What does Brooklyn smell like? Well, the first thing that comes to mind probably isn’t a fragrant candle or body butter. But Brooklyn Flavors (820 Washington Avenue, 718-854-7486), a Brooklyn-based natural skin care shop, wants to change that perception.
|Brooklyn Flavors owner, Sophia Sylvester/Yelp|
Created by Brooklyn native Sophia Sylvester, Brooklyn Flavors offers a signature scent inspired by some of the borough’s most distinct streets and neighborhoods (wisely, there's no Gowanus Canal flavor). For example, Bed-Stuy’s flavor is an earthy blend of sandalwood, jasmine, cedar wood and patchouli; Canarsie Cookie smells like freshly baked sugar cookies with butter cream frosting and vanilla extract; and the Caribbean-inspired Church Avenue combines juicy mango, papaya, jasmine peach and coconut.
Sylvester’s mission is to make quality handmade products using natural ingredients and to promote a healthy approach to candles and beauty and bath products (body souffle, dead sea salt scrub, bath bombs, and more). All products are also available online.
Everything She Wants: What inspired you to start Brooklyn Flavors?
Sophia Sylvester: In 2003, I wanted to work from home to spend more time with my children. So I built a website and started selling candles with a well-known manufacturer. They made beautiful candles, but my customers complained about the scent not being strong enough. So in 2004, I decided to make my own candles—natural, sweet smelling and strong. It worked and my customers loved them. In 2006, I went a step further and made natural skin care products infused with Shea butter, olive oil, almond oil and other essential oils that soothe, moisturize and nourish the skin.
ESW: What makes your skin care products different than others on the market?
Sophia: Each skin care company's products are different from the next. We are all inspired by different needs and experiences. My products are different because they were created out of a need to heal my children's dry skin issues. So I use specific oils and butters for those reasons. We are also different because we decided to have a little fun and pay homage to Brooklyn, the city I fell in love with as a little girl.
ESW: You also sell candles. What makes your candles unique?
Sophia: Our candles are 100% soy wax candles. We wanted to help the environment by not making candles using paraffin wax, which leaves soot all over your walls and curtains. Research has shown that paraffin wax releases cancer-causing agents into the air when burned.
ESW: What advice do you have for other women entrepreneurs?