Even before closing out merger negotiations with Procter & Gamble, Tristan Walker had already put in a bid for a home in Atlanta in an act of equal parts good faith and muscle memory. He remembered coming to the city in 2008, and predicting its ecosystem explosion based off an energy that he says still fuels every sector from start-ups to tech. So, instead of moving the Silicon Valley-based Walker & Co. to P&G’s headquarters in Cincinnati, Atlanta is where you’ll find the CEO, his flagship brands Bevel and Form and his coveted cultural cache.
Reverse Migration / What’s really important to me and the reason I started Walker & Co. is to serve us; serve us by developing a suite of products that work for us, that speaks our language and really celebrates what our community means to the world. Not only our buying power, but our cultural influence. When I think about a place where we can meet these consumers face to face, it’s Atlanta. Atlanta has been our best city from a sales perspective not only for online sales but also retail sales, and the city has shown us so much love. It was important for me that we met Atlanta where it was and gave back some of that support.
Warm Reception / When we announced our merger with Procter and Gamble, the biggest part of that press was really about the move. I spent the last 10 years of my life in Silicon Valley really doing a lot to help show people the power of technology and our potential influence on it. The move surprised a lot of people, because they thought, ‘he’s going to be in Silicon Valley forever.’ But again, what’s important to me is doing what’s in the best interest of not only my company and its consumers, but also my family. And it really matters to be in a place where people looked like me that believe in the same things that I do, with an appreciation for the things that we do and what we will become. We were welcomed with open arms.
Advantage Point / How folks should think about this is from a position of advantage. Coalescing family and blackness and the density of genius is the advantage. For the last 10 years and beyond a lot of the migrations have been to coastal cities, where the job opportunities and industry trends are thought to be. Now, I think people are going to realize how important community is to that equation in an environment that’s charged with potential division. In these times, all we can do is commune together and support each other with our economic empowerment. All those things put us at an advantage and that advantage scales.
Get in, Fit in / The most important piece of this is that this is not a situation where we try to come to Atlanta and make our own version of impact. We are coming to the cultural mecca of the world to listen and learn. We’ll spend the next year getting to know the city and the people within it … and figure out where we can helpful. I am fortunate and blessed that Atlanta is inviting us home.