Designing the best travel wallets

July 28, 2015

When it comes to creating new products, you often hear the same old adage – solve a problem that you currently face.

As you may have already gathered… Jen and I love to travel. We love exploring new places, seeing new sights and tasting new food. We love that feeling of freedom you get when you land in a new location and you can do whatever and go wherever you want.

Early travel adventures, Chiang Mai, Thailand (2007)
Miyajima Island, Japan (2014)

What we do not love, is constantly fumbling around for our passports and boarding passes, with each time they are “lost” giving us both a mini heart attack!

The all too familiar scenario of frantically patting down our pockets and riffling through our hand luggage finally led to a eureka moment – we will design our own travel wallet!

As we sat together sketching out new ideas, a few key criteria came to mind:

  •         It must be secure, with a good quality zip and internal compartments
  •         It must have plenty of room inside for cards, cash and boarding passes
  •         It must be able to hold at least 2 passports

We figured a travel wallet with these features, made from our signature natural leather, would look pretty great. However, it wasn’t until we were working on a prototype that our best feature hit us (or rather hit Jen) – an external passport pocket! While a leather travel wallet with all the above listed features is great, it still didn’t adequately deal with the hassle of going through security gates. Yes, you know where you passport is (big plus – no more flapping and pocket patting), but you still have to faff around unzipping your travel wallet and taking it out the internal pocket, which is tricky whilst towing a wheelie case or humping a backpack.

With our amended design, the problem was solved! When travelling to the airport and checking in, keep your passport and boarding pass safely tucked away in the internal pocket. When going through the numerous security and ticket checks – keep them in the super handy external pocket. Once you’re happily on the plane – tuck them away safe and secure.

It might seem pretty simple, and not exactly ground-breaking idea, however, our customers have absolutely loved them. After being introduced last summer, our Travel Wallet (small) became our most popular product. Which just goes to show… the old adage was right – design a product that solves a problem.

Over the following months, as the sales for travel wallets kept on coming in, we got a customer email saying:

“Hey guys

Absolutely love the travel wallet – I’ve been looking for something like this for ages! Can you make a bigger one that would hold my Kindle?”

After the first email we didn’t think too much of it. However, after receiving another… and another… we knew we needed to listen. The emails weren’t just about Kindles either, people wanted somewhere safe to stash their iPad Airs and iPad Minis when they were travelling on planes and trains. People wanted to be able to put all their important, valuable stuff in one safe place – makes sense really.

We went back to the drawing board and sketched up some designs for all new leather travel wallets. We knew we wanted to create one that would hold an iPad Mini or Kindle (our new Medium), and another that would hold an iPad Air (our new Large). Once we got the dimensions down, we realised we now had more room to play with. This meant we could add even more great features, so we added:

-       a phone pocket, big enough to hold the new iPhone 6 Plus

-       a multi-purpose Velcro tab, to act as a headphone tidy or to hold your sunglasses/reading glasses

Since quietly launching these new models a few weeks ago, our customers have loved them. In fact, our Medium Travel Wallet has now become our most popular product to date!

The take home lessons from this for us, were pretty clear:

  1. design products that solve a real problem you face
  2. listen to your customers

So, what would you like to see us design next? Shoot us an email, or post in the comments below - we’d love to hear from you.





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