The Cut Life Podcast
The Cut Life Podcast

Episode · 3 years ago

Ep. 15 Tristan Walker

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

Tristan Walker is the founder/CEO of Walker and Company Brands which houses BEVEL and Form Beauty. Nas is a huge supporter of BEVEL and even mentions it in a DJ Khaled song "signature fade with the BEVEL blade". We gain insight on this purpose-driven entrepreneur who created his brand to solve a problem for black men worldwide.

Hey stunners, welcome to a new episode of the cut life podcast. We are full forced into the new year and I can't be more excited. I don't know, for some reason, two thousand and nineteen feels a little different. I know people say this every year, but seriously, this year just feels like it's off to an amazing start and I'm looking forward to some things that we have in the works. And all of you who have tuned into our podcast from the beginning you know that we interview the best hair stylus in the game. But the beauty industry isn't only about hair stylus, it's about the movers and shakers behind the business and I didn't want to go into a new year without talking to some of these movies movers and shakers. One in particular Tristan Walker, founder and CEO of Walker and company brands, and I'm sure unless you are under a rock, you follow the cut life in the cut life men. You've seen his brand bevil on our page tons of times. And we're also huge fans of NAS well, I guess I should say I'm a huge fan of nads. I don't want to put that on everybody who has been a part of the brand as well. So I would like to welcome Christ and Walker to the show. I trysted. Hello, hello, thanks for having me on. No, thanks for being here. We've talked offline before, but as we were getting, you know, the scheduled together for the podcast this year, I'm like, look, I know some amazing people that do not have anything to do with doing hair and myself included. So I'm look, we have to expand, you know, the reach here and talk to some people behind the scenes that are really making some innovative things happen and I'm so excited about what you have going on with the brand,...

...with Bevil, with bevill skincare form beauty. But before we get to all of the new and exciting things that you have going on, I would love for you to talk a bit about the journey to actually creating Walker and company brands and why you decided to get into this grooming and beauty space. Of course, of course. First first congratulations and all your success. Thank you. Like we were talking about your brand for a long time. It's wonderful to see how you community to ground and to keep it up. Thank you so much. We need you. My story is pretty simple and I can chase for fifteen years of my life every single way that I encountered facial hair moval before I started devil it sucks right. You know, I remember using the depilatory cream for like fourteen years in my life. STUNK UP MY BATHROOM, burn my face kin, that sort of things to work. Then, you know, at the time I was using some multi blade raisers that actually cut the hair beneath my skin. Right, we have curly hair, that hair grows right back into your skin and leaving the things like raising Bob's irritation, that sort of thing. And then you use tremors right at the barber shop or wherever else. And you know, for a lot of barbers, you I've been blessed to have some really, really a great one, but for a lot of barbers you have to consider things like, you know, they're cutting other people tear to putting that change turm on your face. It's right. And if you have a barber that's kind of not necessarily keeping up with kind of clean everything, that sort of thing, you subjectly same irritation that she sounds like. Man, fifteen years this is the problem that no company out there is not only making things to me, but they're not speaking to me in the way that I'd like to be spoken to. You. The retail experienced when I go walk down these aisles, you know, it's act to walk to a certain Nile that really only has a shelf with...

