Review by Tina Koyama
I’m a huge fan of Rickshaw Bags. Ever since my first daily-carry Zero Messenger Bag (now 10 years old and still looking great), which has traveled with me to four continents, I’ve found reasons (and excuses) to buy more bags in other colors, sizes, fabrics and styles. I also have several stationery accessories. Handmade in San Francisco, the products are all well made, durable and – the most addictive part – color-customizable!
Rickshaw’s Plush Valet Tray ($34) is not an item that initially struck me as useful. Traditionally, a valet is used by men as a pocket dump. Since I don’t carry coins, keys, knives or anything else in my pockets, I don’t have this need. However, I do have a specific art table need, and when I spotted the cushy valet, I suddenly realized what its purpose is.
When I’m working on a drawing or other project at my desk, I’m constantly picking up and putting down various pencils, pens, scissors or other tools, and I don’t like the noisy clatter they make on my desktop surface or a hard tray. I’d tried paper towels and fabric to set tools down on, but round pencils kept rolling off.
The rectangular 4-by-8-inch valet is an ideal size for giving my currently used tools a soft, silent place to land – it’s plush-lined! Yes, my pencils now have a more comfy seat than I do. I don’t have any of Rickshaw’s gorgeous, plush-lined fountain pen cases or Coozies because I refuse to let my pens be better dressed than I am. OK, I do have one Clover Pen Sleeve (alas, no longer available), seen in this post, which also shows a couple of my many Rickshaw bags. But the Clover has a specific travel purpose beyond keeping my pens warm and stylishly dressed.
I chose Cordura fabric in Iris on the outside (in homage to my original, well-traveled Zero Messenger) and orange plush on the inside.
The valet has an interesting and functional design: In use, the four corners are snapped together into a simple tray. When unsnapped, the valet goes flat for storage or travel. It’s also available in three square sizes and a slightly less cushy version in waterproof EPX fabric.
This is one of those things that I did not know I needed until I saw it, and now I don’t know how I ever worked at my desk without it! Did I mention that it’s color-customizable? Don’t play with the customizing tool just before bedtime. I guarantee you will stay up too late trying out all the color combos.