As we dove into the details I locked onto the sewing as an area of improvement. Years ago, we did our own sewing in-house, but ultimately stopped because we weren’t experts in it. So instead of trying again to do something we weren’t that good at, we decided to find an outside expert. Enter Takeshi “Yone” Yonezawa of Yonezawa Leather
. Yone does bespoke leather work, making low quantities of extremely premium products as a one man operation. He agreed to not only sew our wallets, but to teach us his techniques and philosophies about leather working.
I went over to Yone’s workshop four or five times to get lessons. He explained to me that newer sewing machines have evolved to be faster in order to save factories money, but that those innovations sacrifice how cleanly they can sew. He doesn’t use these speed-focused machines, choosing quality over speed. The machines he sews on are so old they’re no longer in production, and he makes special trips back to Japan just to hunt them down.
It was a fascinating experience working with Yone. We were interested in how we could make wallets better and Yone opened our eyes to what was possible. He has an obsession with his craft that showed me that even the simplest products have limitless potential where you could take it.