BE Modern Man: Meet Tech Titan Tristan Walker - Black Enterprise

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Black Enterprise Magazine September/October 2018 Issue

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Name: Tristan Walker

Profession: Founder of Walker & Co

Age: 31

One Word That Describes You: Innovator

Tristan Walker has been both a rockstar and an anomaly in a Silicon Valley that lacks diversity as much as it breeds world-changing innovation. As head of business development at Foursquare, a company he joined 2009 and left in 2012, Walker was able to use his skills and ingenuity to land lucrative partnerships with merchants and brands including American Express and BravoTV, expanding the popular social check-in platform’s reach and its multimillion-dollar bottom line.

Keeping a competitive stake in the industry, Walker took his career on the road, becoming popular at South by Southwest, making regular appearances on networks including CNBC and CNN, and building a social media following of more than 300,000. How has he done this? With out-of-box insight on how technology can impact everyday life in ways that aren’t traditionally thought to be tech-related.

His latest venture, Walker & Co. Brands, seeks to fulfill a need connected to a greater good and as a consumer products company is using technology in a way. “We want to deliver the best merchandising experience we can and the best product experience,” Walker tells BE Modern Man. “We started Walker and Co. based on two views of the world I have. The first one is that all global cultures are led by American culture which is led by black culture—food, music, dance, etc.” As the black culture continues to push American culture forward into a global landscape there are still those who ignore the influence. “A big frustration of mine is that I’m living in the earliest adopted region of the world and it knows nothing about the earliest adopting culture. That’s crazy to me.”

When going into retailers we usually experience the same phenomenon when shopping for ethnic products. You have to go to aisle “15,” the ethnic aisle which often times is a shelf, and scan through packaging that is dirty and outdated. “That branding and imagery needs to go, especially considering how much money we spend on products and the culturally influential demographic we are,”says Walker. “I wanted to put the two views together to build a very special consumer packaged goods company which uniquely meets the needs of people of color and solves problems.”

Bevel is the first manifestation of that vision and is the first and only shaving system designed for people with coarse or curly hair. If you have shaving and irritation issues Bevel has fixed them. The single-blade — the best way to shave — combined with the right priming oil, shave cream, restoring balm, an exfoliating brush, 20 blades (instead of the usual four you get with other products), and proprietary formulations have created the treatment cure for black men.

Walker is changing the consumer packaged goods industry one shave at a time by truly aligning personal healthcare products with technology. “There’s nothing more personal in the world than your physiological makeup,” Walker tells BE Modern Man. “Your DNA, your genetics—they’re unique to you. But there’s nothing less unique in the world than the entire health and beauty industry.” Products are generalized with nothing designed specifically for the skin you are in. “We [seek to] offer an experience that’s one-to-one, from our Website to our bottles to the contents in them. They should be unique to you, and represent who you are, where you live, and your unique make up.”

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