Thursday, October 27, 2016

Need a love potion for Valentine’s Day? Your local botanica may have what you desire

“Come To Me” candles at Brujo Mayor De Los Angeles Botanica | Aurelio Jose Barrera

Story by Ana Facio-Krajcer  Photos by Aurelio José Barrera

Forget about flowers and chocolates. How about some “Come To Me” oil or a “Domination” candle to fan the flames of romance in time for Valentine’s Day. Sales of these and other “love products” peak at many botanicas and folk medicine shops found across Boyle Heights, East Los Angeles and other neighborhoods.

On the shelves inside these colorful and aromatic stores, customers will find unique items, such as genital shaped candles in red and black, powders and candles for straight and gay clients,  “panty removing” perfume for men and  “Come To Me” oil for both sexes. These candles, oils and powders, as well as rituals offered at botanicas, are meant to attract and maintain a love interest not just on Cupid Day but all year long, said Luz De La Cruz, a spiritual counselor at the Brujo Mayor De Los Angeles Botanica in East L.A.

“(February) is one of the months we count on for large sales,” De La Cruz said in Spanish. “I wouldn’t be able to calculate a percentage (of our sales) but more people come and buy a candle, aromatic incenses with pheromones, something prepared to keep away the negative vibes [and] oils to attract a partner. More people do come to buy because they want to be in harmony with their partners to celebrate Valentine’s Day.”

Alexa Buenrostro, 24, a clothing store owner in East L.A., said she has kept the harmony in her relationship using the various scented oils and folk saint candles. Buenrostro said she began using the “Come To Me” oil three years ago to attract not only her partner but positive energy and good health as well.
“I wasn’t the type that went into botanicas. I didn’t believe in any of this,” Buenrostro said. But after a bad relationship, Buenrostro made an appointment at the Brujo Mayor De Los Angeles Botanica for a spiritual cleansing. Now, she is a loyal customer.
“You have to have faith for it to work. If you believe it, you’ll see the results,” Buenrostro said. “In two to three weeks (after the ritual), I met the man who I’ve been with now for three years. He’s the father of my three month-old daughter.”

The “Come To Me” oil as well as other products related to love are major sellers for Indio Products, the largest distributor of items sold at botanicas.

“I can definitely confirm that Valentine’s Day is one of the biggest holidays if not the biggest holiday that spikes business for us,” said Julio Hernandez, the supervisor at the Indio Products factory in Commerce. “In general, throughout the year, all of the products that are related to love in any way, are among the highest sellers. So on Valentine’s Day we see an increase of anywhere between 10% to 30% in sales.”

Indio Products manufactures about 10,000 items, with about a third of those items related to love. But some of those items – such as “breakup” candles and “domination” oils – are perhaps not what some people might associate with an innocent image of love and romance.

“Panty removing” perfume, for example, maybe more about lust than love but, according to Hernandez, it “sells a lot on Valentine’s Day as well.”

Witch’s Love stocked Indio Products warehouse | Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

Red passion salt at El Indio products warehouse | Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

Stocking up on love at the El Indio warehouse | Photo by Aurelio Jose Barrera

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One comment

  1. Were is this botanica. Can you send me the direction please.

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