Change the world. Sell shampoo. – SCN Encourager 4/16/2014

Sometimes my journey toward average stalls out.

And it’s usually one of my quick know-it-all leaps to yet another not-too-well-thought-out conclusion that causes the hiccup.

Unfortunately, I brain-blundered again while listening to a podcast late Monday night.

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 3.19.47 PMTristan Walker grew up without a father in the projects of Queens, New York.

He worked his way through school and made his mark on Wall Street.

Tristan recently closed a multi-million dollar deal with venture capitalists to fund his new “hair care and styling products” start-up and he was being interviewed by graduate students in the Stanford Business School program.

If you’re wondering why I was even listening to this podcast, so was I.

While there’s only the remote .0075% chance that the phrase “multi-million dollar deal” would ever be used in the same paragraph with my name, there’s absolutely no chance that that the word “style” would be associated with me, either.

There there was no good reason for me to keep listening.

I was about to turn it off when Tristan said his new company was about to take a stand for dignity and respect for minorities in the marketplace by launching a fresh line of shampoo and shave cream.

Huh? (I doubted this statement from the get-go, thus creating the trouble for myself…)

Was he kidding?  What kind of knucklehead would buy into this tale that introducing a new brand of toiletries could change the world for thousands of people of color?

Not me. I may be a knucklehead, but I’m not this gullible.

Then Tristan continued.

He spoke about growing up poor and shopping at small corner party/grocery store in his urban neighborhood. He hated how the grooming and personal care products for African-Americans were relegated to aisle 14 way in the back of the store on the bottom two shelves.

He then described his excitement when a big national chain drugstore opened its doors right down the block from his apartment when he was about 12 or 13 years-old.

He was almost giddy when he entered the store for the first time with a few dollars in his pocket and a short shopping list from his mother.

But the good feeling faded quickly… as found himself wandering toward the back of the store… all the way to aisle 15 in his search for his mother’s shampoo and hair jell.

To his dismay, the grooming products section for African-Americans were still displayed on the lower two shelves… and this time, the products were dirty and dusty to boot.

So, this was the reality that Tristan set his heart and mind on changing at a young age.

Maybe some people wouldn’t understand how particular store displays, dust and dirt, and inconvenient product placements could demean and hurt others, but he did.

And through his company, he would make a difference.

With a vision, a higher purpose, funding in the bank, and a growing bevy of retailers requesting to stock his attractively packaged grooming products, Tristan Walker’s entrepreneurial dream is now on the speedy-kwik fast track.

Pretty cool, don’tcha think?

Yeah, things don’t zip by as rapidly for me in the “journey toward average” lane.

But I’m not complaining.

High speed actually doesn’t help my typing, spelling, punctuation, and grammar skills.

The steady plodding pace is my built-in quality control. (Well, sort of…)

Tom Page, SCN
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