I am an avid cyclist and have always been aware of how many used bicycle innertubes get thrown into our landfills and decided to do something about it. I created my first kickstarter project last fall "small messenger bag made from used bicycle innertubes" to enable me to get an industrial sewing machine. My project was a success and I purchased the machine and fulfilled all of my rewards, shipping bags domestically and to about 12 other countries. I had great feedback from them and the messenger bag seems to be a success. I started a little company called Stradasoul and have branched into other products all made from used bicycle innertubes, including purses, dog collars and leashes and bicycle bags.
One of the products that I was getting asked for time and time again is a nice mens wallet. I started the process of creating a good workable pattern by creating several prototypes. I started trying to make a billfold but wasn't happy with the quality and being able to reproduce it in quanity with the tolerances necessary to make a good functioning wallet. I went through multiple iterations of billfolds, half bill folds, three and four pocket cardholders etc. I tested my prototypes by carrying them for several weeks and using them daily to find the weaknesses and limitations of each.
I finally settled on the design you see here.
I have 10 local shops saving used innertubes for me. I pick them up weekly and process them. I split them open wash them and buff them and then cut and sew them into a small simple minimalist wallet that is perfect for front pocket carry. The innate stretchiness of the material allows it to securely hold 1 to 8 cards per side while still allowing them to be readily accessed but not fall out when the wallet is turned upside down.
It also holds cash... you simply fold it into quarters and slide into in one of the pockets in front of your I.D. or credit cards. :) The material has a similar heft and feel as leather but will not be affected by sweat or water. It is a vegan material for those of you that choose to not use leather for that reason. It is a recycled material allowing us to reuse something that would otherwise take up space in our landfill. I have been using my prototype daily for months now and it looks like it did the day I started using it and should hold up for years of constant use. As you can see by the white manufacturing lettering on my prototype each tube varies slightly with markings and patterns, patches, and lettering. I can accommodate your requests on rewards of simple black or markings etc.
I currently have a large industrial sewing machine but am coming to kickstarter for your help I would like to purchase a smaller lighter duty machine that would be perfect for the finer sewing required on the wallet. I'm also looking to have a custom stencil made so that I can paint the logo on the wallets instead of adding the extra bulk of a fabric label.
I do all the cutting processing and sewing myself onsite in Hayden Idaho. I have the cutting and sewing process streamlined to the point I can produce about 10 wallets an hour by myself. This process will go faster with the new lighter duty machine. I have the ability to complete aprox 1500 wallets within the promised reward date.
If I needed to exceed that amount I have a couple local sewing shops that I could bring on board to complete the additional wallets on time. I have several thousand innertubes stockpiled and have more coming in every week so raw materials will not be an issue at all.
I also try to do all my innertube pick ups by bicycle when possible. I pull a trailer and am usually helped by Romeo my 3 month old dachshund :)
***** UPDATE #2 NEW REWARDS!!*****
I thought long and hard about a stretch goal or some new rewards. I've heard from a lot of you and weighed my options and I'm going to stick with simple and focused. My goal was to raise enough funds for a new light duty sewing machine and a nice logo stencil and with your help we are already there. I went through a lot of prototypes coming up with what I believe is a simple elegant minimialist wallet from a great material...and I don't want to mess with that by adding any extras to it. The additional funds received over goal will go towards a little nicer sewing machine than I was initially hoping for and heck if we go high enough maybe a new cargo bike to help with my inner tube gathering :) I have listened to you though and am adding a new reward....its going to be a very limited run due to the rarity of the colored tubes (I get maybe one pinstriped tube for every 500 standard tubes!), but for those of you that like a little splash of color to your "basic black" here are the "go-fast pinstriped wallets" :) Enjoy! There will be 5 wallets available in 5 pinstriped color choices, lavendar, yellow, blue, white, and orange. A single pinstripe vertically up the center of the wallet on both sides. You might also notice the rounded corner on the upper right. I think its more asthetically pleasing (radiused to the same size as a 1963 Ben Franklin liberty bell silver half dollar.. in case your wondering) but will offer all wallets with either a rounded or squared corner at your preference :) Thanks again for all your support!!
*****UPDATE #3 Closing in on 400% 15 days left :) NEW pinstripe color!!!*****
I'm overjoyed with how well the project is doing and am starting to do some sewing machine window shopping :) We are now 1/2 way through the 30 day project and in celebration of that I went in search of the holy grail. I was SURE that somewhere sometime I had seen a single green pin stripe tube. My daughters and I went on a search and after moving and sorting thousands of tubes for several hours we FINALLY found it. The only green striped tube I've come across in over a year and a half of saving tubes. Its enough to make 5 wallets so I'm adding them to the rewards.....If greens your fav color then jump on one of them :) Thanks again for all your support!
Risks and challenges
One of the risks associated with a project such as this is if it gets HIGHLY overfunded will you be able to fulfill your rewards promptly? I do all the cutting and sewing myself on site and have my garage about 1/4 full of innertubes enough to make thousands of wallets. If it looks like I wont be able to meet my promised delivery date for rewards due to high demand I will bring in outside help to sew and process so that I can get everyone that supported me their wallet on time.
I have ran a successful kickstarter project before and delivered as promised and will do so again this time.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)