By Isaac Y. Addae
SOTG Business Editor
Entrepreneurs have been known to push boundaries and bring innovation to a marketplace through creative and novel ideas. However, it is rare these days to find an entrepreneur launching a new venture to compete directly against established industry giants.
Somewhere along the line, Tristan Walker didn’t get the memo. Walker, a Stanford University School of Business graduate and former Foursquare employee, was frustrated with his personal grooming experience and decided the grooming industry lacked effective products for men of color.
Soon came the launch of Walker & Company and the release of the Bevel brand in 2013, with a shaving kit as the flagship product, aimed at taking market share from Gillette, the multi-billion dollar manufacturer of men’s grooming products.
The Bevel Shave System, created specifically for men of color, takes a simple approach to shaving by incorporating a safety razor with a well-engineered blade and a proprietary set of facial products. The system has gained widespread popularity by helping to address a major issue for men color, razor bumps caused by ingrown hairs.
According to Walker, the single blade system provides a close shave without cutting hair below the skin, as opposed to multi-blade razors that cut hair below the skin’s surface. When paired with the Bevel facial products, user reviews suggest that razor bumps are virtually eliminated from the grooming experience.
The effectiveness of the Bevel Shave System has also drawn many female customers to the brand and there are rumored women-specific shaving products to be released in the near future.
Although the Bevel brand found success through shaving products, the innovation didn’t stop there. Walker and his team shifted their focus toward another opportunity to improve the grooming industry and developed the Bevel Trimmer. Noticing that the most popular electric trimmers utilized older technology, the Bevel Trimmer was created to improve upon existing products and provide a more-advanced device to trim facial hair for men of color.
The secret weapon in marketing the Bevel Trimmer was securing rapper Nas, a Bevel angel investor, to serve as a pitchman and spokesmodel for the brand. Given Nas’ penchant for a fresh hair cut, his endorsement has garnered a great deal of attention for the Bevel Trimmer. Most likely, the trimmer will experience success similar to what Bevel gained through the shaving kit.
It is safe to say that, for now, the market for grooming men of color belongs to Bevel. One can only wonder what Walker has in store, but based on his success so far, you can bet he’ll keep innovating and challenging industry giants.
- The Bevel Shave System is available through a $30 monthly subscription model and can also be found in Target retail stores.
- The Bevel Trimmer retails at $179.95, is only available through pre-order and is expected to ship during Summer 2016.
- Visit https://getbevel.com for more information on the products available through Bevel.