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Calvin Kwok, Designer of STITCH & LOCKE (INTERVIEW)

How This Vegan Men's Wallet is Standing Out

— April 30, 2014 — Social Good is always looking for sleek and sustainable innovations to feature on our site and we were in luck when we came across Calvin Kwok, designer of STITCH & LOCKE. We spoke with Calvin over email and he shared a little bit of background on the campaign that garnered over $20,000 in two days. Now, that's not too shabby.

If you'd like to contribute to making STITCH & LOCKE happen, you can donate to the Kickstarter campaign which ends at the end of May.

Four Questions with Calvin Kwok

1. How did the idea for the business model come about?

STITCH & LOCKE was formed after I was pitched a business plan by two business-savvy friends, Chad and Louis. They were impressed with a wallet I had created using scrap pieces of leather and a borrowed 1921 Singer sewing machine. With Chad being a vegan, his participation in STITCH & LOCKE was conditional on finding an animal-free alternative to leather. In our subsequent research, we found and quickly fell in love with cork fabric. The use of sustainable materials, specifically cork, is helping us standout in the sea of black and brown leather squares that is the men's accessory market.

2. How did you decide to join this sector?

I haven't fully joined the design sector. I studied as an engineer but wasn't interested in working behind a computer. Now, I am a full-time paramedic. While pre-hospital care is a literal example of helping others, strong parallels can be drawn with running a sustainable business. Making an impact has been an important factor in the development of STITCH & LOCKE.

3. How do you get your inspiration?

A lot of my inspiration comes from the dissection of frustration. Whether it is my own frustration or that of others, there always seems to be a better way to do things. I really get satisfaction from breaking down a problem and slowly inching towards an alternative solution.

4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?

I find that excitement spurs creativity, with feedback and deadlines being great catalyst for breeding excitement. Getting others fired up about an idea can really fuel my own excitement. A definite ritual that is motivating for me is the pen and paper list. The small successes of crossing off minor accomplishments can help build that critical mass of excitement. A pen and notebook is never out of arms reach.