Name: Tristan Walker
Occupation: CEO & Entrepreneur, Founder of Walker & Company Brand
How We Know Him: He completely upgraded the shaving experience for Black men.
Why We Chose Him: Tristan didn’t stop there, he expanded his holdings and reach to compete with the big boys.
What’s Next: As CEO of Walker & Company Brands, the entrepreneur is on the hunt for products that will kick butt in the market space.
Madam C.J. Walker walked so Tristan could fly or something like that but, seriously, there’s no other new-age visionary redefining the personal grooming space like Tristan Walker–Founder & CEO at Walker & Company Brand.
You would think the Queens, NY native invented hair the way he navigates his uncomfortably melanin-thin industry where he’s one of a few Black bosses who went from working for a startup to selling his very own startup to consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble.
But first, let’s rewind to 2013 when the Stanford and Stoney Brook University grad launched his massively successful company that focused on selling personal grooming products for people of color.
“My company really started out of my frustrations of not having products that I could use,” he said in an interview with CNN.
The first product line from his Cali-based firm was Bevel which featured a single-blade razor, traditional shaving brush and shaving cream that Walker says works best for skin like his.
“Shaving irritation and razor bumps [are] issues some 80% of black men and women have globally,” said Walker. “If you have curly hair, this is an issue that you’re likely to face.”
Bevel initially sold online before moving to Target shelves just a few years later in an unprecedented move that catapulted the humble tastemaker to startup stardom.
“It completely changed our business,” said Walker. “Over 50% of our business is in retail right now. Target has helped us grow.”
Fueled by impressive word-of-mouth and co-signs by living legends like Nas, Bevel evolved into the go-to brand for us, by us, and a talented new crop of Master Barbers.
In 2014, Walker was named Person of the Year by USA Today. A few years later, he landed on Fortune’s ’40 under 40′ list, Ebony’s ‘100 Most Powerful People’ list and the Hollywood Reporter’s ‘Digital Power 50’ list.
Yep, he was P O P P I N’ while cultivating his ambitious vision as one of the ‘World’s Greatest Leaders,’ according to Fortune Magazine.
“I’ve learned a hell of a lot as a CEO. Once you have an ambition to build something that’s global in nature, you just got to take some time,” he said. “It’s all about my reflecting on the fact that we got to have that 150 year vision.”
“Check out the other honorees on iOne Digital’s The Creative Class.”