Issue No. 112: Homage sells shares to Express, virtual reality by Wayfair, Best Buy wins for a change

Last Word: Authenticity, NPS, and Serendipity

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Just follow along, Tristan Walker’s timeline is a joyful curation of customers who are organically mentioning his product. The one thing that I continue to notice about the persistence of the brand’s founder / CEO / and chief promoter? The authenticity.

For those who don’t know, Bevel is a shaving system for men of color. It has since crossed over into the mainstream of men who want premium shaving equipment. After a recent Series B, the brand raised its tally to $30M over three rounds. The brand’s closest competitors? Harry’s Grooming and (tangentially) Dollar Shave Club, though Bevel competes at a much higher price point.

Everything about Walker’s brand and its target demo aligns: his Queens background, his liberal politics, his hip hop associations, his Ben Horowitz tutelage, his strategic investors, the inclusivity of his team, and his no frills personality (one that counters his post-Queens, elite prep high school career and Stanford MBA).

Serendipity happens when luck meets preparation. And Walker has prepared. Step one: Nas becomes a strategic investor in 2014. Step two: early in 2016, D.J. Khaled (you know, the Major 🔑 guy) signs a lucrative exclusive deal with Apple Music. Step three: summer of 2016, Khaled releases his first streaming project. Step four: Bevel investor, legend, and Khaled collaborator releases the most memorable record on the Khaled album. Step five: he mentions Bevel. Step six: Khaled amplifies the popular line through his Snapchat channel.”

The ensuing explosion in brand interest happened on June 29, moments after consumers woke up to tune into Apple Music’s latest exclusive product. “My signature fade with the Bevel blade, that’s a major key.” And like a rocket, the brand seem to enjoy a new life in the pop cultural lexicon.

I’ve watched the word ‘Bevel’ become synonymous for premium hair care, an issue that men of color are wiling to pay dearly for: “If I pay $35 for a hair cut, it better be a Bevel cut!” This quote from one of the many videos distributed across Snapchat, Facebook, and, Twitter as black barber shops (meccas of influence and black entrepreneurial success) began using their recently shipped patented electric trimmers, an amazing innovation for such a young company.

If just one element of Bevel’s existence were different, the brand wouldn’t be experiencing the float that it’s currently enjoying. It’s the type of float that becomes a longterm, new-normal. Harry’s Grooming has raised 12.5x more than it’s emboldened challenger. But it seems that they Bevel has the one thing that money cannot buy. And oh, the trimmers are currently backordered.

See more of the issue here.

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