A few weeks ago the good people at the Maine-based company, Flowfold, sent me two of their creations, The Minimalist Wallet and The Tote Bag for review.

I know what you’re thinking: first, why did they trust you to do a thing like that, and second, like I need another tote bag …

BUT, but, before you click away, let me tell you a few things. Things I discovered in putting this stuff to THE TEST and things I discovered in reading about Flowfold’s MISSION TO KEEP US FROM DROWNING IN OUR OWN TRASH.

Flowfold - Less Is More

1. Flowfold hand sews (on a sewing machine, in a cabin in Maine, by candlelight, I imagine) all of their wallets and bags out of scrap sailcloth that would have otherwise ended up, non-biodegradable, in a landfill.

2. The wallet, even full of stuff, floats. I tested this in my bathtub. Yes, all of my money got wet (SO much money), but there it was. Bobbing on a tiny sea.

3. The Minimalist Wallet, aptly named, only has one pocket so you just put your most important stuff in there and take it out on the town. When I was showing it off to a male friend who puts his wallet in his back pocket, he complained that it was TOO THIN because it felt weird that his buttocks were both flat on the bar stool and his spine wasn’t bent at a weird angle like it normally was. (See MY THUMB for scale.) I won’t be so bold as to claim this wallet cures scoliosis; I’ll leave that up to SCIENCE.

4. The Tote Bag can hold two six-packs and a small wheel of cheese. It can be worn over the shoulder or like a backpack. I did not learn this from the website.

Flowfold - Tote Bag

5. Neither will ever fray on you. Or tear. I tried to bite a hole in the wallet, and, nope: nothing. (Tooth: intact, for those concerned.)

6. The Tote Bag costs $56, which seems steep to me (see above: “SO much money”), but considering it would probably have to be cast into the fires of Mount Doom to be destroyed perhaps that’s reasonable? The wallet is $8, which is more my speed. They also make foldy-style wallets.

All of this seems good to know for when the time comes to think about what to buy people, present-wise. People who care about supporting small businesses who are maybe retired professional sailors or aspiring flyfisherwomen or northeastern lighthouse owners or anti-corporation grocery-shoppers or the heroes who care for that baby otter in Chicago or environmental people who still use U.S. currency even though they wish they lived in a world where they didn’t need wallets at all. I’m sure you know people like that.