The Making Of Wendy – a handmade leather phone wallet wristlet

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A Leather Wallet Or A Leather Phone Case?

Sometimes when you set out to make a hybrid anything, compromises in design and functionality make it into the first or second sentence of the collaboration discussion.  Did the designers start with a wallet and try to accommodate a phone or was it first a phone case upon which was added some slots for cards and folding money? However, every once in a while, designers can truly sit down without bias or preconceptions as say, “let’s create the most stylish and functional accessory that will allow a person to grab and go and have everything they need when traveling light.”  That’s just what happened in the making of Wendy, a handmade leather phone wristlet by Embrazio.

What Is Really Required In A Phone Wallet Wristlet

A great way to start the design session is to lay out everything the average person would need to carry during the day or an evening out.  Our list included credit/debit cards, driver’s licenses, cash, change (not that you need it but somehow you always have it!), cell phone, lipstick, keys, maybe a little eyeliner, some tissues perhaps, and eye drops and breath mints.  We had a few other things but quickly decided those required a purse/bag.  Next, we cut our list down.  So, find a tissue somewhere else, grab a breath mint when you leave the restaurant, eye drops can go in a pocket or put ‘em in your eyes just before going out and hope they last.  Keys are a must but most are on a ring that can go in a pocket or clip to something you’re carrying or wearing.     

That leaves us with what we call the essentials.  Now the fun begins, and we always like to start with style and quality and then improve for functionality.  So, premium leather with a rich texture will form the body, metal zippers for a little shine, and a long handmade leather zipper pull with detailed stitching makes for a good start on the exterior.  Functionally on the exterior, we need a comfy leather wristlet that’s detachable in case one wants just a wallet exterior.  

Details Complement Premium Leather

Inside we’ll add more detailed stitching and a deeply embossed hot stamp of our logo.  The mandatory credit card and license slots will be there as well as a long slot for cash, receipts, whatever.  Another long-zippered pocket will hold coins, earrings, or whatever small things we need to contain.  

We’ll need a range of colors starting with black and brown of course.  For a little more flash we’ll add metallic gold and silver and a deep blue red.  Then we’ll round out the color choices with a light cognac and a darker coffee tone for those that like a traditional leather look.

What About That Pesky Phone

Now for the hard part.  How do we design a stylish AND functional way to carry one’s phone.  After all, how many form functions are there in phone land these days?  Whatever we come up with needs to secure the phone but also make for easy retrieval and, of course, we need to be able to hear the phone ring.  

After many different ideas, designs, trials, and tests, we came up with a new and novel solution …  the stretchy and form fitting leather sleeve.  By using a slightly thinner piece of high quality leather, held at the corners by a thick solid stitch for both style and function, we found we could accommodate almost all common phone forms and sizes.  An even more exciting discovery was that the leather will conform to fit your particular phone after just a few days of use and wear.    

If you’re not carrying your phone, the leather sleeve simply lays flat for an even slimmer look and feel.  In between the sleeve and the card slots is plenty of room for those little extras like lipstick that are also held securely by the exterior zipper.  With these issues addressed, we only had one more critical component to add.

The “It’s Mine” Factor

For each of our accessories, whether bag, belt, or jewelry, we like to keep designing until we create that “it’s mine” not yours feeling.  It’s the feeling you get when you slide into that favorite leather jacket you’ve had for years, drop down into your chair that no one else is allowed to sit in, or slip into those old loafers that let you know you’re entering “down time.”  

With the Wendy, we hit the “it’s mine” button when we added just a bit of cushion beneath the leather exterior.  That little addition creates a friendly squeeze and a smile when you pick up the wallet.  It almost feels like a handshake from an old and trusted friend.  At that point, we knew we were ready to introduce Wendy to the world not just as a new product but also as a new personal treasure that would just get better and better with age and wear.    

About the author: The above article was written by Scott Schaefer, co-founder – Embrazio. Embrazio is a leather and jewelry accessories company based in Boulder, CO. Scott and his wife, Stephanie Boyles, started Embrazio in 2012 and the line is now carried by over 300 retail boutiques primarily in the US.

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