Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, forever known to fans as The Fabulous Beekman Boys, will appear all three days of the Downtown Raleigh Home Show, taking place at the Raleigh Convention Center Feb. 17-19.
The entrepreneurial duo gained fame in 2010 when their TV program, “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” aired for two seasons on Planet Green and a third on the Cooking Channel.
The show – often hilarious but occasionally quite intense – followed the married couple as they struggled to make their Sharon Springs, N.Y., farm and Beekman 1802 brand profitable enough for both men to live and work there full time. They started with goat milk soaps and cheeses made with milk from the goats on the farm. When they won CBS’ “The Amazing Race” in 2012, they paid off the mortgage and kicked their dreams into high gear.
At this weekend’s Home Show, Kilmer-Purcell and Ridge will give scheduled presentations called “10 Things I learned About Life from Goats,” which Ridge says mostly are about overcoming obstacles and working with your community and neighbors. They also will take part in meet-and-greets with fans, pose for photos and sign autographs. And they encourage fans to show up with lots of questions.
Kilmer-Purcell is a writer and former ad man, while Ridge, a Randleman, native who graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, is a former physician who also worked for Martha Stewart for a time.
Kilmer-Purcell spent the first two years of the couple’s time at Beekman Farm commuting back and forth to his day job in Manhattan, to help with the financial burden of their transition.
So when asked about advice for those wanting to leave the cubicle behind and make a go of it on a farm, Kilmer-Purcell is quick to answer.
“Don’t make a clean break,” he says. “Starting a farm-based business – or any business – is incredibly tough, and the odds are stacked against you. If you can run parallel paths for awhile, it gives you a safety net.”
The sacrifices made by Ridge and Kilmer-Purcell during their early farm years are paying off now. The Beekman 1802 brand has grown to include not just goat milk products, but books, jams and sauces, as well as gardening products – all available at beekman1802.com and through small retail shops across the country.
There’s also a line of bedding and furniture products available through Bloomingdale’s and Bed Bath & Beyond. And most recently, the couple introduced the Beekman 1802 FarmHouse home decor collection available exclusively at Target.
Life after TV
Their reality TV show has been over for awhile, but there’s no sadness on that front, Kilmer-Purcell says.
“It was such a sweet little show and garnered such a loyal following – and it gave a good boost to our business – but it took up a lot of time, and there was always the fear of over-sharing,” he said.
Ridge points out that social media has taken the place of the show, in a way. “Now there’s YouTube and Instagram and Facebook,” says Ridge. “So people can still get that intimate connection.”
Unfortunately, one of the breakout stars of “The Fabulous Beekman Boys” is no longer around. Polka Spot the Llama, a fan favorite, died this past summer.
“It was very sad, but that’s life on a farm,” says Ridge. “We’re a little bit less fabulous now than we were.”
Downtown Raleigh Home Show
Where: Raleigh Convention Center, 500 S. Salisbury St., Raleigh
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday; and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday
Cost: $7-$10 (free admission on Feb. 17 – Hero Day – for those with valid active or former military, police, fire or EMT ID).
See the Beekman Boys: 2 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday
See HGTV host John Gidding: 4 p.m. Friday and 1 and 4 p.m. Saturday
The Recipe Cooking Stage
The News & Observer is sponsoring the show’s cooking stage. Several local chefs from restaurants and food trucks will be doing cooking demonstrations. Here is the schedule:
Ticket discount: Go to raleighspringshow.com and enter code RECIPE to save $4 off tickets for the show.