J. Ryan & Company The Minimalist Review – $100

While this wallet from J. Ryan and Company may be called The Minimalist, there’s nothing minimal about the eye-popping design and gorgeous combination of leathers that make up this refined card holder.



J. Ryan & Company, LLC is an Emmett, Idaho based company known for their custom exotic holster offerings, but more recently adding items such as belts, strops, and wallets. If you’re looking for a highly finished leather product, look no further. In contrast to the recently popular raw leather look, Jim and his company aim to bring you products that incorporate the best tans, dying, wax stuffing, and exotic leathers, custom made for the discerning individual.



Let’s break down the symmetrical leather sandwich that is The Minimalist. Note that J. Ryan & Co offer a variety of leathers, so while I’ll mention the specifics to this wallet, a different combination could be ordered to your own taste – in fact, we have a shark version in an upcoming review.


At the center, there’s a thin layer of elk – this is the highly textured leather visible at the back of the main storage pocket. On both sides of the elk is vegetable tanned horse side, which provides the wallet’s sturdy structure. The horse hide is visible around the edges on the inside of the main storage pocket and behind the single card pocket where J. Ryan’s logo is printed. Then, finally, and most visibly, the outermost layers on both sides are Chromexcel cowhide, finished in a rich burgundy.

These leather layers are machine stitched together with #277 bonded nylon thread, and thoroughly hand burnished all around the outer edge. The overall result is a card holder that is built like a tank, but maintains an elegant look.


The Minimalist has two pockets for cards or cash, a single card holder and the main storage pocket.  The main storage pocket is able to hold 5 cards very tightly, and 3 or 4 cards more comfortably.


All of the pockets are very secure; the single pocket is quite tight, and the storage area surrounds the sides of your cards with the horse hide layer, ensuring they can’t fall out. The single pocket was a bit too secure; sometimes the threads at the top prevented me from easily sliding a card out with my thumb. With the main storage, it’s simple to push back the top of the wallet a bit and pull out the card you need.


At ½” thick, this Minimalist is a bit more noticeable in my pocket than a typical card holder may be. However, if you’re wanting a true minimal wallet and don’t need to hold as many cards, J. Ryan is happy to custom make yours to a desired thickness.



The look of The Minimalist is striking. Many of my friends less familiar with leather hardly knew what they were looking at, but would slowly fall in love as they figured out how great the leather feels and how refined this wallet is.

Visible on the horsehide over the single card pocket is a stamp of J. Ryan’s logo, and it looks just as good as the wax seal on the box.

Chromexcel is a pull-up leather, hot-stuffed with waxes. It’s soft and feels great to the touch – it also scratches easily, but scratches can easily be rubbed out (using a little paste wax if needed), and add to the character anyway. The burgundy on the wallet is deep, rich and beautiful. My appreciation for the aesthetic of The Minimalist has only grown with time.


J. Ryan and Company’s The Minimalist card holder is a stunning combination of leathers, well constructed and finished to a high-class level of refinement. This sturdy wallet should withstand years of use and only get better with time. It’s a Buy It For Life product that you’re going to love more each time you use it.


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