RED FLOWER BLOOMS IN SOHO

Byline: Cassandra Chiacchio

NEW YORK — Enter the new Red Flower boutique on Prince Street in SoHo and you will be confronted with stories of murder and intrigue. Well, not exactly. But you will hear all about the colorful history of the location — a former speakeasy — from owners Yael Alkalay and Victor Silveira as well as have an opportunity to add a personal item to their totem pole-like metal sculpture.
For the free-spirited creators of Red Flower, a flower-based candle company started in 1999, having their first space meant a chance to interact with the public, albeit at late hours — it’s open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. three nights a week.
Once inside, the totem pole isn’t the only eye-catcher in the 800-square-foot space. One wall boasts a piece created from items left on New York sidewalks and a quilt-like section of flooring has squares of various items such as keys and cutlery. “It has flair,” said Silveira as he surveyed the room.
The space showcases the entire line, including their trademark candles based on botanicals from exotic locales, perhaps inspired by their own exotic backgrounds — Silveira is Portuguese and Alkalay’s parents are from Argentina and Bulgaria and met in Israel.
Each 6-oz. candle, complete with loose flowers on top, retails for $30 and has a 35-hour burn time. The candles, which contain 15 percent pure fragrance oil, are available in Indian Jasmine, Thai Honeysuckle, Egyptian Chamomile, North American Lilac, Chinese Marigold and Moroccan Rose. Italian Blood Orange and French Lavender made their debut last month. A set of six mini candles retails for $60. “We worked on these candles as if they were perfume,” said Silveira. “They are an affordable luxury with meaning,” added Alkalay.
Red Flower also offers two varieties of teas, rose and lavender. The tea comes with its own stainless steel bombilla (a stirrer that strains the tea as the user sips through it). Each 11-oz. bag retails for $35. A handspun copper prayer bowl used in the Hindu puja flower-offering ceremony retails for $12, a silver bombilla retails for $20 and a pack of red flower seeds sells for $5. February will mark the launch of the company’s bath line.
Aside from the Prince Street location, the Red Flower line is available on the company’s interactive Web site, Redflowerworld.com, as well as in 60 doors worldwide such as Barney’s New York and the U.K.’s Harvey Nichols.
According to Silveira, sales — not including those at the SoHo boutique and their Web site — are up 30 percent from last year. Industry sources estimate the brand will make $1.5 million this year in same-store retail sales.
“It’s not about pushing the idea of aromatherapy,” said Alkalay. “We are offering the idea of well-being.”