The 254

Will Suarez

By Kevin Tankersley

Spirit of the West

When Will Suarez went to work for Sendero Provisions Co., he didn’t mess around with new employee orientation or getting to know his new co-workers or any of that kind of stuff. At 3 p.m. on his first day, he was asked, “Hey. Do you want to stay up all night and work on some Ariat stuff?”

The next morning, the group presented its work to Ariat, which makes boots, shoes and Western-themed clothing.

“We did designs for boots and shoes, and we did a few button-downs for women and men, and some t-shirt designs,” Suarez said. “They loved it. They loved it enough and it was successful enough that we’re actually working on the second round with them right now.”

Suarez has been Sendero’s art director for nearly two years now. Sendero is a Waco-based company that began making hats in 2014. Now, it’s expanded to include shirts, outerwear, jeans, dresses and more. Celebrities like Justin Bieber and Gwen Stefani have posted to Instagram pictures of themselves wearing Sendero hats, which are available at stores like Cavender’s, Free People, Anthropologie and Nomad Ventures in Southern California.

As art director, Suarez is in charge of making sure that photo and video shoots have the right look and feel. He scouts locations and finds models. He and the Sendero team recently returned from a shoot in Lake Tahoe, which still had snow on the ground in mid-April, the setting Suarez had in mind.

Suarez, who is also a Grammy-nominated musician, said he particularly likes overseeing the music videos for Sendero, as they tend to show that the company is more than just clothing, but more of a lifestyle.

“It’s to be able to show people who we are and for them to be a part of it,” he said. “And that’s been the success of it, that they find a connection with us. The brand itself is just cool to them.

Suarez grew up and attended school in Waco and tries to hire as many local folks as possible.

“It’s been neat to give them the opportunity to grow with us,” he said.

Art by Suarez can be seen in various spots all over town. He recently completed a mural at Fourth Street and Jefferson Avenue, and another one at Tortilleria Bustos on North 25th Street. He’s done two murals for Baylor, one in the new Foster Pavilion and another in the basement of the Sid Richardson Building in the heart of campus. He also designed three eclipse-themed t-shirts for the City of Waco Parks and Recreation.

And if that’s not enough, Suarez and his longtime friend Alex Sanchez co-own Be Kind Coffee, which has a location inside Waco Custom Marketplace at 425 Lake Air Drive, and a standalone location at 1534 Washington Ave.

“We started during the pandemic when people weren’t being very nice to each other,” Suarez said. “We wanted to have some sort of message that was simple, and to spread that message. Every day, we hear from people all over, not just here in Waco, who have become fans and support us just because of the message.”