Cousins, Guy Rubio, Falcon Craft, and Christian Craft started a leather and canvas goods shop without ever having made leather wallets or canvas bags before. Guy Rubio had an idea for a sort of online leather mercantile. He called up his cousins and they dug his idea. Then the trio hunkered down and taught themselves a whole host of brand new skills. Six years later, and they have a going concern — leather goods for the globetrotting adventurer, called Bexar Goods.
Before we go too far, let’s talk about the name. For us non-Texans, Bexar (pronounced just like Bear) is the name of the country where their leather and canvas shop is located in San Antonio. Back when Texas was under Mexican rule, it was spelled Bejar. That was bastardized when English speakers took over.
Like the name of his brand, Guy Rubio has also shifted from his original state. He was a field geologist but always found himself drawn to leather goods. During his scientist days, Rubio spent a lot of time on the road and he always carried a leather satchel with him.
“You know world travel and leather they just go together,” Rubio explains. “I needed a field bag and kind of thought I could make one myself out of leather.”
Rubio put together a new bag on his own. He showed it to his cousin Christian Craft and they got the crazy idea to start a company based on what Rubio now calls a “pretty poorly made” bag. But it was that bag that sparked an idea that Rubio and Craft couldn’t get out of their heads. Even though Rubio is no longer impressed with that first prototype he knew leather was the right move.
“For us, there’s something just so romantic about leather,” he says, “how it ages and just everything that you can do with it.”
The world of making travel bags and leather accessories was completely uncharted territory for Rubio and Craft. They literally had no idea what they were getting themselves into. They were both working full-time jobs at the time and realized that they had a killer idea for a business but little experience. Rubio reminisces about the early days: “We had no experience with this craft beforehand. So we thought, ‘Okay, well if we want to do something a little bit more serious with it, we’re going to need somebody that knows how to do it.'” Rubio and Craft called their cousin Falcon Craft, up in Colorado.
Guy and Christian knew Falcon loved to teach himself skills and was always looking for new projects. So they brought him down to Texas. Falcon sat in his cousin’s workshop for months learning the ins-and-outs of leather and canvas working. He mastered cutting, stitching, and branding. Then he learned new ways to do all of those things all over again. And again. He tried various styles of stitches to find just the right one for both aesthetics and durability. Falcon taught himself how to make leather pocket books, wallets, and satchels along with canvas duffels and backpacks.
After a few months, Falcon was ready to start teaching Guy and Christian. Within months of Guy Rubio’s idea and prototype bag, three cousins had come together, learned an entirely new skill and trade, and were ready to go out into the world. This may be the most only-in-America story there ever was.
The three cousins started designing new products right away and getting them to the public using an online store. Since everything is being done in-house at Bexar, the team can design a new product on paper, build it, test it, take photos, and have it up on their website in basically the same day. As interest grew for their products, team Bexar was able to start focusing on what the public wanted most.
Wallets became an early focus. “We make so many different varieties of wallets because it’s such a personal thing,” Rubio says. “Some people like the traditional kind of bi-fold. Some people like the more minimalistic style. Some people like a big trucker wallet.” The team quickly learned that there was a nuance to style and design that allowed them to keep expanding, tinkering, and delivering a unique and hand-crafted product to the masses.
Rubio and both Crafts started advertising their products via social media and that’s when things really started to move. The company began take on a life of its own with Bexar now branching into ancillary products like hats, shirts, and more.
“The idea of what Bexar is has been continuously evolving.” Rubio continues, “every day our trajectory changes but essentially we steered it from being primarily a leather goods company to Bexar following our personal passions of travel, classic four-by-fours, and the overland lifestyle.”
Rubio and the Crafts’ love of travel couldn’t be separated from their aesthetic or company — it was too deep in their bones. The cousins travel as much as their schedules allow to all corners of the planet. But it’s their own backyard that draws them in the most. Every year they make sure to take a trip as a team into West Texas’ Big Bend National Park. They field test their products and deepen their bond as a trio of adventure-driven outfitters. Rubio gushes when sharing stories from trips to Iceland, New Zealand, and Morocco to test gear. But it’s the places close to home that light up his eyes.
“There are just so many beautiful places around the Southwest [of America],” he says. “You don’t have to travel outside of the country to see amazing scenery and beautiful places. It’s an adventure that we can do on the weekend and be back at work on a Monday.”
The team loves field testing their gear on their outings into the Texan backcountry. One of the greatest benefits they’ve found in using leather is the character that develops as you actually use Bexar’s bags and wallets.
“I love watching the wear and tear and that kind of personal patina that you put on a leather wallet or a watch strap and certainly a wax canvas bag,” Rubio says. “They all age so nicely.”
That’s where a wallet or satchel from Bexar’s stands above. Every scratch or blemish is like another stamp in the passport — revealing where you’ve been and what you did. They’re notches and scuffs that elicit memories of good times in nature, on the road, and in the middle of it all.
Gearing up with a classic leather satchel, sleek canvas duffel, and a vintage leather field notebook gives you the look and feel of an explorer blazing a path across unmapped wilds.
“It’s something that I think everyone at some point in their lives identifies with,” Rubio says. “That kind of Indiana Jones lifestyle. And whether or not they ever choose to live that way, I’m sure at some point they’ve identified with that.”