By Carina Wang
In the world of beauty, fashion, and health, the bkr bottle, with its glass construction and simple silhouette, has become an iconic cult classic. Celebrities, beauty lovers, and students all swear by the brand, raving about its pretty aesthetics, environmental friendliness, and sophisticated feel. The brand, pronounced “beaker,” produces accessories as well as water bottles, such as cleaning brushes and ice trays.
When bkr first emerged as a prominent brand, big names like Jennifer Garner and Dakota Fanning were photographed carrying their colorful bottles to and from workout sessions. POPSUGAR’s India Yaffe asserted that bkr was the miraculous bottle that managed to defeat her dehydration and get her drinking not one, not two, but THREE whole liters of water in one day. After the original spike in consumer interest, marked by women choosing bkr over the bigger water bottle brands at the time (think CamelBak, Contigo, S’well, and the ever-popular Hydro Flask), there was, admittedly, a lull. While bkr supporters still carried around their bottles as both a fashion accessory and a tool for achieving better health, the buzz that had surrounded the brand for months had suddenly disappeared.
The summer of 2018, however, featured brilliant product ideas and marketing campaigns that made it clear why bkr is so often called a “disruptive” brand. In June it unveiled its Paris Water balm, described on its site as “an ultra-hydrating glossy balm that’s highly effective and made from only the cleanest ingredients.” Not only was this a fresh new product that perfectly meets the demands of bkr’s consumers, but Tal Winter and Kate Cutler, the co-founders of bkr and geniuses behind the new lip balm, knew to relate the product to their tried-and-true water bottle line. They did that by producing alternative bottle caps which could hold the water balm and be screwed onto any bkr bottle.
While the new trend of lip balm and water bottle combinations has recently just taken off, bkr relied on its classic glass water bottles to make a name for itself and gain such an immense following. The key reason behind our obsession (or rather, adoration) is their marketing and sales teams’ impressive understanding of consumerist behavior.
When we shop for everyday staple items we do so for utility, convenience, and ease of living. When we shop for luxury material goods, such as high quality water bottles or makeup, we aren’t really paying money for the item. Or rather, the actual item isn’t the main reason for why we buy.
We shop, instead, for identities, emotions, and attitudes. When people splurge on shopping trips, for instance, they’re splurging for items that make them feel a certain way. Louboutins, for example, make the ambitious yet anxious junior associate feel powerful and competent. Fjällräven Kånken backpacks, which adorn the backs of many Boston University women, convey a sense of creativity, individualism, and casual fashion.
bkr knows this more than any other brand. Its water bottles are featured in a multitude of unique colors, ranging from Tutu, a pale peachy pink, to Ice Queen, a metallic seafoam green. Each color features a description, usually a paragraph in length, that aims to communicate a certain identity, mood, and lifestyle.
The #1 bestseller on the site, Fifth Ave. (an opaque midnight navy), has the following description:
“Inspired by NYC in the summer when the temperature is in the 90’s outside, but inside it’s 65 and the definition of luxury, a spring shopping paradise, marble, champagne, plush pink carpeting, Angel + Dren beats filling the room, trying on every cool kid brand, buying every other beautiful unnecessary necessity in a gilt-accented heaven, patiently waiting for the evening cooldown to take effect. I fell in love, his name is Fifth Avenue.”
My personal favorite shade, Pout (an opaque light pink), expresses a completely different perspective:
“Inspired by slouchy, well-worn sweatshirts, hair that’s messy just-so, pale pink lips, getting away with everything. I only use my bkr on two occasions. When I am in love and when I am not.”
Both bottles and descriptions touch on the same few themes though: love, lifestyle, and personality (bkr also explicitly touched upon personality by releasing limited edition bottles with a sans-serif MBTI type on them).
While most of us might be a little more hesitant about dropping a couple of twenty dollar bills on a plain water bottle, bkr’s consumers have less qualms about confirming their purchases because they’re buying so much more than just a water bottle. bkr is officially advertised as a tool that promotes hydration, health (both personal and environmental), and good taste (a characteristic that is often lacking in steel bottles). Its unofficial advertisements, however, found in the descriptions of every color the line has to offer, is the clincher when it comes to purchasing.
Many bkr enthusiasts own multiple bkr bottles which isn’t due to need or convenience, but rather desire for variety, in both colors (after all, bkr does market itself as a beauty/fashion accessory) and personas.
It’s these personas, presented beautifully in prose like “Fellini-esque evening of brushing cheeks” (Air Kiss) and “changing outfits in the backseat, crafting the perfect text message” (Jet Black) that have us hooked.