Recycled Firefighter Bunker Gear Wallets made in the USA
Recycled Firefighter Bunker Gear Wallets made in the USA
The most unique wallet you'll ever own! Made in the USA from decommissioned firefighter bunker gear. Click to learn more.
The most unique wallet you'll ever own! Made in the USA from decommissioned firefighter bunker gear. Click to learn more. Read more
Due to all the support and encouragement we've received, we will be relaunching our Kickstarter campaign in the coming months!
Please visit blackhelmetapparel.com/kickstarter for more information!
We're reworking the project in hopes that the relaunch will be more successful and we will let you know as soon as it's available again.
When is the last time someone stopped you while you were paying for something to complement and ask about your wallet?
Of course a wallet is functional - but that doesn't mean it shouldn't also be one of the most unique and interesting products you'll ever own. We're creating wallets from decommissioned firefighter bunker gear -- the same gear that saves firefighter lives each and every day!
Because we're using decommissioned gear, each wallet is unique and shows part of the life that it endured. The "wear" you'll notice on your wallet is not from a fashion-industry process, but from real life use fighting fires and saving lives.
We're been producing them in small batches and here are some real-life reactions:
"I purchased one of these wallets several weeks ago and have been very satisfied and the compliments/questions I get are testament to the quality and character of the product." ~ Paul E
"Best wallet I've ever bought!!!" ~ Mike B
"Have one and luv it!" ~ Ron M
"I have had one of these wallets for over a year now . . . NO signs of wear! great wallet!" ~ Brian B
"My gf bought me one for my birthday. I love mine." ~ Matt C
"I bought one a few months ago from black helmet. Awesome product. And only wallet I plan on using for a long time." ~ James M
Last Minute Push Rewards!
So it would take one crazy last minute push - but we can still make it! We're adding three never before released, limited edition prints by James Love for just $15 each! If you can't support at the wallet level, please consider this reward level as a great way to support this project and you'll get a beautiful print of James' original artwork on 100lb matte paper, perfect for framing.
By James Love, firefighter, artist & founder, Black Helmet
As a third-generation firefighter, firefighting is part of my heritage. And while we've been creating products for firefighters for the past few years, we wanted to create something that brought firefighting to a product that everyone could use.
Wallets seemed like a natural fit, but it was in a meeting with LION (a company that makes turnout gear for firefighters) that we learned they had 4,000 sets of decommissioned gear -- from one department! That's when we started asking questions... how many sets of decommissioned gear were out there? You see, once a set of gear is too old or damaged, it gets decommissioned. Sometimes decommissioned gear gets sold to other countries or donated to firefighter explorers, but many (possibly most) times, it just gets destroyed. Some fire departments actually pay to have the gear removed and destroyed.
This gear that has been saving the lives of firefighters just gets thrown away, with no regard to the history that it holds within. Firefighters love their gear -- it goes through what they go through. There has to be a better fate for this high-quality material, which is often still in good shape when it's destroyed. So we started working on a way to give this gear a second life as products that people would be proud to own.
We went through several design iterations, but we quickly realized that the design was the easy part...
First we have to get the gear. Even though this gear is being destroyed, many departments can't just give it to us. There aren't clear regulations on what they can do with this unusable gear, but we've begun working closely with different departments to purchase the gear. As the awareness of what we're doing has grown, this is getting easier, but it can still be difficult to source the decommissioned gear.
Next, this is not your standard material that we could just purchase and start making products. We had to find a way to thoroughly clean and decontaminate the gear. Bunker gear goes through fire, hazardous substances, lots of dangerous stuff that you wouldn't want to carry around in your pocket. So we reached out to LION and found that they offer a cleaning and decontamination service (LION Total Care) that is at the top of the industry - on par with many medical centers in the country.
Next we had to find a manufacturer who was willing to take this bunker gear, break it down and cut it into segments of workable fabric, ready for production. In addition, we have a personal commitment to sourcing as much in the U.S. as possible, so the challenge was to find a manufacturer in the U.S., willing to work with non-standard materials, and be able to meet our high level of quality. Luckily, we found that with Indiana-based Moonshine Leather.
Hand-Made with Pride in Nashville, IN, USA
Well, we buy it before it is tossed. We have it cleaned to make certain it is safe. Then highly skilled leather workers, right here in the US, turn them into wallets and clutches. Each wallet is completely unique. They have been naturally “distressed” from years of firefighting. Each one tells a story as it has lived a life of its own. Now you can become a part of that life.
With a variety of styles ranging from money clips and front pocket (ID holder) wallets to checkbook wallets, trifold wallets and even ladies clutches. All in varying colors of gear, we definitely have something for you.
Get the most interesting wallet you'll ever own. Made from decommissioned, naturally distressed, high-quality Polybenzimidazole (PBI) material. (In addition to firefighter turnout gear, PBI is also used to fabricate high-performance protective apparel such as astronaut space suits, race driver suits and more.)
Risks and challenges
We've already been producing these wallets at smaller production levels for the past 12 months so we've worked out the kinks when it comes to production. The biggest challenge is getting the gear. Because it's based on departments decommissioning gear, there are instances where particular colors may be hard to acquire. When that happens, it may take us a bit longer to deliver some wallets - however - we've tried to build that delay into the estimated delivery date so our amazing backers shouldn't have to wait too much longer even if this does become an issue.
*Any fire department footage (any persons, entities, organizations, or fire departments therein) do not endorse or in any way promote or sponsor the products represented in this video. Further, none of these (any persons, entities, organizations, or fire departments) were remunerated for any part in the video.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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