New Collaboration from Superior Labor: Pen and Wallet Case*
*Edit as of April 4th: We received some questions about whether this would fit the B6 Slim Midori MD Notebook, and the answer is no, it does not. We can see how our name for this case is misleading (as B6 Slim Portfolio), and so we've decided to rename it the Pen and Wallet Case. The case itself is approximately the same size as a Midori B6 Slim notebook, rather than just slightly bigger, to accommodate one inside. Sorry for any confusion! We just received in one of our most exciting shipments of the year! We're pretty early on, but I think it's safe to say this will be a highlight for us for in 2018. Our A5 and A4 Portfolios from Superior Labor are one of our most asked-about items in the shop - the workmanship and quality from Superior Labor show through, and we get requests and questions from around the world. Our latest shipment flew off the shelves and we've already got another order in. Now, alongside our A4 and A5 Portfolios, we have a smaller Pen and Wallet Case, that also has three pen slots on the inside. We've got it available in the classic four colours - in the photo below from left to right, black, natural, light brown and dark brown.
Here's a bit of the backstory: on my solo trip to San Francisco last year with Caleb, I brought with me a fairly minimalist set up, primarily because I was going without Jon, and knew I would have to be carrying all the luggage, with one hand on Caleb, by myself. I wish I had blogged a bit more about that trip, and I may one day share my travel journal with photos and memorabilia if I ever finish it (unlikely, but who are miracles for if not me), but one thing I found myself wishing was that I had a more compact case for the true necessities - money, passport, cards, receipts - along just a few pens. This dreaming and wishing and simmering in the back of my mind turned into another conversation with Superior Labor, and now, half a year later, something new for our shop.
The A5 Light Brown Portfolio next to the Pen and Wallet Case, plus a cat's tail sneaked in, despite much, much batting away by the human behind the camera. This is sort of a wallet-carrying-case for people who also bring around pens, with enough room for your daily essentials. A minimalist sort of case, with pen people in mind. On the inside front pocket are three pen slots. They're like the pen slots for the pen roll, and soften up over time. After three or four years with my pen roll, which has softened up so much over time, rolling and unrolling, it's quite a comparison to see how the new leather is like.
On the inside back pocket, there's a pocket for cash or receipts, as well as two card slots. Inside the portfolio itself, in the main compartment, you can fit small notebooks, like Field Notes memobooks, or loose papers, receipts, tickets.
This time, we did something a little different for our launch. We've got a very limited quantity of a special launch version of our Pen and Wallet Case in the light brown leather with a grey zipper cloth. Once the grey zipper, light brown cases are gone, that will be it for them, but it will be nice to sort of remember them from our launch.
So that's it! I've been carrying around the prototype for a few months now, first getting to know it and consider adjustments, and then breaking it in as we waited for the big shipment to arrive. It's been hard to keep secrets, especially because I've never been very good at that, and also because I can't help taking pictures or sharing what I'm using, but I've been biding my time with experimenting with what will fit in - like squeezing in a few pens between the pens in between the pen slots just inside the main compartment, which has worked out well since it's a relatively compact case (although not so great for the attempt at paring down the daily "essentials"), or tucking my iphone in there (tight, but doable if you're not already carrying too much else). I love the feel of the case full and heavy, with a few pens, my wallet essentials and a notebook, all nice and snug. Putting pens in a new case now for photos, I'd forgotten that when I first put my pens in, I could see the grooves of my pen slots from the front. Over time, the months I've had it now, the leather has softened and stretched, and I love that it's sort of formed around the goods inside - the pens inside aren't quite as noticeable from the outside, although if I slip a pen into the front pocket, it fits nicely between two of the three pens inside. It's been a great addition to my everyday carry - fitting in my pocket with everything I need (a few pens, a pocket notebook, cards and cash), for when I need to just grab something quickly. I also bring it around with my pocket notebook in my hand or pocket, although as the warm weather comes, I won't have my big winter coat pockets anymore.
This is sort of a weird, fabulous, twilight zone thing for us as a shop - to have a wish based on some sort of vague idea or experience and have it ruminate in my mind for a few months and then materialize into prototypes sent back and forth from Japan, and now have it here in our shop to offer. It's hard because you never know if what you want is actually what someone else will want, or if you're just off in the wilderness of a hairy idea. And trust me, I've had a lot of hairy ideas. In any case, we're pretty lucky to have this opportunity to collaborate with Superior Labor (again!), because we know that anything coming out of their studio is going to be beautiful and of the highest workmanship, and it's absolutely one of the best parts of this business, knowing that what we're doing here in our shop is supporting and growing our community and network of family businesses. It also certainly doesn't hurt that one of my favourite things is getting a shipment of leather from Japan in, when it's all pristine and squeaky and fragrant (an admittedly odd combination of words to describe something that thrills me on a very deeply satisfying level), opening up boxes to reveal fresh leather, before it wears in soft and warm, with small scuff marks that slowly fade over time into that well-earned and cherished patina.