The First Wallet: A Year and A Half in the Making
The idea for the wallet was born a little over two years ago. The rise of minimalist wallets was hard and fast and occurred at the same time that I was trying to be more conscious of my finances. I have always had very specific tastes in the sense that I would see something I kind of liked and could picture a variation of it in my head of exactly what I wanted. The problem was I could almost never find it.
It has happened with blazers, belts, furniture décor, literally anything and everything. Being particular and not being able to find what you want.
I liked the idea of a slim wallet. I wanted to streamline things. Wanted to stop using my credit cards so carelessly. And really liked the idea of pulling out a sleek, slim wallet that added a uniqueness to my personal style.
The first one I found was a Tumi Alpha Card Case in a dark blue color. My Dad was a big Tumi guy and it was a brand I didn’t see carried by a lot of people my age. Tumi is mostly a luggage company and while it is still a high end brand, it seemed to fly a little under the radar when compared to the other big names in the industry like Coach, Louis Vuitton or Boss.
It's a solid case. And no, I never saw another person carrying it. However, I continued to trim out more and more cards as I realized I could get by with less and less. It got to the point where even the Tumi had more pockets than I needed.
So I decided to look around some more. I really liked the bi fold of the Tumi. Sleeves are fine, however there is a classic wallet element that comes with a fold that I really wanted. Plus, I intended to continue to carry a little cash and sleeves are not very cash friendly.
The search was on, however it ended unsuccessfully. I could see in my head what I wanted, but nobody had it. I was looking for something with fewer pockets but still a few slots, and preferably leather as it is a classic material that wears beautifully and tells a story of where it's been.
My career is in manufacturing. I’m an engineer. Why can’t I just make what I want? Even a simple one off product sample wouldn't be that expensive even with the materials.
So I did that. I got what would become the prototype of the Thomas Mackay bi fold.
The bifold came with 2 vertical card slots on one panel with a card pocket behind them. Perfect as I had trimmed down to a single debit card and a single credit card. Opposite is a single horizontal card pocket, adding a sleek asymmetrical look to the centerfold. On the outside, a third card slot, however the intention was that this would be used for cash.
So I got it. I filled it up, credit and debit cards in the 2 slots. Insurance cards in the pocket behind them. On the opposite side went my ID and my Sam’s Club card. That's it. That is literally all I carry with me. And to be honest, I haven't needed anything else. I can't even remember what I used to keep in my wallet at this point.
And that was it. I had the wallet I wanted. I stuck it in my pocket and never thought about it again. For a year and a half at least.
Until one day, I was taking it out of my pocket at the end of the day and admiring how awesome it's been. The leather, an oil tanned navy blue, was dark and rich, with faint scratches and scuffs that told the story of the last 18 months. The stitching was still tight without signs of fraying. All the cards were still held snug.
The wallet in the beginning before any real use (left) and the wallet a year and a half later (right).
I thought to myself. Man, this thing has really held up. It’s pretty awesome.
I reflected back on how I had gone out of my way to get exactly what I wanted. If nobody had a product for me, I would create one. So I did. And then it hit me.
I can’t be the only person looking for something like this.
I flipped flopped on it for a while. Having no experience in retail goods or textiles or anything, I had no idea if it was even possible. Research online further clouded my judgment. There were people that had done it, or so it seemed. And then there were others that seemed to be scammy or selling poor products.
Either way it looked rather intimidating. However, the more I thought about it. The more I figured I should at least try. Give it a solid try where I legitimately try to develop this product and make it available to the world. If anything just to get the experience and maybe help some of the other people out there like me solve their wallet problem.
So that's what I did. I named the company after myself and my brother. Our middle names are Thomas and MacKay. Drew up the logo and ordered up some custom leather stamps and a few more prototypes and went to work on creating the first iteration of what is now the flagship product.
Which brings us to now. This is my story and these wallets are what I have to offer. Hopefully you like them and they fill the same need for you as they did for me. If not? Well, no one can say I didn't try.