...Big Skinny, on the other hand, went at it in a BIG way, erecting a 21 foot by 10 foot wallet right in Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA. Guinness World Records quickly crowned it the World's Largest Wallet.
Several not-for-profits benefitted from this unique fund-raising vehicle to remind holiday shoppers to help the poor and others in need. Day after day, representatives of these groups told about their worthy causes and collected donations. Each group had its own pocket in the giant wallet.
"Our hope is that the big crimson wallet urges folks to open their wallets to help address the needs of the underserved community," says Alexandrov, who also arranged for the Big Skinny website to stream live videos from historic Harvard Square of all those who participated.
Those groups served include the Jose Mateo Dance Theatre, Salvation Army, Pediatric Aids Treatment Solutions, Harvard Square Homeless Shelter, Old Cambridge Baptist Church, Solutions at Work, Earthen Vessels, Molecular Frontiers, Cycle Kids, Cambridge Arts Council and Medulla Thyroid Cancer Research at John Hopkins.
The Big Skinny Wallet, conceived by Alexandrov, solves the top five wallet problems. It is made of ultra-thin nylon micro-fiber and its unique design results in a 50 percent reduction in size. www.macedonian.org
What follows is a comprehensive list of gift ideas -- from food to tech gear to stress relievers -- that can match nearly any holiday budget, from as little as a few dollars up to $50:
$25 and under: No one wants to carry a wallet the size of a brick. Consider giving the Multi-Pocket Bi-fold wallet from Big Skinny Wallets ($23.95). It's made of thin material and features extra-wide pockets lined with a rubber backing to prevent your valuables from sliding out. www.entrepreneur.com
But never fear--I've rounded up some amazing gift ideas that will hopefully help you--and me--cross all the ladies off our lists. Check them out... Big Skinny Metallic wallets, $45-$60
I love this company for their amazingly thin and stylish leather wallets and this holiday season they have introduced a limited edition metallic collection. Brilliant!
Big Skinny, a Harvard Square-based company that specializes in making thin wallets, will have its creation on display in Harvard Square until Christmas. It measures 10 feet tall and 21 feet long when open and 10-1/2-feet wide when closed. Put together by company co-owner Catherine Elizabeth Alexandrov and her mom, the wallet might be in the running for a Guinness World Record.
The wallet was unveiled during a kick-off event in Harvard Square Monday night, featuring performances by Jose Mateo Ballet Theatre dancers.
The huge crimson-colored wallet will be on display in Harvard Square from Nov. 29 to Dec. 24 every day from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Even if the wallet doesn't win the Guiness honors, non-profits will be helped by being listed on the wallet. The non-profits will also have volunteers who will be standing by answering questions about their group as well as accepting donations. There will also be donation pockets with pamphlets for all other participating non-profits at the wallet. The company says 100 percent of the proceeds will go directly to those organizations.
The previous record was set by a Spanish company this past summer. That wallet was only 6 feet high, but weighed 450 pounds. The wallet used the skins of two cows and took a team of 13 craftsmen in Ubrique, Spain, according to reports. Click here to read the article and see the video:
Manjit Bains, who drove a cab for 20 years before becoming a Metro bus driver, recommends supportive shoes and loose, breathable clothing.
"Stay cool and comfortable, and remember your sunscreen and sunglasses," he says. "Crack open the window, and keep the kids and the dog secured in the back seat of the vehicle. Otherwise, they can distract you and cause accidents."
Try: Big Skinny wallets
Sitting lopsided because of an overstuffed wallet can irritate the sciatic nerve. These wallets have a low profile. $23-$30
The folks at Big Skinny were kind enough to send us a few sample wallets, as they wanted our impressions of their products. Here's what we found.
I was a little hesitant at first to try out the new wallet for a few reasons - one being that I am a creature of habit and not typically open to change. I am happy that I overcame that hesitation, however, because the Big Skinny wallet seems to be so much less cumbersome while still being able to hold all of my plastic and currency with no problem at all. I am thrilled I enjoy it so much and will continue to use this wallet on a daily basis.
The size is definitely a comfort factor. I feel a little more balanced when I walk as I don't have one side weighing me down anymore... a simple idea that simply works - great idea, great wallet!
As you can see, the Big Skinny wallet passed the test. It's time to see for yourself what all of the buzz is about.
Gifts and Decorative Accessories
At this year's New York Bike Show, I got to talking with Kiril Alexandrov who, with his wife Catherine, has created Big Skinny Wallets. They are the result of almost two years of research and development [trying out dozens of designs and over 70 types of materials] for the perfectly balanced wallets featuring the right thinness, good looks, durability, and the ability to function as a full-time, full-service wallet.
