Wallets on Kickstarter

   07.15.14

Wallets on Kickstarter

We like to share cool Kickstarter projects here on occasion, and it’s interesting to see the platform jumpstart new manufacturing and product design businesses. There’s a few reasons this is good for gearheads; we get more variety in the items we can integrate into our day to day lives, and we can directly support small business. It’s also a place where trends emerge, especially as successful Kickstarter campaigns set precedence.

Such is the case with wallets, a vital EDC item but one that, until recently, hasn’t received quite as much interest as multitools, flashlights, or knives. An article featured on the homepage of Kickstarter today delves into the abundance of wallet makers using the crowdfunding site. The article is titled, “Why are there so many wallets on Kickstarter?” and profiles some craftspeople developing new wallet designs.

One passage I found particularly interesting was the answer to the question, “Why make wallets?” I often wonder that of anyone who chooses to develop products, particularly for markets where there’s already a saturation of makers. For Kickstarter, it’s especially interesting–why make a product that already exists in so many forms already? Why willingly have so much competition? The first to answer this was John Dimatos, who works at Kickstarter and collaborates with designers and technologists.

Dimatos is a longtime believer that wallet projects are more fascinating than they get credit for—especially when they’re used as a starting point for people who want to learn more about creating things. ‘If you wanted to make a wallet,’ he asks, ‘do you think you’d be able to figure it out? You can figure it out, right? It’s a series of actions, one after another, that if you kind of line them up, you understand how it ends up as a product.’

That, he figures, is a huge part of the appeal. It’s not that wallets are easy to create. But they’re approachable. They tend not to involve many different materials or moving parts; they’re built from a few simple pieces, folded or sewn or banded together. That makes them one step on a path that could lead creators just about anywhere. ‘Maybe their first project will be that wallet,’ says Dimatos. ‘And maybe they’ll do a second, or a third, and eventually they’ll get to one that’s riskier, more ambitious. You do the smaller things first.’

I think some of this applies to custom knifemakers, too, as the industry expands. It will be interesting to see how Kickstarter continues to impact future manufacturers. Check out the full article on Kickstarter.

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