Sephora thinks the water bottle could be the next must-have beauty item. This summer, Bkr’s (pronounced “beaker”) $40 water bottles, with pretty pastel, rose gold heart-emblazoned or spiked silicone sleeves that have become a requisite for the boutique fitness set, were picked up by the retailer. In August, the range hit sephora.com and 24 Sephora doors, and in January will enter all Sephora doors in the U.S. and Canada.
That’s an ambitious rollout for a glass water bottle, with prices that range from $28 for a “teeny” to $55 for a spiked, one-liter version. The most popular, a 16-oz. size, ranges from $35 for the original silhouette to $40 for bottles with spiked sleeves.
Cofounders Tal Winter and Kate Cutler declined to comment on sales, but an industry source said Bkr’s revenue is in the double digit millions. The brand is carried in more than 1,000 doors worldwide and to date, more than 1.5 million bottles have been purchased.
Winter and Cutler admitted they were met with resistance every step of the way when they started the company six years ago, but the two credit the rise of the “beauty from within” movement as a catalyst for the brand’s growth.
“I’m not sure they knew how it fit [originally], but the whole beauty-from-within story is gaining traction. We were the original gangsters,” Winter said of initially pitching the brand to Sephora.
“People are starting to think about what they put in their bodies; [they] are taking a close hard look at what they’re drinking and eating, and our story fits into that category really well. No matter what you’re putting on your face, you have to start with drinking water and truly hydrated skin,” Cutler interjected.
The two maintained it was their customers who started to call Bkr a “beauty product.” Through feedback, Winter and Cutler not only heard that the bottles made people drink more water (and cut out disposable, plastic bottles), but that their skin was improving from the increased hydration. The latter seems obvious, but once they realized a pretty bottle could elicit behavioral changes in consumers that yielded positive results, Bkr’s positioning as a beauty brand was solidified.
Harrods is also buying into the craze and Bkr’s beauty positioning. The U.K.-based retailer will exclusively launch the brand’s most luxe effort to date: “Bkr 500 Collection, Made With Crystals From Swarovski,” a range of $185 bottles with Lucite caps that contain upward of 500 Swarovski crystals each. The three colorways — white, pink and nude silicone sleeves with yellow gold, rose gold or silver caps, respectively — are also available on mybkr.com and roll out to Saks Fifth Avenue, Sephora, Nordstrom and Revolve in October.
“It’s the most luxe bottle in the world. Most things are encrusted with crystals, so I wanted to turn that on its head,” Winter said of the decision to go with loose crystals, because apparently, the go-to way to incorporate crystals into products is by “encrusting” a surface.
While the notion of an almost $200 water bottle might seem over-the-top to most, Winter and Cutler had a charity component in mind when conceptualizing the limited-edition collection. One hundred percent of net profits will be donated to Water for the People, where each Bkr sold provides a month’s supply of clean water to an individual in need. Only a few thousand units of the Bkr 500 Collection have been produced.