Why Small Gifts Can Have a BIG Impact and How To Find Them

Why Small Gifts Can Have a BIG Impact and How To Find Them

"It was a small gesture. But it made a crappy day brighter. My wife knew that I had been meaning to replace my watch band for a while (read two years) but just hadn't gotten around to it. Work had been extra stressful lately, and I just felt like I didn't have the time I needed to truly connect with family. I came home late one night and found a small wrapped gift with my name on it. When I opened it and found a new ColsenKeane Apple Watch leather band with our initials burned into the band's inside, I almost burst into tears. The next day, I requested some time off to spend with the people who mean the most to me!"

(An email written to us by a brand new owner of a ColsenKeane Leather Apple Watch Band)


Sometimes "I Love You" Isn't Enough.

Small gifts have an absolute intangible quality that strums at the gift receiver's heartstrings more than that of the more grandiose gifts that we often see celebs flaunting on their social media profile (sorry, Kanye). This is because they say more than "I love you." 


Small, more thoughtful gifts say "I see you," "I understand where you're coming from," & "I think you deserve something good."


The science behind gift-giving has been muddled down with marketing jargon & subliminal messaging over the years, but the fundamentals still ring true. Take the excerpt above; for example, the customer was having a tough time managing their work-life balance. Their partner, hearing and seeing this, decided they needed a small token of appreciation in the form of our ColsenKeane Full-Grain leather watchband. The watchband wasn't just a fancy new addition to their collection. It became a signal to the recipient, letting them know their spouse was aware of what they were going through and realized a little TLC was in order.


Size Doesn't Matter.


Another bonus about gifting small is that often well thought out presents can create an unforgettable experience. 


Think about the bond you share with the person you are buying a gift for. Are there any similar experiences that only the two of you share? For people you have drifted away from, look for something that reminds both of you of the good times you've had. Nothing is better than stumbling upon a gift that fires up long lost memories when held. Most importantly, find something that makes the person you're giving it to feel unique.


Try To Inspire Joy.


Without going all Marie Kondo on you, we wholeheartedly believe that every gift you give should inspire joy. You can do that in two ways. 


First, the act of giving the gift lets the recipient know that you're keeping them in mind. That always boosts morale. Everyone likes to know that someone else is thinking about them, 


Second, the more you can personalize the gift, the better chance you have at delivering joy. At ColsenKeane, all of our leather products allow for you to inscribe initials into the leather itself. This is just one of the many ways we add personal touches to our products to connect better with the end-user.


We've been in the leatherworking industry for 11 years. We've sold $1,000 dollars gifts that had the same impact (to the receiver) as $15 key fobs. It is NOT about the dollar amount. It is 100% about the thought you put into the gift. Pick through our Small Goods collection to find some inspiration!

Why your leather patina is worth the wait and how to maintain it

Why your leather patina is worth the wait and how to maintain it

An Excerpt from a Current ColsenKeane Customer's letter of appreciation:

"When I was young, my dad used to have a pair of leather shoes that he loved. The thing about these shoes that always amazed me was that he had been wearing them for 'going on 10 years' (as he always put it).

My mom later told me that he had been wearing the same shoes for closer to 20 years and that he was more in love with those shoes than he cared to admit. I used to wonder how he kept his shoes in such pristine condition. I once asked him what his secret was, and he told me 'the leather does most of the work. I just take care of the rest.' While this answer was really cool and made for good storytelling, I was still woefully unprepared when I bought my first leather pouch."

The First Thing You Need To Know Is…

Understand the type of leather that you are carrying. This means understanding the quality of the leather and the grain that makes up your piece. Learn more about leather types in our previous post.  One of the best qualities of full-grain leather ( the cut we use in our workshops) is that it is exceptionally high quality and requires very little maintenance before it starts developing a beautiful aged and worn-in look. 


What Is A Patina and Why Should You Care About It?

Your leather's patina occurs from everyday usage. With full-grain leather, you don't need to use any fancy chemicals or treatments to get a gorgeous sheen and hue on your leather. You just have to use it. That means taking your leather satchel with you on a road trip. Letting it sit in the sun next to you. Every time you accidentally brush the leather up against another object, rough or smooth, you are helping your bag develop its own character. This is what we mean when we say your purse, belt, or wallet "marks to touch." 

All of these different interactions help tell your story through the lens of your daily companion.

What is the absolute bare minimum you should do to maintain your bag and keep your natural patina going?

Remember, with full-grain leather goods, very little maintenance is required to keep your leather  looking good.

There is a delicate tightrope you have to walk when cleaning your bag. The golden rule for full-grain leather is to use a microfiber cloth & very, very veerrrryyyyy mild soap. Wet the cloth and wring it out. You do not want a soaking wet cloth for this. When you apply the fabric to the leather, just dab it. Don't use too much pressure or rub the leather too vigorously. When cleaning your leather, you want to be careful about not warping the leather so let it dry naturally AWAY from direct sunlight or lamps and heaters.