I have never been really happy with my wallets and I have bought at least a dozen in as many years, and have taken to using my travel passport wallet for day-to-day use. some think it rather large, but it fits in my zippered riding jacket pocket, where it is safe and sound, but it still has the problems I have found with other wallets. Not too waterproof and cards and coins tend to fall out if I open it upside down or backwards, not to mention when fully loaded, it gets rather portly.
Kiril had me walk over to his booth to see his wallets. I was very impressed. Seeing a "normal" wallet empty and a Big Skinny loaded with cards and cash, it was apparent that the Big Skinny wallet was just what its name implies.
Big Skinny wallets are designed with one single purpose - to make wallet carrying more comfortable - by making your wallet thinner, smaller and lighter, and that adds up to make life easier for us riders on the road.
Most Big Skinny wallet are created out of a nylon micro-fiber material, although a fine leather wallet was my choice. Inside, the wallet is lined with a thin rubber-like material that keeps things dry and in place
After years of searching I think I might just have found the perfect riding wallet. You just might too when you log onto www.bigskinny.net. They have dozens of styles, sizes and colors to choose from, so take a look. Besides, who wants a huge gorilla in their pocket?
The Motorcyclist's Post
Solution: Big Skinny Women's Wallets are the super thin and versatile enough for any bag, any situation. We've taken classic designs that women are familiar with using, made some important adjustments, and used an ultra-thin nylon micro-fiber to make the wallet incredibly light and skinny. Our seven new different styles accomodate 20-60 thick plastics cards [depending on the model], cash, receipts, coins, and more.
It's like those women we envy who eat everything they want and still stay so slim. After 4 years of creating the world's thinnest wallets for men, we're also now creating the world's thinnest wallets for women.
What's the difference? -Constructed from durable, ultra-thin nylon micro-fiber: nylon microfiber is FIVE to SEVEN times thinner and lighter than the various leathers [like the difference between wearing your nylon jacket in the spring that you can fold into a tiny pouch and a leather jacket that is thick and weighs a ton].
-Pockets are lined with a rubbery coating to make it harder to lose cards & cash.
-Extra-wide pockets for your plastic cards, so each slot can hold 4-5 cards.
-Sturdy snaps keep the wallet closed when being jostled around in your purse.
-Water-resistant and machine washable [oops, spilled another latte!]
Divide and Conquer
Design for the full-sized Executive and Monte Cougar models: Our special "divide & conquer" design breaks up your cards into 4 discrete areas so they don't all stagger on one long row leaving huge lumps. Our designed breakup into 4 general areas means there will be very nice symmetry when your cards are in place and the wallet is shut so you'll have an even, flattish plane rather than "staggered bulges" like all those other out-dated thick regular wallets.
Additional Features: -8 Room for 20-60 plastic cards, depending on the model.
-Spacious coin compartments, yet zippered for maximum sleekness.
For complete descriptions of the new models: the taxicat, the world with zippered pocket, the executive, the moto executive, the trixie, the monte cougar, the lynx, and the panther clutch, check out www.BigSkinny.net.
New Website Just Launched!:
A: A wallet that solves the thick heavy wallet problem for both men and women!
That old chestnut "thin is always in" is truer than ever. Even with an economic downturn in process, there are still more and more plastic cards raining down on us and Big Skinny wallets are eating them up yet still staying skinny. Gift cards, frequent buyer cards, food cards, gas cards, health care cards, id cards etc. etc. -every vendor has yet another plastic card for every customer! But imagine a diet where you ate as much as you wanted but still kept kept thin? Imagine putting all your stuff from your thick leather wallet into a sporty big skinny and halving your wallet size & weight! Yes, people can still weather the economic storm while looking skinnier and more comfortable than ever before! See attached comparisons.
New Website, Models, Colors, and Women's Wallets Too (Designed by Husband & Wife Team): Now there are 7 new models and colors to choose from. Been a trifold lover all your life? Welcome to the Big Skinny trifold. Like minimalism and don't needs lots of pockets? Check out the sport Big Skinny series. Want to be 4 times as thin? Then let design + material make your stack half as thin as before with the radical Super Skinny model. Traveling the world to save financial markets? Use the Big Skinny World Wallet. Just need card cases and card wallets because you are an ultra-minimalist? There are now 4 new styles to choose from. Compare a Big Skinny to the usual humdrum thick as a brick leather wallet -BIG SKINNIES ARE NOT THE USUAL GIFT WALLETS (plus, don't all of us have a desk drawer full of the usual thick leather gift wallets?)
