P&G Acquires Walker & Company, Maker of Beauty and Grooming Products for People of Color

The 5-year-old startup will move to Atlanta

Tristan Walker’s company was acquired for an undisclosed amount. Walker & Company
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Walker & Company Brands, which owns Bevel, the shaving company for men of color and hair care company Form Beauty, which caters to women of color, is joining Procter and Gamble.

The deal—Recode reported P&G most likely paid between $20 to $40 million for the company—gives Walker & Company the resources to compete with the likes of Dollar Shave Club, which itself was acquired by Unilever in 2016 for $1 billion. (Unilever also acquired brands like Sundial, a beauty brand for people of color, in 2017.)

“It is my goal and my purpose to deliver products for us that work, to have brands that speak to us with respect, to find and meet them where they are,” said Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker & Company. “There’s nothing about our being aligned with P&G that changes that.”

Walker will stay on as CEO and report to Alex Keith, CEO of P&G Beauty. Most of the 15-person organization will move to Atlanta in 2019 (with some remaining in the Bay Area). Hiring to expand the company’s marketing, operations, customer success and engineering teams is already underway. To Walker, moving to Atlanta means getting closer to the company’s customer base as well as working in a city that feels like Silicon Valley in 2008.

“When I think about Atlanta, it’s us serving our customers where I think it makes the most sense,” Walker said. “Our opportunity to do something special there to the extent that the community continues to support us and we do our duty and our job—it’s a really ridiculously exciting opportunity.”

Walker, who will also stay on as chairman and co-founder of Code 2040, an organization dedicated to bringing minorities into engineering and tech, said moving to Atlanta is an opportunity to reach that community.

Walker & Company, which last week debuted a new product for Bevel, is quiet on what the brand will unveil next, other than to say the company will expand into new categories in January.

“Whether or not we decide to develop new brands, that’s less on us and more on our consumer needs,” Walker said. “If there’s a need to be solved or a problem to be solved, a need to be filled, we will fit. If it requires a new brand to do so, we will do that.”

To Walker, the acquisition is a chance for Walker & Company to tap into P&G’s supply chain, infrastructure, retail relationships and media scale and to grab more market share and consumers from competitors. On average, P&G spends $10.2 billion on measured media globally each year, according to R3.

“For me, I always said I wanted to build a business that was still around 150 years from now to make health and beauty simple for people of color and serve the majority of the world in a way that they deserve to be served,” Walker said. “It just made a lot of sense, and P&G saw that vision. And I think they saw a lot of them in us, and they also saw how we could help them reach this audience a little more authentically too, which is really exciting for us.”

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@itstheannmarie annmarie.alcantara@adweek.com Ann-Marie Alcántara is a tech reporter for Adweek, focusing on direct-to-consumer brands and ecommerce.
Publish date: December 12, 2018 https://stage.adweek.com/commerce/pg-acquires-walker-company-maker-of-beauty-and-grooming-products-for-people-of-color/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT