It’s funny how the universe brings people together. Several months ago, I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and noticed I had a private message. I clicked over and found a message from Brent Ridge, one of the founders of Beekman 1802. Brent and his partner, Josh Kilmer-Purcell, started presenting their fabulous goat milk based bath and body products on QVC a few months before I left the channel. I had long followed them on social media and was thrilled when I would see a comment from them on one of my posts…but we’d never met in person. So I was excited that they reached out to connect and to support me in my second act! I also loved hearing about their connection to the upcoming movie, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, which focuses on the unlikely friendship between a journalist and everybody’s favorite neighbor, Mister Rogers.
The word, “neighbor”, is as closely tied to Mister Rogers as it is to the Beekman 1802 brand. “We have long called our customers neighbors. That idea of neighbors is really important to both of us,” says Brent. “Our company would have never gotten off the ground were it not for the help of our neighbors in Sharon Springs, NY and we still consider the best way to grow to be by neighbor by neighbor by neighbor.” I had to ask if Mister Rogers played a role in creating the Beekman neighborhood. “We’ve tried to go back and remember how we came to call our customers neighbors,” said Josh. “It just happened. But it stands to reason that we were both brought up in the 70’s when Mister Rogers was on the air and somehow Mister Rogers’ message became part of our DNA.”
Growing up in a farm community in rural Wisconsin, Josh remembers watching Mister Rogers as a child. “I remember the way he brought people into his world. That made me think that even in our little lonely area there are all of these amazing things out there, but also that people are just people. The world is just one big neighborhood and we shouldn’t be afraid of each other but rather should learn about each other. That really resonated with me.”
“There are three ways to ultimate success. The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”-Mister Rogers
If Mister Rogers is a teacher about kindness leading to success, then Brent and Josh are two of his best students. Kindness, positivity, friends, neighbors…they are at the heart of what these two entrepreneurs have created with Beekman 1802. And in conjunction with the release of “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” a special product collection with reminders of Mister Rogers will be launching this weekend on QVC.
“When we heard this movie was going to be made, I reached out to Sony Pictures,” explains Brent. “It happened to turn out that one of the heads of marketing was a Beekman neighbor. She loved the products, so she reached out to Fred Rogers productions, and it turned out they are Beekman neighbors too. It all worked out magically..the power of neighbors.” A portion of the proceeds from the specialty Mister Rogers items will benefit the Fred Rogers Foundation to support children’s programming.
“We’re a clean beauty company and we always say to be kind to your skin,” says Brent. “In thinking about the collection, we included favorite products, but packaged them with beautiful quotes, little reminders to be kind and to encourage people to think about what you put into the world. It’s not overtly Mister Rogers, but important reminders of kindness, to yourself and to others.”
Mister Rogers’ iconic red cardigan sweater is also tied into the collection. There are red sweater cozies for some of the brand’s bottles, red sweater tins, and even a custom pattern for a red sweater for knitters that neighbors can download here: https://beekman1802.com/pages/cardigan-landing
Josh says Beekman neighbors often buy multiples of their collections, so the idea of gifting and sharing was definitely part of the design process. “The holiday season has become so much about how much you give and how much money you spend on a gift. It should be about how kind you can be to your family and to your neighbor.”
Neighbors. Kindness. Connection. What Mister Rogers started teaching children in the late 60’s is still going strong, thanks to Brent and Josh and Beekman 1802. And just like Mister Rogers, these two always seem to know the right thing to say to give us hope in the world in which we are living. When asked about their final thoughts about their Mister Rogers’ Collection, Brent spoke again of kindness towards each other, and Josh offered his thoughts on taking care of the person next to you.
“You may not be able to take care of the world, but you can always take care of your neighbor.”
A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood opens in theaters nationwide on November 22 and Brent and Josh will be on QVC all day November 23.