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Snippet of How I Built This with Guy Raz: Tristan Walker on Developing His Idea For Bevel

From Audio: Live Episode! Walker & Company: Tristan Walker

Duration: 06:12
After experiencing burns from standard razors, Walker created his brand off of single-blade designs. This style wasn’t sold because it wasn’t incentivized with patents.
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After experiencing burns from standard razors, Walker created his brand off of single-blade designs. This style wasn’t sold because it wasn’t incentivized with patents. Thus, sparking his idea to improve and patent a design that is paired with other products to improve the shaving experience.
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good idea, but so a some point you come up with this idea for a razor to just describe first of all before you tell me how you pitched it, how did the idea come to you? This is the first idea that came to me, actually. And it was the culmination of 15 years of experience. I when I went to boarding school for high school, he was in Lakeville, Conn. There's no retailer nearby. If you went, you know, if I had to shave, you know, you get the peach fuzz on your face, right? It's like, Oh, it's a rite of passage time, Andi, I'll never forget. I went to I believe there was, like, a CBS type store, uh, in the area and you pick up your multi blade razor with shave gel because, you know, I didn't have a father home to teach me how to shave. My brother didn't shave that sort of thing. Um, took it home to the dorm shaved. Woke up the following morning, my face completely broken out in raising months. E was like, What is this? I'm never shaving, ever. That was the last time I had shaved until I started bubble eso. What did I use? Um, I used for 15 years this'll thing for folks who are not familiar with it called a depilatory cream, which is like a chemical. It's gross. So folks who aren't familiar with it a lot of women are familiar with it because there yeah, yeah. See, a lot of black men are, too, because that's all we're able to use, right? So depilatory creams, creams thick. You put it on your face. It sits for 68 minutes and you just wipe it off. Here it is crazy, right? You know, the funny one of the most interesting things is, if you actually read the back of the pack three caution statement says, Do not use this two days in a row, right? It's something that smells. It burns your face. It discovers your skin. But there was no other option on in January of 2013. I remember being fed up. My wife is fed up. I said, I've had to do this for 15 years. I want to shave because this is terrible. Eso I wanted to learn how to do it. Look, I'm not thinking about a business idea. All right? I just wanted you just want You just wanted t o. And you didn't want to get razor bumps. I did not want to get razor bombs. It's not a good look. And the entire right. The market for razors in the United States had been 234 blades because that was seven. That was seen as like it was all about a close shave. That's right. But not everybody needs that. You know, I realized that are kind of trying to get the closest shave possible caused the issue on Guy said. All right, if I could do this on, combine it with kind of products to help ameliorate this issue for people who look like me, I know that 80% of people who looked like me men and women have this issue. I know 30% of people who don't look like we have this issue. It's the worst, and I remember walking in. It's a specialty retail store like one of those, like art of Shaving or Grab E did this a couple times in different cities just to test it. E go to the sales person and I'd say, you know, I've had to deal with this issue related to raising my entire life. What should I use now? Thes salespeople are totally incentivized to take me to the on brand like multi blade razor with a nice handle. Cost $150 and all that stuff on none of the stores that they do that they've always taken me to use what they recommend. Which are these off brand single blade, double edge safety razors that your grandfather grandfather's grandfather used to use, right? I was like, Okay, let me try it. Took it home, used it, no raise about somebody face on. And that got me to try and understand why that was actually the case, right? Andi, I'm not going to belabor the point too much, but it turns out that a single blade cuts the hair level with the skin not beneath. If I have curly hair and I have blades cutting hair beneath my skin, it grows into your skin. Gross on gets one clean cut, so there's no pulling or tugging or anything like that. So this solution has existed for the past 100 years, right? Just no one had the incentive to sell it because there's no more patent protection on it. And that's when I knew ads. Um, and this was around the time when a lot of the e commerce companies started to pop up. I was listening to their pitches. I understood the types of companies that got funded on the types that didn't. Andi was just great timing to start something like this and to go back to the kind of been horrid thing. Who else in the world was uniquely positioned to share that story to venture capitalist, to raise the money, to do this, to build health and beauty products company for the majority of the world. I couldn't think of anybody else who was able to do that. So when you talked about this idea of friends of yours who had similar issues, were they like, This is exactly what I've been waiting for. I need this. I didn't have to talk to him. I had to give him a safety razor. They shaved and didn't get razor bumps the following day. This was like a first moment of truth thing that when folks woke up the following day and didn't have to have this issue. That's transformative. My first internship on Wall Street. You know, you're told you gotta shave every day. I remember being mortified. I was on the trading floor, They opened the doors and there's a gentleman got up cankers like kickers. He said, Take that leap off your face. Wow. And I was like, Okay, I can't because I don't know what to use that story scales. So when you when you have this idea, you go to ban and what you say, Hey, this is the idea. It's It's to create a health and beauty products company for people who look like me. What was his response? In fact, been really wanted me to do hair extensions idea on. At that point. At that point, I knew he was in because he had he understood an insight that folks were unwilling to down the rest of Sand Hill Road. So by the time I came to him with this
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