CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn – Being a mother is difficult. Being an entrepreneur is, too. Sophia Sylvester, Brooklyn native and owner of Brooklyn Flavors, is the proud to be both.
Brooklyn Flavors is a natural skincare line with aromas based on Brooklyn neighborhoods. Sylvester is the proud owner and designer behind every fragrance.
Upon entering Sylvester’s showroom, located just north of Prospect Park, the rich smell of florals and herbs envelop you. In the back, Sylvester pours attention into a pot on a small burner. Her methodical focus on each small batch of her products is the very foundation of her success.
Brooklyn Flavors features a variety of skin and bath products in 13 “flavors” based on Brooklyn neighborhoods:
-Bed-Stuy: An earthy blend of sandalwood, jasmine, cedarwood and patchouli.
-Brownstone: A soft sweet blend of sandalwood, cedarwood, jasmine and vanilla.
-Canarsie Cookie: Freshly baked sugar cookies with butter cream frosting, with vanilla extract.
-Carroll Gardens: A herbaceous blend of sandalwood and ginger.
-Church Avenue: Juicy mango, papaya, jasmine peach and coconut.
-Clinton Hill: A sweet delicious blend of pears, raspberries and strawberries.
-Crown Heights A sweet earthy blend of mint leaves and patchouli.
-Fort Greene: A soft fresh citrus blend of fruits and mint.
-Kensington: Floral meets earthy with a blend of lavender and patchouli.
-Park Slope: A floral mix of lavender, rose, jasmine and gardenia.
-Prospect Heights: A soft floral blend of cherry, ylang, ylang and jasmine.
-Red Hook: A red juicy mix of sweet berries, peaches, strawberries, oranges, coconuts and vanilla.
-Who's Your Daddy: while not a Brooklyn aroma, this popular blend sandalwood, vanilla and musk was designed specifically for Sylvester’s male customer.
An unscented line is also available for sensitive skin.
Every product is hand made in small batches right in the showroom. Sylvester leverages a keen knowledge of natural ingredients. It’s a knowledge she credits to her mother.
“She always used herbs, teas, natural oils. She used a lot of olive oil,” said Sylvester, remembering her Jamaican mother’s glowing complexion.
In 2003, Sylvester quit her job to spend more time with her children. She began by hand crafting candles. When her children developed skin sensitivities, she began making all-natural products for them. Soon, the aromas and skincare came together.
“It was very challenging,” recalled Sylvester. “There were times when I didn’t go to sleep until 3 or 4 in the morning because I was making these products. And then get up at 6 or 7 to get the kids out to school.
For years, Sylvester featured her products at street fairs. Their wild success led to the opening of her first showroom, located on Washington Avenue just blocks north of Prospect Park.
Recently, Brooklyn Flavors went international with the placement of their products in Osaka, Japan.
The next neighborhoods to get the “flavors” treatment will be Williamsburg and Greenpoint, according to Sylvester.
To learn more, visit BrooklynFlavors.com.