A couple of years ago Teddy Winthrop realized that he had lost his wallet one too many times. “I was working at my older brother’s company, American Giant, and I was a disorganized mess,” the freckle-faced founder of Edward Field told us on a recent warm afternoon at the Ferry Building. “I kept loosing my keys and showing up late to appointments, so my dad told me I needed to get a daytimer.” His dad was referring to a small calendar and wallet that could hold a few credit cards, cash, and receipts—the precursor of Google calendar and other personal assistant tools that exist today. Old school businessmen kept it inside their pockets and referred to it constantly to manage their life, schedule, and payments. While Winthrop realized that he could use his iPhone and a myriad of apps to keep himself on track, this didn’t solve the problem of loosing his wallet. “Walk into any bar or restaurant and you’ll notice that at least one guy has placed his wallet under his phone on the table,” Winthrop said, pulling a thin iPhone-shaped leather accessory from his pocket. “So, I decided to create my own prototype for a wallet iPhone holder.”
While there is nothing revolutionary about the resulting accessory— essentially a folder-shaped wallet that holds a smartphone on one side and a couple of credit cards on the other side—what makes it unique is its usefulness, craftsmanship, and quality of construction. A product this sleek, stylish, and functional simply didn’t exist. Winthrop takes full-grain Italian leather then hand folds each of the credit card pockets using a classic technique—called skiving—that many accessory makers no longer employ. The phone is held in place with micro-suction, a new type of tape that keeps the phone safely inside the leather case without bulky clips or adhesive. The high-end smartphone wallets are produced in South San Francisco. When manufacturing the leather goods, Winthrop doesn’t have to worry about a language barrier or the time it takes a product to ship from overseas. There is no middle man and the wallets are sold direct-to-consumer from the Edward Field website.
The company has only existed for a year, but this week they are launching a new line of smartphone wallets geared toward woman. “My mother inspired the Libby line,” Winthrop said. “She’s a refined, powerful woman who always kept our family on track. Her spirit is in the Libby, a timeless wallet that’s tasteful and sophisticated.” The Libby comes in eight different colors: kelly green, orange, royal blue, yellow, red, black, tan, and navy. Unlike the men’s wallet, the Libby has a gold-plated clasp, which gives it a more feminine and chic look. The classic men’s wallet now comes in an expanded line of colors including tan, burgundy, and navy—along with the original black and brown shades of the prototype.
For woman who like to carry small clutches and evening bags, the Libby makes a lot of sense. It’s not much bigger than a phone and eliminates the tiresome search through a purse for credit cards, cash, or important receipts. The smartphone wallet is truly the wallet of the future. As Winthrop puts it, “people are shifting more toward using things like Apple Pay. We’re using less cards. There is no need to carry a million different credit cards, so the wallet and cell should really be in the same place. Our accessories are simply the smarter wallet for today.”