The Kickstarter community seems to fund every wallet imaginable, which makes it hard to find something online that's simple, and built to last.
Often these wallets have gimmicky features to try to stand out from the hundreds of other wallets trying to get funded, and I don't have any interest in any of them. At the end of the day, I want a small wallet that fits in my front pocket with a simple design (bonus points for developing a nice patina over time).
Turns out cloudandco did exactly that with their wallets in the cac studio collection. It comes in two styles, four colors (Light Gray, Coral, Apricot, and Lilac) and is made by an artisan leathermaker in Korea with over 30 years of experience.
They sent me the cardholder and the wallet in both grey and natural leather to check out, so I'll be going over both designs in detail.
The first thing I noticed when getting these wallets was how unique the packaging was. Each wallet comes in a little capsule made of recycled paper with a sticker indicating the color of the wallet, and some debossed information about the product.
Like packaging on their other products, each wallet comes wrapped in a ghosted vellum sheet with details on the construction and design.
Once you open the package, you'll find each wallet wrapped in a small cloth bag.
Each wallet has a very fine texture, showcasing the quality of the leather. There is a backward 5 debossed into each, but I'm not sure if this is unique to the wallet or a mark that has to do with the cloudandco brand.
The critical differentiator in the Capsule wallet lies in its design and construction details. If you look closely, you'll find zero visible stitching throughout the entire product. The edges are painted to match the color of the wallet, giving it a seamless look from all angles.
Once opened, you'll find an equally minimal inside, with four slots to hold a few cards.
They offer four colors for each wallet, but my favorite has to be the natural leather.
I know leather objects can be a bit controversial, but the natural patina over time is undeniable.
It's always shocking to see just how dark natural leather becomes, but here is an example of a belt I've owned for the last seven years to illustrate the difference between something new and aged.
One thing to note about the top of the wallet is that the cash area is split into two different compartments—get used to folding your bills.
Next up is the more minimal, cardholder version of the wallet for those who don't need the larger fold-out version.
I typically only have three cards on me at any given time and rarely have cash on me, so this design seems more suitable for my use.
While both versions of the wallet are thin, this version is really thin.
The cardholder has two staggered slots; I prefer using the front space for cards that I often access.
While these wallets may look minimal in appearance, underneath that simple exterior has up to 13 layers of construction.
The team at cloudandco doesn't know this, but I started minimalgoods once I purchased and fell in love with the design of their Bottle Humidifier (it's the first thing I posted on Instagram back in 2016). Their products instilled a desire in me to seek out other beautiful objects with a similar aesthetic, and I've been having a blast curating objects daily on Instagram every since.
This wallet feels painstakingly thought through, and the construction quality is top-notch. The cardholder in natural leather is exactly what I've been looking for in a wallet, and I can't wait for the patina to develop over time.
It looks like stockists are somewhat limited right now, but you can pick one up over at Leibal
Words from designer Yeongkyu Yoo
These days, products tend to be fast. They are not only cheap but also cheaply made, driven by the business aspect of the operation. As we consume these kinds of products, their lifespan becomes increasingly shorter — we easily grow tired of them, and end up disposing them quicker with every purchase. It is not a surprise that with such a product cycle, slow and artisanal craftsmanship is deemed inefficient, or even old-fashioned in contrast to the modern assembly line. There is no room for tradition on the shelves. Masters cannot afford to offer apprenticeship, so their experience and practice are bound towards extinction. Although I acknowledge the great influence that technology has had on the mobile production industry, I also cannot deny its counter impact on makers. If we continue this way, it is certain that their dedication and experience will not live on.
To sustain the spirit of quality object making, cac studio collection collaborates with makers with a great amount of experience in both hands-on work and advanced manufacturing.
If you're perhaps looking for something cheaper (but way bulkier), check out the Ekster Wallet.
Update: 2 years later
I'm a bit sad to say that after daily use over a period of about 2 years, the stitching and glue has started to fall apart at the edges.
At first I thought it might have just been an issue with the wallet I've been using, but after checking with my friend who was using the grey wallet in the photos above, he confirmed that his was falling apart as well.
Just a heads up for anyone looking to make this purchase—don't expect something robust like others on the market.