Updated 2019: I was going through some old articles and found this one. I thought I'd share a picture of the wallet, 3.5 years later. This little guy is still going strong. I've also purchased other items from Recycled Firefighter in that time. Great brand.
A follower of Wolf and Iron recommended I check out the manly line of products offered by Recycled Firefighter. Jake Starr, firefighter and founder, struck on a brilliant idea: turn used, ultra-durable fire hose into great looking and super-durable wallets, belts, and bags. The result is pretty fantastic and Mr. Starr has seen a good deal of success from his unique brand.
As an aside, checking out Recycled Firefighter couldn’t have come at a better time for me. I am starting up a side project Rustic and Main which means I am getting into the daunting world of eCommerce. I chose Shopify as my platform and have really been pleased. About a week after I received my Sergeant wallet, Shopify released a podcast with Jake Starr talking about his experience and success. If you’re an entrepreneur you’ll get a lot from this episode.
A Rugged and Handsome Wallet Design
One thing is clear about the Recycled Firefighter wallet: it is tough. As expected, the fire hose is thick and durable and the stitching is very solid. All of the color combinations are really well done (see them on their website) and contrast very nicely. The Sergeant has a taut elastic strap on the back of the wallet for securing cash or checks. I was actually worried about carrying checks with the strap, thinking they would either get worn out by rubbing or just work themselves loose, but the strap worked as designed.
The biggest challenge for me was going from my near-Costanza sized leather billfold to something much smaller. Although my wallet was packed with cards which I rarely, if ever, used, I was still worried about not having them available.
However, I found that having limited wallet space works a lot like time-boxing. With time-boxing, you purposely limit your time to perform certain tasks. This pressure enforces the elimination of wasted time and brings more efficiency to your efforts. The same seems to be true with limiting your wallet space as there are likely a number of items you are carrying around that you really don’t need on a daily basis.
Your Butt Will Thank You
Prior to The Sergeant I had become used to taking out my bulky wallet before sitting down. At work, in the car, at the movies…it is pretty ridiculous actually. If I didn’t, my butt would get sore and my back would get messed up. With The Sergeant being so slim, it’s almost unnoticeable. I found myself reaching to my back pocket to make sure I didn’t forget my wallet.
When I first opened up The Sergeant, my 16 year-old son, Harvey, was pretty taken with it. For him, it is more than perfect as he doesn’t have much to carry around. I was surprised that it would be such a good fit for me but it worked out pretty well. I eliminated a number of cards I really didn’t need to have on my person at all times, and was surprised to see the bold colors got people asking, “What kind of wallet is that?“.
If I had to offer some design improvements I might suggest a separate section for business cards. I’m not sure how that would work practically, but this has always been a challenge with any wallet.
For those looking for a larger, traditional billfold design, Recycled Firefighter has one in the works called “The Captain”. Check out their Instagram page to keep up with the latest on designs and giveaways.