This week, we interviewed best friends and Co-founders (sound familiar?) Kate Cutler and Tal Winter of bkr Water Bottle. These two incredible females launched their brand with a vision of revolutionizing the way we drink water, by creating an elevated water bottle tailored to the beauty industry. With this vision, comes their new beauty line, bkr Paris. The first launch of the line comes the ‘Paris Water Balm,’ a fresh rose-scented lip balm containing Mediterranean Algae, French Rose, and the bkr essential biolipid complex that aids in hydrating and moisturizing lips. The best part: the new water bottle has a cap designed to fit the lip balm perfectly to give customers the option to throw it in their bag or attach it to their water bottle. We'll take 10, please.
We couldn’t wait to sit down with Kate and Tal and talk to them more about their company, and this line. Read on to hear their story behind bkr! //
How did you come up with the idea to start bkr?
Both our moms have always gorgeous skin and almost exclusively drank water our whole lives. They taught us early on that water is the foundation of an effective beauty regimen. We’ve always known that to be true, but like everyone else at some point we found ourselves drinking from disposable plastic. It didn’t make sense that people who care so much about what they eat and put into their bodies were essentially drinking from trash. We were into everything organic and natural, yet we were drinking out of chemical plastic. 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, sheer, pure and chic. We knew if we wanted it, other people would too.
What inspired the name bkr?
bkr (pronounced “beaker”) is a throwback to high school chemistry class when we all used glass beakers. In keeping with our minimalist aesthetic, we spelled it with the least amount of letters possible.
What has been the most challenging part of starting bkr? Biggest reward?
Building a luxury brand in the beauty space has been the biggest collection of challenges. Don’t forget, when we started bkr a glass water bottle was disruptive in and of itself! Then on top of that deciding that we were a beauty brand and that we belonged on the beauty floor was a whole other level of disruption. Anything disruptive is tremendously challenging because nobody has paved the way. You’re driving and building the road in front of you at the same time. And that doesn’t even take into account the challenge of building a brand. It takes time and it’s easily one of the most expensive things a company can do. When you put brand above everything else, you have to say no to anything that would derail your vision and direction–no matter how potentially lucrative. We’ve said no far more than we’ve said yes and we’ve never accepted institutional investment. The biggest reward is a result of that selectivity — we’ve earned a coveted position in the beauty space and the respect and love of our peers and customers. The insane cherry on top is seeing your invention in the hands of people like Gisele Bündchen and Derek Blasberg, on the desks at Prada and Sephora, and reading that renowned makeup artist and organic beauty maven Rose-Marie Swift considers bkr to be her “all time must-have beauty essential.” When we take a breath and look around, we’re very proud of what we’ve accomplished.
How do you set yourself apart from your competition?
We’re the only water bottle that has been fully integrated into the beauty world as an essential tool for hydration. We’ve spent the last 5 years working on formulating the most hydrating, softening and clean lip balm in the world and we engineered a cap to connect it to your bkr. But honestly, we don’t focus on our competition and maybe that’s why we’ve gone in such a different direction than other water bottle companies. We’ve always had a very Coco Chanel attitude, “I don’t care what you think about me, I don’t think about you at all.” We are much more focused on what we’re doing, where we’re going and what our customers want. We can’t waste time worrying about what everyone else is doing. Looking left and right doesn’t move you forward.
What’s something about bkr that everybody should know about?
We’re perfectionists. We never just create to create, we want to innovate, make things that didn’t exist before and make them the very best. When we created the bkr, there were no glass water bottles and we took our time to create something unique that would feel like luxury. We’ve taken this mind frame and partnered with one of the best natural formulators in the world and have just released our brand’s next cult hit-- the bkr Paris Water Balm.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
This is a difficult question to answer because luckily we love almost everything about our jobs. We’re creating the kind of company we can feel excited to go to every day, we get to make the type of products we love and feel proud of, we’re surrounded by a culture that we ourselves cultivated of super cool and talented people, we get to work with our best friend every day and we get to continue to dream and follow our passions. And in the next few months we go to NYC, Paris and the French Riviera for work. It doesn’t get much better than this (knock on wood a million times).
What are some of your favorite brands right now?
R13, Isabel Marant, Prada, Golden Goose, Ulla Johnson, Mini Rodini and Nununu for kids (Tal just had a baby), Giambattista Valli and always Chanel.
Where do you see the company headed? Any exciting new updates?
We’re product junkies with a deep belief in hydration and a love for clean luxury. We’ve always known at our core that we were a beauty brand and our next product wouldn’t be a coffee mug. We’ve worked tirelessly to create the beginning of a clean, edited luxury beauty line for the woman who, when asked what she wants out of life, says “everything.”
This direction that begins with the bkr Paris Water Balm, while not predictable, is exactly us. Always anchored in hydration, always creating things that didn’t exist before, always pushing to give our customers things they love that improve their lives.
Last but not least, do you have any advice for our readers that want to start their own business?
Our advice is to make sure you really love and believe in your idea and are prepared to stand behind it and fight for it no matter what. Put one foot in front of the other every day, and if you find that you don’t know what you’re doing, well, welcome to the club. If you’ve resolved to never give up then you can figure it out. You might not sleep for few years, but it will have been worth it.