To say that Beekman 1802 is a dynamic brand would be the understatement of the year. When I first received samples of Beekman’s products I knew little to nothing about their history. After spending a few minutes perusing their website, I quickly gathered the basics of their story: Two guys who left NYC to try their hand at working a 210-year-old estate farm. An interesting twist that intrigued me. Fast-forward a few hours through me drooling over their online recipes, watching their baby goat cam, exploring the garden blog, reading various interviews while restraining myself from buying everything in their online store, and cut to me crying at a YouTube video of Beekman’s founders Josh and Brent talking to an audience about the 10 things their goats have taught them about life. (Trust me, it was very moving.) After disappearing into my rabbit hole of research, I learned what makes Beekman 1802 so special: Their founders, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell.
The kindness, compassion, humor and understanding they display about their journey is both inspiring and contagious. They truly live and breathe their brand story.
Josh and Brent seem to have a better grip on their strengths and weaknesses than most of us will have in a lifetime. They understand that building something worthwhile doesn’t mean doing everything themselves, but by finding people who fill in the gaps of what they can’t do. Their keen sense of self-awareness allows them to focus on where they shine and when to ask for help. For example, after waking up at 4am trying to milk their goats in the early phase of their farming careers, they realized that maybe they should leave that to their friend Farmer John and focus on their strengths – marketing, branding and curating. This led them to begin working with local artisans in Sharon Springs, NY which had a tremendously positive ripple effect on the town, as it employed and supported many local artists and makers in their community. They do, however, still maintain their garden and pick their own vegetables – all while running one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country. While I could go on and on about Beekman’s inviting and eclectic empire, I should probably touch on their incredible new line of Hotel Guest Amenities! The Beekman 1802 Dispensary Collection.
When I opened my box of samples, (one of my favorite days of the month), I immediately got a sense of who they were from the timeless slate gray label and apothecary style bottle. The design and aesthetic, with a collaborative assist from creative artist, Christian Watson, of www.1924.us, the inspiration stems from the original Beekman Mercantile and 19th century ‘elixir’ merchants.
The honey infused formulations have a clean, fresh scent composed of black peppercorn, cardamom and clove. It was no surprise that I was not disappointed when I put them to the test. Oftentimes at hotels I find myself with shampoo that doesn’t clarify, conditioner that doesn’t condition, and lotion that doesn’t moisturize for more than 5 minutes.
The Beekman 1802 Dispensary Collection truly exceeded my expectations. It clarified, but did not strip my hair. The conditioner moisturized deeply but didn’t make my hair heavy or oily. I didn’t need more than a dime size of the body wash to achieve a rich lather. The bar soap was silky-soft and left me feeling clean without drying out my skin. Would you believe that the lotion actually moisturizes for the whole day? Perk: It made my bathroom smell really nice. While their products certainly speak for themselves, I think the whole experience is enriched knowing where Beekman 1802 comes from.
Brent Ridge of Beekman 1802 was kind enough to take time out of his busy schedule to talk to me about his day-to-day, how he stays inspired, and why community is so important.
Q: I think we are all a little curious when you find time for sleep! For those who haven’t seen your show, could you help us envision a day in the life of the Fabulous Beekman Boys?
Brent: Well—we do keep farmers’ hours. We are early to bed and early to rise. Our day to day activities vary so much based on the seasons. In the Spring and Summer the work on the farm is intense—beginning in March when the kidding season for the goats begins all the way until the last vegetable is harvested in September. In the Autumn and Winter is when we put all of that inspiration into product design, writing and creating.
Q: With such a diverse line of products, how do you continue to stay inspired and generate new ideas?
Brent: The farm is really a source of infinite inspiration. Our love of nature, science (Dr. Brent), history (Josh) and all things beautiful generates far more ideas than we can ever actually produce.
Q: I loved your video, “10 Things We Learned About Life From Our Goats”. It was incredibly sweet, funny and insightful. Goat lessons aside, what would you say has been the greatest lesson you have learned, personal or professional, since the start of Beekman 1802?
Brent: Community is the most valuable asset you can ever invest in. Whether it is the community that physically surrounds you or a virtual one that you create in the digital world, nourishing those relationships, supporting one another, and helping everyone succeed is the surest route to success.
Q: Why did you feel that Marietta would be the best fit to introduce Beekman 1802 to the hospitality industry?
Brent: Beekman 1802 is based in upstate NY and prides itself as being one of the only major beauty and skincare brands that produces entirely in the United States. It was only natural that we would work with Marietta whose production facility is just a short drive from our own front door. We find something very troubling about the fact that so many companies produce their amenity programs overseas, often hiding behind an iconic American brand. As the fastest growing lifestyle brand in America we certainly believe in the power and importance of global sourcing, but we also believe that we should bend over backwards to support American manufacturing when there is a competitive option available.
Q: With so many options to choose from, what inspired the scents and ingredients behind the Beekman 1802 Dispensary Collection?
Brent: In the late 18th and early 19th century, William Beekman was one of the most successful mercantilists in upstate NY. When we started concepting the Dispensary line we started with a set of ingredients that would have been readily available on the shelves of Beekman’s original apothecary. In a society where the attention span is measured in seconds, by looking back at history we think we’ve created something truly exceptional.
Q: What do you hope travelers take away from their Beekman 1802 Dispensary Collection experience?
Brent: We hope that Dispensary —whether it is the scent, its feel on the skin, or even its quirky label design- stops the guest in their tracks and pulls them away from all the other distractions in their lives and the things on their minds and into the present minute—if only for the time it takes them to take a shower.
We also hope to engage all of the travelers who happen upon the Dispensary line to engage with us on social media and “Dispense” their sound travel advice. We plan to create a Dispensary Travel Guide crowd-sourced by every road warrior out there.
Knowing Beekman 1802’s Dispensary Collection will be available in hotels should make travelers feel at ease the next time they forget to pack their own products. In fact, they may want to forget them on purpose. We at Marietta couldn’t be happier to join forces with Beekman 1802 to share their story, mission and products with the rest of the world.
I highly recommend signing up for their newsletter at www.beekman1802.com. I promise it will only add joy to your inbox.