Prior to founding bkr, Tal and Kate each spent time in law careers and realized their passion for the creative side. Tal is the founder, CEO and CCO and leads the larger vision of bkr as well as the creative and brand direction and drives new product development. Kate is the co-founder and leads the strategic growth of the company and international distribution, ensuring that as the company expands it remains true to its brand and mission.
Where did the inspiration for bkr come from?
KC: We always knew that the prescription for gorgeous skin is sleep and water but we found ourselves drinking from tons of plastic disposable water bottles. We were cultured, intelligent, fashionable women drinking out of trash. And, it’s especially bad for women to drink out of plastic because of the effects of leaching chemicals and estrogenic activity. It didn’t make sense. We couldn’t find a reusable bottle we loved, and we didn’t like the experience of drinking out of metal – it made water taste and smell awful, you couldn’t see into it and you couldn’t put it in the dishwasher. So, we made exactly what we wanted: something beautiful, effortless, clear, pure and chic. We knew if we wanted it, other people would too.
After coming up with the idea, what was the first thing you did?
TW: The first thing we did after coming up with the concept was research. We obsessively researched the idea from every angle until we were confident in it and understood the landscape.
bkr is uniquely positioned as a beauty product. Early on, how did you get others to believe in this vision?
TW: It was our customers who first told us bkr was a beauty product. People told us they were finally drinking enough water with their bkr and their skin was glowing as a direct result. Every beauty expert, dermatologist and makeup artist will tell you the key to flawless skin is hydration, but no one was having that conversation on the beauty floor. We started having that conversation with everyone from buyers to press and focused on connecting the dots between hydration and good skin and eventually others caught on.
You both went from lawyers to entrepreneurs. From your previous careers, what knowledge do you bring to bkr?
KC: Our experience and foundation as lawyers gave us the confidence in ourselves to take the initial leap and the resilience to stick with it and succeed. What we do now is completely different, yet there are certain fundamentals that are applicable across careers: to be prepared and do your research, to pay attention to detail, to negotiate well, to work hard and to not be intimidated by anyone or anything.
As co-founders, how did you determine what each of your roles and responsibilities at the company would be?
TW: There’s a lot of pressure on entrepreneurs starting out to clearly define each founder’s role and that each be distinct. We’ve never really paid much attention to external pressures – of any sort. Neither of us knew what we were doing when we started, so our job was to figure it out together. Over time, our roles naturally evolved and became distinct. Though, we still love figuring out the hard things together. It’s just more fun.
What is your advice for finding rock star talent to join your team?
KC: We’ve found that the best way to recruit talent is through networking and staying in touch with smart people we like. Even if there’s not an immediate fit, many times a role eventually materializes that’s perfect for them.
Six years after launching bkr, how do you continue to keep things fresh and generate excitement for your brand?
TW: We’re constantly inspired to create. We’re pop culture, beauty, fashion and magazine junkies; we go to museums, we travel, we surround ourselves with people who are curious, creative, interested and interesting. Each new launch is inspired by all those things and everything we genuinely love. We make the things we’re most excited to have ourselves and that kind of passion ultimately comes across and is infectious.
What is your #1 tip for mastering negotiations?
TW: Be prepared. Know your position and be ready to support it with concrete facts and logical reasoning. Try to also understand the other side’s motivations. Negotiations seldom end with one side winning and the other side losing; the best deals are usually win-win situations.
The best deals are usually win-win situations.
Best advice for entrepreneurs navigating international business relationships?
KC: If possible, it’s very important to meet face-to-face at least once a year. While so much can happen on email and Skype in between, there really is no substitute for forming a real relationship. It’s great to be friends in the good times and it’s even more important to have that foundation and mutual trust when or if something goes wrong.
What are 3 tactics you have found to be most effective in building your social media presence?
TW: I would say…
- Be real and not fake-perfect or fake anything.
- Don’t be a cliché of product shots peppered with avocado toast and macarons.
- Be a friend to your customers – really listen to them and hear what they have to say.
In addition to staying hydrated, what other ways do you take care of yourselves as busy entrepreneurs?
TW: Our most luxurious self-care ritual is making sure to take time for ourselves. It’s basic. It can cost nothing. And it makes a big difference in how we feel. When we travel abroad for work we usually try to take at least one day to ourselves. Usually, we end up taking a meeting or two on that day but most of the day is ours and it’s the most fun part of our trip.
What is your advice for other women entrepreneurs?
KC: Have a clear vision, believe absolutely in what you’re doing, and commit to it – but be willing to adjust quickly and without drama when you need to. Surround yourself with smart people who can do things you can’t. Don’t give up when someone tells you your idea is dumb. And don’t get too excited when someone tells you your idea is brilliant. Just focus and stay grounded. Your dumb idea may very well be the next big thing.
Believe absolutely in what you’re doing.
Your favorite bkr at the moment?
TW: As a neutrals lover, I’ve been obsessed with Naked forever. But right now, my new Rose Gold Tutu 500 Collection bottle is my absolute favorite. There’s no better way to sit through a meeting than with a pale pink bkr and 500 loose crystals twinkling at you.
What’s next for bkr?
TW: We can’t reveal too much right now, but we couldn’t be more excited about what’s next. We’re taking risks, creating things we’re already obsessed with, being true to our brand, growing internationally and expanding our place in beauty.
What does #EmbraceAmbition mean to you?
KC: Be fearless. We jumped headfirst into a thousand things we knew nothing about when we started bkr. We faced major pushback at so many points and so many doors were slammed in our faces. But we’ve always trusted our instincts and haven’t wavered from our convictions and our vision.
TW: It’s safe to say fear doesn’t get in the way of anything we do.