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Good Company: Bellroy’s Pioneering Accessories

Mar 19, 2023

Doing good often comes from the wallet. With Australian accessories brand Bellroy, that's literally the case.

When its three co-founders launched the company in 2010 with a single wallet design, they were also determined to "be a force for good," CEO Andy Fallshaw says from his Melbourne office. "Our early tagline was ‘Exploring Better Ways,’ and that's continued to define how we do business."

Now a US$300 million business with fans around the world, Bellroy has been a certified B Corporation since 2015; the designation recognizes businesses for social and environmental performance.

More than just setting a good example, sustainability and stewardship have been integral to Bellroy's growth, Fallshaw says. "Our first environmental goal is to build a product that gets used and loved for as long as possible," he says. "That means that maybe we can reduce the total number of products in the world, and in turn reduce emissions."

Along with its range of backpacks, crossbody bags, key holders, phone cases, and passport holders, Bellroy also owns Carryology, a site dedicated to "carry culture, and how we carry things through the world," said the 45-year-old Fallshaw. "It's an incredible global community that geeks out on what makes great carry products, and whose ideas we share with other brands."

Carry culture varies from country to country, Fallshaw says. "Asia has had a very sophisticated carry culture, since so much of it is urbanized, with extensive use of public transit. So in places like Tokyo, Singapore, and Hong Kong, people go through their day of work and leisure without a car."

Countries like the United States, more dependent on automobiles, "are coming into carry culture, but big gym bags are more popular in the U.S. But North America has been a pioneer in comfort and load carry systems, and we can learn a lot from them."


Bellroy's first products to market were slim wallets intended to improve the actual experience of carrying them around. "The ‘carry’ category didn't really exist before we started," he says. "We were interested in all of these items that help you move through the world with less friction, but the term wasn't being used. Carry is a huge space if you think about luggage, bags, wallets, and accessories."

Today, Bellroy's cross-body bags and "slings"—like fanny-packs—are among its top sellers, "quite unique and brilliant in how they work," Fallshaw says. They’re designed with larger pockets and easier access for the user. And around the releases of new phones, Bellroy's phone cases sell especially well, he adds.

As a design philosophy, Fallshaw includes the dimension of time as one of Bellroy's considerations. "We think about how that influences products. How does it show up in meaningful moments? How will the product shape itself? How will it show a patina, and become future-proofed as the objects you carry change over the years?"

Bellroy's newest design, the Apex Note Sleeve billfold, updates a classic leather design with stitchless construction and a magnetic closure.


Bellroy's products range from a US$55 leather business-card holder to a US$449 nylon backpack.


Bellroy's general counsel, Sarah Nichols, chairs the Animal Welfare Group committee of the Leather Working Group, a global non-profit "working to create meaningful change across the global leather supply chain," including responsible production and sourcing.

"Properly addressing animal welfare within the leather supply chain wasn't being done. Companies put it in the ‘too hard’ basket," Fallshaw says. "The Leather Working Group's recommendations have guided purchasing decisions of much larger brands, and helped them source hides from more responsibly farmed livestock."

Bellroy has also become the first accessories company to partner with Mirum, a plant-based, plastic-free leather alternative embraced by labels like Stella McCartney and Allbirds. Peoria, Illl.-based Natural Fiber Welding created Mirum. The company's "single biggest impact is inspiring better ways," he says. "It can sound a little ephemeral, but we do that by showing better practices and helping guide other businesses and individuals toward those practices."


Fallshaw and co-founder Lina Calabria, who now employ about 100 people, "still believe we have many decades of growth ahead of us, with many more meaningful things."

But "we’re not going down the path of luxury brands with perfumes or products just for growth's sake," he says. "Carry has a huge scope, and we will just keep expanding and improving."