Big Skinny wallets are designed with one singles purpose -to make wallet carrying more comfortable -by making your wallet thinner, smaller, & lighter.
using an advanced version of the nylon micro-fiber material that made Prada famous coupled with special designs for the way we actually use plastic cards, the Big Skinny guarantees to downsize your bricksize. Big Skinnies are not the old-fashioned thick 1970s nylon or leather wallets.
-The stylish super-thin Big Skinnies come in multiple colors & retail from $7.95 to $29.95 and measures as thin as 2mm! Features include: unique extra-wide pockets, and a rubbery coating making it harder to lose your cards and cash.
-Originally designed by M.I.T. $50K entrepreneurial award winner Kiril Stefan Alexandrov, Big Skinnies are now designed by the husband & wife (Kiril + Catherine) team and are the result of almost two years of Research and Development (trying out dozens of designs & over 70 types of materials) for the perfectly balanced wallets featuring the right thinness, good looks, durability, and the ability to function as a full-time full-service wallet.
-In addition, the Big Skinny also serves many uses as a weekend wallet, a sports wallet, an evening-out wallet, and a travel wallet. With its flexible material and special design, Big Skinnies scales and expands according to your needs allowing you to fill without overfilling.
-Water Resistant:get these thin Big Skinny nylon micro-fiber wallets we and they dry out in 1-2 hours from a full soak or accidental machine wash. So jump into the pool or lake if you feel like it. . .
-Lighter than ever: Big Skinny wallets wigh less than an ounce so that all you feel are your cards & cash.
Electronic Images Available upon request.
So a modern-day Bond must update his wardrobe and his accessories – even his fragrance. We found a couple of items that Bond-like guys might want to check out. *His Wallet: Oversized, over-stuffed wallets are out. (They have been since the days of “Seinfeld’s George Costanza.) The Big Skinny, dubbed “the world’s thinnest, smallest and lightest wallet,” is suitable for the Bond man. And at $19.95, that leaves cash for a martini or two; available at www.BigSkinny.net.
The Big Skinny is the rare wallet that won’t be a pain in the butt.
Cambridge entrepreneur Kiril Stefan Alexandrov has solved a problem that’s long vexed mankind: how to prune the bulging, lumbar-straining wallet. His sleek, utilitarian Big Skinny billfold is made of pliable microfiber material—the same kind used in Prada handbags—that flexes to fit your derriere even when you’re carrying too many receipts along with your cash, ID, and credit cards. The wallet does take some getting used to: Without the familiar swelling, it can feel not just miniature, but missing.
So money. Finally, a comfortable way to carry your cash.
Contra Costa Times
Made of the same micro-fiber material that Prada made famous, the minimalist Big Skinny wallet has a top-access billfold and three extra-wide pockets, the dimensions of the darn thing are 3 inches tall, 4 inches long and barely 1/8 inch thick. No joke. Can you say "Happy Father's Day?"
The ultra-thin Big Skinny is available in black, navy and khaki and costs $19.95 at www.BigSkinny.net.
The Florida Times-Union
Por-kay? Cuz my life’s mission is to find the thinnest wallet in the galaxy. My pockets are bulky enough with the marbles and slingshot I carry around a la Dennis the Menace. I’ve tried everything from money clips to wallets with money clips attached. But this by far is the best thing I’ve found. They [the Sport Wallet] sell online for $19.95 and are made from an “advanced nylon micro-fiber material that Prada made famous,” according to www.bigskinny.net. They also come in a variety of colors – including teal, for all you Jags lovers out there.
The Florida Times-Union
There are so many different wallets that are available to choose from, but we are going to keep in theme and include this wallet. The designers at Big Skinny have come up with the world’s skinniest wallet measuring at 1/8 inch. The wallet has pockets for your bills and credit cards. There is a private pocket for ? less frequently used items and/or a condom?? (how interesting) and there is also a window pocket for pictures or IDs. This is small enough to carry around in almost any pocket, but since we are carrying a purse, we will include this in there. Also, the small size will provide more room for our other gadgets and gizmos.
The Big Skinny wallet doesn't look like the black leather versions I normally buy. I got the Executive style, made of an ultra-thin, nylon microfiber, in Fuchsia Pink (it also comes in Tuxedo Black, Cocktail Red and Smokey Teal), and although it's not my typical color, I love it because it's so easy to find in my kitchen-sink purse.
