Procter & Gamble Co., No. 664 in the Internet Retailer 2018 Top 1000, has bought digitally native skincare brand Walker & Co., which is the maker of Bevel men’s grooming products and Form beauty products. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Tristan Walker launched Walker & Co. in November 2012 with an e-commerce site for Bevel, GetBevel.com, that sold a razor and shaving accouterments aimed at eliminating skin problems, such as razor bumps, that disproportionally impact black consumers. In time, it added related products such as beard balm. In addition to selling the products on its own e-commerce site, the retailer struck a deal with Target Corp. to sell its products on Target.com and in some of the retailer’s stores.
In adding Walker & Co., P&G, which operates TheArtofShaving.com and Pampers.com, is adding both e-commerce expertise, as well as a retailer with a particular niche.
Internet Retailer highlighted Bevel’s sleek design last year in its annual Hot 100 list. The profile stated that the retailer’s website design, which features large, vivid images, showcases how its “end to end” shaving system demonstrates to shoppers why its products are better than the competition. For example, the retailer’s homepage compares close-up images of a shopper’s skin when he used products produced by Bevel and another brand. The Bevel image shows clear skin while the other brand led to razor bumps.
Last year, Walker & Co. launched another e-commerce site, FormBeauty.com, which sells hair products targeted at black women. The site features an online survey that aims to help shoppers find the ideal combination of hair products for them. In addition to selling the products on its e-commerce site, the retailer also sells them wholesale to Sephora.
“Our desire has been to serve the needs of our community for generations to come and we’ve been unwavering in our commitment to do so,” Walker writes in a Medium post, announcing the sale. “Since launch, we’ve developed brands in Bevel and Form, we’ve scaled our partnerships with some of the most beloved retail brands in the world, and we’ve even secured an exciting partnership with the Navy. Today, I’m excited to share that exactly six years [after launching GetBevel.com], we signed a deal to accelerate that vision: We are merging with Procter & Gamble, one of the largest and most consumer-centric packaged goods companies in the world.”
Walker will remain CEO of Walker & Co., which he says will “operate as autonomously and as authentically as we have been.” However, the retailer believes P&G will enable the retail to scale more quickly.
“Access to P&G’s giant global infrastructure and supply chain capability, and access to the $2 billion it spends each year on research and development means incredible opportunities are ahead,” he writes. “With P&G’s partnership, that means more products, faster fulfillment and more brands in more places.”
The deal is the latest move by an established consumer packaged goods brand to acquire a digitally native startup with one of the most prominent examples being Unilever’s $1 billion purchase of Dollar Shave Club (No. 162) in 2016. At the time of the deal, Dollar Shave, which delivers razors and male grooming kits to homes on a subscription basis, had been one of the fastest-growing online retailers.Favorite