Beekman 1802 has an ambitious goal to reach $100 million in revenue in the next three years. The strategy: bringing its customer base offline and onto its farm.
The direct-to-consumer brand, founded in 2010, began by selling goat milk–based beauty products (soap, hair care, skin care and beyond) and has since expanded to food, home products and even events like its annual Harvest Fest which brings over 40,000 people to its farm in its home base of Sharon Springs in upstate New York. In 2015, it did $5.3 million in revenue and was No. 1112 on Inc.’s list of the 5000 fastest-growing companies.
It is events, along with other hospitality initiatives, that the company plans to lean heavily into as it aims for its ambitious trajectory. But notably, brick-and-mortar stores are not part of the offline plans. Instead, the brand is looking at establishing hotels, restaurants and spas near its headquarters.
“Those are all on the table as opportunities we are looking at,” said Tomei Thomas, vp of beauty at Beekman 1802, adding, “What we do is we look at the experience we create, [because] it’s more than just getting into Ulta and Sephora. It’s more than buying direct or through our omnichannel.”
To help ramp up the lifestyle category and meet its revenue goals, Beekman has expanded its supply partnership with existing partners, as well as hired 60 people in roles from sales to marketing since the end of 2017, bringing the brand to over 100 employees. In a way, Sharon Springs is becoming a model town in the way Hershey did with Hershey, Pennsylvania in 1907 or Ford Motors did with Fordlândia in Brazil in the 1920’s. However, those towns were created for the purpose of employees and their families, while Beekman is trying to create it for its “neighbors” — what it calls its customers.
Beekman 1802 has already built out its lifestyle brand through a quarterly magazine, a blog, a newsletter and a 24-hour livestream of the goats on its farm, as well as a partnership with HSN (previously called the Home Shopping Network,) which kicked off in July and allows the founders Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge to demonstrate the brand’s lifestyle to 90 million households. The reaction of HSN has been particularly notable: Beekman was the single biggest beauty brand premiere ever — on any Qurate Retail Group platform, including QVC — according to Rob Robillard, Qurate Retail Group’s vp of integrated beauty merchandising.
The brand makes a concerted effort to not send marketing emails too frequently or post on social media about products every day. Instead, it posts on topics such as its annual Trip of a Lifetime getaway, where 50 of the brand’s “neighbors” travel to a new country with the founders. Across Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, Beekman 1802 has roughly 300,000 followers, a far cry from brands like Anastasia Beverly Hills with its 20 million followers or Lancôme with over 13 million. But the engagement is significant, Thomas said. The brand was able to activate between 10 to 16 percent of its followers when it launched on HSN. Followers were invited to experience the brand’s lifestyle. Baby goats that were brought onto the show.
“There’s a sense that this is something real — this is an experimented, feasible living. So what we are really talking about is cultivating a better life,” Thomas said.