Tristan Walker, the founder of Walker & Company, a health and beauty care brand made especially for people of color, launched his business five years ago as a small startup due to his frustrations of not having the products he particularly needs. But just recently, consumer giant Procter & Gamble acquired his brand through a lucrative deal for an estimated $100 million — But he will continue working as CEO for the firm!
Procter & Gamble has been recently building a new strategy to reach African-American consumers and better serve their needs in health and beauty care. In their latest efforts, P&G announced the acquisition of Walker & Company, a Black-owned startup business, for an undisclosed amount.
Walker & Company, which was founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Tristan Walker, who previously led the business development for Foursquare and became an entrepreneur-in-residence at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm.
The company creates various personal care products that would especially suit people of color with coarse or curly hair. It has started out with its Bevel shaving products for men and eventually launched Form, a collection of hair products for women.
Walker, himself, had been disappointed whenever he can’t find the perfect razor for him to use conveniently. His frustrations led him to start his own company.
“That second-class citizen experience of having to shop in an ‘ethnic’ beauty aisle, which is really the small shelf that’s right next to the official beauty aisle, was just an incredibly frustrating experience,” he told CNN Business.
Closing the deal
Most recently, Walker & Company has caught the attention of Procter & Gamble. The company — which owns big brands like Gillette, Venus, Head & Shoulders, Pantene, among others — has already been making efforts in making products inclined to the unique needs of people of color. This new partnership with Walker & Company aims to further expand that market.
“The combination of Walker & Company’s deep consumer understanding, authentic connection to its community and unique, highly customized products and P&G’s highly-skilled and experienced people, resources, technical capabilities and global scale will allow us to further improve the lives of the world’s multicultural consumers,” Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty, said in a statement.
Walker & Company will now operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the consumer giant, Procter & Gamble. Walker is glad for the opportunity and he hopes it would fulfill his goals for the company.
“When I started Walker & Company Brands, I set out to build a company that would meet the health and beauty needs of people of color on a global scale,” Walker said in the announcement. “Having access to P&G’s outstanding technology, capabilities and expertise helps us to further realize that vision, giving us the power to scale and bring new products to people of color, while staying true to our mission and continuing to nurture the loyal community we’ve worked hard to build.”
As part of the deal, Walker will be able to continue to run Walker & Company as the CEO. Their products will still be sold directly online, through retailers like Amazon and Target, and in several beauty and barber shops. However, he said that he is not at all worried that his small startup would clash with the global giant in this setup.
“Procter & Gamble wanted us to be in a position of autonomy, where we could maintain the agility and flexibility that we have always had to reach this consumer,” Walker said. “I care very deeply about this company that we spent blood, sweat and tears on. I feel very comfortable and excited about this partnership. Everybody should get ready for what’s next.”