Given a bird’s eye view of Williamsburg, you might look down to see a rooftop in full bloom with flowers – roses, chamomile, hyssop and more – and former beauty director Liana Blomquist in her upstairs lab. , transforming plants into botanical extracts.
Blomquist is the founder of Brooklyn Rooftop Botanicals, a new rooftop farm that grows crops that will be turned into beauty products.
In 2019, Blomquist quit his executive job at Revlon in order to come out from behind a desk. For the past nine years, she had worked in London and New York City marketing for global beauty brands, including launching celebrity fragrance lines for Justin Bieber, Nikki Minaj and Britney Spears.
But the outdoors called.
Blomquist had recently started gardening and had been growing tomatoes and other seeds on her roof for several years when she had an idea.
“I thought to myself that it would be great if I could mix my beauty experience with gardening, grow beauty plants and create extracts and create my own products.”
Many cosmetic products contain plant extracts – such as herbs, roots, flowers, fruits, leaves, or seeds – which work in the product to give the desired effect. For example, chamomile and rose have both been used for a long time to treat inflammation.
Blomquist said one of his motivations is to think more about how we source our beauty products.
“When you work in a big company, you realize the quantity produced and the carbon footprint and the non-recyclable aspect that grows in this world,” she said.
She began to furnish her roof with all kinds of plants that could be used in beauty products, with beneficial properties, and to experiment with them.
Now, Blomquist owns two rooftop beauty farms in East Williamsburg and one in downtown Brooklyn, occupying a total of 2,000 square feet of rooftop space.
Like Brooklyn Grange in Sunset Park, she has said she wants to turn the city’s “wasted space” into green space, both reducing the heat island effect and producing beauty products closer to home. , where people can actually come and visit and see how they’re made. .
“The main mission is to try to make people think about where their products come from,” Blomquist said. “Helping people understand how things are grown, where they come from and when they make a carbon footprint. “
After several years of growth, research and development, Blomquist is looking forward to launching its Brooklyn-made beauty products in the fall.
The process involved purchasing all of the required materials, learning on her own through books and videos, and working with a formulator to make sure everything is tested.
“People think there’s this crazy science out there, but actually creating snippets is very simple,” Blomquist said.
“Really what I’m trying to do is take the best of both worlds – take herbal remedies that have been researched and are safe, and use powerful synthetics such as hyaluronic acid. and glycolic acid and mix them. ”
She said she plans to sell her products directly to consumers on her website and is also considering other rooftops, especially spaces where people can host events and come see what she’s doing and learn. .
“I have a lot of ideas, but I want to think big and I want the whole Brooklyn community to be involved.”
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