Have you ever bought a “scented candle” only to find that it wasn’t really fragrant at all? Sophia Sylvester of Brooklyn Flavors is here to help.
Sophia began her line of soy candles in 2004 and expanded to natural skincare in 2006. At the start, Sophia sourced her materials from wholesale vendors. After becoming annoyed by the dull scents they delivered, she began turning towards local ingredients like essential oils, shea butter, jojoba butter and coconut oil. Her approach is clean and simple: “I got tired of hearing that the candle smells weren’t strong enough. I make sure these candles smell for the life of the candle. You can open it up now and smell it, and that’s the way it smells while it’s burning.”
After her homemade candles took off in 2004, she was inspired by friends and family to add in body butters, soufflés and scrubs. She’s even converted her Vaseline-loving husband to her luscious body butters: “I test it on myself and family, no animals, for about three months before releasing the product.” Environmentally friendly products that smell great? We’re addicted.
Sophia began selling from her home and online, and then became a weekend vendor at Dekalb. After falling in love with the market, she was encouraged to apply as a full-time vendor, and her line took off. Her biggest inspiration? Her customers, especially those with particular skin ailments: “I want customers to be able to use a product that is not only going to do something superficially to the body, but for the mind as well. I had a friend who used the body butter for eczema on her hands and saw a big difference.”
Made using pure oils and butters, her products can alleviate embarrassing skin conditions, putting sufferers at ease. Sophia makes all her soaps in the oven, using a hot-process method that readies soaps in 1-2 days, rather than the month that cold processing takes. Body butters are made in a pot, where she melts down all the ingredients and allows them to sit at room temperature until they harden.
Another wildly popular line is the Dead Sea salt scrubs: “People travel from all across the world just to go to Israel to dip in the Dead Sea because it has healing properties. A lot of people have eczema and psoriasis, even arthritis, and the Dead Sea salt helps it.” What’s next for this skincare revolutionary? She plans to expand her line, adding a facial toner and moisturizer. She would also love to develop a towel line as well. With a dedicated New York following, Sophia is destined for continued success.
Her ultimate Dekalb tip, outside of taking care of your skin? Don’t miss out on the oatmeal-raisin cookies at Cuzin’s Duzin! They’re her favorite.