Procter & Gamble has purchased startup Walker & Co. to help reach African-American consumers who are frustrated with a lack of shaving and shampoo choices.
Walker & Co. is a health and beauty startup founded in 2013 by entrepreneur Tristan Walker. It makes razors, trimmers, shave kits, lotions and grooming products geared toward people of color. Its men's line, Bevel, is designed to reduce razor bumps and irritation for men with coarse or curly hair, while Form, a premium shampoo and hair care line, is tailored for women with textured hair.
Walker was an entrepreneur-in-residence at a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and head of business development at Foursquare before he started Walker & Co.
The Walker & Co. deal gives P&G a chance to expand its presence in black beauty care, a market that is worth $4.5 billion in the United States.
The company — which owns big brands brands like Gillette, Braun and Venus razors, as well as the Head & Shoulders and Pantene shampoo lines — has already been making an effort. Pantene Gold Series and Head & Shoulders Royal Oils are marketed toward people of color.
But partnering with Walker will help P&G grow that business, and develop new products in the future.
"This is a deliberate strategy on P&G's part over the past few years to more authentically serve consumers of color by designing products to meet their unique needs," said Damon Jones, vice president of global communications and advocacy at P&G. "This is a play for the long term."