The "Dreams of Grandeur" wallet The "Dreams of Grandeur" wallet The "Dreams of Grandeur" wallet. (Photo: Courtesy of Paperwallet)

​Ultra-thin, ultra-durable wallet is the cure for the pocket bulge

The wallet gets a fashion upgrade with original designs.

As everything around us goes digital, that bulky, functional accessory known as the wallet has been begging for a redesign that aligns with our streamlined world. Its latest reimagining by  Paperwallet is right on the money: a wallet that’s a funky, functional, eco-friendly and affordable piece of eye candy.

“The way the wallet is designed and built to expand with use is all based around the theory of origami – an interesting way of folding paper in a functional way,” Gilli Cherrin, co-founder of New York-based Paperwallet, told From The Grapevine.

The intention was to make a wallet that was fashionable, efficient and not obtrusive – a reflection of the times, if you will. To get such a thin texture, Cherrin and co-founder Elad Burko use Tyvek, a super-durable tear- and water-resistant material that is paper-thin.

“How many cards did people have 10 years ago versus today? You have a few cards, some cash and your iPhone, so you don’t really need as much, and we geared our wallet to a more modern-thinking accessory,” said Cherrin. 

The success of the wallet can be attributed in large part to the artwork on them, inspired by Burko’s artistic upbringing in Israel, and his passion for design. In 2007, when the idea came to him, he started reaching out to artists in his adopted home city of New York. 

“[Burko] would meet all these artists and say, ‘I see so much value here, but the chances of you selling your print in a museum for $2,000 is so slim – not because you’re not good but because the game is so hard to play,’” Cherrin said.

Now, the idea has turned into a global company, with shipping operations out of Pennsylvania, production in China, designs around the world and management from Tel Aviv.

The "AZTEC" walletThe "AZTEC" wallet (Photo: Courtesy of Paperwallet)

In its early stages, Paperwallet came out with a series of six wallets, working with artists from Argentina, Israel and the United States, but they've since opened up to submissions.

The process for submitting art to be featured on a Paperwallet is fairly simple – download their wallet template, come up with an eye-catching design and submit it via email. Cherrin, Burko and the rest of the Paperwallet team then all have to agree on the design's merits.

“It changes the whole ballgame because now, literally anybody and everybody can be an artist. They can upload their design to our website, and they can sell their design through our website and earn revenue,” Cherrin explained.

Paperwallet sets up interested artists as affiliate partners, which means that they can promote their own design, and any sale they make via Paperwallet earns them a revenue of up to 25 percent of the final sale.

Paperwallet's Hype series. Paperwallet's Hype series. (Photo: Courtesy of Paperwallet)

Much of Paperwallet's sales are done through their website, where a wide variety of wallets, clutches and tote bags can be had, but the company also has a physical presence in several design-focused brick-and-mortar stores such as Parisian department store Le Bon Marché, the museum boutique at the Guggenheim in New York, and Los Angeles art gallery Youth Fairfax.

“For us, this is a big hit, but at the same time, we’re really trying to be that platform for artists to jump off,” Cherrin said. 

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