Schenectady-based Beekman 1802 selling majority ownership to European investment group

Beekman 1802 co-founders Josh Kilmer-Purcell, left, and Brent Ridge are shown with two baby goats.
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Beekman 1802 co-founders Josh Kilmer-Purcell, left, and Brent Ridge are shown with two baby goats.

SCHENECTADY — A European investment group has acquired majority ownership of Schenectady-based Beekman 1802.

Eurazeo announced the deal Monday and said it will provide the largest portion of the $92 million investment it is making with Cohesive Capital Partners and the Cherng Family Trust.

Beekman is a skincare and body care retailer born on a farm outside Sharon Springs amid the Great Recession of the late 2000s. It opened a retail location in the village, then added online and television marketing.

By 2019, it had grown to the point that it moved its headquarters to Mohawk Harbor, in a larger and more centrally located business market.

It now has 250 employees spread among the Schenectady headquarters, Sharon Springs warehouse and retail shop, and an Orlando, Florida, distribution center, and it is looking to hire more.

Beekman said Monday it won’t be moving or changing or shrinking as a result of the deal.

Eurazeo holds a portfolio worth 27 billion euros that includes more than 450 companies. It said this latest investment will allow Beekman 1802 to continue its growth across new geographies and marketing channels.

Beekman CEO Thomas Tomei told The Daily Gazette on Monday that the deal will accomplish two things for the company: Give it money to make that expansion and give it access to expertise to do it successfully.

“We’ve been looking for a partner to take us to the next chapter for growth,” he said.

Eurazeo said it has invested more than $600 million in North American and European consumer brands since 2017.

The concepts of community relationships, people and their stories, and kindness are central to the Beekman 1802 brand. The company refers to its customers as “neighbors” and shares the stories of the artisans who make some of the Beekman products.

Co-founders Brent Ridge and Josh Kilmer-Purcell were transplants from New York City who moved to the Sharon farmhouse built in 1802 by local notable William Beekman.

The life partners turned business partners were the stars of “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” a reality show that ran two seasons and showed their transition to rural life. One fateful aspect of that transition was acquiring a herd of goats and making a batch of goat milk soap in their kitchen.

Today, Beekman 1802 makes much more than soap with goat milk. It claims the title of world’s largest goat milk-based skincare company, with much of its growth in the last five years coming through a partnership with beauty retailer Ulta.

Post-acquisition, the Beekman Boys will remain central to the company they founded, Tomei said, leading creative efforts and guardianship for the brand.

“Skin care for us has been our fastest-growing category for five years,” Tomei said, but Beekman remains committed to the other aspects of its business model, such as artisan-made ceramics, housewares, condiments and textile items. 

“‘Artisan’ will always be important to Beekman 1802,” he said. “It’s our way of upholding and helping the very rural economy of Sharon Springs, New York.”

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