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From goat farm to skincare giant: Beekman 1802’s journey

March 20, 2023 Success story
Brent and Josh standing in front of a red barn holding baby goats and smiling at the camera

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Success story

Beekman 1802 started as a farm purchased right before the 2008 recession. After owners Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge got laid off, a neighbor, Farmer John, asked them if his goats could graze on their land. That act of kindness inspired a business plan to create goat milk soap. Today, Beekman 1802 is a beloved brand happily in the middle of nowhere.


Return on ad spend on Google Smart Shopping Campaigns since 2019

$1 M

Revenue in Q4 2021, which was over 50% increase over the year before


Goats living at the Beekman 1802 farm, all cared for by Farmer John


Goat milk, friendly neighbors, and a Google search led to Beekman’s debut product: goat milk soap. They’ve since expanded their healthy biome, dry and sensitive skin-friendly product range to include moisturizers, cleansers, body creams, and more. They also sell goods made by their artisan neighbors through the website and storefront.

“We started this business on our farm in the middle of nowhere and Google was our lifeline. So whenever we had an idea, the first thing we did was both of us would sit down and Google it.”

Josh Kilmer-Purcell, Co-owner, Beekman 1802

The Google search that started it all

After losing their jobs, Josh and Brent looked around and said, “What do we have?” They had farmer John, his herd of goats, charming neighbors, and curiosity. They Googled, ‘what can we make with goat milk?’ and the first result was goat milk soap. Josh shares, “We found a neighbor who knew how to make soap. We asked John if we could use the milk, and together, that’s how we created our first bars of soap.”

The Google search didn’t stop there. “Every other step of the way in those early days was still all about Googling. We Googled ‘how do you take product photography?’ We Googled ‘what’s the legal requirements for labels’? We Googled, ‘how do you keep finances for a small business?’ In the middle of nowhere, Google was our lifeline to build this business." explains Josh.

Improving the online experience

After finding success on social media, TV shopping shows, and in-store retail, the Beekman team got more serious about e-commerce by using Google Ads. Adam Bshero, VP of Digital, explains, “We were very quickly able to bid on our branded terms, which we weren’t ranking extremely well for at the time, and funnel those users into our direct consumer experience. With Google, customers were led to the website from branded search results, product driven results, searches specifically around our goat milk, and specifically around goat milk search queries.”

“We can get an extremely targeted, strong bang for your buck with YouTube audiences and topic targeting. And put our message in front of the right people, at the right time.”

Using YouTube to meet new consumers

In 2020, Beekman 1802 created a new skincare line. YouTube was the perfect place to let the world know. Lydia Drakeford, a Google rep, confirms, “YouTube was the original platform where beauty consumers and beauty influencers spend most of their time.”

Beekman’s most recent YouTube campaign had an impressive 60% view through rate at 30 seconds, serving both the YouTube and display networks. The team was surprised with the affordability of adding YouTube to their digital plan. “We can get an extremely targeted, strong bang for your buck with YouTube audiences and topic targeting. And put our message in front of the right people, at the right time,” says Adam.

Brent and Josh work together at a kitchen island. Drinks and plates of food are scattered around them.

Connecting with Google reps

It’s a good sign when a business account gets Google’s attention. Reps know the ins and outs of every tool, have access to data, and can introduce new marketing ideas. The Beekman team connected with Lydia, a Google rep, and “immediately knew the impact” of her knowledge.

“She was able to not only push us into new Google Products, whether it was a new shopping or Smart Shopping Campaigns or different search bid optimizations, but was also able to supply us data to really drive the decision making as well.” says Adam. Brent agrees on the value Google reps provide, “When you’re in a small business, you don’t always have time to research the latest tool and try to figure it out. But having someone there who can help explain that to you is really important.”

Looking ahead

From Beekman 1802’s founding to their marketing funnel, Google has always been involved. “And I still use Google a lot to this day. Is there new research on probiotics or skin microbiome? I get those alerts every morning and that really does change our innovation strategy,” shares Brent.

Lydia says it’s a misconception for business owners to think Google is only about search. She states, “I really love when customers have that light bulb moment and they realize that Google is in fact, a full funnel solution.” Various Google Tools helped Beekman 1802 achieve 400% return on ad spend since 2019. The team credits Google Ads as being “one of the biggest drivers of scaling our direct to consumer business.”

Regarding their future with Google Ads, Adam has this to say, “Over the last few years, Google has been the largest portion of the Beekman 1802 digital budget. As we progress through 2022 into 2023, it’s going to remain that way, as well.”

The team credits Google Ads as being “one of the biggest drivers of scaling our direct to consumer business.”

Josh and Brent open a package while sitting next to each other at a desk.

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