Celeb-Beloved Flamingo Estate Is About To Be (Almost) Everywhere

Their latest partnership with JW Marriott will “scale scarcity” in pursuit of post-travel relief.

“The reality of getting from A to B today is so unpleasant,” says Richard Christiansen, founder of Flamingo Estate, the Los Angeles homestead that has earned a cult following among celebrities and tastemakers for its food boxes and wellness products. “I’m standing in the middle of the airport now, and it’s just so hellish.”

This hellishness is the opposite of what Flamingo Estate is known for. Its luxurious tomato-scented candles and batches of persimmon vinegar are dreamed up in a converted goat shed hung with de Gournay wallpaper. (The goats still roam nearby.) The brand’s slogan, used to flank partnerships with the Dalai Lama and Sesame Street, is “pleasure from the garden.”

Christiansen is calling from Miami, where he’s waiting to board a flight to New York to celebrate the launch of a new sensorial partnership with the JW Marriott hotel group. The collection includes a leafy candle, honey blended with holy basil and bergamot, and four Spotify playlists, all of which are designed to calm the senses after the miserable experience of being in transit.

“I’m obsessed with hotels and I feel like we’re in the same business,” says Christiansen. “We’re obviously not selling beds, but we’re selling the idea of making people feel warm and confident and loved.”

1 / 2

The collection is available online and in person at the group’s Essex House property in New York. “We’re calling it the Suite Shop,” says Bruce Rohr, vice president and global brand leader at JW Marriott, of the physical outpost, which is attended by staffers in mint green bellhop caps.

“With partners you’re looking for a business that has a similar ethos to yours,” says Rohr. “We want to evoke luxury, elevate the overall guest experience, but still have that authentic nod to well-being. When we stumbled across Flamingo Estate, it made sense because they align so beautifully with that ethos.”

Inside Flamingo Estate

Much like the horrors of air travel, Flamingo Estate’s success can be traced back to the pandemic when Christiansen began distributing produce on behalf of farmers whose orders from restaurants had dried up. The brand still distributes produce, along with a collection of wellness products that have become as coveted as invitations to the estate in the hills of LA.

“It’s my home, so I’m just really conscious of that and making sure that it always feels exciting,” says Christiansen of the property, which used to be a porn studio. “It’s a bit like Alice going down the rabbit hole. There’s lots of places to fall and hide and crack.”

Christiansen, who spent most of his career in advertising, is a consummate storyteller, and the 7-acre estate is the perfect stage. Over the hill is Amelia Earhart’s house — “she wanted to be as close to the sky as possible,” Christiansen says, pulling us down the garden’s spectacular staircase and pointing out the two beehives on the property. The bees that live on the hillside are bitchier than those kept in boxes on the flat, he says.

Around the corner is the office-studio space, which had previously been home to a prodigious stash of pornographic magazines. “We could be in Marrakesh,” he says of the space, before whisking our party away for lunch on a tablecloth that he explains has been manufactured by female victims of domestic violence in Mexico City.

Very Famous Fans

With more than $10 million in annual revenue, Flamingo Estate has a dedicated legion of fans, many of them famous. Martha Stewart and Chrissy Teigen are both friends of Christiansen and his partner Aaron Harvey, who serves as the brand’s creative director, while Hailey and Justin Bieber have allowed the brand to install apiaries in their own backyards.

When Meghan Markle announced the launch of her own homesteading effort, American Riviera Orchard, some outlets drew a comparison to Flamingo Estate. “We also were inspired by other people,” says Christiansen, when I ask him how he feels about the comparison. “I was inspired by Martha Stewart. I was inspired by Daylesford Organic in England. So we’ve also been lucky enough to stand on the shoulders of other people.

“And, I mean, two things: I think there’s enough sunshine for all the flowers. I think everyone should be able to do something great, whoever they are, whether they’re a celebrity or non-celebrity. I also think that everyone can have an idea, and everyone does have ideas. I think the work is bringing that to life and sustaining it. So I wish everyone luck that starts a business, especially in this industry where they’re trying to work with farms [and] trying to work the right way. We need more people like that. But I think it’s a little bit of a long game.”

1 / 2

An Exchange Of Power

For Christiansen, keeping those farming standards was central to what made the JW Marriott partnership viable. “It took a while for me to come around to it,” he says. “We want to scale scarcity. The problem with scale is when it makes you change your sourcing standards or the way you work with farms, but we haven’t had to do that.”

With more than 125 properties all over the world, JW Marriott offers Flamingo Estate a chance for a less Instagram-savvy audience to discover the brand. For the hotel company, it’s the chance to elevate their wellness offerings, with the honey utilised in food and beverage offerings and the scent diffused in public spaces in the hotel. “We were really thinking about a partner that could bring about a sensory experience,” says Rohr, adding that Christiansen sent the team multiple options to choose from, with the final choice being a democratic decision.

“We were able to do some internal testing with many members of our team and came up with one that most of us really were drawn to,” says Rohr, though perhaps some of the runners-up will emerge at a later stage. “I like to think of this as just the first phase of the partnership.”