...the product that are made for me. The packaging is outdated, the products don't work and I felt we deserve better, particularly when you consider how culturally, if lunchial, we are, how much money we spend on this stuff, and when you loop in kind of kind of other folks to color black, the teenager consumers what the majority of this country in two thousand and thirty years and we're in the majority of the world right now. Sous like wow, like there's a wide open opportunity to build a company that deliver resolutions to our problems right and we're going to do it in a way that speaks to the audience, in a way it's authentic. We're going to do it with what we believe to be great prices and we're going to lead with innovation, in a beautiful brain and I've been blessed and fortunate at least at the start of devil and eventually form beauty to be able to do that. Right now, we have thirty six different products in our portfolio. You know, we have distribution of parts like target Amazon to for you know, we have a small but very, very motivated team to solve these problems because nobody else is trying to do it in the way that we are. So, you know, been five six years of doing that and we're not going to stop. It's interesting when you talk about the journey to creating the brand, because it mimics a lot of the issues that black women have faced when it comes to hair care products and the boom that you see, you know, in the natural hair community or even just black hair care in general, with a lot of independent brands over the last I would say, five or so years that have sprouted up because of the exact same issue, just going down the aisles not seeing products that serve us, that speak to what our needs are. And I'm glad we're having this conversation because, you know, the men are like, Hey, we all are not the only ones with the beauty issues here. You know, we we go through it too, and we have, you know, issues that need to be solved and people to speak for...

...us. So I'm glad that you know we're having this conversation, because I hear this all the time, but it's usually catered towards the women and not the men. What's interesting about the whole thing? One fact that people might not be aware of its like thirty percent of our customers to devil or woman, Oh wow. And of course, like you know, some of that is kind of women using the products for themselves, right, because he somethings from the same issues and as well, but also women buying it on behalf of their loved ones. Right. So you know, when we're developing a product, not only speaking the man speaking, the woman too, right, in a way that we all deserved to be engaged, and that's very, very important to me to participate in that conversation. We're still learning, right. I think a lot of retail is a lot of brands are starting to learn, even though a lot of them, we believe, are tend to cheat here behind the curt some of the stuff. But we're getting there right, and I think the response to our launches, the response to the creative we put out, it tends to be pretty consistent because people now know what they expect from them. No, absolutely all of the marketing behind the brand is very captivating to me and it's so easy for us to repost content on our platform because we're like hey, who doesn't want to see a bunch of handsome men and talking about their daily routines? And even with the cut life men, our audience is still women. It's like fly hair cuts and, you know, grooming from a woman's perspective. So it definitely, definitely fits. And you know they're a little noise up there, Marcus Harvey, we're like, Oh, hell more, constantly your way. No, no, we're all we're always down for that. Let's talk a bit more about the technology and as it relates to bevil and what separates the product from other clippers that you might buy in the store. Yes, so you know deble,...

...we have a number of product lines now. I actually started with our shaving system. Right then we launched our trimmer and then recently we launched both our beerd bomb in our skincare system, which very fatter go through each one. So on the shave side, was the person only intensating the design to help deduce prevent raised about some irritations and shavings the round for over a hundred years and nobody tried to solve the pisition. That's crazy. So we have singlebly double edged tasty razor cut the hair level with the skin, not the meat. If you remember earlier when I said kinding beneath the skin when we have curly hair, worse right be, it's going to on your skin. We don't have that. Our products that clinically tested to work, not only the razor that we fells and the blade that comes with it, but also primary oil, shave team or storingvolved as well. Right. So, you know, we are teaching a generation of mental shade, if you think about it, right, like a lot our customers, the shave I freez is the first time ever, or the second time ever, because the first time they tried to use something that didn't work for them in a written all shaving forever. Right. So I'm proud that was teaching like a generation an evening, you know, older men to shade the right way, right, and that's a really meaningful thing to me, particularly when I think about, you know, my four year old, who eventually will you need to learn how to do that and stuff. He's hooked up now. Yeah, he'll be right the second product that we had is the trimmer, and this is what kind of promote the trimer as well. We believe we have the most advanced trimer on the planet. Right there are number of things that we wanted to fix with the trim or experience overall that would really important, particularly considering kind of the competitors out there in the space. First, you know, we wanted to really rethink how people thought a about the power for a trimmer. Right.

