Go(a)t Milk? Beekman 1802 Builds Cult Skincare Business using Kindness and Goat Milk

Barney Beal, Former Content Director

July 6, 2021

In 2008, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell bought a historic farmhouse in Sharon Springs, N.Y.  planning to use it as a country getaway, going so far as to adopt 100 goats that needed a home from a local farmer. But when the Recession cost them their jobs, they had to adjust quickly.

“When life gives you goats, you Google what can be made with goat milk,” said Ridge.

The duo went on to form Beekman 1802, now the largest independently-owned goat milk skincare company in the U.S., selling a diverse array of soaps and skincare products made from goat milk, a tried and true ingredient that has been effective in treating sensitive skin issues like psoriasis and eczema for centuries.

Fueled by a mission to “spread kindness in everything we do” and a commitment to its customers, which the company refers to as “neighbors,” a nod to its early days when customers were quite literally the duo’s neighbors, Beekman 1802 saw steady growth. It caught an early break when a buyer from Anthropologie heard Ridge’s pitch on the floor of famed New York department store Henri Bendel on 5th Ave. where Ridge spent months promoting the new soap.

The business has since grown to 250 employees with 1,000 different stock keeping units (SKUs) and two warehouses, including a 110,000-square-foot facility in Florida. Beekman 1802 also has its own store on Main Street in Sharon Springs.

Part of that success was due to Beekman 1802’s commitment to a dynamic omnichannel customer experience(opens in new tab).

In addition to retail partners and its own website, Beekman 1802 excels in producing and hosting livestream events, which result in substantial sales and off-the-chart engagement. What began as holiday tradition of a 24-hour streaming webcam on its website evolved to appearances on QVC and HSN, where it immediately became the channel’s largest health and beauty launch. Something about appearing on television with baby goats managed to capture viewers’ attention.

“In each of our channels, we are thinking strategically about what consumers are looking for; how to best share the Beekman 1802 story, explain the product’s benefits and efficacy, deliver an authentic and engaging brand experience, and provide excellent customer service” said Beekman 1802 CEO Tomei Thomas. “We really want to execute all of these things consistently throughout each of our channels.”

The company now works with drop ship partners, retailers ranging from large ones like Ulta Beauty to small boutique shops, its own website and store, and TV and livestream shopping channels.

“If there’s a sales channel, we were selling in it,” Ridge said. “It really became about managing all that data and being able to pivot.”

Indeed, as the company grew, its existing system of “QuickBooks and a million spreadsheets” was not keeping up, according to Ridge. Reporting was difficult; data was inconsistent; and leadership often didn’t trust the numbers. For example, Beekman 1802 couldn’t accurately track the cost of goods sold (COGS)(opens in new tab), a requirement for a products company. Beekman 1802 often sells its wares together in sets.

“You have to understand the costs going into each and every set,” Thomas said. “A platform like QuickBooks is restrictive in the level of insight you really need to be able to grow.”

Beekman 1802 implemented NetSuite in 2018 and immediately started seeing results. With a centralized system, everyone from accounting to neighbor services to the warehouse had access to consistent, real-time data.

From Three-Day Delivery to Next-Day

Beekman 1802 saw particular improvements in the warehouse. Thomas credits NetSuite’s ease of integration with different systems with helping to speed fulfillment, which went from three days on average to next-day delivery. Moreover, the unified system meant Beekman could respond to any order issues with its trademark service.

“There are 125 members of Team Beekman that touch every single product to ensure our customers have an unbelievable experience,” Tomei said. “Maintaining such high standards has been critical in our growth. When you order Beekman 1802, it arrives quickly, safely and in great condition. With NetSuite, we know exactly what product they ordered, the exact lot number, when it shipped, if there were any delivery issues and if so, how to get it resolved quickly.”

That insight extends to the supply chain as well, where NetSuite helps Beekman 1802 predict possible stockouts(opens in new tab) and provides mechanisms to reach out to suppliers to expedite orders. In fact, NetSuite helps Beekman 1802 predict demand in the first place.

“Demand planning is a big aspect of what we do,” Tomei said. “It really comes from looking at historical data. NetSuite allows us to understand the historical velocity of any one product. We don’t get it right every time, but at least we have a level of surety.”

As Beekman 1802 looks to expands beyond the U.S. and Canada into the U.K. and Australia by the end of the year, it is counting on the anywhere, anytime access of NetSuite’s cloud-based system. Thomas is already appreciative of the NetSuite's strong cybersecurity controls(opens in new tab), something Beekman has had issues with in the past.

You have a sense of security that nothing is going to happen to my data,” he said. “And you can still access it on your phone, from anywhere in the world.”

For more, listen to the NetSuite podcast with Tomei Thomas, CEO of Beekman(opens in new tab).

NetSuite has packaged the experience gained from tens of thousands of worldwide deployments over two decades into a set of leading practices that pave a clear path to success and are proven to deliver rapid business value. With NetSuite, you go live in a predictable timeframe — smart, stepped implementations begin with sales and span the entire customer lifecycle, so there's continuity from sales to services to support.