Equality is often mistaken for homogeneity when, in fact, homogeneity is often the antithesis of true equality—true equality isn’t the removal of differences but an acceptance of them.
Tristan Walker launched Bevel in 2013 through his Walker & Company Brands because he felt the razors on the market didn’t address the coarse and curly hair typical for Black men. Those curly crowns tend to be dry due to the curl shape, and the body’s natural oils have a harder time reaching the end of the hair. Seven years after founding the company, Bevel is expanding from shaving products to a new 11-piece line of full-body care products tailored for Black people’s skin.
“I started a company not to make shaving products. I started a company to build a brand that’s going to be trusted by Black men in the U.S. In order to do that, we had to be in skin, hair and body,” Walker told ONE37pm. “In all these categories, I did not see a brand prioritizing our needs first.”
Three years and more than $25 million in investments from the likes of Google Ventures and John Legend after launching Bevel, the brand’s products began being stocked in 1,000 Target retail stores in 2016. Walker tells us the Bevel brand’s retail imprint has since grown tenfold with its line of products, which can be purchased in over 10,000 retail locations across America. During that growth, Walker sold Walker & Company to Procter & Gamble (P&G), the 183-year-old personal hygiene goliath, in December 2018. Walker but maintained a level of autonomy by staying on as the CEO of Walker & Company Brands rather than assuming a title at P&G.
“We wanted to work with a company that would help us ensure that we were around for the next 150 years,” he said. “We wanted to work with a company that already spent billions of dollars on research and development that we can bring to our consumers. We wanted to show our consumers that we weren’t going to slow down.”
Bevel hasn’t publicly disclosed its sales, and Walker declined to provide any information about sales. But the cultural impact is indisputable. Nas boasted achieving his “signature fade with the Bevel blade” on DJ Khaled’s "Nas Album Done" in 2017. NBA players have sworn by the razors, including the NBA’s Style Correspondent Lance Fresh. ONE37pm spoke with Walker recently about his thoughts on the future of Black entrepreneurship, how athletes have embraced Bevel and more.