Mexican Textiles – Quality of Work vs Quality of Life

Walk through any Mexican market, or for that fact, many street markets in the USA, and colorful artesian goods that hail from remote parts of Mexico can generally be found. Typically, embroidered textiles find their way into bags, shirts, skirts, shawls, wraps and even carpets and felt toys.



Street markets have the reputation of fostering a bargaining mentality. One for ten dollars? Then 5 should cost $12 – this sort of nonsense price comparison for bulk buying.

We are all guilty of it. “How much do you think we can get this for?” Of course, the vendors know this and raise their prices accordingly. It all becomes a big game.

What typically gets overlooked in this bargaining frenzy is the quality of the work and the comparative quality of the lives of the workers.

Yes, they are mass-produced items but they are still made by hand – mass producing products involving small stitching does not mean it happens quickly. Some woman or child sat for hours to create this new treasure.




The more elaborate and fine pieces can take weeks – even months – to complete.

The areas where the majority of textiles are made are generally the poorest in Mexico. Illiteracy and poverty are rife and good jobs are hard to come by. So the people make ends meet by harking back to centuries of traditional stitches, patterns, weaves and dyeing processes.

Small villages – miles from large cities – have their own unique colour and pattern formations – each village known for a specific style or trademark.




From one generation to the next, these skills have been passed down, generally from mother to daughter. Groups of women and children can be found sitting in harmony together under the shade of a tree or in the village square beneath the shade of an overhanging roof.

Days are spent on bended knee often with a hip loom attached with strings to their waists and hips. Soft chatter, usually in a native dialogue, takes place whilst kids run barefoot with livestock. This scene sounds as if it is out of another century – maybe a nostalgic film from the revolutionary days – but, in reality, it unfolds every day, 6-7 days a week, and all-year-round in rural Mexico.




Creating the perception of the real value of the incredible works produced by these talented ladies is an uphill struggle – especially when so many are starving and prepared to sell for the cost of a loaf of bread.

Some family groups and co-operatives have formed in the last few years with one family member taking charge of getting the goods to market and selling them. They set up a rudimentary business – the more entrepreneurial with bank accounts. Very few with credit card facilities.




The cooperativas invite skilled women with good work ethics and parenting skills to join. The idea is that the organization sells the goods at fixed prices (very little bartering involved here) and distributes the money to the women. They often put into place health and educational programmes where the children and women receive help with the profits. Many of these women, however, are superstitious, under-educated and not always ready to trust an outsider.

Some cooperativas are very well managed and have work contracts signed with chi-chi boutiques and large stores worldwide. One co-operativa in Chiapas has been promoted and works alongside Elle Magazine International.

Fair Trade Event in Punta de Mita

Designer Selene Soucy, the owner of Corazon Sagrado (one of those chi-chi boutiques), has spent the last few years traveling around Mexico and working with the cooperatives to bring a traditional twist to her modern Mexican designs.

Selene has organized an event to take place at her boutique in Punta de Mita this Friday. Claudia Muñoz from Chamuchic and Viernes Tradicional will be presenting a look at Fair Trade and the work that is being done with 3 different communities in Jalisco, Chiapas and Oaxaca.




Please feel free to share the invite with your contacts and social media.

Corazon Sagrado
Ave de las Redes #81
Punta de Mita
Tel. 329 291 5245
Cel. 322 292 6696

Hope to see you there!



Lisa Bruno
Lisa, Tank and Tonica

Lisa Bruno is a long-term Punta Mita resident. She is a frustrated golfer, party princess and proud owner of Tank and Tonica,

Lisa lives in Punta Mita with her fiancé and business partner, Miguel. She has been a partner in Punta de Mita Rentals since 2015.

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