alert: A Database System to Track My Perfume Activity

by | Mar 22, 2020

I hate to forget. But forgetting is human. As much as I wish each perfume experience was so special that I’d never forget it, I actually forget pretty quickly. There is way too much information to keep track of things in my head. This was a fairly early realization in my fragrance experience. I needed a place to keep notes. Every purchase, details about each wearing, how I found a fragrance and why I was interested in it. I needed a database system to track all my perfume activity.

Side note: I’m going to refer to the time period since I started learning about, exploring, and collecting fragrance as my “fragrance experience” because I think “fragrance journey” is cheesy and “hobby” just doesn’t cut it at this point. It is a hobby, I guess, but I’m in pretty deep and that word just doesn’t feel right.

Serge Lutens La Myrrhe. This photo has nothing to do with the post, but it needed a featured photo.

I started with Evernote. Each time I’d buy something, I would make a new note, include a copy of the receipt, and use a table to include specific information, like the date ordered, the date it arrived, my impressions of the fragrance once I smelled it, how much I paid, the volume I got, where I got it from, and photos of the box and bottle.

This worked out for a while, but eventually I got frustrated with the inability to do more complicated searching, keeping a space for tracking things that I hadn’t yet gotten or attempted to get, and issues with duplication, like when I’d get a second or third sample of the same fragrance.

Databases have always fascinated me. I think of databases as a series of connected tables, or like a series of spreadsheets that have a single connecting data point. I have done some data work as part of my professional life, so I felt compelled to come up with a solution that really met all of my needs.

I really hate spreadsheets. I hate them because everyone uses them to track everything, but they are often wildly inadequate. You put in a reminder date, but you have to remember to look at the reminder date to be reminded! You want to visualize data, but you can only see the width of the column. You can’t include attachments, or content of substantial size or length. Spreadsheets work great for doing math. A small budget. But they suck for tracking real data. Far too many brilliant but slightly disorganized people have attempted to organize their own lives with spreadsheets, only to have those spreadsheets make matters worse. The those people give up on organization and live in perpetual chaos. I won’t be part of that! I need and demand a fully powered database to track my perfume.

I searched for something that would work on my computer, iPad and iPhone. I wanted to be able to have full access to everything all the time. I wanted something like Microsoft Access, but that wouldn’t work from a cloud-sync perspective. Airtable seemed like it had the features I wanted, but the pricing scheme and the amount of data I’d need to store left it impractical.

Eventually I found Tap Forms. It’s a good balance between being usable by someone without serious coding and technical knowledge/skill, and having the features and flexibility to meet a very niche (literally) purpose.

Below, I am going to sketch out the structure of the database I built. I’m doing this because I’ve spent a lot of time building it, and then refining it over the past couple of years so it captures every data point that I want to be able to record. I have not yet seen anyone provide a tracking model for a perfume collection (obsession) with this much detail, so I’m hoping this may be helpful to someone who is as much of a nerd as I am.

Table 1: Fragrances

  1. Name
  2. House
  3. Wearing (References Wearing Table, pulls record of each instance of wearing based on the fragrance name)
  4. Acquisition (References Acquisition Table, pulls record of each instance of acquisition based on the fragrance name)
  5. Wearing Plan (References Wearing Plan Table, pulls record of each planned wearing)
  6. Wishlist (References Wishlist Table, pulls record if I’ve indicated that this fragrance is on my wishlist)
  7. Sell It? (References Selling Table, pulls record if I’ve indicated that I want to sell the fragrance)
  8. Type (Pick from a list of concentrations/formats)
  9. Year (the fragrance was created)
  10. Perfumer
  11. Notes
  12. Season (Pick from a list of seasons, for easy searching)
  13. Scent Profile (Pick from a list of categories that make sense to me, like formal, raunchy, travel, soapy, etc.)
  14. Missing From Database (If the fragrance is not yet listed in Fragrantica, Basenotes, or Parfumo, I note that here, so that I can know where to indicate on those sites if I’m wearing that perfume on a given day)
  15. Brand/Vendor Description (a space to include brand marketing copy or other details that I’ve read)
  16. Attachments
  17. Calculation: Times Worn (this is a count of all the ‘Wearing’ records above.)
  18. Calculation: In Collection (this is a count of all the ‘Acquisition’ records above. This field and the Times Worn field allow me to search for a fragrance that I have acquired but I haven’t worn yet, which happens with samples a lot, or that I haven’t worn as much as I should.)