The wallet has thin, wider-than-normal pockets for credit cards and envelopes for cash and receipts, biz cards, etc., as well as a zippered compartment. The entire contents of my two-inch-thick original wallet -- including change -- fit inside with room to spare. Snaps actually hold the thing closed. The best part: the wallet is only 3/8ths of an inch thick. I've been using the Big Skinny for about a month and am proud to say that it hasn't become unorganized. It's a keeper.
Decision: Get it!
The Las Vegas Review-Journal
You’ve worked hard to have your summer bod, so why would you want a big bulge in your back pocket? A new wallet, The Big Skinny, is on the market just in time for summer, and to reduce the junk in your trunk.
Developed by Kiril Alexandrov (who won a $50,000 entrepreneurial award at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for his design), The Big Skinny is a stylish, sleek, durable and full-functioning wallet. It works as a weekend essentials wallet, a going-out-to-dinner-only-bring-your-credit-card-and- -identification-wallet and an everyday wallet. And because its microfiber material expands according to how many essentials you need, it can hold much more than its size appears.
Coined ‘the thinnest wallet in the world.’ The Big Skinny is available in tuxedo black and navy blue at www.BigSkinny.net for $19.95.
San Diego Transcript
In searching the Internet, I discovered three companies that have tackled this problem and come up with some practical solutions. Coincidently, each of the three products I tried cost $19.95. ALL-ETT of San Diego has developed a wallet made from a paper-thin, rip-stop, nylon fabric that's used in large parachute sails on sailboats. It's very thin and crinkly, like paper, so it seemed like it might easily tear…
…I tried the company's "original" bi-fold design that's 3 inches by 5 inches when closed. Opened, it has four card pockets and two currency compartments. I was able to fit about four to five cards in each pocket and about 20 bills. The tightly sewn pockets and non-stretch material limit it from holding more. The company also makes a smaller wallet and credit card cases…. Big-Skinny of Cambridge, Mass., makes a line of thin wallets constructed out of a nylon, micro-fiber cloth, similar to what's used in Prada and Kate Spade purses. The cloth has a rubber lining that adds stability and prevents the cards from slipping out of the pockets; it's available in a variety of colors.
I tried the company's Thin Sport Wallet, which is 3 inches by 4 inches. It's designed like a normal wallet, with two inside horizontal pockets, one with a transparent front. Amazingly, it was able to hold two dozen cards and 20 bills. Fully loaded, I was still able to fold the wallet without it deforming and it easily fit into a side pocket. (bigskinny.net)
Lastly, I tested a cleverly designed money clamp from Austin, Texas-based beza (beza.biz). I tried its Geneva design, which has the largest capacity of the company's half-dozen models. It's constructed of metal and has three articulated hinges that self-adjust to firmly grasp anywhere from a couple of cards to a dozen cards and up to 10 bills. To use, you wrap the bills around the cards and then clamp the stack together. It worked well, always holding firmly. The clamp takes up the least volume of all.
Of the three, I preferred the Big Skinny because it had the largest capacity and was the only product able to hold all of my 20 cards. It also seemed as sturdy as a leather wallet. But if you don't need to carry as much as I do, the others products also worked well.
Up! WestJet's In Flight Magazine
WHAT HAPPENS: Stuff this wallet with a stack of credit cards, a fistful of bills and your driver's license --- and walk away bulge free.
WHAT WORKS: Made with the thin, pliable microfiber material used in Prada bags, this wallet lets you keep the stuff without the bulk. No more aches and pains from sitting on a brick.
WHAT DOESN'T WORK: If you're used to a more sturdy leather wallet, this one may seem a bit flimsy and floppy.
WHAT YOU'LL GET: It features a slot for bills and three wide pockets --- one with a plastic window for photo identification. The fabric is so thin that it really is skinny. It comes in Navy Blue, Tuxedo Black and Desert Khaki.
TO BUY IT: It's available through www.bigskinny.net.
Okay, I know that most hardcore cyclists will not carry a wallet along with them on their hardcore Saturday ride or that epic 30 mile XC ride. But if you are going to do it, no wallet is better than The Big Skinny. The Big Skinny, constructed from super-durable, ultra-thin, pliable microfiber material, will fit in the back of your jersey with no bulging what so ever. It is also perfect for rec riders and commuters, causing no uncomfortable bulges in your pockets while riding. But don't just think the Big Skinny is for the minimalist, even with its slim design you can fit 20-plus credit cards and cash in it, while maintaining the Big Skinny's slim profile. The Big Skinny is available in tuxedo black, navy blue, cocktail red, chocolate brown or desert khaki and retails for $20.
