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My Perfect Wallet, by Karl Hampson

May 05, 2014

We're shaking up our blog and we have our first article from our first guest contributor - Karl Hampson.

Karl is a director at Realise - Edinburgh (and possibly Londons) coolest digital agency responsible for websites from E4 to Tottenham Hotspur and CBS to Google. After visiting the store he wrote about his experience and relationship with the most crucial object any man owns - his wallet.

You know that sense when something is immediately right? Your brain just says "Yep, that's it exactly". Problem solved, you don't need to think about it anymore. 


I had that feeling recently at the Brotique. What is even more incredible is that the something I refer to I had long given up on finding a great answer to. It truly was a Serendipitous moment.  We all have different relationships with our wallets. To some, nothing more than pure utility. To others a major statement about taste, fashion, wealth or extra-curricula activities. At my point in life I've had a fair number of wallets and only a few a memorable.

I like quality, style, neatness and utility. Difficult to please you might think.  In the late 90's I had this amazing jet black Nicole Fahri wallet which was brilliant. It was small, beautifully made and suited my purpose as part of my West London bachelor-pad lifestyle. It forced me to cut back on how much I carried around. At times it was frustrating, I wanted to carry more but I couldn't. Still, I loved it. I loved it that is, until the finish wore off; it had a lovely sheen which was quite unique.

Then I hated it because it looked rubbish.

I recall my disappointment at being told that "We don't make that one anymore" when I tried to replace it. Suffice to say that the replacement design was just not up to it and I didn't buy it.  I thought that they had either singularly failed to realise how good the old one was or no-one else bought one and I was on my own. Either way, it was a lovely product and I wish I'd bought two.

Have you ever thought about what other people think when they look at someone else's wallet? Well no, nor have I much. But I did think a lot of things when I looked at my last wallet:

"It's too big but I don't quite know why"
"I like the way the cards don't easily fall out" (pet hate with any wallet)
"It's lasted well"
"It's OK but it can be done better"
"It has to be this full otherwise it looks empty and wrong"
"When will I find a replacement for you?"


I could go on.  Ultimately it all came down to the fact that it was just plain wrong. It had done its time but I had no replacement in sight.

And so I happened, on a business trip, to find myself in the Brotique soon after it had opened it's doors for the first time. My immediate impression was both the uniqueness and a distinct sense of quality of the products and first-rate sourcing. I  always love browsing places where the products on sale, and their presentation, are a clear reflection of the effort, enthusiasm and passion someone has expended on them... for you.

The proprietor of the Brotique, Richard, have these qualities in bucketloads. And its infectious. After brief discussion about my interests they directed me to the Bellroy Wallet display. Richard handed a wallet to me, highlighting that it was more than a wallet, it was a mindset with various actual products to fit your position within that mindset.

The idea that I'm buying a wallet based on my mindset was utterly unique and both grabbed and held onto me since that very moment. It was uniquely simple - Get rid of stuff, just carry what you need, remove things you don't regularly. It was austerity for wallets, though not in the financial "I haven't got any cash to put in it" sense.

I quickly emptied my old wallet, realised immediately what I needed and what I didn't and enjoyed carefully placing my essentials; two bank cards, two credit cards, a driving license and cash into what was to be my new wallet. 

So it is today, exactly as I filled it in the shop. The amount of cash comes and goes (all too quickly!) and the credit card receipts are promptly filed, meaning that at most times it looks, feels and is the same as it was on that day.  I love it.  One of my colleagues loved mine so much he immediately bought one on the Brotique website.


You know that sense when something feels like it can't be improved on? 

Well currently, my wallet and I do.


Karl Hampson

Director at Realise and Bellroy Convert

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