Wallet Whoa

For Yannick Henriette, wallets represent a lifestyle, an essential part of every man’s everyday that shouldn’t be ignored. Not able to find the right one, he set out to create the perfect wallet for himself, and eventually for the world.
Text by Cristina Zuazua Photos courtesy of Jac Henri | June 7, 2018 | Luxury

Yannick Henriette is a trendsetter at heart, and recognizing new opportunities across industry lines is what he does best. After 15 years working in the financial industry and trying to further a few startups, Henriette decided to switch gears and fully dedicate himself to growing what was initially a side project of his — the Jac Henri brand — in June 2013 after a successful Kickstarter campaign. During its initial posting, the startup raised more than $20,000 and sold over 300 wallets in 34 days.
So what inspired this turn of events? In 2004, Henriette was shopping for a new wallet, but couldn’t find anything close to what he was looking for. At the time, the trend of slim wallets didn’t exist, and one had to settle for a credit card holder to achieve a small wallet; and most of the luxury brand cardholders were over $200 for a nice leather piece. So he decided to design one that would meet all his needs on his own. “I bought some nice leather and sewed it to my specs to hold cash,” he explains. “I ended up using that same wallet for 8 years, which received compliments from my friends, who also wanted one.” He adds that it was just a little over a year ago that he refined the design, made a few for friends and family, and put together his video for Kickstarter to raise capital for the business. “I was making the video on the fly and my friends made fun of my French accent, suggesting it needed subtitles,” he quips.
Though Henriette is constantly looking for new ways to innovate, he’s set on several aspects of his business: “I will not compromise my standards for quality and attention to detail…I’ve also been stubbornly against making the wallet abroad, despite people urging me to go to places like China to make them,” he says firmly. “I want to support American industry…and control the production more closely.” As for what’s in store for his designs in the near future, Henriette says he will be introducing a line of cork wallets for his vegan friends.
In his off time, the sci-fi aficionado enjoys spending quality time with his wife and dog, Mikey, hanging out with friends and listening to WVUM. “All very mundane,” he grins, “but these relaxing activities balance out Miami’s fast-paced social scene. I love my work, though, and that’s part of the success — you have to enjoy it and believe in what you’re doing to persevere.”;