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.”
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.”