So your most tremors come with core, you know, in there's this perception that, you know, you have things with cord that has a little power, when you can chord less and loses power. Right. So we kind of develop the trimmer that will get you four plus hours of cordless battery life, no drain and power, which, you know, the bit of a feat considering a lot of the other kind of competitors out there. Additionally, most timmers that people are familiar with, if you wanted to tighten the tolerance to get a sharper line, you got to get your screw driver around, you got to unscrew the blades from the body, then you got to put the bottom blade and the top blade on the table to hope that it's level. ME, got to hold it tightly, got to put it back on the trimmer, Yah, screw back and you got a hope that is still lined up. I think that whole process can take a long, long, long, long time. So we develop the blade that can just snap on and snap off and with the kind of patent pended, and like thumb wheel, so you can adjust the tolerance of the sharpness. Right. So take the filtons. It's much for your old in chair with a barber and he can't take as sharper line as I do just given his sensitivity. Right, the barbers just need to snap it off, move the wheel to the left, step it back on and took myself there, right, simple enough. Additionally to that, the ore blade is coded with kind of anti microbial material, right, so repels things like dirt and oil and water and other jurities. You have to worry about cleaning a blade, not things to think about that, right, like actual trimmer, where you don't have to worry as much about kind of cleaning it over and over because it already comes to quip with. You're not having to do that, right. And there's all types of other tools, right, like it operates thirty degrees school of another tremmers on the bark here. You gotta Ya Ya Yada. I mean not I mention it just looks sexy. Like, let's just stre it's a sexy product. When you see the devil blade, you're like this looks nice. You know the thing about all this stuff? We developed the shape system in...

...six months, like concept to launch. We develop the trimmer in a year, concept to launch. You now, across all of our portfolio we have like hard goods, soft good it's, we have electric ude. So like we care about innovating this stuff. And even our tremor has been upgraded like four or five times without people realizing it. We just push it into production. So you know, at least on the shaves side, the trimmer side, is clear differentiation. And when I think about skincare and and you can kind of throw in beer here, because men with beard still need to take care of this skin, Benis the bear right. Yeah, sorry, preaching reach. Yeah, what I want I think about it. You think about is there any other skin care line cater to the needs event of color? And none that I can think of at all. Now take it once that further, like my true north is brand. Is it be the number one personal care brand for men of color around the world. Who else is trying to claim? Yeah, right, if you did once to further day, like we can really really preach about it. But here's an opportunity for us, and we've been doing this for day one, like staking a claim for that purpose and we will forever see a claim to that purpose, because nobody cares about staking a claim to that purpose. Right. So the focus that allows thout solutions to problems and spokes just developing things, and we will not stop extiliating. That is a quotable right there. I always like to pull those out, solutions to problems and not just right creating things. That is amazing advice for any entrepreneur that's trying to launch a business, because I think a lot of times people just focus on I just want to make money, but they're not really solving a problem or filling a void, and I think that's what's helped with the cut life as well, because that conversation around short hair wasn't happening, but clearly it was important, just like the conversation around grooming needs to happen, and happen in such a sexy way, which I...

...would love to talk more about the advertisements that you put out in the create the creative content that you put out, because when I watch it, it's like watching a documentary about black men and how amazing they are, and we need to celebrate that. And so I would love to hear about, you know, your thought process around it when you're creating this content and how much you know grooming just a part of our culture in general, because we love to look fly. We're a fly people. Y's right, that's right, that's right. I mean I have a friend of the company with this view that, you know, all global cultures led by American cultures, but by black cultures in you guys, right, like iplently believe that food, music, dance and all that, and I think there's a line up. It up opportunity for us to kind of show that they're grooming. Beauty Habits need federate, right. You look at even the success of things like fency, right, like, but we're doing my kids. It's a renaissance and I'm proud to be a part of that. I was kind of stuck with the story, which is like foundational, you know. Fortunately, like we're and kind of partner and recently we kind of announced measure the proctor and gamble. But over the years and cash and the past five years and running his business, we've had the kind of good fortune to meet you at the whole budge to see, right, of large kind of health and beauty companies who come and want to learn, like how do we build the community that we do right? How do we then produce these so SASS? And that's really thing. I'll speak to one CEO of a company that also fell shaping products right now. This company probably pumps out millions, millions and millions degrees like razors a year, right, and I asked him very simple questions. I showed them some of our being and all that stuff. As my question. I was like, when was the last time you ever saw a black man gave it a hair? Hmm, right now is the CEO of a pretty well known and kind of shaving thing. I feel like I'm getting them brand in my head right now, but I won't say it. Actually, I guess...

