I never thought I would be writing an “our story” section on a website for a business I own. I really had no desire to work for myself so it has been a bit difficult to write this but, here goes!
After moving to New York City in 2003 and realizing I needed a backpack or some sort of storage device for all my stuff, I became obsessed with finding the perfect bag.
Founder, Andrew DeFeo
I started, like many of us did, spending $30 on a cheap bag at an army navy store (I still have that bag). Eventually, I worked my way up to spending more and more and more on bags. I remember my first “real bag”, it was a tad gear fast pack lightspeed. I couldn’t believe I spent that much on a bag! However, after that I was addicted. The addiction didn’t stick only to bags, I was interested in the material too. I would spend hours walking around the garment district buying “cool” fabrics, lugging it back to Brooklyn on the A train. In the mean time I was still buying bags searching for that perfect bag, which I never did find. So after buying hundreds of different bags and having an issue with almost all of them, I decided to build my own.
I started by taking the best parts of my favorite bags and building the “ultimate” bag. What I came out with was well… busy. After a bunch of different designs and trips to the garment district I came up with a concept that worked. I built some bags for friends and family, surprisingly people liked them. Even more surprising I liked them!
Andrew's Dog Tux rescued from a shelter in austin in 2013
I decided to move out of NYC in 2013 and made my way to Austin Texas. When I arrived in Texas I found my daily carry needs were very different. I still needed to carry all my stuff like computers, books, gym clothes, basic medical kit, etc... However, there was one carry need my bag didn’t handle well, it didn’t allow me to carry a pistol and access it quickly. Instead of setting up shop again and getting all of the required materials (I didn’t move to texas with all the material I had collected) and building another bag, I decided to buy a bag designed for conceal carry.
This was by far the most frustration I have ever experienced in my bag obsession. Every conceal carry bag I used had major, major issues. Most bags that were designed for conceal carry were just not good, whether it was the build quality, organization, size, look or the way the bag carried, they all had pretty frustrating issues.
So, I decided to setup shop again! I took the bag I loved, the bag I built and made some changes to it. I feel like the result was fantastic. It was the best EDC bag I have ever used, not only could it hold a pistol, but also a PCC SBR, armor panel and all my edc gear. I was so happy with the result that I decided to bring the bags to market under the ymc gearco brand.
After starting ymc, we refined the design, we wanted to streamline it a bit to make the bag more user friendly.
With the redesign we wanted to make the bag neater & cleaner (straighter lines, more symmetrical), beef up the strength, carry easier. We wanted to give the user the space and features they need for their individual EDC. The bag also needed the ability to be carried in an office, on a plane, in a school but not scream “I’m tactical” or “I’m carrying a gun”. I wanted this bag to be able to be brought into a board room and no one give it a second look.
What we came up with was the Rex pattern and the Rex R1 bag. The Rex R1 is a bag we are very proud of. Its build quality is excellent, the materials are tough, the design is simple but functional and it give the user the ability to configure their bag as they see fit. The bag was so good that we felt the brand name"YMC gearco" was not up to par with the product so we re-branded in 2019 to X Block Design. The brand name was the idea of a close family member (my cousin) that actually came up at a funeral. So X Block Design is not just a random brand name, but something that has a lot of meaning to me.
We are looking forward to the future of the brand. We want to have fun with this project by introducing different colors, materials, models and designs.
If you made it this far, Thanks for taking the time to read all of this! We hope you learned a bit more about us and our story.