The Worcester Telegram and Gazette
Mr. Alexandrov, a multi-faceted entrepreneur, has designed what he bills as “the world’s thinnest wallet.” He calls it the Big Skinny, a bow to film noir, he says, when actors were “so elegant and skinny.”
“I got tired of sitting on a big wallet,” says Mr. Alexandrov, who lived in Webster for several years when he was a youngster. “It started to hurt my back, and it wasn’t much fun. I did it out of desperation in my need for a thin wallet.”
Mr. Alexandrov had some downtime early last year and decided to see if he could solve his problem. He had worked for IBM, run a literary magazine, and founded a biotechnology company. On top of that, he had been exposed to the fashion world through his sister, Etel Alexandrov, a designer of upscale knitwear for children, which is sold in Saks Fifth Avenue, Barneys New York and Macy’s, among other retailers.
Designing the perfect wallet represented a new challenge. Mr. Alexandrov conducted careful research on what people carry in their wallets and tried a series of designs. He tested dozens of materials and ended up using a lightweight, resilient microfiber with a special rubber backing. “When you’re biking, or running, or sitting, you don’t want anything sliding out,” he says.
Mr. Alexandrov sells the wallet on his website, www.BigSkinny.net , and he is now marketing it to stores nationwide. He was told by several people familiar with retailing that he could charge as much as $50. He resisted and priced the wallet at $19.95.
“I wanted to make sure everyone who wants thinness can get it,” he says from his office in Cambridge. “I wanted it to be more democratic.”
Mr. Alexandrov has a good feel for the democratic spirit, not to mention the American dream.
He was a child of 4 and his sister was a babe in arms when his parents, both doctors, escaped from communist Bulgaria more than 30 years ago. They were granted political asylum, Mr. Alexandrov says, and joined family members already residing in North Grosvenordale, Conn.
After a brief stay, the Alexandrovs moved to Webster, where Mr. Alexandrov’s father found work as an inhalation therapist at Hubbard Regional Hospital. Both parents learned English and eventually were licensed to practice medicine in Massachusetts.
During those years, the family lived on School Street and, later, “behind McDonalds, which was a great place for a kid,” Mr. Alexandrov says with a laugh.
“I didn’t speak any English,” he remembers. “The first thing I learned was the Pledge of Allegiance. I tried making the sounds. Then I understood the words.”
After several years, the family moved to Pennsylvania, where Mr. Alexandrov’s father found a good job in the medical field. Mr. Alexandrov discovered his penchant for business while studying at Gettysburg College. Upon graduation, he took a job with IBM in Maryland.
But Cambridge captured Mr. Alexandrov’s imagination, and, soon after moving there in the early 1990s, he founded The Boston Book Review. He served as president of the review, while earning a master’s degree in English at Harvard University. At its height, the literary magazine had a staff of 10 and nationwide distribution. It was printed at Saltus Press in Worcester. Bob Kutchniki, Web/production manager, recalled the youthful editor arriving with his copy.
“We’d make proofs,” Mr. Kutchniki says. “He’d come back and check the proofs and make changes, and we’d print it. We did mailing and distribution for him, and we loaded all we could of the extras into his little Miata two-seater.”
Then, at the height of the high-tech boom, Mr. Alexandrov got involved with a couple of MIT scientists who had an idea for a startup.
One of them had figured out how to attach molecules to DNA, RNA and proteins, making them visible to the naked eye and much easier to control in experiments. Mr. Alexandrov drew up a business plan, and he and one of his colleagues entered a series of high-level competitions in 2000.
“It was the right way to kick off the millennium,” Mr. Alexandrov recalls excitedly. “It was the most fun anyone could ever have. It was getting up at the crack of dawn and asking, What will happen today? I was still running the book review at the time. I never felt more alive.”
The team won the MIT $50K Entrepreneurship Contest and the Stanford Global Entrepreneurship Challenge. Mr. Alexandrov closed down the book review—a labor of love—and became CEO of Genigma Corp.
By 2004, Mr. Alexandrov had moved on to international relations through connections at Harvard’s Kennedy School. He was asked to expand the nonprofit International Economic Alliance and became its executive director. The group sponsors symposiums to advance international trade and investment.
Meanwhile, Mr. Alexandrov has big plans for his wisp-thin wallet, which has been featured in Boston Magazine and in publications across the country. He says the orders are flowing in, and other Big Skinny designs are in the works. He is willing to do whatever it takes to sell the Big Skinny concept.
Not long ago, he could be found manning a vendor table at the Cambridge River Festival. “I was swamped with men and women who were fitting all their normal wallet stuff into a Big Skinny,” he says. “In a few hours, I sold almost a hundred. It was so much fun.”
