Park City’s Bronxton Designs puts wallets on a diet
May 22, 2015
According to Dan Dapper, the times of men carrying around bulging wallets, jammed with a decade’s worth of business cards, insurance cards or anything else they could possibly need in a pinch, are over.
These days, he said, men are looking for slim wallets with room for only the essentials. But when he discovered high-quality wallets of that style can be difficult to find, he saw opportunity. He and his wife, who own the retail store Bronxton in Salt Lake City, decided to begin manufacturing wallets out of their home near Kimball Junction under the label Bronxton Designs.
"We had customers coming in looking for wallets like that, and we listen to them because they tell us exactly what they want," Dapper said. "It becomes our job to find what they want. But you wouldn’t believe how hard it is to find wallets like this. So we said, ‘OK, here’s a niche we can fill.’"
To show off his product, Dapper pulled out his trifold wallet, which was full of cash and cards, and compared it to a traditional bifold. Even empty, the bifold was significantly thicker than the wallet Bronxton Designs had manufactured.
"The whole idea is basically to get rid of the big, clunky bifold wallet," he said.
In addition to the trifold, Dapper makes even slimmer wallets, which utilize what he calls the 1222 principle, based on the amount of items they are designed to carry. These wallets are slim enough to fit into the front pockets of pants.
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"The point of this wallet is to carry one ID, two credit cards, two insurance cards and a couple of bills," he said, adding that Bronxton Design has created six different wallet models. "That keeps everything that you need to carry under control. People these days are trying to simplify their lives."
In addition to the slim profile of the wallets, Dapper touts their durability and quality. They are made with full-grain leather, which is the best part of the hide, rather than genuine leather made from the bottom half of the hide.
"What a lot of manufacturers do is they polish up the genuine leather and market it and charge a similar amount as they could for full-grain leather," he said. "Our full-grain leather is not only the best quality leather, it ages better, too. The more you use it, the better it looks."
Dapper handpicks the leather Bronxton Designs uses from a tannery in Chicago, then designs, cuts and engraves — an optional addition — the wallets in his garage. The only part of the manufacturing he doesn’t have his hand in is stitching the leather.
"I like doing it myself because I want to make sure I’m getting the best quality," he said. "We’re not Dolce & Gabbana, but we’re not entry-level either. I wanted to create a product that if I saw it in a store, I would buy it myself. I’m not a kid anymore. I’m not into Velcro or anything. I wanted to create a product where people are getting the best quality for their buck."
Dapper said the wallets have received a positive response from customers. He likes putting several brands and styles of wallets in front of people and watching them gravitate toward his.
"It’s fun to watch their reactions," he said. "You just see their eyes going, ‘Nope, nope, nope — this one.’ We don’t ever say anything about those wallets being ours or anything. Then once they start grabbing our wallets and looking at them, it’s a done deal."
After the success of the wallets, Bronxton Designs will branch out in the near future. Dapper said belts made of bison leather, which are designed to last for 25 to 30 years, and watch straps are coming next.
"We are going to keep progressing," he said.