Exploring the Design Process of our Australian Leather Wallets
We’re feeling nostalgic again here at Blackinkk. A recent chat sparked a reflection on why we began, how far we’ve come and where we see ourselves going. Join us as we have a yarn about simpler times and making our everyday carry better.
STEP 1 - AN INSTINCTIVE DECISION
Before we get stuck in, let’s give you some backstory. Blackinkk was started in Brisbane, Australia by Varun, a humble and passionate craftsman that values great minimalist design. It began as a hobby in the garage, on a search for a creative outlet that led towards leather, and has grown organically with his values ever since.
“When I was growing up, I always admired the beautiful leather briefcases and bags my father would use for work and travel. His leather shoes would always be well polished and on Sunday evenings I would have to polish my school shoes for the week. He would also gift personalised leather wallets to his clients. Although the decision to make leather goods was an instinctive one, I’d say these experiences growing up had a large part to do with it.”
STEP 2 - FINDING OUR DIRECTION
No one starts a hobby by thinking of a mission statement. You start for the enjoyment and fulfilment that comes from learning something new and getting better. Making Australian leather wallets was fun because people could carry them every day.
Blackinkk’s key turning point was the first Finders Keepers Market in Brisbane. We had a few different product categories on display but people were constantly drawn to our original minimal leather wallet — the Two Pocket Cardholder. We started seeing it’s potential more and more.
STEP 3 - FEEDBACK TO MAKE BETTER
Our start at the Brisbane Finders Keeper’s Market taught us how important it was to embrace being original and true to ourselves. It’s an incredible feeling to come face-to-face with customers, to see their reactions and hear their feedback. It was never about a hard sell, we let each visitor decide if it was for them and were always happy to have a chat.
It was also inspiring to see how much effort other stallholders had put into their setups, their brands and the overall experience — it was everything around the product that made them special. We worked hard to create a consistent customer experience and take people on a journey.
The validation from strangers, instead of just family and friends, really showed Blackinkk’s potential to grow from a hobby into a brand.
We shifted our focus to the minimal wallet concept and decided to look at everything through the same lens. Our values came organically – beautiful and functional products made from materials that are natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly. This story and product would in turn organise and simplify our lives.
STEP 4 - EMBRACING MINIMALISM
The incredible thing about minimalism is you don’t even notice it at first – things just feel naturally uncluttered and it doesn’t ask for a label. But once you realise, keeping things simple turns into a conscious decision.
In life, we always gravitate toward products, items and consumables that are essential to everyday life. It’s an approach that tries to separate the needs from the wants. Wearing a traditional watch instead of an apple watch to maintain simplicity or matching belt colour with shoes. It might seem OCD but if you know, you know.
Minimalist design is characterised by a clean aesthetic and working in sync with its surroundings. The best minimal products are inherently sustainable. Not because of their materials (although we’re glad this is a growing trend) but because their designs are well thought out, balancing function and form, to create something timeless.
STEP 5 - TURNING INSPIRATION INTO CREATION
The influence of minimalism can be seen in everything we do. Our wallets are slim and constructed from kangaroo leather which is famous for its durability. The stitching follows natural lines and the colour choice for our most recent edition has kept to the staples, accompanied with subtle accents of thread.
This even extended to our unboxing experience, an unlikely YouTube rabbit hole if you need some extra entertainment. Our packaging is all black with a smooth matte finish. It’s adorned with our logo on the front and “designed and made in Australia” on the back. As you open it up, you're greeted with a reminder “less, but better,” (a quote from Dieter Rams, a key influence in our brand philosophy) and your Australian leather wallet with a premium white business card that has care instructions. It’s sure to evolve over time, but it’ll always be focused on keeping things simple.
That’s all we have to say for today! Stay tuned for our next discussion by signing up for our newsletter and check out our Facebook and Instagram!