Americans spend over 500 billion dollars on apparel and services each year, but only 3% of the purchased products are manufactured here in the United States. One might assume that a majority of the products are made in fashion hubs such as New York City and Los Angeles and overlook states like Texas. But don’t let speculations mislead you! Mario Guajardo of Richter goods has been manufacturing high-quality casual shirts in the heart of San Antonio’s bustling downtown since 2011.
For our seventh episode of “Dare to be Bold” we sat down with Mario, the brain behind Richter Goods. As a fellow Texas brand, we were thrilled to speak with a gentleman that is producing beautiful western-inspired shirts in our home state. However, we ultimately discovered so much more. Mario is not simply a shirt-selling business owner in San Antonio. He is a dreamer with a fiery spark to execute big visions, and he is a huge advocate of supporting local industries. “I really believe in making things locally, and my whole purpose was to make things here [in San Antonio].”
Mario’s love for the fashion industry was ignited when he was a young boy. His father was an attorney and always dressed in immaculate ensembles to meet with clients and follow through with daily business functions. He took the time and initiative to present himself well, and this made a lasting impression on Mario.
As Mario grew older, he pursued a business degree from UAT. From there, he became a business manager for American Eagle and then moved into a similar role overseeing the Texas market for the luxury brand Lacoste. Mario worked with the brand for almost a decade saving his money and submerging himself into the business side of the fashion industry. “I always wanted to have my own brand and to make my own clothing, but there are a lot of moving parts to making your own products.”
Finally, in 2011, Mario decided to leave his well-paying career in efforts to put his accumulated knowledge into the pursuit of his lifelong dream. Mario found the perfect first location for his shirting company in an old San Antonio factory that was once home to clothing line owned by the Richter family in the 1930’s. Thus, the name Richter Goods was conceptualized, and the brand was born.
Originally born in Mexico City, Texas has always held a special place in Mario’s heart. “My family has been in the San Antonio and the Houston area for many generations. So organically, Texas has always been in my blood. Texas feels like home to me.” Mario’s utmost respect for the state of Texas is a driving factor behind the brand. “A big part of what inspires us is where we live. We live in Texas, and we make beautiful western shirts.” Beyond the inspiration for the clothing line, it is extremely important to him to contribute to the hyperlocal economy. Producing, selling his products and employing workers all in San Antonio is truly the driving force behind the brand. “Understanding how to keep things local- for me that is a big commitment. A lot of people can say, ‘Well you know, I support everything that is local,’ [but] I live that life. For me it is extremely important [to] make the products here and sell them at a competitive price point.”
After a few years in the old factory, Mario’s locally-driven way of life helped make the decision to move Richter Goods down the street to its current location 2202 Broadway, San Antonio. He then created a community of like-minded micro-stores in the parking lot of their building. From a coffee shop to a barber, a vintage clothing store to leather goods, Mario has curated a very unique community for other local retailers. “I really believe that [this] is an alternative for modern retail. It is a way to create an experience for consumers. So, I am very, very focused on the development and creating the small spaces for brands.“
Mario is a shining example of what it means to put your head down and work hard. He has a huge heart with a passion to give back to his community. We strongly encourage you to make a trip to San Antonio to see his studio, explore the many micro-stores, and support this driven entrepreneur! If you cannot make it to their store, visit their online store, (which is currently in the process of getting a facelift, and will soon have all of their products available for purchase).
"Dare to be Bold" Episode 7 is now live and available on Youtube and Soundcloud. For more information about Richter Goods, visit their website http://www.richtergoods.com/ and follow them on Facebook and Instagram @richtergoods.