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The Reality Stars (and Goats) Behind Beekman 1802

Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, partners in business and life, own the brand Beekman 1802. The fairytale story of Beekman involves both reality TV and goats. Goats! More on them in a second. The lifestyle site is a Pinterest-board worthy confection of country-chic housewares, gardening tools, and cheese wrapped in paper and twine. But beauty products are the biggest sellers and the heart of the brand.

The products range from beautiful soap (it’s total bar soap porn, if you are a soap-head like I am) to high-tech skincare products like moisturizer with SPF and  eye cream. In January, the brand will launch a double-cleansing system and a peel. All of the products incorporate goat’s milk in some way. Goat milk has the same pH as human skin and is generally gentle, soothing, and hydrating. The line is all marketed to be unisex and contains no added fragrance. In the last year, Beekman has really upped the ante on natural beauty products, working with product formulators on two sophisticated skincare ranges priced from $22 for a mist to $60 for a serum.

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Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge’s story is a tale of city slickers moving to the country, complete with a brief stint on reality TV documenting it all. Ridge was a doctor specializing in geriatrics at New York City’s Mount Sinai who Martha Stewart tapped to helm the health and wellness division at her company, and Kilmer-Purcell was a writer. One fall day, they drove to upstate New York for the weekend.

“We were those obnoxious Manhattanites who rented a car and put on our best plaid and went apple picking,” says Kilmer-Purcell.

They got lost in Sharon Springs, NY; population: 547. They were charmed by the former spa town and stayed overnight there. On the way out of town, they saw a property called Beekman Farm for sale and bought it as a weekend property.

After they moved in, they got a letter in their mailbox from “Farmer John” saying that he owned 80 goats and had just lost his farm, and could he move in there? (In hindsight, Farmer John was the fairy goat-mother in this tale.) The duo said yes, and then spent the weekends enjoying their built-in petting zoo with family and friends. Then came the recession of 2008, and both of them lost their jobs within a month of each other. They had a large mortgage on the farm, so they started madly Googling things they could do with goat milk to make a living.

Soap was the first thing that popped up. They met “Soapmaker Deb,” who lived down the road, and she taught them how to make soap and still makes some of it for Beekman to this day. Thus a brand was born. Ridge cold-called the beauty buyer at Henri Bendel in NYC, who said he could come sell the soap there during the holidays. After that, Anthropologie, where Beekman is still carried, picked it up. Then reality TV came calling, and they starred in a show called The Fabulous Beekman Boys for two seasons, documenting the early days of their business. That led to a stint on the The Amazing Race, which they improbably won. It was all incredible marketing for the brand, which now has a large fan base that it calls its “neighbors.” There is a mercantile store in Sharon Springs, and the brand throws a festival twice a year that brings 15,000 people to the tiny town.

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Farmer John is still in charge of the goats, and he still lives on the farm under the same “handshake agreement” with Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell. There are 120 goats now, though they now provide the milk used to make artisanal goat cheese that sells out every season. (You can watch them on the goat cam.) Now that Beekman 1802 is bigger, the brand works with other goat farmers around the country that provide milk for its beauty products.

It’s refreshing to see a story of former reality stars who are not Kardashians succeed in beauty and still be so, well, real. —Cheryl Wischhover, senior beauty reporter

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Deal of the Day

If you attend multiple Halloween parties every October, listen up: Target just kicked off a buy one, get one 50% off sale on costumes. Choices run the gamut from superheroes to donuts, and the discount applies to everything from head-to-toe looks to standalone accessories and Hawaiian shirts for dogs. There are plenty of full costumes to be found for under $50, but if you really want to put this deal to work, go for some of these wildly expensive options.

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In the News
Nordstrom Rethinks Its Sizing Strategy; an Unlikely Plug for the Resale Market

In an effort to be more inclusive toward customers, Nordstrom is doing a few things differently. One: It just opened a new store in LA’s Century City neighborhood that, for the first time, groups all denim sizes together instead of separating out petites and plus. Two: It’s working with Topshop, Rag & Bone, and Madewell to offer a range of sizes beyond what those brands typically sell. Both of these are fairly limited changes, but Nordstrom says that it already has 40 brands committed to offering extended sizing for the holidays and is converting 15 more stores to a layout similar to Century City’s in the coming months.

Next up, the latest in online shopping. If you’re reading this newsletter, you’re probably familiar with the many clothing resale sites that have popped up in the last several years. Online secondhand shopping is great for a few obvious reasons: it’s affordable, it’s a way to make money, it’s more sustainable than buying new clothing, you can do it from your couch. Yesterday, The RealReal announced that it’s partnering up with Stella McCartney, who is known for her efforts to make her own business more environmentally friendly.

Though the specifics of this deal are somewhat hazy — it’s launching in 2018 — McCartney’s encouragement for customers to participate in the resale cycle, rather than buying new products, could be significant in the push to popularize sustainable modes of shopping. With one big-name designer on board, I’d guess that The RealReal will be forging similar relationships with other brands in the future. Stay tuned. —Eliza Brooke, senior reporter

Entertainment
Here’s Where Cardi B Gets Her Clothes
Cardi B

It’s been a good month for Cardi B. Last week, her record-breaking debut single, “Bodak Yellow,” took the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100, dethroning Taylor Swift and making her the first female rapper to hit No 1. since Lauryn Hill in 1998. Cardi also stole the show at New York Fashion Week, popping up in the front row at Christian SirianoFenty x Puma, and Helmut Lang, performing at Alexander Wang’s after-party, and cosplaying Cinderella at Rihanna’s Diamond Ball.

Cardi’s newfound style-star status is as refreshing as her mainstream musical success for several reasons. The “regular degular shmegular girl from the Bronx” is a self-made star; before she was signed to Atlantic Records, she worked as an exotic dancer and was on VH1’s Love & Hip Hop. She gradually gaining notoriety thanks to her unfiltered social media presence and released a pair of mixtapes that kicked off her rap career.

Like any celebrity, what she wears is a huge part of her image (and in Cardi’s case, it’s often things like bejeweled bodysuits and oversized furs). And while her love for labels shines through in both her lyrics and her Instagram presence, you’re just as likely to see her supporting smaller designers and budget-friendly brands as dressing in head-to-toe Gucci or Balenciaga

See Cardi's favorites >>
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