I met Maria Galvan a few months ago when she was visiting our friend Jess Mili in Toronto. She was immediately warm and friendly and interested in what was going on around her. After talking for a few minutes (in both Spanish and English) I realized that she was in charge of a company that makes aprons and bar roll-ups, LUCIO Tailoring Company. I immediately started looking online and her designs are beautiful and her design approach is unique. I was also struck by her initiative to stay in the bartending community by creating something new, rather than moving into management or brand work. She is forging her own path and that is something that we love here at Bartender Atlas! She took some time during San Antonio Cocktail Conference to answer some questions for us and give us more details about what she’s up to and how LUCIO Tailoring came to be. There is a sale/kickstarter campaign to benefit LUCIO Tailoring Company happening right now too, the link is at the end of the interview.
Bartender Atlas: Have you ever worked as a bartender and if so, what style of bartending were you doing?
Maria Galvan: Yes, I bartended at a craft cocktail bar while I was starting LUCIO. Eventually, I had to quit my job to go full time with my brand.
BA: With your background in fashion and clothing design, what drew you to the bartending and culinary community as a designer?
MG: I’ve always been a big foodie and have a lot of respect for the culinary community. I always knew I wanted to work for myself but wasn’t sure what route to take until I got introduced to the cocktail scene in San Francisco. I absolutely fell in love with the industry and realized that was the world I wanted to be in.
BA: You are based out of San Antonio, but are originally from Mexico. Why choose San Antonio to start this business?
MG: San Antonio is a very welcoming city. I originally came to visit my parents and had the intention of staying for six months to save up money in order to start LUCIO and without even looking, the city gave me all the tools and opportunities to start. It’s almost like the city wanted me to stay, so I did and I can’t complain.
BA: How much does the city you are living in affect your creative process? Where does your inspiration come from?
MG: My inspiration comes from all the creativity that goes behind a well crafted cocktail or a perfectly executed dish. I love the attention to detail you have to have in order to create an remarkable experience for the consumer. San Antonio is great for my creative process because the city never fails to ground me. I love traveling and taking inspiration from other cities but, I always have to be back in SA in order to put my thoughts and ideas together.
BA: What is LUCIO Tailoring Co? When did it start and what do you offer?
MG: LUCIO is a brand that creates handcrafted leather goods for the industry. I started brainstorming on the project in 2015 while I was in Mexico City, where I made my first apron for a bartender friend. I officially launched the business in 2016 and it’s been the most amazing experience! We make custom leather and canvas aprons, bar roll ups, knife roll ups and just introduced to our line a mixing glass bag.
BA: Did you feel like there was a void to be filled? What makes a LUCIO apron or bar roll special?
MG: I think so. I know there are a lot of leather aprons out there but I’ve never seen something like what we do. Yes, the aprons and roll ups are elegant and stylish but, they are also extremely functional and comfortable which is our main goal. Our straps are designed to feel like and extension of yourself and to take all the wait off your neck. We process our hides to be water and oil resistant so you don’t go home with simple syrup all over you. Our bar roll up is made to fit an entire set of barware and be able to carry it in a very comfortable way. I think what makes our products unique is our process. We literally sit down and talk with you about what you have in mind for your perfect apron and I gotta say, we have not had any bad feedback since we began.
BA: What is your process when you get a custom order for an apron?
MG: We have a catalog that guides through the all the options we have available but, before we do that, we love conversing with our customers about what they do and what they have in mind. For restaurants and bars, we always ask for images of the interior design, glassware, menus among other aspects of the place to get a feel of the environment and the colors that are being used. Based on what we see, we send a proposal with a digital render of the aprons we think would go perfectly with the rest of the design.
BA: I understand you are trying to expand your operation. Tell us about that and anything else you think we should know about LUCIO.
MG: The demand for our goods is getting bigger a lot faster than we expected and it is all because of the amazing community and the non stop support we get from our fellow bartenders and chefs. We are super excited to be launching our Kickstarter campaign that will go on until Feb.15th. We have been working really hard on coming up with a solid inventory and line of products that are functional, stylish and fun. After a lot of trial and error, we now feel very confident of what we have to offer and want to share it with the rest of the world. We hope to expand our team in order to be able to fulfill our orders and to always exceed our customers expectations. We started our operations out of my parents garage with one sewing machine and an empty wallet. Today, we have a studio that is already too small and a team that keeps growing. The Kickstarter campaign is intended to help us push our brand so we can keep bringing the most original and functional leather goods for the industry. We are committed to our mission, are ready to create more long lasting products that can be passed on for generations.
Thanks again Maria for taking the time to talk with us! Please do check out her Kickstarter campaign!
BONUS: We are running a GIVEAWAY thanks to LUCIO Tailoring Co! One lucky person will win the apron shown here! To enter our contest you must be a bartender listed on Bartender Atlas: follow us on Instagram, give us a like on Facebook and send us an email with the subject “LUCIO” (email@example.com). On Saturday, January 20th at 12pm CST we will be randomly picking on winner. Good luck!
Post in collaboration with LUCIO Tailoring Co.