Table 2: Wearing

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Date
  3. Wear Type (Here I indicate if I’m just doing a test, if I am doing a full wearing, or if I am wearing it to bed)
  4. Compliment (a check box, for easy searching)
  5. Thoughts/Notes (a large text field where I write my impressions of the fragrance based on this particular wearing experience, allowing me to compare my impressions over time)

Table 3: Acquisition

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Date Recevied
  3. Date Ordered
  4. Acquisition Type (A bottle or a vial)
  5. Size (in mls)
  6. Receipt (an attachment field)
  7. Price
  8. Source
  9. Note (a field for notes, most often I use this to indicate if I got a sample with another order)
  10. In collection (this is a check box that helps with searching – by having this, when I sell a bottle or finish a sample, I uncheck the box, so that I don’t have to delete the whole acquisition record. I don’t want to forget about the things that I’ve used up or sold)

Table 4: Wearing Plan

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Day to Wear (this is a date field that also includes time. I set a 5a time for the fragrance I want to test early in the morning, a 7a time for the fragrance that I’ll be wearing in full for the day, and a 5p time for the fragrance I will test in the evening)

Table 5: Test List

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Purchasing Options (This is a table where I can list multiple options for potential purchase and compare them as necessary)
    1. Store (Pick from a list of sources)
    2. Price
    3. Size
    4. URL
    5. Notes
  3. Acquired (this is a check box, which I will mark after I’ve acquired a sample or bottle)
  4. Notes

Table 6: Wish List

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Priority (it’s three stars: one star for the lowest priority to acquire, three for the highest.)
  3. Purchasing Options (This is a table where I can list multiple options for potential purchase and compare them as necessary)
    1. Store (Pick from a list of sources)
    2. Price
    3. Size
    4. URL
    5. Notes
  4. Acquired (this is a check box, which I will mark after I’ve acquired a bottle)

Table 7: Fragrances to Sell

  1. Fragrance (Pick based on a list of the Name field from the Fragrances table)
  2. Pricing Examples (This is a table where I can list multiple places where I have found the fragrance for sale to best determine a fair price)
    1. Store (Pick from a list of sources)
    2. Price
    3. Size
    4. URL
    5. Notes
  3. Listed (a check box to indicate if I’ve put the fragrance up for sale)
  4. Sold (a check box to indicate if the fragrance has sold)
  5. Selling Service (Pick based on a list of places where I might sell the fragrance)
  6. Purchase price (how much I initially paid for the fragrance)
  7. First Listing Price (the amount that I started asking for)
  8. Selling Price (the amount that the fragrance sold for)
  9. Fees Paid (if I sold on a service that takes fees, the amount of the fees)
  10. Postage I paid (How much postage cost me)
  11. Postage buyer paid (How much postage the buyer paid to me)
  12. Net Selling Price after Postage and Fees (a calculation of the Selling price plus the postage the buyer paid, minus the fees I paid and the postage I paid.
  13. Profit (a calculation of the purchase price minus the net selling price – which is usually a negative number!)

And there you have it. This thing is critical to me remaining sane in the chaos that is my fragrance closet. I hope it’s of some help to someone out there.

2,716 Comments

  1. Jeonispoime

    where to buy cbd oil near me full spectrum cbd oil cbd pen cbd oil stores near me

    Reply
  2. Amonsehousede

    what is cbd oil benefits charlotte’s web cbd oil for sale cbd for pets cbd oil for anxiety and depression

    Reply