I first learned about Bevel in early 2015 from their advertising on Facebook. My initial experience with the company was as an enthusiastic follower of their BevelCode.com blog — reposting and promoting their stories. Their website, articles, and photography are exceptional. I especially like the Bevel interviews. I’d not used their shaving system, but found the design of the razor and products visually exquisite.
Last week, on Monday, I ordered their shaving kit. They were having a special offer that included the kit with one month of supplies for free. You can get the same offer here:
Within two days, my shaving kit arrived. I was really surprised by the fast delivery. The quality of the kit is something you’d expect to see in a luxury department store or in-flight-magazine for $150. So, for the initial cost of about $7 in shipping, I was really impressed. It was in a premium gift box wrapped in Walker & Co. gift tissue paper. There was a card with a note from Tristan Walker that seemed to have been signed by him with pen — at least the ink strokes didn’t look printed. (See below where Tristan Tweeted a response to this article and confirmed the cards are signed by him.)
Tristan Walker, the founder of Bevel, is the inspiring young entrepreneur behind Walker & Company Brands. Two days ago, in an interview with USA Today, Tristan talked about how he was recently able to raise $24 million in venture capital from angel investors, and he also got Target to agree to start selling his product line in their stores. For a 2-year-old company and young business man, this is quite an accomplishment.
Here are some initial impressions about the product and company.
- Customer Rewards. Bevel recently launched a customer rewards program. It’s based on customers telling customers. When you signup with Bevel, you’ll get a website link to share with friends. When they signup, they will get a month of products free, and you’ll get rewarded as well.
- Customer Service. I’ve contacted Bevel customer service and promptly received very helpful and supportive responses. They use Zendesk.com as the platform for their customer service. This is another example of how they are doing everything with excellence and following best practices.
- Disposable Culture. We live in a culture where just about everything is meant to be thrown away. It’s assumed that products will break or wear out and be replaced by new ones. Perhaps a new product design makes the old one obsolete. The Bevel shaver disrupts this trend. It’s an exceptionally designed heirloom-quality product that could easily be handed down from one generation to the next. This is an aspect of using their products that causes a person to take pause and reflect. Should our things (and our life experiences) be of solid, durable, and enduring quality? It’s hard not to begin thinking that this is the way life is supposed to be — of enduring quality.
- New Experience. I’ve never really looked forward to shaving. I never gave it much thought. It’s something I would do quickly in the morning so I can get on with my day. The Bevel shaving system creates an experience that’s meant to be enjoyed. Now I look forward to shaving, and take my time. With Bevel, it’s a relaxing and grounding part of my morning routine.
- Priming Oil. The priming oil feels soothing on the skin and has a subtle fragrance that reminds me of the oil used in barber shops 50 years ago. You can feel your skin and stubble soften when applying the oil.
- Shaving Brush. When you wet the badger bristle brush, it smells like a wet badger — very wild and outdoorsy. The smell isn’t so strong after the first week.
- Shaving Cream. Mixed with the shaving cream, the brush does an excellent job of preparing for a close shave. A small amount of the shaving cream makes a very nice lather.
- Shaver Safety Razor. I was nervous about scraping a sharp blade against my skin, but amazingly it felt better than any other razor I’d ever used.
- Restoring Balm. After shaving, the restoring balm (lotion) helps sooth the skin. It has a faint menthol fragrance.
- Of the Future – From the Past. The shaver is one of the nicest I’ve ever seen. It has a futuristic high-tech design and feel, yet it’s drawing from an old tradition of razor design. In the old design of safety razor, the metal handles are typically cross hatched and rough which is supposed to make them easier to grip when wet. The Bevel somehow manages to have reassuring gripability while at the same time being smooth. You’ll be impressed with how water beads up and flows off the handle and razor head. It reminds me of the super-hydrophobic laser developed metals developed at Rochester University.
- Patent Wars. I was fascinating to learn that Bevel was founded in part as a response to patent issues that were creating poorer and poorer shaving products over time. After the traditional safety razor patent expired, the market became saturated. Companies looked for greater profits by making new patented razor designs. Marketing helped promote these new designs, even though they don’t necessarily work as well. You can read more on the GetBevel.com website.
- Photography. As a photographer, I’ve been really impressed with the product photos, portraits, and other photography used on the Bevel websites (product site and magazine site).
- Positive Portrayals for People of Color. Popular media and news networks propagate an inaccurate and derogatory portrayal of black men through images that are disproportionately negative. The marketing done by Bevel reinforces positive portrayals of black men that help counteract the negativity in the media. I think this is really important.
- Product Design. The Bevel product packaging has a texture/touch that comes from a unique matt finish. The colors are soothing, soft, strong, clarifying, and grounding. The fonts used are elegant and precise. Overall — impressive.
- Sustainable. By using a permanent metal shaver with steel recyclable blades, the Bevel system is one of the most sustainable shavers available today.
Bevel is doing some really inspiring and innovative work with product design, customer service, marketing, social media, photography, content writing, website design, promotions, and community engagement.
If you’re involved in any of these areas, you should checkout their products and company. Every facet of their products and service is exceptional. By interacting with the company, and using the products, one learns to internalize best practices.
If you decide to purchase some of their products, feel free to use my referral code for a great discount:
The Walker & Co. values are an encouraging departure from business as usual:
COURAGE. Our vision requires the courage and conviction to believe that we will build a great company that changes the world.
INSPIRATION. Inspiration is in the soul of everything we make and sell. A laser focus and attention to craft, to detail, to colors, to ingredients, to experience. Our success requires it.
RESPECT. Our community requires and deserves our respect. They’re the reason we can be inspired and excited to come to work every single day.
JUDGMENT. We are our brands. We are responsible for every single action we take, everything we deliver to consumers’ homes and every single interaction they have with us.
WELLNESS. We eat well, we sleep well, we keep fit and we care to help and support each other and our families.
LOYALTY. We are loyal to a great workplace and team. We are committed to building a great, lasting company for the long term. We’re playing to win and will give it the effort and focus it deserves.
Nice Note from Tristan Walker
Minutes after this article was posted, I got a nice note on Twitter from Tristan Walker (see below) in which he confirmed that those cards in the gift boxes are actually signed by him.
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