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'Amazing' TV duo boost off-screen biz

Posted: Fri., Jan. 18, 2013, 5:08pm PT

'Amazing' TV duo boost off-screen biz

First-time farmers flip unscripted fame into thriving lifestyle brand


After launching a brand of soap, cheese and cookbooks, Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell have savvily turned reality shows into a marketing tool to spotlight their growing business.

Last month, the couple won CBS' "The Amazing Race," taking home $1 million after traveling the globe under the team name, "the Beekman Boys," a term borrowed from the name of their reality show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys," produced by World of Wonder, that's aired for two seasons on cabler Planet Green.

Name refers to the Beekman Mansion, a 200-year-old, 60-acre estate in Sharon Springs, N.Y., just outside New York City, the home base for the entrepreneurs' lifestyle brand, Beekman 1802, they launched in 2007.

For most city slickers Saanen, Alpine and Nubian mean next to nothing. But for Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell, these kinds of goat milk are key to their success.

"It was just supposed to be a weekend farm," Kilmer-Purcell says of the decision to move from Gotham into the mansion. "We were those obnoxious Manhattanites that just go and buy a weekend property."

Along with the property came a sassy diva of a llama named Polka Spot and 80 goats, as well as their owner, a farmer named John who had written to the "Beekman Boys," because he was in danger of losing his property.

More changes came in 2008 when Ridge, VP of wellness for Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, was laid off, and Kilmer-Purcell, a partner at an ad agency, lost his job one month later. Stuck with the farm and four-legged mouths to feed, the twosome opted to make their pastoral purchase profitable.

Farmer John and his goats were good for dairy products, so marketing aficionados Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell accepted the challenge of flipping vats of goat milk into artisanal cheeses and soaps.

by Anonymousreply 2101/24/2013

Ridge used his connections to introduce their soaps on "The Martha Stewart Show," yielding $8,000 in sales and prompting a DailyCandy feature. The successful debut culminated in a call from Planet Green's Laura Michalchyshyn, who expressed faith in a TV series about their lives as sustainable farmers and businessmen.

"When someone comes to you and says to you, 'Do you want to do a reality show?' You get the worst picture of reality television in your mind -- even though they call it a docu-series, to make it sound better," Kilmer-Purcell says.

But after speaking with Michalchyshyn and World of Wonder heads Fenton Bailey and Randy Barbato, the unlikely first-time farmers realized they had similar goals for their docu-series: a skein that would be both earnest and entertaining.

Ridge describes "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" as a 30-minute commercial for the brand, because many Beekman 1802 product announcements coincide with on-air appearances and debuts. But there's more to the show, Kilmer-Purcell says, than convenient product placement.

"People look at the Kardashians and the Housewives -- now that might look fun, but you can't experience that. (Those shows are) actually designed so it's not you," adds Kilmer-Purcell. "For us, we show our town, we show our farm, and then you can come to our town, you can come to our farm."

After receiving a rash of tour and soap requests, the two inaugurated a harvest festival, which coincided with the skein's first season. The fest celebrated the harvest from local farmers and sought to bring the Sharon Springs community together.

Around 500 people -- roughly the size of the town itself -- attended the first fest, followed by consecutive turnouts of 5,000, 8,000 and 10,000. Last year's batch of 10,000 included visitors from 23 states and three countries overseas: Ireland, Australia and Norway.

Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell say the skein's spotlight doesn't just illuminate their business, but also the surrounding businesses of Sharon Springs. When the Beekman Boys took up their farm there were only three viable businesses on the rural town's main street, but over the last 1 1/2 years, four new businesses have opened and are now thriving.

This is due in large part to Beekman 1802's collaborative efforts to manufacture goods within the town. Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell design every product in their store and then go to locals for production. Right now the Beekman Boys are working with 22 different craftspeople, and almost every product in the store is made within 20 miles of the farm.

by Anonymousreply 101/18/2013

"We make our money off of the things we produce ourselves -- like the soap and the cheese -- and then we help create a marketplace for the skills, because we want to preserve them," Ridge says. "How many blacksmiths are left in America? How many people are weaving on looms in their living rooms?"

Some of Beekman 1802's popular products include the "Year in the Country" soap set, Blaak artisanal cheese, hand-woven towels and washcloths and cookbooks. Looking ahead, the Beekman Boys are hiring a retail director, their first "big boy hire," to go nationwide and are putting the cap on their Heirloom Dessert Cookbook due out October. They are also announcing the first line of hotel amenities made with goat milk -- many of which are made in nearby Courtland, N.Y.