...it's not one of the obvious ones, but like if you heard it, you would know. Okay, and he said no, and in fact he didn't always say no. He was like, Oh, actually, the last time I saw was Danny gleverriend legal weapon. Oh, why, I'm going to cross the table. I don't have this moment. Like whoa foundational right now, like they can't even like understand, as the CEO in this company, why I kind of put in their kind of in and are and do it at the right place. Important. Now we're like four or five years into the business. At this point we're like man like, we are doing the right thing. So, look, I mean the way that I think about it is, what kind of brand do I want to support? Right, like I'm as a good fortune to deal the selfish right, and never got you know, I've had to deal with this issue for fifteen years. I've had to deal with the same marketing for fifteen years. Right, I haven't been spoken to this fifteen years. Right, my problems have been solved two years. All right. So will we kind of develop that content and that branding? Right, we're telling the stories that deserve to be told. Would telling the stories that are relevant. Why is it relevant? Right? Because, well, you know, our employee based with Flexi diversity of our consumer base. All right, so we know we're not taking this stuff right. We hold each other accountable and that's why I think our visuals are so consistent. Like we do not ship anything that we do not believe in, and I think that's what I've been very, very, very proud of. I am more than willing to sacrifice revenues for the sake of believing what you should right. It is important that we believe. It is important that these stories makes sense. You know, we recently we can of DIS campaign double classics, and Season Two of it will we put folks like tdjake's black thought, big Daddy Kane in the chair. And you know, the wonderful thing...

I learned about brand, which is why I think double classics really brought it home for me. If someone only film mean interesting, like brand is not what you say it is, it's what they say it is. And when I hear them, none only what our consumers say about us, but also the folks we work with, like black TDJAKES, what they say about it, it's all consistent. Right. So, you know, in black thought talks about being in a barber shop and it's not doing about lines, it's about whnyage, right, when when TDJ's talks about the fact that you know, the barbershop is important, right, because outside of it black men just don't talk right there, how do we like tell me stories that we know to be true, right, but you know, they just need to we need to be reminded of these things, right, and that will really be in the conduit for that story telling. I think we have an important place in the world and as very, very proud of the fact that we have the ability to do it. And you know, we're not going to stop until people tell us to. But I don't think that'll happen to me. I love it. trysting. It's bigger than the blade, you see. Yeah, that's bigger than the blade. I love it. It's so one of my favorite things that I've heard recently, because obviously people listening to the podcast live everywhere, but I'm personally based in Atlanta and I hear that bevil is moving to Atlanta or Walker and company brands is moving right to Atlanta. So why ATL yeah, so a couple reasons. Yeah, I'm excited about this in the next couple months. First, Atlanta is our biggest city by a e metric imaginable, right. Sales, ECOMMERCE, retail, all that to Atlantah. That's love since the very beginning, right, and the united like years on some of the stuff, right. Oh, yeah, you know, Marcus is down there, right, like a lot of our kind of cool friends and other like down in Atlanta. So we need to be...

