Where the Bees Are Famous (and the Goats Wear Cashmere)

Where the Bees Are Famous (and the Goats Wear Cashmere)

LOS ANGELES — Flamingo Estate, a way of life firm set in a Forties Spanish-style home within the hills on the border between the Eagle Rock and Highland Park neighborhoods, sells candles that odor like tomatoes and rosemary. Oprah Winfrey named them considered one of her favourite issues.

Pink is a theme for each the model and the home. Its facade is pink stucco. Its Pink Moon rosé was made to match the colour on the underside of a flamingo’s wing. The firm makes botanical merchandise, not all of that are apparent hits. Last Christmas, its notorious nine-pound sack of manure (utilizing a synonym for excrement) that price $75, went viral. It’s at the moment out of inventory.

For $80 earlier than transport, one can buy a 6.5-ounce jar of dried strawberries dusted with guajillo chile and a squeeze of lime. They are snacks, sure, but additionally they’re statements: If you’ll be able to afford them, cash shouldn’t be one thing that considerations you. Everything is shipped in packing containers printed with the motto: “We are a house for radical pleasure.”

Though Flamingo Estate was named after the house of its founder, Richard Christiansen, the identify implies one thing far larger than the seven-acre lot he shares with Aaron Harvey, his associate (and the artistic director of the corporate), and their canines, Daylesford and Freeway.

“A possible investor simply came to visit and was like, ‘Wait, all the pieces is from right here?’” Mr. Christiansen stated. “She was anticipating lots of of acres in the midst of Los Angeles.” He needed to clarify that although Flamingo Estates, the model, was impressed by his home he now makes use of components from 110 native farms.

Mr. Christiansen purchased his residence eight years in the past. It was as soon as a porn studio, and he reworked it into an Instagram playland.

“It’s excessive,” stated Martha Stewart, who has identified Mr. Christiansen for years and wrote the foreword to the Flamingo Estate cookbook ($78). “He buys a home on the highest of the hill overlooking Los Angeles, and he transforms this ex-porn king’s mansion right into a veritable paradise of gardens and deep, darkish baths and furnishings that’s loopy and good. He appears to be like like a younger boy with pink cheeks, and he’s beneficiant and considerate and busy, but you by no means suppose he’s that busy.”

The vibe skews colourful and vaguely tropical. In the lounge, there’s a limited-edition David Hockney “Caribbean Tea Time” display and a big floral printed couch from the Belgian designer JP Demeyer, combined with chairs and aspect tables purchased at Parisian flea markets. In the kitchen, a terrazzo ground in shades of mint, white, black and rose is dominated by an unlimited vintage range. Just off the kitchen is a small bar with classic Baccarat crystal decanters and bamboo stools.

Mr. Christiansen’s house is the place practically all the pieces the model sells is staged and photographed, and it drives gross sales. It has additionally served as a background for Quentin Tarantino and Margot Robbie to be photographed for journal spreads, for Billie Eilish to be interviewed by the BBC, and for Emily Weiss, the Glossier founder, to host her child bathe.

It can be straightforward to mistake Flamingo Estate for a resort or membership. “I believed it was a public house that individuals may perhaps buy a ticket to, like a backyard,” Chrissy Teigen stated in a voice memo. She requested Mr. Christiansen over Instagram if she may carry her household. “We pulled up and I knocked on the gate and Richard popped out, and I used to be like, ‘Oh my God, wait, this isn’t a public entity of any form.’”

Mr. Christiansen gave them a tour, and her children performed with the chickens. “I totally imagine Richard is an angel or an alien from one other planet,” Ms. Teigen stated. “At the chance of sounding very L.A., he has this power about him and this aura about him that’s actually particular.”

They ended up making three jams collectively — as within the type of jams one spreads on scones, not the musical selection.

Architects from the French agency Studio KO did the renovation of Mr. Christiansen’s residence, basing a few of the landscaping on scorching climate gardens in Morocco. Surveying the grounds after an exceptionally chilly and moist California winter, Mr. Christiansen sounded poetic: “The sage has exploded, the wisteria has purple blooms. The orchard is so joyful, it’s prefer it’s singing.”

There are climbing jasmine vines and a cast-concrete bathhouse with a hearth and tiles that match the Balearic Sea. Mr. Christiansen is eager about sometime making a Flamingo Estate “temple to bathing” — impressed by the one at Flamingo Estate.

But he’s a person with many concepts. Last yr the corporate launched $250 jars of honey culled from beehives positioned within the gardens of celebrities, together with Ai Weiwei and Julianne Moore.

“How wild is it that LeBron’s honey on the Westside tastes utterly completely different from Tiffany Haddish’s in South Central,” Mr. Christiansen stated. He remains to be negotiating who will take part subsequent.

Ms. Moore stated the method was straightforward. “There is a beekeeper in Montauk he contacted, and she or he tended the bees and picked up the honey,” she stated. “We proceed to have the bees.”

