In Sharon Springs, New York – on a 19th Century farm – Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge have discovered rural adventures, a community, a calling, and a home. The Fabulous Beekman Boys left the urban hustle of New York City behind and now embrace a not-so-simple life on the farm…balancing the demands of eighty goats (and a diva llama) with their uber-successful lifestyle brand Beekman 1802. The fabulous Beekman 1802 Collection at Previously Owned by a Gay Man spotlights the heirloom quality home furnishings from the Beekman Boys (accidental farmers, bestselling authors, reality television stars and lifestyle gurus).
Tell us a little about your backgrounds. Have you both always been aesthetically minded?
We both grew up in very rural communities where industriousness and the occasional copy of Architectural Digest greatly stoked our creativity. Two decades living and working in NYC (Josh in advertising and Brent at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia) refined our sensibilities. Now that we live full time at Beekman 1802 Farm in upstate NY, we’ve “gone back to our roots”, but you can see the influence of every year of our lives in the things that we are currently designing and creating. Things will surely evolve as we continue to explore and learn.
Your careers have evolved in many directions, what have been the biggest surprises along the way?
We have been at the top of our game and at rock bottom, and what has amazed us is that no matter from what vantage point you are looking at life it never hurts to be kind, compassionate, and positive.
At this point do you consider yourselves Jacks-of-all-trades, or are there areas that you have a particularly strong connection to?
Beekman 1802 now crosses many product categories from skincare to gourmet foods to home decor and gardening. Josh oversees food and gardening categories and Brent oversees beauty and home decor.
What has been the most challenging part of growing your business in so many directions?
The most challenging part of the business is reigning ourselves in. It’s very easy to go long on creativity and short on execution, and we often have to begrudgingly turn down projects because there’s just not enough time in the day.
Do you follow design trends? Are there any that you think will endure? Any that you are tired of?
We are not a trend-driven company; however, as a retail company, we see the costs behind every aesthetic fluctuation from keeping our retail locations and website “fresh” to investing in inventory that satisfies market tastes. We do overall see younger generations moving away from the vulgar accumulation of “stuff” to investments in better quality pieces that will last longer. We also think this will continue to fuel the “upcycling” and “repurposing” trends.
In addition to your life – and adventures – on the farm, what other influences inspire your products?
The farm is our main inspiration, and it has become the filter through which we view everything. While we look at lots of places for inspiration on “form”, the pragmatism of life on a farm will always make sure that “function” takes precedence.
Are you country converts for life now? What are your favorite Big City pleasures?
We do live on the farm full time. We have to travel into NYC at least once a month for business. While these visits are short, we always try to do a little “window shopping” to see what the creative teams at stores like Bergdorf, Bendel, Saks, and Anthropologie are up to.
Is there a dream project you hope to work on one day?
We’d love to open a Beekman 1802 hotel/restaurant one day—take a little bit of the country back into the city.
Your work has been so varied. What do you aspire to do next?
Right now we are really focused on the Beekman 1802 Almanac—our quarterly magazine—which is designed to help readers “cultivate a better life” each and every season. It was named “Hottest Newcomer” by AdWeek and one of the Hottest Launches of 2016 by MIN (Media Industry News).