Spotlight: Paperwallet Puts New Spin on Old Product

Spotlight: Paperwallet Puts New Spin on Old Product

Some businesses invent completely new products, while others just improve ideas that have been around for years. Paperwallet is an example of the latter. The company makes wallets out of an innovative material that allows it to be both thin and durable. Read about the business idea and journey in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Sells a line of wallets.

Founder and CEO Elad Burko told Small Business Trends, “PaperWallet sells one-of-a-kind artist-designed slim wallets and thin wallets for men and women. Our wallets are made of durable Tyvek material, making them stronger than leather but half the size.”

Business Niche

Offering a durable product with attractive and unique designs.

Burko says, “PaperWallet was the first to use Tyvek to make a paper-thin wallet. So our product itself is extremely unique. We also don’t do licensing of other brand’s designs – we work with real artists from all around the world creating fresh work that stands out.”

How the Business Got Started

To reinvent an old product.

Burko explains, “We wanted to change the boring and outdated black/brown leather wallet. Our mission was to give the conventional wallet new life. I envisioned a product that was thin and comfortable, yet functional and durable. It took quite a bit of R&D to find a material that would work for this vision. It needed to be strong, durable, lightweight, water-resistant and eco-friendly. I tested different materials for months and nothing fit our bill of requirements. I finally realized that the answer I was searching for was there all along. The envelope the sample materials came in was made of Tyvek, an unbelievably durable, space-grade material that is also eco-friendly. Having found the perfect canvas, we needed to make it stand out. That’s when we began collaborating with up-and-coming and well-known artists around the world.”

Biggest Win

Getting the first few artists on board.

Burko says, “This was crucial because before we had a product we needed these artists to believe in us – and they did! We wouldn’t have anything if it wasn’t for the artists support!”

Biggest Risk

Focusing solely on launching the business.

Burko adds, “This required 110% devotion to the idea and if we failed we’d have to start over or enter the job market. Thankfully our concept was accepted by customers who love our products and we’ve been growing ever since.”

Lesson Learned

Be cautious about who you add to the team.

Burko says, “The one thing that I’ve learned is that good people are hard to come by and you need to really do your due diligence and be selective about who you bring into the family.”

Spotlight: Paperwallet Puts New Spin on Old Product

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Expanding their offerings.

Burko says, “If I had to spend it all on one project, I would put it towards research and development for a new project we have in the works. The extra funds could help us take the project to new heights–so to speak– allowing us to create something even more creative.”

Communication Strategy:

Welcoming everyone’s ideas.

Burko explains, “We have a really open policy when it comes to product development. Many times the artists themselves come up with the idea for a new wallet design. Everyone in the company, regardless of position, is encouraged to brainstorm new design ideas.”

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Find out more about the Small Biz Spotlight program

Images: Paperwallet

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering entrepreneur profiles, interviews, feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. When she’s not writing she can be found exploring all that her home state of Michigan has to offer.

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