How Flamingo Estate helps the planet with every shower

How Flamingo Estate helps the planet with every shower

Flamingo Estate, California. Picture: Provided.

Flamingo Estate is many things. Former haven of tactile pleasures, urban farm, organic skincare laboratory that regenerates the body and the planet, magazine shoot location and even improvised restaurant for one evening thanks to a welcome mistake by Chrissy Teigan.

But for the current owner, former advertising guru Richard Christiansen, the sprawling acreage in the Los Angeles foothills is first and foremost a home. One that happens to be ground zero for his organic empire that includes vegetables, honey, rosé, candles and body washes, but stays true to its original purpose: pleasure. Only this time it’s of the garden variety. Literally.

Richard Christianson. Picture: provided

“Flamingo Estate is my home. And it accidentally became a trademark,” says Christiansen.

“The original house was built in 1938, hidden behind a lush garden on a hilltop, overlooking Los Angeles. It became a prolific porn studio for 65 years, mainly because it was so private – a Hollywood’s hedonistic playground Tens of thousands of people have had sex in my kitchen.

If you think that’s a weird boast for a brand that sells something as healthy as cans of organic vegetables, then you’ve clearly never seen a Flamingo Estate catalog and its notoriously raunchy campaigns. At Flamingo Estate, pleasure, flesh and food go hand in hand and Christiansen has a simple philosophy that seamlessly connects the two.

“Put yourself first is a radical act,” says Christiansen. “We are not programmed to think that way. So at its core, Flamingo Estate is your own pleasure – a hot bath or the taste of the finest olive oil. These things are not in themselves radical.

The current incarnation of Flamingo Estate began around the start of the pandemic when Christiansen, who grew up on a farm in northern New South Wales, began working with local growers who remain in business during the lockdown in helping them find buyers for their products. As work at his agency began to slow down, the 45-year-old also began to focus on production happening at home. He had already started experimenting with homemade soaps by sourcing ingredients from his garden – sage, to start with, along with cannabis – after noticing his garden was struggling.

Soaps that cleanse the body and nourish the garden. Picture: provided

“The critical thing about [the estate] is that the water from my bath drains directly into the garden,” says Christiansen. “So when I first moved here I noticed that my roses were all dying. I soon realized it was because of the chemicals in the body wash and the soap I was using.

The impact of exchanging commercial produce for his own handmade goods was almost immediate – the garden began to thrive. Using the condition of his roses as a litmus test, Christiansen began looking at the kinds of products he was not just putting on his body, but on the planet.

“I thought ‘why should I put this on my skin if I can’t put this on my plants?’ And that opened the floodgates – in my kitchen and my bathroom.

Today, Flamingo Estate is a gateway to a more circular and holistic way of life where self-care on many levels is the primary focus. A bacchanalian form of self-care, if you will. Body soaps, castile soap soaps and essential oils that smell deliciously earthy; candles that have the herbaceous freshness of tomato and of course the famous boxes of vegetables from local organic farmers, Christiansen opened the world to his private garden of delights.

Demand has caused Flamingo Estate to grow to over 75 farms and products are no longer produced on site but now in a factory in Los Angeles. But the code behind their creation remains the same: only the purest, most nourishing are sourced.

“Every ingredient is considered from a skin health perspective,” says Christiansen. “We use grapeseed oil because of its high linoleic acid content. Our formulas work in harmony with your skin and what it needs for optimal natural functioning. We examine each ingredient and its persistence in the environment to ensure that everything we make is biodegradable to help protect our soil and watersheds.

While Flamingo Estate’s body line is stocked in Mecca, there are no plans to launch the veggie boxes in Australia. For good reason, however, explains Christiansen.

“Australia doesn’t need it. The general quality of food in Australia is much better than in America. We had an opportunity in Los Angeles because regenerative small farmers really had something rare and special – and we could scale their businesses by working with them.


Heirloom Tomato Candle. $75. Buy now.

Garden Essentials Body Wash. $66. Buy now.

Clarity body oil. $87. Buy now.

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