PARK SLOPE — A store where shoppers can shed their mundane worries and transform themselves into a mythical creature will open May 6 on Flatbush Avenue.
Brooklyn Owl at 252 Flatbush Ave. (near St. Mark's Avenue) will sell handmade unicorn horns that customers can slip onto their heads while letting "magic" into their hearts, said co-owners Annie and Cory Bruce.
"It’s not just the normal gift shop with a million different brands," said Annie Bruce. "We’re really trying to give the customers a unicorn experience to make them feel special when they come into the shop."
Upon entering the store, shoppers will be greeted with a list of instructions to help guide them through the transformation "from human being to unicorn being," Cory Bruce said. The metamorphosis concludes with a magic mirror that lights up and talks to shoppers, congratulating them on completing the journey.
All the while, customers will be enveloped in "unicorn magical" scent — a custom-designed non-animal tested cologne that's available for purchase.
Park Slope mom Annie Bruce launched Brooklyn Owl as a company in 2010, making owl-themed hair clips and headbands. She got into the unicorn horn business when her daughter, Bee, now an 8-year-old at P.S. 321, requested a unicorn theme for her fourth birthday party.
A lifelong crafter, Bruce whipped up a unicorn horn attached to an unobtrusive headband for Bee to test drive. When strangers on the streets of Park Slope stopped the child repeatedly to ask about the eye-catching headwear, Bruce knew she had a viable business on her hands. Within a few weeks, she was selling them at Brooklyn Flea.
It's not a cure for cancer, but the business helps Bruce feel like she's injecting a tiny bit of the unexpected into a sometimes dreary world. "Life is too hard, people are tired — I like that it creates joy in people’s lives," Bruce said. "What we’re really trying to do is help kids feel special and magical like they are, like unicorns are."
Until recently Bruce made the horns in a Gowanus studio and sold them on Etsy. The horns are also sold at more than 200 boutiques around the world. The Flatbush Avenue store is the first brick-and-mortar shop devoted to the entire Brooklyn Owl line, which also includes "sparkle skirts," mermaid hair clips and a reusable party confetti called "unicorn-fetti."
The unicorn horns get the warmest reception in Park Slope, said Cory Bruce.
“Of all the neighborhoods in New York City — and our stuff is sold everywhere — for some reason Park Slope is the place where you see the most unicorns walking around," Bruce said. "There is something about the whimsical magic-ness of Park Slope. There’s something about Park Slope that is very unicorn-friendly."