Lafco New York

Trusting his senses, 20 years ago, Jon Bresler left his job as an attorney. In pursuit of his passions — fragrance and luxury soap — he and his partner, Vincent LaRouche, created LAFCO New York, a Luxury Articles & Fragrance Company based in Soho, NYC.

Jon traveled to Europe and discovered some of the “finest apothecary brands.” With his self-taught European education he decided to work with some of the most renowned European factories and industry experts to create products he would later import to his store, LAFCO New York.

The LAFCO line up includes European apothecary brands Santa Maria Novella and Claus Porto as well as niche fragrances from Eau d’Italie and Lorenzo Villoresi.

As his interest in lifestyle products continued, Jon decided to create LAFCO products. With a focus on quality and an understated simplicity he started with candles and grew his line with soap.  LAFCO soaps elevate the daily ritual of bathing to one of reward and luxury. The soaps comprised of pressed coconut and olive oil is a treat for the skin, leaving it feeling protected and moisturized. The size and weight of the soap feels comfortable in the hand and the beautiful packaging makes every bar a special gift for someone or yourself.

lafco nyc factory

(Top Left) Jon watching as the soap base is blended with our beneficial ingredients: rice proteins and almond milk. (Top Right) Soap base. (Right Middle) Bronze moulds used for the soap. These moulds must be replaced every few years. (Bottom Left) Soap noodles are mixed, or milled, four to five times before being ready to be stamped into a real bar. (Bottom Right) Stamping the soap.

Mood of Living Q&A:

MoL: Before your current occupation you were…?
Jon: A frustrated attorney.

MoL: Why did you change your career?
Jon: A chance encounter with a traveling apothecary representative in Zurich. I was living in Switzerland working as an attorney when one morning, what I can only describe as the European Avon Lady, rang my bell and successfully sold me a lot of homeopathic skincare products. I was instantly fascinated with this natural, European approach to skincare, body care, and modes of artisanal craftsmanship.

MoL: Where did you learn your craft?
Jon: After 20+ years of traveling the world, discovering and importing the finest European apothecary brands (Santa Maria Novella and Claus Porto) and niche fragrance houses (Eau d’Italie and Lorenzo Villoresi) into the U.S., I felt I had enough collective expertise to launch something of my own.

lafco nyc soap

MoL: Where do you look for inspiration?  
Jon: I don’t look to any one place for inspiration, but I am motivated by the balance of new and old — or tradition with innovation.  Everything we produce comes from an awareness of time-honored practices perfected over centuries, such as glass blowing, perfumery and soap milling. But what drives me, personally, is fusing this history with cutting-edge technology and the finest blend of ingredients.

MoL: What was the moment you realized you could really do this?
Jon: I was trading one day a week of legal advice for my first warehouse space in Long Island City. Having my own warehouse proved that I could turn this passion into a viable business.

“Do what you are passionate about, no matter how hard or how little you know.”

MoL: Favorite hobby?
Jon: Shopping European pharmacies.

 MoL: If you could have a conversation with any living person who would it be?
Jon: Lady Gaga, she is so herself.

MoL: What place do you go for peace of mind?
Jon: I had a meditation room built into our office’ basement space. We joke and call it our panic room, but it’s really calm and peaceful and has a door with a lock, which my office does not.

MoL: Do you spend much time creating a beautiful home?
Jon: For three of the four seasons, I spend time making my deck beautiful, and then I search for time to sit and enjoy it. When the Wisteria blooms, I like a tequila and a view of the Empire State Building more than most other things.

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Profile and banner photos by Kil Park

Photo courtesy of LAFCO New York

jon bresler Lafco

Jon Bresler, Owner and Founder of LAFCO New York