Why the Wallet Is the Perfect Product for Crowdfunding
In the world of crowdfunding, there's no shortage of new and groundbreaking products looking to get funding. Surprisingly, the wallet has proven a perennial favorite.
Crowdfunding platform Kickstarter released a manifesto on the wallet this week that explores why wallets, money clips and card holders are so popular with project creators and backers on the site. Big money has been raised on wallet campaigns; the slim leather TGT wallet raised almost $320,000, surging beyond its $20,000 goal.
So, what’s with all the wallets?
The popularity of the billfold is twofold (forgive the pun). Almost everyone carries a wallet, and almost everyone who carries a wallet has an itch to scratch about why their wallet could be better. It's the perfect launchpad for makers in the making.
“We all crave the ‘perfect’ wallet, but the perfect wallet is a unicorn — a magical, unobtainable beast, its design perfectly poised between a dozen conflicting qualities,” writes Nitsuh Abebe of Kickstarter. “Wallets are ultimately all about the small details — those tiny pebble-in-your-shoe subtleties that suit one person’s needs and ruin the next person’s day.”
Maybe you want a thinner wallet, but one that can still hold just enough cards and cash. Maybe your wallet is too thin, and you want it to also hold your smartphone or your keys. Because your wallet is with you all day long every day, the smallest iterations make a big difference -- and provide the perfect opportunity for tinkerers to tinker and make improvements.
Another reason is that it's a simple "first start" for wannabe inventors. It makes sense, it’s easy to explain why it’s important, and it feels simple. “Turns out that if someone wants to learn more about creating a product and putting it in other people’s hands, making a wallet is a terrific way of getting started, for all sorts of fascinating reasons,” writes Abebe.
Kickstarter’s design and technology liaison, John Dimatos, pointed to the Wallet Project, a classical introduction to making objects at the Stanford’s Hasso Plattner Institute of Design. The 90-minute wallet-making project at what’s called Stanford’s d-school gets people who haven’t designed objects before thinking about how to solve real-world problems with design.
For many in the Kickstarter maker community, the wallet is their introduction to making and producing an object. From the wallet, the newly minted maker set goes on to tackle bigger and more complicated objects.
“The dream isn’t the wallet itself; it’s the ability to successfully add a useful product to the world,” says Abebe.
Related Book: Cash from the Crowd
Catherine Clifford is senior entrepreneurship writer at CNBC. She was formerly a senior writer at Entrepreneur.com, the small business reporter at CNNMoney and an assistant in the New York bureau for CNN. Clifford attended Columbia University where she earned a bachelor's degree. She lives in Brooklyn, N.Y. You can follow her on Twitter at @CatClifford.