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form function form

I tend to be the type of fella who keeps stuff. Not in the way you’d think of a hoarder (although my gf may beg to differ), but in terms of how long I use things I own. My last car was over 20 years old with just over 260,000 miles. I plan on keeping my current car at least that long which in my view means the rest of my natural life. I have the same pocket lighter I’ve had for 30 years. I carry a Don Maxwell handmade pocket knife I’ve owned for only 10 years, but it will be buried with me. I’ve kept my wristwatches until parts are no longer available to fix them. You get the point.

I appreciate hand crafted items, those that are made well and are supremely functional. And just like my taste in restaurants, I lean toward finding mom and pop gems, those establishments owned by a person, not stockholders because I find quality is more than just their latest PowerPoint Titling, it’s their passion.

Shawn Reed’s business motto

25 years ago I wanted to begin carrying a wallet that held a pad of paper and a pen. There were times I wanted to leave a note for someone, or jot down some of my thoughts. The internet didn’t exist in my world (or many others) so it was old school researching for ‘something’ I had in my mind. I finally found just what I was looking for at Edward’s Luggage. A small leather wallet with a corresponding sized pad of paper along with an integrated pen holder made out of leather. I substituted the cheap pen which came with that wallet with a Fisher Space Pen. Since purchasing the item I have never been without it.

As the years passed I went through dozens of pads and as time when on I noticed Edward’s had to special order them because the wallet had been discontinued. So I ordered all that I could find, knowing that my little wallet needed to last the rest of my life! (GASP I think that’s one of many thoughts in a hoarder’s mentality…) Down to my very last pad of paper I inadvertently washed my beloved wallet. I didn’t realize it until I noticed all the little bits of paper in the washer and I got a sinking feeling in my stomach….OH FUCKING SHIT!

The carnage of the washer.

The wallet was fine, as was the pen, but my next to last tablet had disintegrated completely. Knowing that my last tablet would only last about a year I began to panic. “So I only have one year of life left! I want to see my kids have their own kids so I need to find more pads!” was my irrational first thought. So I went to my local Edward’s and the clerk patiently searched their inventory along with the inventory of the pad manufacturer, Tandi. “No luck sir, with the exception of the pen each of those items have been discontinued years ago.”

I began a frantic search of the internet; “pen wallets” “tablet wallets” “small tablets” and nothing. So I just searched for “Fisher Space Pen Wallet”  and that is how I found form function form.

A huge sense of relief came over me as I began to wander through the site. Hope of seeing my future grandchildren replaced the anxiety I had originally held in my mind. So after careful examination of his work I pulled the trigger and ordered his Charette Wallet.

Left my new Charette wallet. On the Right my original even after washing.

Because I’m inherently patient, I opted for expedited shipping. I needed immediate gratification that the choice I made would assure that my life could continue beyond the life of my last tablet. I had written to ‘the owner’ just after ordering asking if I could purchase additional pads. He explained to me that they can be ordered anywhere and are Moleskine Volant Extra Small Notebooks. I received my wallet today and he included an extra notepad, as he must have sensed my sincere insecurity that I would not be able to locate others.


The quality of the wallet is exquisite and there are many other sites with reviews of the quality. I was taken aback by the hand written note on the cover of the box, “Mark, Enjoy.” What intrigued me even more than the quality of the wallet was the ‘who’ behind the hand crafted leather good. I have always believed that you can tell volumes about a person based on the quality of product they produce both in its design and execution. Shawn Reed is the person behind the product. He was interviewed by Art and Hustle Magazine. That interview can be found here. Here is a short excerpt from that interview:

A&H: I read in one of your past interviews that you really don’t have a plan at the moment for FFF. Do you see FFF as a future company/brand or a hobby?

SR: form•function•form “doesn’t have a plan” in the sense that I imagine an MBA plans for things: with loads of charts and market research and ex-post analysis of trends and blah, blah, blah.  I have the great and enviable position of getting to make things that are fun and creative, and interacting with customers and others in the industry on a daily basis.  People who buy my products seem to love them, so I get all that positivity, and I’ve been honored to have some great feedback and reviews from some incredible blogs.  So…my plan-that-isn’t-a-plan is to keep making things and grow in a way that makes sense to me and still allows me to maintain contact with people that I enjoy—both people in business spheres and personal spheres.  If either one seems to be failing, I’ll revisit the question of what the business “is.” 

I can now sleep soundly (as I write this at 3:00am) that my theory about what a man produces, the manner in which he produces it and the way he views the creative process speaks volumes about the man himself, remains intact. Thank you Shawn. I don’t know you, but in so many ways I do.

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