Indie-beauty Beekman 1802 has always been a special brand. Founded by married partners Brent Ridge MD and advertising director Josh Kilmer-Purcell, she was born by accident. After buying a farm upstate in Sharon Springs, NY as a weekend getaway in 2007, they simultaneously found themselves without well-paying urban jobs due to the recession.
Retiring to the farm to consider next steps, they were called in by neighbor John Hall whose herd of 80 goats lost their home. As a token of kindness, they invited farmer John and his goats to come in and the rest is history.
Kindness as a corporate mission
“We always say we started with that one act of kindness. It paved the way for our entire business, ”says Dr. Ridge. “We never wanted to be a big beauty company, but that’s just the way it took us. “
They didn’t even know beauty would be their next calling, but with a herd of goats on hand, they started there. “We just searched on Google what we can do with goat’s milk,” says Dr. Ridge.
They discovered that goat’s milk is a healing balm for sensitive skin that has been proven for centuries. They also found that there wasn’t a lot of competition in goat’s milk soup. While it was a staple of farmers’ markets for small manufacturers, it was not readily available to a wider audience due to supply constraints.
They had a solution for this, so they turned to other neighbors to learn how to make goat’s milk soap. They started producing it for good and selling their soap direct to consumers online after appearing on “The Martha Stewart Show” and their Beekman 1802 Mercantile store on Main Street in Sharon Springs.
Their big break came in 2013 when home shopping channel Evine, now ShopHQ, came calling. They were ready for prime time after starring in a reality TV show, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which ran for two seasons from 2010 to 2011. Starting with its flagship goat’s milk soap, they got together. are extended to other natural skin care and cleansing products and has become a bestseller.
Then, in 2018, Beekman 1802 switched to the larger HSN and QVC of Qurate.
“There is something about being live that is magical. This allows for a more intimate shopping experience, ”says Kilmer-Purcell. “We have always believed that there are two key ingredients in our products: goat milk and cuteness.
“It’s easy to talk about goat’s milk. It’s hard to tell people you’re nice, ”he continues. “When you’re on TV and you spend hours a day in front of the customer, they’re going to see the real person you are, and that’s really why we’ve been so successful in TV retail. Finally, people could understand what we thought of our neighbors. It helped us show cuteness in a way we couldn’t on the shelves.
Show kindness to Ulta
Given their very personal way of presenting Beekman 1802 on air, they faced a particular challenge when Ulta wanted to launch the brand in 400 stores as part of their “Conscious Beauty” program highlighting brands. clean and cruelty-free beauty products.
How could Beekman 1802 be more than just a brand on Ulta’s sales floor and communicate the secret sauce that made Beekman so special from the start? They chose SnapChat as a way to bring the interactive immediacy of video to connect with in-store shoppers in a happy and friendly way.
Each Beekman 1802 mouthpiece or tabletop display features a prominent SnapChat QRcode that allows shoppers to see a virtual baby goat prancing down the aisles. And by turning the screen to their face, they can see what they would look like as a baby goat with virtual baby goat ears and nose.
It’s a fun way to experience the happy life of Beekman 1802 goat in Ulta.
“It’s about making people feel better, not just looking better,” says Ridge. “It’s the nicest thing we can do for our neighbors,” is what the company calls its customers.
Beekman 1802 became an instant hit at Ulta after Beekman’s neighbors showed up at their local Ulta stores, some with flowers and pastries in hand, to welcome Ulta staff and stores to the Beekman district. Ridge reports that Beekman 1802 was Ulta’s biggest own beauty brand launch last year.
Today, Beekman 1802 is expanding to 100 more Ulta stores, while developing more probiotic-boosting skin care products for Ulta. Dr Ridge is also a member of the Conscious Beauty Advisory Council at Ulta.
Gentle on the skin
Probiotics and their effects on the skin have been a major focus of research for Ridge as he translates his medical education and experience into skin care products.
“We learned 12 years ago that goat’s milk soap preserves the skin’s acid mantle because it has the same PH as the skin. Now our research continues to advance and we are devoting more resources to research in terms of skin microbiome nutrition, ”Ridge said.
“This is the future of skin care. Clean beauty used to be about removing things from the skin, but now it’s about nurturing the skin’s microbiome ecosystem, ”he continues.
This is what Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell call “Clinically Kind” skin care. And their dedication to kindness runs from the skin to the community.
“We see kindness as a mission and as an approach to wellness,” Ridge says. “We believe that a little softness on the skin creates a ripple effect in personal care. A little act of kindness in our communities and neighborhoods does the same. “
nice to all
To extend their brand of kindness, the company very early on developed a kindness program for new employees. The success there led them to offer a benevolence program to their neighbors through a four-day immersive experience. They offer about ten Kindness programs per year and slots for 20 people sell out almost immediately.
“People come to Sharon Springs from all over the country and are visually, tactile and experientially learning the principles of kindness and how to incorporate those principles into their daily lives,” he says.
“There is a body of research showing how kindness plays a role in health and well-being. It consistently helps manage stress, cortisol levels, and inflammation. Kindness is good for you and good for those you are nice to, ”he adds.
Currently, Beekman 1802 is partnering with the nonprofit Kindness.org to further spread the message of kindness to businesses and organizations that want to make their workplace a better place.
Baiting from the farm
Beekman 1802 gives a new definition to the “bootstrapping” of a business, since it is advisable to wear a pair of boots when venturing out on the farm. From day one, they’ve taken small steps to start a “neighbor by neighbor” business, as they say, without venture capital funding to spur growth. It pays off, because Beekman 1802 has a net-promotor-score (NPS) of over 90, which is a record in the beauty industry.
“It’s very important for us to control as many parts of the process as possible. We control all aspects of the manufacturing. We control our service experience with our neighbors and in-house shipping, ”says Ridge.
“We control every aspect because we want the customer we consider to be our ‘neighbor’ to feel this kindness at every point of touch of the brand,” he concludes.