Arkansas Democrat Gazette
"I could never find [a wallet] I liked," Alexandrov said. "It was always this wallet's too thick or too heavy. Too many pockets; too few pockets. I had a rubber band at one point." Through this frustration the Big Skinny was born. The Big Skinny uses an advanced version of nylon micro-fiber material that made Prada famous, along with a special rubber backing that prevents credit cards and money from slipping out when you open it, or hold it upside down. "I interviewed over a hundred people. I did a lot of research into what people wanted in a wallet," Alexandrov said. The Big Skinny's success has turned Alexandrov's solution into a full-time job: marketing the Big Skinny from its online home base (bigskinny.net) to the brick and mortar world.
"I'm starting to approach a few catalogues," Alexandrov said. "Retailers have been approaching me too." In an interview held at the Signet Society in Cambridge, Alexandrov showed mockups of new tin containers in which the retail version of Big Skinny would be sold. Next up for Alexandrov is something more akin to his days when the Boston Book Review was still in publication. He is currently working on a book about famous people from his native country Bulgaria.
Think you could use a Big Skinny wallet? Send us a picture of your overstuffed wallet. BostonNOW will publish the photo of what we think is the worst offender, and it owner receives a free Big Skinny.
Stuff at Night: The Beauty Issue
Savannah Morning News
Omaha World Herald
Who's wearing them?
Men love them, but women use them, too. Oprah has endorsed them. And GQ magazine has bragged about them. People of all ages are buying them. Kiril Alexandrov launched Big Skinny wallets four years ago online. He's a former Massachusetts Institute of Technology $50K Entrepreneurship Competition winner and creator of the Boston Book Review. Now he's done something about your wallet problem.
“People are tired of sitting on thick wallets,” Alexandrov said. “Men hate when their credit cards slip out of their wallets.”
The Big Skinny uses an advanced version of the nylon micro-fiber material that made Prada famous, along with a special rubber backing that prevents credit cards and money from slipping out when you open it, or hold it upside down. Why are they popular?
Slim wallets are stylish and serve a purpose.
The average person carries about 15 cards in his or her wallet (driver's license, credit cards, gift cards, membership and business cards). Most wallets don't use the pocket space efficiently. Card placement tends to be staggered, not divided into equal sections.
“You get a big lump that way,” Alexandrov said. “Skinny wallets have card pockets that are divided into mini stacks. So you fit more…”
Minneapolis Pioneer Press
Land Line Magazine
Kiril Alexandrov certainly hopes so. He plans to build an entire company, The Big Skinny, around his “better mousetrap.
It started as a side project. He didn’t like the bulk and heft of traditional wallets. He had resorted to carrying his stack of plastic cards and bills wrapped in a rubber band.
Alexandrov tested dozens of materials and designs to find one that worked. His wallet would have a personality. It would be sleek and sexy. It would have a name. It would have a hidden pocket for a stack of credit cards, or a condom. Now that should grab attention. He would use photographs of a beautiful woman in alluring poses with a handsome man to promote the product.
The strategy is working. The Big Skinny broke even within weeks of its launch and has since started turning a profit. Maybe the Big Skinny will become a major name in wallets. But it doesn’t necessarily have to in order to be successful.
“The more research I did, the more I realized there is quite a sizable market out there, Alexandrov said. “If the Big Skinny can capture even a small portion of that market, that’s quite enough for me.
A lot can happen in two years, especially when the economy tanks. Dreams and hopes get put on the back burner as small business owners struggle just to stay afloat. Plans get derailed as customers run out of money.
Recently however, a package arrived in my mailbox containing a stack of six colorful wallets. The entire bundle is thinner than my current wallet. Kiril Stefan Alexandrov did it.
He talked to hundreds of women asking what they wanted and didn’t want to carry in their purses and created a slimmer alternative to the traditional bulky wallet. While he was doing that, he significantly expanded the reach of his company, the Big Skinny.
This all started because of a big pain in the butt, literally. Alexandrov was tired of shoving a thick wallet in his pocket. He tried dozens of candidates, but none were thin enough, so he set out to design his own. He experimented with various fabrics and designs until he found a combination he felt worked well enough to share with others.
It’s a tough market given how many alternatives there are everywhere. Alexandrov has tried to stand out by building a brand associated with function and quality.
“I don’t want to reproduce what’s already out there,” he said.
The idea for a women’s line was sparked by comments from women who saw the men’s version.
