So what's up with the Department Store Wallet?

Ever wonder why that wallet you bought looks so good at the department store, but after only a short time starts to fall apart? Us too! We don't want to rag on anyone, but the simple fact is that we're just sick and tired of products made with cheap materials, and nothing but profit in mind.

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Leather Grades

To understand why department store "leather products" fall apart, you need to know a little about the four basic leather grades.

Full-grain leather: This is leather made from the outside of a cow hide. It's the highest quality, the most expensive, and the most durable. It's the top layer of leather that protected the cow from barbed wire and predators. It still has all it's natural markings and texture. We love this!

Top-grain leather: This is also a high quality leather, the only difference between full-grain, and top-grain, is that the top-grain started as full-grain, and had a little bit of the top layer sanded off to remove some of the scarring and imperfections and might have had some of the bottom removed to make it slightly thinner and more pliable.

Genuine leather: Genuine leather is the bottom layer of leather opposite the outside layer. Genuine leather did come from a cow, but it's the weakest part of the leather torn off the bottom of full-grain leather. It's not very durable and falls apart very easily. To make genuine leather look like full-grain leather, companies will often texturize it with a steel roller and then lacquer it with a plastic coating to fool you.

Bonded leather: In some countries and states it's not even legal to call this "leather". Bonded leather is made by grinding up scraps of leather together with leather dust and then gluing it all back together. Just like the genuine leather they will texturize it with a steel roller and then lacquer it with a plastic coating so you think it's full-grain.

Thread Grades

You also need to understand thread. There are basically three choices: cotton, nylon, and polyester. Cotton is by far the cheapest, and breaks and falls apart very easily. Nylon and Polyester are both quality synthetic threads and have pros and cons depending on the specific application. Nylon is more water resistant, and polyester is more UV resistant.

Why Their Wallets Fall Apart

If you understand the different types of leather grades, and thread types you can look more closely at the below photos of the department store wallet. Note how the cheap thin "genuine leather" or "bonded leather"" is fastened to a fabric backing, and then folded over the edges and sewn together with low quality cotton thread. It was made this way to save money and give the illusion of thickness and quality. Many department stores will even label their leather as "full-grain leather" when it's not. It's misleading, and the only way they get away with it is because no-one calls them out. Does it look great on the shelf? Sure it does. Will it last? No way!

What Makes Wild & Free Supply Wallets Different?

All our wallets are made with full-grain belt leather hand picked from the thickest toughest hides. Each one is cut using minimal waste, hand sewn using nylon waxed thread, put together with a solid brass snap and finished with a coat of beeswax. We believe in making products you can be proud of, and being a company you want to tell your friends about!

After They've Been Worn In

Because our wallets are made with full-grain leather, it means the more use they get the better they look. Each and every mark adds character. In contrast the department store wallets just fall apart.

Their Leather

Note how their wallet uses only the thinnest possible genuine, or bonded leather which is about one-third the thickness of a penny!

Our Leather

At Wild & Free Supply we use full-grain belt leather, made from the best part of the hide! Note how our leather is as thick as two pennies.

The Choice is Yours

Click below to view our different product lines and more info.