An advert popped up on my Facebook feed not so long ago that I felt compelled to click.
The link took me to a page telling me how to slim my wallet. My interest was piqued.
A Marketing Tangent
I love cycling. But I also have an unhealthy obsession with stationery, notebooks, small bags, wallets… basically anything remotely petite and ‘practical’. My Dad confessed to me some years ago that he is always drawn to the stationery aisle in supermarkets, despite not having a need for anything there. So I can pass off this unusual organisational fetish of mine as genetic – there’s nothing I can do, it’s part of my DNA.
Anyway, that advertisement had left me on Bellroy’s website. They were telling me how to slim down my wallet, and I was engrossed. Bellroy were one of a select few brands who had made marketing fun.
It often bamboozles me how terrible most advertising is. Marketing is another interest of mine, so it doesn’t half annoy me when ‘professionals’ consistently get it drastically wrong, especially with unnecessarily insisting upon the hard sell and really generic campaigns.
Yet here were Bellroy, selling wallets. Which, I think it’s fair to say, are – to most people – not the most exciting of products. It would have been easy for their marketing team to have come up with a bland campaign with a pretty picture of a wallet, some metaphorical spiel about how this wallet will make you rich and handsome, with some hot super model drooling over you.
But Bellroy rose to the challenge. They pumped their website full of fantastic content about how you can slim down your wallet (as well as a informative posts on how to travel light and leather care tips), while also displaying their own range, and subsequently helping you to find which product would be best suited to your own needs. By the time I left the website, I felt fully informed on which wallet(s) I needed.
Bellroy is a brand oozing charisma. They clearly thrive on producing top quality products and their products cover everything everyday wallets to travel wallets, as well as wallets designed to withstand the great outdoors.
I gave the Elements Sleeve a run out first, with my primary ambition being to reduce the amount of unnecessary clutter in my wallet. Ruthlessly, I discarded anything non-essential in my previous wallet, as Bellroy had recommended. Out went my Nectar card (must admit I should have cleared this out a lot earlier – the nearest Sainsbury’s store is over 1000 miles away from where I live…), my NI Card, a fair few receipts and a gang of loose change. Surviving the cuts were my driving licence, debit card, credit card and a few notes. Stage one complete.
The Elements Sleeve comes with two main storage slots, one front, slightly smaller one, perfect for notes, and a slightly larger rear one, ideal for cards (although I managed to whittle my essential cards down to just three, you can squeeze in five or six). After a few weeks of use, I enjoyed having a slimmer wallet and, with that, a slimmer pocket.
I must confess at this point, though, that it was not until writing this review, and giving the wallet a closer inspection, that I noticed there is one other splendid feature of this wallet. On the tongue of the wallet is a black tab. Now, I had presumed this was simply to lift up the tongue to access your cash, as well as prevent water and dirt getting into your wallet. But here lies a secret component that provides quick access to your cards. Simply pull the black tab and it will lift your cards about one-third out of the wallet to make getting what you need out much easier (as you can see in the video below). And, what’s more, pulling this tab out then provides you with a space for a standard house key or small lock key to be stored in the back of the wallet – although it should be said that getting this key out again can be rather fiddly.
The one slight problem I’ve had with a slimmer wallet has been storing coins. While you can throw a few in the front pouch of the wallet, carrying around your coppers really isn’t ideal. However, to combat this, I’ve subsequently started making a conscientious effort to start saving my shrapnel at home, using only pound coins and Euros on my travels. I might even buy a new bike with the money I save up…
Something that can’t be questioned with the Bellroy wallets is the quality of the material. Their entire range is made from ‘premium full-grain vegetable tanned leathers’ and manufactured ‘under world-class environmental stewardship standards’, which all sounds very fancy. What is translates to, though, is an exceptionally well-made product that is water resistant. Bellroy are so confident of the quality of their products, that they even provide a three-year warranty.
At £49, this wallet isn’t cheap. However, the quality shines through, and with a three-year warranty, you can be sure it will turn out to be a solid investment.
If you’re not so keen on minimalising the contents of your wallet, or are looking for something a bit more secure, the Elements Pocket may be of greater interest.
You can fit up to 12 cards in the Pocket, along with more coins, notes, and there’s also designated space for a house/bike key and a micro SIM card. So you can carry pretty much whatever you want with the Pocket, which has a zip going around three sides of the wallet.
Again, the wallet is made from high-quality leather and is water and weather resistant. This wallet really does feel suited to an active lifestyle, combining compactness with durability, security and practicality.
The Elements Pocket weighs in at a slightly heavier £65, but again, the quality and style is undeniable. It may well even prove to be false economy to buy cheaper wallets that you have to replace once a year when you can get a three-year warranty on the Bellroy range.