“As a man, the thing that shocked me the most was the fact that women even wanted thinner, lighter wallets,” he said.
They had a lot of ideas. There should be lots of pockets and a place for coins. Some wanted room for a checkbook and others wanted space for a cell phone. Of course, fasion was as important as function.
Alexandrov kept notes and started designing while he continued to build the company. The hardest park of running the business is maintaining balance, Alexandrov said. While he works on new products, he has to stay on top of sales of the existing ones.
Alexandrov said his biggest mistake in recent months was neglecting the retail stores. He didn’t push to get into them as much as he thinks he should have.
When the economy went bad, stores stopped stocking new products in order to sell off existing inventory. That was made it harder to get into new venues.
He’s not dwelling on the past however. He’s just working to make up for lost time.
His wife, Catherine Alexandrov, has joined him full time in the endeavor. They’ve signed on seven independent sales teams across the country to help sell the wallets and they’re moving toward hiring two employees by the end of the summer.
Meanwhile, they are also revamping the company’s website, working on distributing internationally and getting into catalogs.
If all goes according to plan, there will soon be a few more options for customers – a few more designs in the women’s line and a new line for travelers.
But a skinny wallet seemed out of the question. Too many IDs, receipts, notes and plastic (although not enough cash). Like George Costanza's exploding wallet in "Seinfeld," Big Brown served as "organizer, secretary and a friend."
Show me the skinny wallet that can take care of all that. Meet Big Skinny, billed as "the world's thinnest, smallest and lightest" wallet. Developed by a guy who studied at MIT -- he must have developed this during a break in a physics class -- the Big Skinny is, as billed, light. It's comfortable; a few times I've thought I've forgotten it, it's so snug, only to find it in my pocket. Made from a water-resistant (a good idea I've yet to test) nylon micro-fiber, the Big Skinny features extra-wide pockets. And almost improbably, it holds the same amount of cards, notes and necessities as Big Brown. My only real problem is that I often can't find it in the morning, its sleek profile half that of its predecessor.
If you find yourself needing a rubber band to keep the contents of your wallet from spilling out or find the size of said wallet to look similar to that of George Costanza's -- you know the episode where George sits on a tilt when his oversized wallet is in his back pocket -- well then the Big Skinny is the wallet for you.
About 1/8-inch thick when empty, this water-resistant nylon microfiber wallet holds all the contents of my "old" traditional leather wallet but cuts the size-factor in half. It holds everything I need (driver's license, credit cards, bank debit card, AAA card, Giant Eagle Advantage Card, etc.) but doesn't fatten nearly as much. Despite the shoddy spare key holder sewn into the bill holder section of the wallet (the only con I see in its design), I still find the Big Skinny wallet to be a great find and a definite back saver!
An excellent product at a reasonable price. I'm just replacing the one I bought over 5 years ago that held up extremely well--just started to look a little scruffy because I chose a light color.
It's the most convenient and unobtrusive wallet I've ever had. Now my pants bulge only where they're supposed to.
Peter, Boston, MA
Finally. This is the wallet I've been looking for for, oh... 20 years!! Why has it taken so long for someone to make this sort of product? The Big Skinny is made of durable material, is well-crafted, and offers all you need (including clear window) without unnecessary extras. Most importantly, it really is skinny. Barely visible through pants (even shirt) pockets. It provides a way to carry your cards and money that is, essentially, the same thickness as the contents themselves. So choose what you want in it and you'll be deciding how thick you want your wallet to be. I don't carry much--4 or 5 cards and $100 or so in bills. For the first month I used it, I had a series of momentary panics, mistakenly thinking I'd left my wallet at home. My wife and I have retired our old wallets. It's the Big Skinny for us from here on.
David and Ann, Melbourne, Australia
Wallet is perfect--thanks so much! I find myself pulling The Big Skinny out of my pocket just to hold it - that's how great it is.
Joseph, Amherst, MA
Excellent product! Never before have I actually *wanted* to carry my wallet. (It's so tiny!) ..Of course, now my husband is jealous and wants one for himself, as well. So, yes.. this is my favorite wallet ever, and if it ever breaks, I'll buy 12 more. I wish there were more colors. Boy would I like a purple or a rainbow one! hint hint
Big Skinny wallets is really a solution, carry everything without the bulk. Nothing slides. When I saw this product online, I knew it would be perfect not just for my husband but for me as well. The items are well described and pictured and there's a wide range of designs to choose from. I bought 2 different designs which I placed on 2 separate transactions. Big Skinny customer service kindly waived the S&H on the last order since it's only minutes apart and will be shipped to the same address. I didn't have to ask. I received the items fast, I am truly pleased. It's more than what I've expected. It's reasonably priced, shipping and customer service is excellent! My husband's thrilled when he opened his Christmas gift. I'm very happy. There's two proud owners of bigskinny wallets here in NJ.
