I love high-quality leather. The smell of it. The feel of it. Perhaps it's because I grew up in a saddle. Whatever the reason, I look for exceptional leather items that can complement my personal life and my travel life. When I received my Anson Calder passport wallet, I knew I had discovered a great product. I found out I also discovered a quality company filled with passion.
Using the Passport Wallet
When I agreed to review the passport wallet, I will admit I was skeptical. I travel constantly. I never use a passport wallet—or at least I never did until I discovered the Anson Calder passport wallet. I now use it every day and will never travel without it again.
I received the passport wallet in cognac and it is a beautiful travel accessory. Constructed of a luxurious French calfskin, it has already started to soften and fit my items really well after just six weeks of use.
This is definitely not an accident of design. According to co-owner David Smith, “We tested leather from 80 different tanneries, looking for fashion, function and quality. We wanted something people would enjoy and it would endure and work well. We wanted something that would also patina well.” Oh, they had me there…a leather that looks good, feels good, has function and will look even more beautiful with age.
I could feel that quality when I opened the box for my passport wallet. Sturdy, but soft and luxurious. Smith explains that the high-quality leather enables Anson Calder to split it down while retaining quality. The company aims for what it calls “Engineered Luxury™”. It has minimalist construction and seamlessly blends design and function.
I have used my passport wallet on several trips now. It has two push slots for identification and credit cards. Each slot holds up to four cards, for a total of eight. Behind that, I can keep money. A boarding pass fits through a slot in the top, behind the credit cards. On the other side, my passport sits snuggly, not too loose or too tight in case I need to remove it from the case.
At first, I found the credit cards spaces to be a bit tight, but after the first few days, giving the leather time to adjust, it is now easy to access the cards. Not only do I love this passport wallet on travel days, but I can carry it with me during the day in my bag and it fits nicely in my clutch bag for evenings out. This is definitely my favorite travel accessory and would make ideal Christmas gifts, birthday presents, or even wedding gifts. The passport wallet is available in black or cognac for $160 and can be monogrammed for an extra $15.
What Makes Anson Calder Special
The workmanship on my Anson Calder passport wallet is impeccable and is the same they do for every product. Smith explained that they do a double tanning process all the way through, from top to bottom, so the leather is the same color both inside and outside each product. The tanning process is infused with natural oils and wax so the leather is self-healing.
The edges are all burnished, not painted. There are hand tacks at various pressure points that serve a practical design but also add to each item's aesthetic beauty. But, it's the people behind the company that added an extra component in my appreciation for Anson Calder.
Founder Curtis Calder was a successful investment banker for six years. He had a fascination with design, specifically precise and intelligent design. His first “wallet” was a prototype made with printer paper and packing tape because he couldn't find a wallet he liked. But he never considered creating leather goods as a career until March 2013. That month, he was diagnosed with Facioscapulohumeral Muscular Dystrophy (FSHD). Calder knew about FSHD–it was the disease that put his grandfather into a wheelchair 30 years earlier.
Faced with a fast deterioration, particularly if he stayed at the same job without keeping mobile, Calder left his job with J.P. Morgan. In January 2015, Calder and his wife Allison founded Anson Calder. They named it for their eldest son Anson, who is named for Calder's great-grandfather.
To show support for the FSH Society and help support efforts toward research, education, treatments and work on developing a cure for FSHD, Anson Calder donates a portion of every sale to FSH.
Other Anson Calder Leather Products
The Anson Calder leather products are all made with the same exceptional quality materials and workmanship. The original product, a basic card wallet, remains popular. At only 1/8″ thick, it is super compact but holds all of your credit cards (10 to 12 cards). The original card wallet is available now for 20% off the original price.
There is a cash version of the credit card wallet that has room for 12 cards and cash in a third pocket. This wallet is also 1/8″ thick and sells for $130.
The item I'm eyeing is the laptop brief. Available in 13″ or 15″ sizes, this beautiful leather bag uses the “Anson Calder System”, enabling you to customize your bag to your exact needs with no wasted space.
You can add a laptop case, battery power pack, umbrella, and catch-all cases. Attach these accessories to the interior or exterior of the bag, in any configuration that works for you. Add a strap to put your bag on top of your roller bag. You can even select different colors for your strap and bags—perhaps a cognac bag with black straps. This is probably one of the best-designed bags I've ever seen. Prices start at $1050 for this exceptional leather briefcase.
Getting Your Anson Calder Leather Goods
I highly recommend the Anson Calder passport wallet. It has changed the accessories I take when I travel and streamlined my bag. Everything I need is now right in my palm. It looks beautiful, feel luxurious, and simply works. I can also feel good when I buy Anson Calder products because a percentage of every purchase goes to FSH Society. There is free shipping and returns in the U.S. Keep in mind that the original card wallets are 20% off while supplies last. I can definitely see why word of mouth is the biggest marketing tool for the company. I know I will tell the world about my Anson Calder passport wallet.
Note: As is common in the travel industry, the writer was provided with a complimentary product for the purpose of review. While it has not influenced this review, the writer believes in full disclosure of all potential conflicts of interest.