...there earth. We just need to be closer to where our customers actually you know, have conversations with them, right. For you know, when I consider the diversity every area, when I consider how much it's growing, you know, I feel I moved out here in so we can now in two thousand and eight. That's when, like, I had this feeling my son, the special having and fortunately has as like ten years so, and every very blessed there like be a part of that. But Atlanta's me. Every time I go there. It's I get that feeling and had in two thousand and eight. But it feels like it's that way in every industry. Yes, it is, and it's I haven't felt that in any city ever. We're like something is about to pop off and every single industry, whether that the entertainment like, corporate startups, Tex, right, everything. So that like energy, right, and they're all relating to each other. At the end of the day, all of those industries. You know, they're so fluid and work together. Well, I mean, I think what that really blows down to, it's the last one is culture. Yes, right, and Lanta really doing the the glue that buys all that stuff together. Right, and I'm just excited to learn. My God, I'm not bringing the company there to any type of claim right, not at all. Right, I'm going to learn and figure how we can actually support that ecosystem right where folks believe that we can be supported. But, yeah, it is the right decision for the company. It's just something that have been thinking about for a while, unfortunately, and kind of recent partnership provides that a kind of flexibility. Lets have to do it the way that we believe we can. Well, I couldn't agree with you more. I love Atlanta and Atlanta has raised me. I'm originally from Providence, Rhode Island, but I've been in runner. I know right. They're like there's black people in Rhode Island. I'm like, yeah, there are few. I'm probably related to all of...

...them, just a couple, just a couple. But Atlanta raised me and provided so many opportunities, just from college to in turning to having my own PR agency and now doing the cut life and just the relationships that you build here, especially within those spaces like entertainment and tech. It's such just a I don't know, it's a different feel. I guess you get more of a family feel here then you get in other places like la or New York, and love those things as well, but you know, there's nothing like a sea my like you know, I want him to grow up right in a place that has that energy, is wonderfully diverse, right as like you know, a versioning great black middle class right. I'm I mean, I think for him right and for my family. I mean there's like personal reasons for it too. This is removed. It doesn't. It doesn't hurt to have a mayor named Keisha. You know it doesn't. It definitely definitely does not her at no. I'm excited and hopefully the cut life and bevil can collaborate on some in person consumer events and some cool stuff once she gets settled in the same once we once we're settled in. This is really the opportunity for us, which I'm excited about, is to do more things locally right, to support each other, to, you know, offer any kind of advice, feedback where I can for people who are daring different the past five years right, but kind of even more important to meet the people who supported us. This is long, right, like I am. I'm hype about that. See, yeah, I mean once I said down, let's definitely and I find some place to work. Oh No, you know it. This is already planning the seeds right here. Try. This is what I'm doing. This is this is what it's all about. Okay, well, before I let you go, obviously we have a lot of people that listen that are always looking for just business advice, entrepreneur wership advice, advice on...

...just being greater in life in general. So let's just talk about business and how you've been innovative and finding a solution to a problem that affects so many people. What's some advice that you would give to entrepreneurs that feel they have this idea that can help solve a problem but they just don't know where to start? Yeah, I say, there's a whole bunch of things right. First, I've been lying, as I told people, or didn't tell people, like this stuff is hard, like you got. You have to go into this knowing that this is difficult, right. I got had no shortage of the crazy stuff, like everything that could happen to that company happened. You could I've had the panic attacks, I've had the stress that's had, the anxiety that had, all that stuff. They like a lot of people, see a lot of the kind of positive mentions in all that, but this is grind work, you know. So I think the first thing that, you know, I always like for people to realize is this is no easy show, right, but kind of where's the hope in that? And I always like to kind of talk about pilot. Perry told me something one time that it stuck with me. I think it's the best not only business vice versy, but probably like the best life advice to the received. Honestly. Yeah, I got to interview in a few times and in like one on one fireside chats with air and small buggins owners. We're doing it for M X and yeah, hands and we didn't La and I'm interviewing in was Qa and then one woman raised her hand and she's like Mr Perry, Mr Perry, you go through all these different trials and tribulations. You have an entrepreneur. What do you do to get back up. And what he said next like really stuck with me. And you know I joke all the time. Like when he said it, yeah, I had I forgot that I...