Jersey City, NJ
The Big Skinny is that perfect accessory. I don't use it all the time--only when I want don't feel like carrying a purse and just want to stick something in my pocket that carries the basic necessities: money, my driver's license, a few credit cards. Great for going out at night or running errands. Just like your first cell phone, after you start using the Big Skinny, you wonder, how did I ever get along without it?
Alexis, Washington, DC
It is simply the coolest wallet I have ever owned. I never put much thought in my wallet before, but now I realize how much more I enjoy this wallet compared to any of the other wallets I have ever owned.
Adam, Los Angeles, CA
I got less junk in the trunk with my big skinny
From laptop bag to evening gag, my Big Skinny is with me on the go.
Jennifer Webb, Atlanta, GA
Sitting comfortably. I remember, in the past, sometimes taking out my wallet and sticking it in my coat when I was on the subway, because the lump under my ass combined with the weird, narrow, sloping hard-plastic seats was really uncomfortable. Corollary: the Big Skinny convenience of a dual-fold wallet without the bulk. I've been using tri-fold wallets for years, because dual-fold wallets don't fit in my back pocket. The Big Skinny is the first dual-fold wallet I've had that I don't have to wrestle out of my back pocket. Honestly, I get a kick out of its stylishness. Buying toothpaste with style. I enjoy whipping it out at the convenience store. It's sleek and attractive, and the logo is really cool. There's a corollary to that, though, too. My last few wallets have been conspicuously UNstylish, because I try not to buy things made out of leather. Big Skinny is definitely the only stylish wallet I've seen for the non-leather crowd.
Larry Hardesty, M.I.T.’s Technology Review Magazine, Cambridge, MA
I love my new big skinny. I can't wait to go out on the town tonight armed with not one...but two...big skinnies. Doug, Denver, CO
Mit dem Dicken-Duennen werden nun endlich all meine Beduerfnisse befriedigt, denn es kommt doch auf die Groesse an! Translation: (With Big Skinny all my needs are finally being satisfied...because size does matter after all!)
Nadia, Munich, Germany
The bulging wallet has always niggled at me, like chronic back pain or a tooth ache I tried all sorts of strategies to deal with it. First approach was to put my wallet in my front pocket because it was too uncomfortable in the back…this caused all types embarrassing bulge problems, so I ditched the wallet all together for a money clip with credit cards slotted between the notes. After losing a few hundred dollars and several credit cards I was forced back to a wallet. I even considered a man bag but decided this was one idea from the 80’s that hasn’t made a comeback. Whether heading down for a surf or sitting on a 48 hour plane trip to New York the Big Skinny in the back pocket is the answer.
Pete, Sydney, Australia
I have been using a card case for years because it was slim, but this wallet is far superior just because it has a place for bills (and other things).
Gary Johnson, Charlestown, MA
The Big Skinny is just what the doctor should have ordered! For some time I’ve been getting this pain in the butt. I checked with my doctor. He said I my fat wallet was putting pressure on my sciatic nerve and irritating it. He suggested I carry a purse. I considered this unmanly. I ordered a Big Skinny, and now maintaining my manly image is no longer a pain in the butt!
Peter, Honolulu, HI
I especially like the thumb activated condom dispenser. Very cool! And the sleek material of the Big Skinny Wallet is pretty hot.
Seth, New York City, NY
Big Skinny is a great experience. Let me expand on what I mean by experience: 1.) Went to the website and saw an attractive looking wallet with an equally attractive price. 2.) Ordered the attractive wallet at the attractive price in less than 2 minutes without feeling like I was about to give up a kidney. 3.) Under promised and over delivered! Got the wallet in half the time the confirmation email said I would! The Big Skinny was actually ... big! and skinny! It was extremely well made from a tough durable nylon type of material and had this unique sensational feeling of strong and soft. It had a transparent slot for my drivers license with more than enough room for my credit cards, insurance cards and about 20 of my business cards. It was actually better than I expected! How often does that happen online? I was so happy about the whole experience... I called their customer service... And guess what... A REAL PERSON ANSWERED THE CALL ON THE SECOND RING! and she answered like she was glad I called (she was even more happy after I told her why I called) I couldn't believe it! Good presentation; smooth and quick transaction; faster than promised delivery; better than expected product; and excellent customer service... What more could you ask for?
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