Vegan Wallets! Are you mad?
Keep going and prove your sceptics wrong
Wallets are one of the most popular items in men’s fashion accessories, and is it any wonder? Men have very few ways in which they can express their individual style and a wallet is certainly a way for a guy to do that.
When we started this business, we were going to use animal leather and at that time, nobody had an objection to us producing leather wallets. Then, things took a turn. I wanted to drop the whole idea of leather, I went vegan and I wanted to make vegan wallets instead.
“So surely, ALL men, regardless of their lifestyle choice, have the
right to carry a beautifully made wallet, right?”
I set about researching the vegan wallet and accessories space and the first thing that struck me was the amount of cork options for men. Fabric and cork and lots of it. My first thought was ‘what if you don’t like cork?’. What if you want a more traditional wallet, which is smart, well made and comparable with the leather ones you used to carry?
My enthusiasm wasn’t shared, and I was hit with a lot of scepticism. Friends and family said, ‘there isn’t a demand’, ‘maybe vegan men don’t want that’ ‘maybe the market is too small’. Honestly, some people thought I was mad.
I wasn’t deterred. I found it inconceivable that you couldn’t buy a luxury, well-made vegan leather wallet in the UK which had the same level of quality as an animal leather wallet. It made absolutely no sense and I knew right then that I had to do something about it.
Most vegans don’t stop eating meat because they dislike the taste. And it isn’t the look and feel of leather that is the problem, it’s where it’s comes from and how it came to be. So, what if I could produce a 100% cruelty free wallet which looked and felt like a leather one?
As the weeks went by, the design and finish of the wallets evolved. I learnt very quickly that most PU leathers squeak. If you rub the material in your fingers, you hear plastic and it doesn’t sound very luxurious. Maybe this was the reason for using so much cork and fabric. Many of the materials we tested were unsuitable; too stretchy, not enough stretch, too shiny, too thin, the list goes on.
The search for the right external material took months and just when I thought it didn’t exist, we found it. A beautifully soft, smooth, lightly grained material which not only looked and felt like real leather, but it didn’t squeak! What is more, it is 50% more sustainable compared to other PU leathers. You can see more details here.
I was totally convinced that we could produce a vegan wallet that was unlike anything on the market.
And we did.
But more than this. We are also making one of the most sustainable wallets on the market too. Lined with high quality fabric made from 100% recycled plastic bottles, we have made every consideration to lower the footprint of the collection wherever possible. Even the zip tape on our travel wallets is made from recycled bottles.
Move forward ten months and the first wallets were despatched.
That was three months ago and since then, the response we have had has been overwhelming. And I am more committed than ever to making Watson & Wolfe your go to luxury, sustainable accessories brand.
If you believe in something, follow your instinct and don’t be deterred by the sceptics.