...was interview him and I like Paul for like thirty seconds. is like this awkward moment. Continue instead, you realize his potential. That is the man like one of the highest fake guys in Hollywood. He started like homeless. Wow, right, he said, you realize potentialize and entrepreneur. When he understood that the trial should go through in the blessings, you see if you the exact same thing. M Right, and you know what you mean by that. was like, you know, those trials you go through and lessons and lessons and blessings where I appreciate them for what they are. So people should expect the trial, right, and it wasn't until I started to expect the trials that, like, I got a little bit more sanity about this stuff. I got it a little bit more patient about this stuff. Right. So one of those trials came right. I sound the blessing in him. I knew that. You know, it was going to be a season. Seasons don't last forever, right. Some of the shorter summer longer, but they always end and those seasons can be both positive and the right. So yeah, I just tell folk, if you believe and that you have a solution from problem, if you believe they position to be the one to solve that problems people, because that's like a really important part, because anyone can solve a problem, but you're being the position to do it if you that additive vantage, if you believe those things right, you got to believe that that trial and each know what you got is going to be a blessing because you've done if you as child, and the more patient you are, then more patient you are relative to other people, you're bound to be successful by your own definition of success. And I'll kind of end with this. Have a definition for success right, because I think one thing that a lot of people kind of get into this not realizing is what ambition may have. Right. It's very different trying to build a billion dollar business. been trying to build half a million dollar business right, and you have to be deliberate...

...about your purpose in what you want to do right, and you got to also understand how much more difficulty and how much more childs you have to go through. It either scenarios that you have definition about that that allows you to kind of see around those trials of blessing a little bit to you, to your benefit in your sick right. So I know it's a long way. No, was along way. You're dropping Jim's over here. Listen, I'm taking notes. This is really the culmination that past five that you things that I've had gold and learned and frankly, be humbled by right and really humbled by. But I'm thankful for all that because now I think I can be pretty good at this, you know saying. Well, I think you're more than pretty good, it is. I think you're actually quite amazing at this and I am so excited for the future of Walker and company brands. I'm counting down the days when you guys are in Atlanta so we can go hang out, you know, get you nice and fat with all the food here. Now we won't do that because I'm actually at health now. I'm like in the gym all the time, so I'm really just talking, but but no, thank you so much for joining us, everyone that is listening. You can follow Tristan Walker on Instagram at Tristan Trista in Walker Wa Lker and if you go to the Bayou, all of the brands and the company instagram handles are there highlighted, so you can click and follow all of those as well and you'll see bevil, of course, on the cut life very often. So make sure you support I mean this is a brand that is for us, by us, and that's a quote. Fool Boo, but hey, it is what it is, right. But thank you again for joining us. This was a very enlightening conversation and I look forward to having more with you soon. Thank you well, that was an amazing interview. I...

...love talking to founders and CEOS of companies. Considering that I am a founder and CEO as well, that type of knowledge is priceless to me because you want to hear about what other people had to go through different state ages in their career. You know, going from independently launching a product to actually getting acquired by proctor and gamble, having to figure out where to relocate your headquarters, and you know the decision, the reason behind the decisions. Close. A lot of times we see the headlines when things happen with different companies. You don't necessarily get the inside on why those decisions were made. So it's always cool to get exclusives like that. And I mean not to mention Tristan is cool with NAS. So my whole goal is, like when are we doing the cut life men Bevil Nas event, have Markus Harvey come cut heads, because I just want to sit there and, you know, talk to Nas while he's getting his hair cut. That's my goal in life. So I'm sure Tristan can help make that happen. But yeah, now, this is great and I think that we will definitely have more executives in the beauty industry on because the business behind beauty is just as important as the creative part and it's interesting to me because that's what I do. I'm more of a business behind the scenes person. So I love, Love, love love these conversations. So yes, definitely follow Tristan Walker and bevill and, as always, you can lock on to live the cut lifecom for new content. Make sure you're following us as the cut life on instagram to hear a joy and big men as well. And we will see you next time or talk to you next time.

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