Is Not Broke

Recession Proof Wallet

A Different Kind of Silver Lining

"Could you use an extra $20? You’ll never be without it – psychologically, anyway -- with these handmade wallets each with an imprinted $20 on the inside. The creator is Bob Snead, an artist who took inspiration from the lousy economy and is telling personal stories of survival with his handcrafted wallets. The idea grew out of a road trip where Bob saw firsthand the impact of the recession on towns across the country.

Each design in his Upturn collection is a window into someone’s story of struggle and resilience. For
instance, Bob’s Firebird design depicts a classic Pontiac Firebird in honor of Kenneth Gourley, a muscle car mechanic who has spent 20 years helping his son fight cystic fibrosis.

These wallets turn an everyday item into a work of art, which got the attention of Randy Dunn, who told us about the Is Not Broke Recession Proof Wallets. “Combining the elements of art and function along with the always-present twenty-dollar bill completely sold me,” Randy says. “Each one is handmade by an accomplished artist with a dedication to bringing art to ‘the people’ while maintaining a sense of humor.”

Bob says that the irony of making wallets during the worst economy of our lifetime isn’t lost on him. In fact, he revels in the idea, using the recession to forge bonds with other people who are struggling to stay afloat. From those relationships, Bob produces wallets that are conversation starters, tell great stories, and boost their owners’ confidence – in any economy.
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Grommet Launch Conversation

  • Bob

    Hello folks. As founder of Is Not Broke Recession Proof Wallet Co,

    I'm super excited about being featured today on Daily Grommet. From

    design to manufacturing, every Is Not Broke Wallet is handmade with

    care by myself and my wife Dawn in our small New Orleans studio. In

    these tough times, we know you feel the pinch (we certainly do!) and

    we hope our wallets tell an intriguing story and give you the

    confidence that comes with always having a twenty dollar bill in your

    pocket... even when you don't. We look forward to hearing from you!

  • NobleKnits
    11/17/2010 1:53 PM

    As a knitter, yarn shop owner, and fan of all things fiber related..I had to share your story with all of our knitters (on our Facebook Fan Page: NobleKnits). I know of many who would love that Knitting Dragon wallet. Great designs and love the $20 stash inside!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/17/2010 2:24 PM

    @NobleKnits: - thanks for sharing this story with your knitting community! Here's an excerpt from Bob's website about how this wallet came about:

    Crouching Tiger, Knitting Dragon is based on a story from Bethany Quiles of Truth or Consequences, NM. She sent over this very brief email that got us wantin’ to make a wallet. “I live in the desert. New Mexico, to be precise. It is over 115 degrees Fahrenheit outside at the moment and all I have to keep me cool whilst I work is a small fan. What is it that I do for work in such conditions? I knit blankets. Blankets, scarves, socks, sweaters; all for friends and family and the occasional farmers’ market. It’s hard to make a buck, so when I have a few to my name, I have to spend it on new yarns for new jobs. On the weekends I take the dice I’ve collected over the years and play D&D with my friends in their nice air conditioned home. It’s certainly a wonderful break from the needles and fan.”

    We loved the dichotomy of knitting versus D&D and that’s all we really needed to get to work.

  • Debbie Riley
    Debbie Riley
    11/17/2010 1:54 PM

    What a great story! This is the quintessential "American Dream" story and I wish this company the best of luck. This is the type of story we could expect to see on a national news show. Maybe they could model a business plan after Tom's shoes; double the price and for everyone bought, a free wallet is delivered to a local homeless shelter... :)

  • frank
    11/17/2010 3:02 PM


  • Bob
    Bob – Special Guest
    11/17/2010 3:17 PM

    @Debbie Riley - thanks for the comment! While we don't donate to a homeless shelter (at least not just yet), it should be noted that with each wallet from our upturn series we make a donation to a cause that we feel relates to the story that inspired the wallet. For instance, after reading the amazing story of Kenneth Gourley helping his son fight Cystic Fibrosis which inspired the Firebird wallet, we felt compelled to donate a portion of the proceeds from the sales of that wallet to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

  • Tracey
    11/17/2010 5:20 PM

    Great idea, great looking wallets, but unfortunately I can't afford to pay $28 due to the recession, kind of ironic selling an item to make people feel good during a recession when some of us can't even afford $28!.

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/17/2010 6:19 PM

    @Tracey: When you get back on your feet, which we send our best wishes that that will be soon, you'll have to come back and get one to put your cash into as a reminder of the courage you've shown during this challenging time in our nation's history.

  • Bob
    Bob – Special Guest
    11/17/2010 8:51 PM

    @Tracey: We know just how you feel, we can't afford our wallets either! That's why we have a free wallet program for people just like you! Tell us the story of how you've survived the Recession and if we like it , we'll make you a wallet for FREE! No Joke! The Firebird, Knitting Dragon, and Suit designs all came from stories submitted on our website. You can submit your story to [email protected] or visit . Hope to hear from you soon Tracey!

  • Barbara
    11/17/2010 10:01 PM

    Okay. I don't even NEED a wallet, but I LOVE THIS STORY. I'm buying at least one, and maybe more. Great Grommet!!

  • Brenda marler
    Brenda marler
    11/29/2010 3:39 PM

    This is a great wallet for my hard to shop for almost 17 year old son, really cool, creative with a sense of humor. Thank You!!!

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    11/29/2010 4:09 PM

    @Brenda marler: You will have to send him back to the site to watch the video so he can appreciate the full story! I think he will love having something so fresh and unique!!

  • Bethany Quiles
    Bethany Quiles
    2/9/2011 9:35 PM

    I hope all is well with your shop! Goodness knows that I LOVE my wallet and have gotten several comments about it. People just love the creativity oozing out of it. Thanks again!

  • Sheela
    10/9/2011 9:11 AM

    I am ALWAYS looking for that special gift for both my Dad and my husband. This is AWESOME! The money problems just keep mounting over time. To help make ends meet I took on two jobs. One was working a food bar part-time in the afternoons and 12pm - 9am for about 3 months. You see I love my family but, just had to find work and a mother/grandmother does what is needed of her for her family. Thanks for hearing my story and for having such nice merchandise. Sheela Miller

  • Katherine
    Katherine – Grommet Team
    10/9/2011 8:41 PM

    @Sheela: Thanks for sharing your story, I think an "Is not broke" wallet is a great gift from someone with such a can-do spirit.

The launch day conversation has ended. Please direct further questions about this Grommet to our Community Experience Team.

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