Lastly, don't sweat the nicks & scrapes.

Full-grain leather is supposed to show touch marks and has natural imperfections. Your leather grows, changes, and evolves with you. You continually add your character and your energy into your bag. 

This happens every time you touch it. 

The oils from your hand get absorbed into the pores of the leather. The indent caused by the pressure of your touch gets recorded into the bag. All of these microtransactions seem almost minuscule at the moment. Still, over time they create a gorgeous patina that in many ways symbolizes a full-grain mosaic to represent fragments of your life and the many adventures you have been through.


ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case Review – $195 by Best Leather

ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case Review – $195 by Best Leather
I was helping my brother in law clean out his home office last spring, and amidst the countless obsolete software manuals he must have had a dozen laptop cases. From black nylon zippered pouches to cheap, thin promo ones stamped with corporate logos from trade shows. It really got me to thinking the amount of money people spend on these cases over a lifetime and how buying one very good one can not only save you money, but provide for years of service. Enter ColsenKeane No. 1214 – Standard Portfolio Case.

Read more

ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case Review – $110 by Best Leather

ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case Review – $110 by Best Leather

One of the driving motivations behind this site is to connect people and products, but not just any product to any person. In a world full of disposables, it’s refreshing to simplify and focus on quality over quantity. We want to showcase goods for the person who wants to buy the best and only cry once. I had the opportunity to handle one such product, a clever case that has become indispensable when traveling – The  ColsenKeane No. 215 – Small Travel Case 


Ever look at the back of a bag of Doritos and shudder at all the bizarre components of a flavored tortilla chip? Well, you’ll be relieved to find the ColsenKeane No. 215 Small Travel Case is made of 2 ingredients: Leather and Brass – Or to be more precise American sourced Full Grain Chrome Tanned Cowhide.

We see brass rivets at all critical stress zones and two hefty prong buckles.with keepers. Measures about 8”x4”x3” and comes with a Lifetime Guarantee. 


At a cursory glance you might just see a very handsome dopp kit, but then you’d be robbing this little case of all the utility it presents. I load it with cables, clothing and even fruit a few times. The heavy duty buckles are a bit overkill and can sometimes make retrieving items more of a hassle but they also offer maximum security from loose items getting out.

The size is a great balance in terms of fitting things in, without taking up precious real estate in your backpack or luggage. Right now my daughter is storing color pencils in it for art, and last week it was full of scavenger hunt items. My point is, thanks to the build quality of this bag it will serve in multiple capacities for decades to come.


Disclosure: We are a professional review site that receives compensation from the companies whose products we review. We test each product thoroughly and give high marks to only the very best. We are independently owned and the opinions expressed are our own.

Against The Grain. Why we use Full Grain Leather!

Do you have a favorite leather piece? What does it look like? Is it shiny or a little faded? 

What about the feel? Does it have a few scratches on it? Is it sporting a well-maintained peach fuzz? 

When you've seen as much leather as we have, then you find yourself asking these questions. 

The characteristics your leather item shows start with the type of leather it was made out of. For maximum clarity, when we say the type of leather, here we are referring specifically to the cut. You can describe leather multiple different ways but for now, let's focus on the part of the hide that your product is made out of. 

When it comes to the cuts, all you need to know is Full Grain, Top Grain, & Genuine Leather.


This cut is the outermost layer of the animal hide. This section isn't sanded down or buffed and is characterized by its densely packed fibers. Full-Grain leather is the perfect material to make bags, belts, & other accessories out of. Another excellent quality you can expect from products made out of full-grain leather is their ability to resist water along with the gorgeous patina they develop over time.

Top Grain

Top Grain is very similar to Full-Grain, but it has been sanded & buffed to remove any natural scuffs or scratches on the animal before the hyde was removed. While you do get a softer leather with this cut, you lose a lot of the strength from the dense-packed Full-Grain leathers. You also lose a lot of the natural water-resistance that comes with a proper Full-Grain.

Genuine Leather

This type of leather can come from any part of the hide. The catch is that it is chemically treated to remove imperfections & take on a glossy or stamped look. This process alters (read weakens) the strength & other natural properties of leather.

Split Grain Leather

This leather is made from the lower levels of the top Grain. While it is still an excellent leather, it is not as valuable as Top Grain or Full Grain.

Bonded Leather

This is precisely what it sounds like. Take scraps of leather and leather scraps or just different pieces of leather and bond them together. It is often embossed or treated to imitate Full-Grain/ Top-Grain leathers. 


Why do we use Full-Grain?

We are obsessed with using the best hides in the world. We only use full grain leather because it is far superior to "Genuine Leather." To give you a product that lasts a couple of lifetimes, we have found that Full Grain is the way to go! Other larger brands save on costs & cut corners by using cuts that are easier to work with and allows them to mass-produce bags that won't tell your story as a Colsen Keane bag will. Over time, full-grain leather will look nicer and nicer and develop a patina from being handled.

If you want to learn more about our leather working process, click here or visit our Charlotte, North Carolina workshop!