Over the past decade, working for a startup has gone from a go-big-or-go-home rebel career choice to a coveted, well-respected dream job.
Thanks to box office hits like The Social Network and popular shows like HBO’s Silicon Valley, entrepreneurship is sexier and more exciting than ever.
While joining a successful startup at the right time can bring fame, notoriety, and wealth, people often forget the bigger picture. From changing the economic landscape to creating elegant solutions to complicated problems, startups are shaping our culture and in an effort not to sound cliché – changing the world.
At an Art of Perspective, our goal is to highlight the most compelling culturing trends, movements, and perspectives that shape our world. Through our new series, “Startups You Should Know,” we aim to introduce you to startups that are truly having an impact on everything from healthcare to fashion.
The first startup you should know is Walker & Co. Brands.
Walker & Co. is the brainchild of Tristan Walker, a startup veteran with an alluring career path. At 24, Walker left Wall Street for a Stanford MBA. He also served as Foursquare’s Director of Business Development before interning with one of Hip-Hop’s biggest advocates in the valley, Andreseen Horowitz.
Under Horowitz’s direction, he searched to build something that would fill a white space and solve a real problem. In his search, he came upon an insight that he had known his whole life: when it comes to health and beauty African-American consumers have a second class shopping experience as their needs are grossly overlooked.
From this, Walker & Co. Brands was born. A company that designs, produces, and sells health and beauty products for Black and Latin American consumers, Walker & Co. came onto the scene with their debut product – the Bevel Shaving kit.
Clearly, this is not your average Silicon Valley startup.
Walker’s vision is to make health and beauty simple for people of color. The company aims to do so by building the most consumer-centric health and beauty products on the market. The emphasis on design, attention to detail, and superior packaging that is found throughout Walker & Co.’s product line rivals that of a luxury brand.
Every product in Walker & Co.’s arsenal aims to solve a specific consumer problem. For instance, the Bevel shaving system addresses the unique challenges that Black men face when shaving. Prior to the Bevel shaving system men with curly, course hair didn’t have many options. They were left to choose between disposable razors—which cut beneath the skin and leave razor bumps or to become dependent on a barber for their grooming needs.
Walker & Co. Brands is only in its early chapters, but its story is inspiring nonetheless. Aside from its target audience and its unique product offering, what sets Walker & Co. brands apart from its many Silicon Valley counterparts is its diverse staff.
Walker & Co’s diverse staff is no accident – Walker purposefully hired employees with diverse backgrounds and experiences. When working at Foursquare, Walker became one of the few African Americans to rise to the ranks of the tech elite and experienced the lack of diversity firsthand.
While you wont find it on their website, Walker & Co. brands set out to nullify the number one justification for the lack of diversity in the tech industry: a lack of minority and female talent.
2015 has been good to Walker & Co. Brands so far. Earlier this year, they were named one of Fast Company’s Most Innovative Companies in Retail. What else can we expect to see from Walker & Co. Brands this year? A few new product launches, potentially another round of funding, and lots of great press. With support from the likes of rapper Nas and Apple’s retail pioneer and former J.C. Penny CEO Ron Johnson; an untapped billion-dollar market, combined with Tristan Walker’s vision and knack for publicity, Walker & Co. Brands is poised for success.
About the Author
Alix Montes acts as Startups Editor for TAOP. Those who know him well call him Alix or Montes for short. When he’s not putting in hours at LMO Advertising, Alix can be found writing about career advice for young professionals through Levo League, swimming, teaching yoga, or traveling. Connect: Twitter | Instagram | Linkedin