Tristan Walker launches FORM to make it easier for women of color to manage their hair – TechCrunch
Growing up, my hair was always a source of frustration, pain and embarrassment. Part of that was because there were very few products made for people like me, with naturally curly and kinky hair. Hence why I just dropped about $140, tax included, on Walker & Company Brands’ latest line of products, FORM.
FORM Beauty markets itself as being for all women, but it’s worth pointing out that since the inception of Walker & Co Brands, the goal has been to make health and beauty products better for people of color.
The company, which has raised $33.3 million in venture funding, has been seemingly successful in the consumer packaged goods market, despite some people not really understanding how big of a market the company is going after. For its first line of products, the Bevel Shave System geared toward men of color, Walker & Co Brands closed a deal with Target, and other retailers, to sell Bevel inside retail stores.
With FORM, the plan isn’t to also bring those products inside Target. Instead, Walker & Co Brands Founder and CEO Tristan Walker told me, his company has another retail partner on board, which he said he’ll tell us more about over the summer.
My FORM process kicked off with an online hair consultation, in which I answered questions about how often I wash my hair, what kind of products I use to wash it, what I use as a leave-in conditioner (oil versus cream, etc.), if I use any chemical processes and if I experience any type of hair breakage or frizz.
By the end of my consultation, FORM suggested the products in its line that may best for me, which included a detoxing shampoo, a gentle shampoo, a restorative conditioner, a three-in-one leave-in lotion, elongating curl creme and moisture-sealing pomade. I bought all of the suggested products, so be on the lookout for a review once I’ve received the products and have used them for a little while.
FORM’s full collection includes ten products, ranging from $22 to $32 each. The idea is that all women, no matter what their race or hair texture, will be able to find something that works for them.
For some context into black hair care, the market had sales of about $2.7 billion in 2015, not including hair accessories and things like wigs, weaves and extensions, according to Mintel. And the spending power of black consumers is expected to reach $1.3 trillion this year, according to a 2013 Nielsen report.
This summer, FORM Beauty will unveil a tool to enable customers to better understand their hair. FORM’s Microscope Analysis Process (MAP) will study your hair strands to determine your hair needs and provide a more personalized recommendation. This makes me think of 23andMe DNA analysis but for your hair.
Last March, Walker joined me on Bullish, my talk show about tech and whatnot, and he mentioned that, contrary to mainstream belief, what Walker Co & Brands is targeting is not a “niche opportunity.”
“We’re targeting a consumer group that’s the majority of the world, if you think about black, Latino, Asian consumers,” Walker said. And by 2040, they’ll make up the majority of the U.S. Walker went on to say that what he’s doing is actually the opposite of niche.
There are, of course, other products available for women of color. Products I currently use include DevaCurl’s shampoo and Motions Weightless Daily Oil Moisturizer. The products seem to do the trick for me, but something tells me that my hair could look and feel even better. It’s possible that I’m just a sucker for marketing, but I figure I have nothing to lose by giving FORM a try.
“While other brands focus on a single texture, a single styling process, or even a single ethnicity, FORM is unique in that it was inclusive in it works great for hair of all textures and styling processes,” Walker Co & Brands Director of Brand Cassidy Blackwell told me. “Additionally many brands may use a hero ingredient to drive their innovation, but with FORM we placed a purposeful emphasis on the entire formulation, ensuring that not only does the entire formula actively work to help the hair feel healthier, but also that the products in the entire collection work in harmony with one another.”