Recently, I exhibited a selection of the gallery’s painting, sculpture and jewelry as part of Gardener’s Day at historic Blithewold Mansion in Bristol, Rhode Island.
The featured speakers were The Fabulous Beekman Boys of Beekman 1802. Most of the 150 + attendees had never heard of the Beekman Boys but, because of my upstate New York roots, I am a longstanding fan of all things Beekman.
The Beekman 1802 farm is located in Schoharie County a short distance from my grandparents’ farm (sold when I was a teenager) in the very small town of Sharon Springs- population 547.
From this rural town, the Beekman Boys have turned Beekman 1802 into one of the fastest growing lifestyle brands in the country. It all started in 2007 when two New Yorkers Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge purchased the Beekman Farm on a weekend visit upstate and then promptly lost their jobs in the recession. With a $1 million mortgage, they had to somehow make the farm profitable and Beekman 1802 was born, first with goat’s milk soap (with the help of a neighboring farmer whose dairy goats needed a new home because their farm was lost).
Now, Beekman 1802 produces and sells a variety of products from farm- made specialty foods, and cookbooks, to clothing and gifts handmade by local artisans. They have a bricks and mortar mercantile shop in Sharon Springs and pop up stores all over the country as well as a significant online presence.
Their efforts revitalized the economy of Sharon Springs. Friends and neighbors are the farmers, artisans and soap makers creating the products that made Beekman 1802 an American success story synonymous with quality, hand made and, locally grown goods.
Their new book Beekman 1802 Style was just published and I’m happy to report that we share the same design philosophy: mix modern/contemporary with antique/historic and everything sings! Of course I had the boys sign my copy…
If it sounds like I’m gushing, it’s because I am… The Beekman Boys’ hearts and minds are in the right place- the same place that gives rise to beautiful paintings, sculpture and art of all kinds… I’m proud to be their biggest fan.