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Walker & Company’s Tristan Walker: ‘We’re building a flywheel of product excellence’

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Created for BIPOC in mission and purpose, Tristan Walker’s health and beauty brand, Walker & Company, has been instrumental in shifting the norms of the beauty industry since its conception in 2013. At W&C, Black women and people of color hold the majority of leadership positions. It’s changed the diversity in beauty aisles of department stores like Walmart and Target by putting razor and hair-care collections for all different hair textures on the shelves.

After almost a decade of simplifying beauty and grooming for BIPOC, hygiene and home goods corporation P&G acquired Walker & Company in 2018 for an estimated $20 million to $40 million

Walker & Company’s business has often been led by technology. But Walker, founder and CEO, said on the latest Glossy Beauty Podcast that, moving forward, the business will be led by culture.

Walker’s perspective on how closely culture affects business was instrumental in the creation of Bevel and Form, W&C’s grooming and beauty brands, respectively. And prioritizing the needs of BIPOC doesn’t stop at W&C’s products. W&C has partnered with various community outreach programs, like Urban Prep academies in Chicago, where it donated laptops for students forced to remote-learn during Covid. Plus, it provides free mental health resources on Headpsace for W&C customers. 

Below are additional highlights from the conversation, which have been lightly edited for clarity.

Themes to live by

“I’ve dedicated my life to three themes of the world I think are colliding at a perfect time. First is the demographic shift in this country and the cultural influence of people of color within it. Second, there’s technology and its impact on not only businesses but also this map back to this demographic shift. How do we equip these curators of cool with the tools they need to spread that cool? And last, I love great brands. The best brands could really be a force for good in the world.”

Sustaining community support

“Bevel has always been good at doing three things uniquely. First, acknowledging what it means to show up as a Black man or woman, or other in society. And shining light on those experiences authentically. Second, once we’ve acknowledged it, we’ve been uniquely good at modeling the way W&C operates off of a set of values that guide our decision-making. I mentioned some of our core beliefs, but there are values that we have — courage, inspiration, respect, judgment, wellness and loyalty — that make us question the things we do, but also provide space and room and language for our consumers and community to hold us accountable.”

What lies beyond Bevel’s horizon

“With the risk of sounding like a broken record, [Bevel is doing] more of the same. We’re not just that shaving brand anymore. We’ve proven that we can make the highest quality products across all of our products. We recently launched a product called the Bevel Pro, which is a follow-up to a fairly successful Bevel Trimmer product. We believe that we made the world’s most advanced grooming tool. And we did that inside of 12-18 months. We are building a flywheel of product excellence complemented by our flywheel of community outreach excellence. That is a platform and an energy hard to compete against.”

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