Mr. Christiansen stood together with his canines contained in the goat keeper’s shed, an area the dimensions of a small workplace, stuffed with jars with labels that learn “fermented indigo” and decorated with custom hand-painted wallpaper from the British firm de Gournay depicting native natural world: cactuses, owls and cliff roses.

The canines have a barely adversarial relationship with the goats, who reside in a pen with the chickens. On a stormy Sunday in February, realizing the goats have been chilly, Mr. Christiansen posted a name for cashmere sweaters on Instagram. “I used to be like, ‘Oh, it’s freezing, the poor goats,’” Mr. Christiansen stated. Now the goats put on cashmere.

Mr. Christiansen stood overlooking proteas and mimosa crops that reminded him of his native Australia. His dad and mom have been beekeepers who raised him on their sugar cane farm in northern New South Wales. They didn’t entertain. He was a child obsessive about Chanel and Calvin Klein advertisements in magazines, who studied legislation after which went into advertising.

Flamingo Estate started as a pandemic challenge. After virtually twenty years at Chandelier Creative, the company he based in 2005, Mr. Christiansen, 46, was depleted emotionally and bodily. The firm labored with quite a lot of style manufacturers and had places of work in Los Angeles, New York and Paris.

Mr. Christiansen was residing in Los Angeles. Chandelier was at a standstill within the early days of the pandemic. (He is not concerned within the company.) That was when he met a lady who was in peril of shedding her farm as a result of she bought meals to eating places that have been closed.

He began promoting her recent produce to pals in $35 packing containers. Word unfold amongst different farmers who have been keen to hitch. Farmers bought on to Flamingo Estate, which paid them weekly in money. “It was $300 that week, $600 the subsequent week,” Mr. Christiansen stated. “And you recognize, it simply saved rising. One farm grew to become two, grew to become 5, grew to become 10 and now 110. We didn’t have any intention that it will turn into actually a enterprise.”

“At some level we shifted to a mannequin that was extra structured, asking farmers, ‘Why don’t you plant stuff particularly for us?’”

Locals like Kris Jenner can nonetheless choose up farm packing containers, however that’s only one a part of Flamingo Estate’s enterprise. Sales have doubled annually, Mr. Christiansen stated, noting that income was $10 million final yr. “We are about to hit revenue this subsequent quarter,” he stated.

Seventy-five % of the shoppers, based on info offered by Mr. Christiansen, are girls between 24 and 40 years previous. They are break up evenly between the East and West Coast. “The alternative for us is in cities like Chicago, Dallas, Miami,” he stated.

“I actually do suppose we’ve bought these two buyer segments,” he continued. “We’ve bought individuals who care quite a bit concerning the surroundings and about sourcing and about farming. Then I believe we’ve bought this buyer right here who’s a luxurious shopper, who thinks the home is curated and likes the model and particularly the collaborations we do, and typically they cross over. But very not often, really.”

The advertising aspect of Mr. Christiansen nonetheless burns very vivid. Each Sunday he pulls the data on the highest 50 clients that week and texts or calls them. “This one buyer was actually our greatest buyer over and over and over,” he stated. “And I used to be, like, I’m wondering who that is? And then I had a stunning dialog with him. And then, you recognize, one factor led to a different. Now that buyer is an investor by way of a household workplace.”

Mr. Christiansen, at first, courted particular person buyers for funding reasonably than enterprise capital corporations. “I hate coping with cash,” he stated. “I don’t even test my A.T.M. steadiness.”

For all that, the Flamingo Estate model simply closed a spherical of outdoor funding. It raised $7.5 million, earmarked for working capital.

“We have left the children’ desk and gone to the adults’ desk,” Mr. Christiansen stated.

“We spoke to some individuals who have been inexperienced buyers, and various them have been, like, we’ll solely spend money on organic-certified or regenerative-certified, no matter — simply very didactic about it. I stated that for some small growers, getting licensed natural is admittedly troublesome. It’s costly.”

Mr. Christiansen can also be open to working with massive agricultural firms. “For me, progress can be that state of affairs the place individuals say we’re removed from excellent,” he stated. “The alternative for me is to work with somebody who’s bought room to enhance. In our business there’s a lot greenwashing. It makes me irate that individuals give themselves a pat on the again for one or two components which are goodish for the world.”

This summer time, Flamingo Estate is opening a pop-up in an previous auto physique store in East Hampton, N.Y., the concept being to carry your physique in for a summer time tuneup. The fuel station snack part will likely be referred to as the Inconvenience Store. There are books popping out later this yr, together with a workbook on the right way to reside a pleasurable life and one other referred to as “House of Radical Pleasure,” which will likely be a tour of the property divided by the senses.

Flamingo Estate, the house, is vital to the attract of Flaming Estate, the model, even when having one’s residence as a type of residing set and rotating dinner party might be annoying. Mr. Harvey, he stated with amusing, is pissed off with it: “He’s uninterested in making the mattress.”

“Even although we’ve grown shortly, it’s nonetheless super-personal,” he stated. “We make stuff that I need to use within the kitchen. I exploit the cleaning soap within the bathe. I do all the social myself. It’s nonetheless my kitchen, my toilet, my canines and my timber.”



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