Born and Bred England is a maker of premium leather goods for both men and women. Based out of Brighton, England (about an hour south of London), the company produces goods with four simple principles in mind: style, practicality, simplicity, and durability. The company was founded in 2009 by Paul De Nagy, a Brazilian native, who is a self-taught leather craftsman. All of their goods are handmade–never by machine. The company was formed after Paul was asked by a number of his biker friends to make a wallet worthy of their travels and what he came up with was the Biker Wallet, which we will look at for this review.
In the classic movie Forrest Gump, Forrest quotes his mother, saying, “There is a lot you can tell about a man by looking at his shoes … where he’s goin, where he’s been”. Similarly, you can tell a lot about a company by how they package and prepare their products to be seen for the first time. Born and Bred is one of those special companies that take the packaging of their products seriously.
When I first opened the box with the Biker Wallet inside, I was greeted by black packaging paper, neatly folded and pressed over the wallet. Upon taking off the packaging paper, I found the wallet wrapped inside a tan cloth bag, with Born and Bred’s logo imprinted on it. After pulling the wallet out, I also found a small black envelope with the standard Born and Bred guarantee card. It is a card that indicates what type of product you purchased (Style), when it was made (Born), and who it was made by (Bred).
The wallet sent to us was born on March 14th, 2014 and was made by Paul himself. It also contains an ID number specific to each product, as well as the company’s contact information and guarantee policy, which is a lifetime guarantee. This all made for an experience that was unique and pleasurable. It is an indication of a company that takes great pride in what it sells and, in my opinion, is an indication of a high quality item.
The Born and Bred Biker Wallet is indeed a high-quality item made of durable vegetable tanned leather that is four ounces thick. Vegetable tanned leather is known for its durability. The tanning process for veg tanned leather takes significantly longer than the most popular tanning method (chrome tanning), and results in a product that is arguably superior. A benefit of veg tanned leather is that it patinas well over time, meaning that the color can change slightly and often darkens a bit, which gives the leather a beautiful, worn appearance. Chrome leather does not patina; it wears.
Veg tanned leather can also be burnished, which Born and Bred did to all of the edges of the Biker wallet. Burnishing is the process of waxing the unfinished edges of leather, and then applying the leather to hardwood spinning at a very high RPM. The exposed edges tighten and become hard. It is process that takes time and effort and that many companies do not employ, but results in a more finished and refined product.
The color of the wallet is a light brown, what Born and Bred calls whiskey. The wallet also comes in black, but I have to say that I love the whiskey color. The color of the leather is also struck through, meaning that the leather has been drum dyed until the desired color saturates the leather all of the way through to the middle. It is a more time consuming process that is therefore more expensive, and again results in a superior product. As is common for vegetable tanned leather, the wallet is fairly stiff when brand new. That is to be expected and appreciated, as you will have the opportunity to soften and work the leather through continued use, like a brand new baseball glove.
The Biker Wallet is a classic bi-fold, where you open and have a large pocket for storing your cash, receipts, or other paper. The wallet also has a coin pocket, with a snap, that is generous enough to hold a fair amount of coinage. On the other flap are two pockets for credit cards. I was able to slide a couple cards into each slot, which, as the leather stretches a bit over time, will probably hold two more if desired.
The Biker Wallet is not a minimalist wallet. It is made for hauling plenty of cash, cards and coins. It is meant for traveling on the open roads, and carrying everything you need for a trip. The only drawback to that function is that the wallet is thick. When folded over and pressed down, it is just over 1.5 inches thick. It is seven layers of beautiful veg tanned leather.
When I first pulled the wallet out of it’s packaging, I was reminded of a scene from the first Crocodile Dundee movie. A hooligan approached Dundee and his girlfriend and asked for his wallet, after pulling out a small switchblade knife. Dundee smiles and casually pulls out his huge knife (presumably the same one he has used in hunting crocodiles) and says “That’s not a knife. This is a knife”.
My first impression when I pulled this wallet out was that all of those wallets you see at department stores and retail shops are not real wallets; THIS is a wallet. It is big, but it is beautiful and very well designed. You may not want to sit on it while working on your computer for hours at a time, but if you are traveling, or on your bike, or if your job requires a lot of standing and moving around, this wallet is perfect.
THREAD AND HARDWARE
Similar to the leather used for the Biker Wallet, the thread and hardware Born and Bred uses is also premium. The thread is a waxed nylon thread, which Born and Bred waxes in house. Nylon thread is very tough, and is the type of thread that many premium leather goods makers use. The snap used for the coin pouch is solid brass, as is the small D ring on the outside spine of the wallet, which can be used for securing to a belt loop with a chain or similar tethering method.
The Biker Wallet from Born and Bred England is made with premium raw materials and is expertly crafted. The wallet has plenty of style. It is fully practical. It is simple in design and once you pick it up, you immediately know that it is going to be durable. It is an excellent wallet whether you are a biker or not.