As my past reviews might indicate, I’m somewhat of a frequent traveler. Whether through the week on work trips or weekend trips for leisure, I tend to put my travel equipment through frequent use. Through a discussion with some friends, I got word of the Transformer Valet Tray/Travel pouch created by Luis at The Good Life leather. Truthfully I had no idea what the product looked like so I went ahead and contacted Luis about the product. He was happy to make and send one to BestLeather, having confidence that it is a product that myself as well as readers would love.
About TheGoodLife Leather Co.
A little about Luis Estrada, he owns and operates TheGoodLife Leather as a part-time project and specializes in handcrafted, made-to-order goods. A one man shop, he creates quality pieces using some of the best materials available. With leather craft as a side business to his primary career, it was made clear to me that he cuts no corners in getting great products out to customers in a reasonable time span. His standout product, the Transformer, is the candidate for this review. When I asked about the design and overall concept history, he explained it was very much a trial and error design process. Having been dissatisfied with valet trays he owned, he developed the idea to make the tray also perform the role as a pouch; storing all of those catch-all items when frequently traveling.
The Transformer at its simplest form is constructed of full grain leather, in this case Horween Natural Chromexcel. It is also available in other Horween leathers based on the shop inventory at the time. It is best to inquire current leathers and suede cikris available through contacting Luis. The interior is lined with blue pigskin suede, also available in multiple colors. Pigskin is known for having a tough tensile strength while being soft on your items. The suede lined Transformers come fully stitched using a saddle stitch and polyester thread. If you desire an unlined Transformer, that can be made and does not come with the full stitching shown here. Being that my favorite color is blue, I chose those colors. Aged brass snaps complete the pouch configuration as well as the valet tray function.
As the Transformer name states, it is able to quickly transition from a travel pouch to a valet tray. This is perfect for home or travel settings, as valet trays give a dedicated space for pocket dumps of your daily pocket items. A valet tray of some sort is a must-have to store all of those EDC (Every Day Carry) items in one dedicated place. When using it as a travel pouch, it carries well and closes tight to keep contents secure.
As you can likely tell, the craftsmanship on the Transformer translates to clear beauty. Being hand-stitched with a saddle stitch and careful attention to details led to perfect lines. It is always warming to see a unique design paired with quality craftsmanship; often times one of those two elements is sacrificed for the other. The snap button placement is also spot on, and the brass snaps used add a nice match to the natural Horween Leather. The blue pigskin suede gives a nice “pop” and also makes for added rigidity and resistance to items “washing out”, as seen in trays with dark colors. Writing this review is tough not to sound bias but I am confident Luis has put just that great of a product.
Throughout my time learning about leather, I’ve always been interested in products that stretch creative limits. With the hundreds of high quality valet trays in the market, the Transformer clearly takes a lead in uniqueness and added functionality. Priced at $129 for the pigskin lined, full stitch version and $79 for the unlined, I definitely recommend spoiling yourself with the premium offering. Not only does the suede feel great, but it adds to the overall durability of the Transformer. In the past I’ve enjoyed referring readers to contact the shop owners via other communication besides a website, and Luis at GoodLife Leather is another one of those owners. You can inquire about leather options, designs, and ordering by contacting Luis through his Instagram social media account or by directly emailing him via [email protected] I opted for the email dialogue and received frequent and timely responses. I do not hesitate to call this a Buy-it-For-Life product. I’ve seen and owned quite a few valet trays throughout my young life, and this is definitely one I may have to buy multiples for gifts and one to keep at home or the office.