One of their quirkiest endeavors, however, involves their llama, Polka Spot, who has become active and viral on social media, developing a notorious Web presence for all things fashion- and farm-related. A comic book series about the llama is in the works and a photo app is available for smartphone users. This latest ploy is representative of the type of kismet and open-mindedness that has helped the couple become so successful on the bucolic business front.

The Beekman Boys are pitching a new show about the Sharon Springs community at large and are working to secure a third season of "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" on the Cooking Channel.

Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell say the priority has always been to create a symbiotic relationship with the Sharon Springs community: "As we become successful, everyone in the community should become successful," Ridge says. "And because we're really making a living with a dream, we feel like everybody should be able to make a dream doing what they love to do."

by Anonymousreply 201/18/2013

I love these two men. I hope they become billionaires (and get to meet Buffett) I wish them each, every goodness that our world can bestow on them.

by Anonymousreply 301/18/2013

Contrary to R3, I kinda want to fart on their heads.

by Anonymousreply 401/18/2013

I met them about a month ago at a reading. They seemed like nice guys, though Josh grimaced when I mentioned DataLoung durin the Q and A.

by Anonymousreply 501/18/2013

"Planet Green's Laura Michalchyshyn"


by Anonymousreply 601/18/2013

Remember when Josh bragged in his blog about chopping off the head of a 4 pound turkey and serving its tiny body at Thanksgiving to prove he had a penis?

by Anonymousreply 701/18/2013

"Josh grimaced when I mentioned DataLoung durin the Q and A."

He does the same thing when he meets other people he's used on his sociopathic determined rise to fame.

He used you all like the gullible johns from his bareback whoring days, just to get you interested in his vapidly stupid books.

And you lick his virtual ass like the fools you are.

by Anonymousreply 801/18/2013

The two of them are insufferable. They were the only team on their season of Amazing Race that I absolutely didn't want to win.

by Anonymousreply 901/18/2013

R9, prepare for the torrential backlash of Josh fan zombies. They are legion, and stupid.

by Anonymousreply 1001/18/2013

I thought Josh might answer some questions about Amazing Race for DL posters who follow the show, but I guess that's not happening.

by Anonymousreply 1101/24/2013

Why would he bother?

He used you all like the gullible dupes you are, and like the former professional hustler he was, and now you're just a bunch of old johns.

He got his money, and you serve no purpose to his sociopathic rise to fame and fortune.

by Anonymousreply 1201/24/2013

Can't stand them. I bet the brooms up their asses were "locally crafted" by "artisans." Ugh, they're so pretentious.

by Anonymousreply 1301/24/2013

They're my personal heroes. They've overcome so much. And I admire that Brent was a virgin when he met Josh. Josh has really come a long way since his drag revue days. I bought a poster sized print of their nude photo shoot for $48 for myself for Christmas. Visitors find it to be a real hoot. I've invested in the DVDs of their television program that unfortunately I'm unable to watch on basic cable. They're (including PolkaSpot)adorable and I follow their tweets. If only all gays could be Josh and Brent. Dataloungers would probably be happier people if they did something constructive with their hands like making rustic soaps and cheeses instead of belching jealous bile from their fingertips against the Beekman's.

by Anonymousreply 1401/24/2013

this is all true

by Anonymousreply 1501/24/2013

How exactly did Josh ride our backs to fame and fortune? He must have sold a grand total of five books to DLers.

by Anonymousreply 1601/24/2013

Does anyone not believe that Josh posted as r14?

by Anonymousreply 1701/24/2013

Sad news, people. The new cast of the Amazing Race is out and there are no gays this cycle.

by Anonymousreply 1801/24/2013

Contrats to them.

But that whole "We lost our jobs at the same time and had to become goat farmers" does not seen honest, when compared to what was depicted on their own show.

Wasn't a big "reality" plot point that Josh was still working in the city and could only come to the farm on weekends?

by Anonymousreply 1901/24/2013

How on earth could Josh be an ex-hooker? Judging by the ugly pan in OP's link, he simply didn't have the face for the job. He looks like Frankenstein's monster, forehead and all.

by Anonymousreply 2001/24/2013

I noticed the same thing R18 but they don't always announce it if one of the contestant is gay. Remember that brother and sister team a couple seasons back. We didn't find out he was gay until he was in the episode where he got eliminated.

On the other hand, judging by the reaction on this thread maybe it's just as well there's no gay contestants. A gay contestant winning money brings out the bitter, bitter jealous posts on here.

R20 In Josh's memoir, he was in advertising by day and worked as a drag queen at night but he was not a hooker. However, his boyfriend at the time was a drug dealing/using S&M hooker.

by Anonymousreply 2101/24/2013
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