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Our Stories | Mexicali Blues Blog — mexicali makers

Holi with Anil

MEXICALI MAKERS: Over 20 Years of Friendship in Jaipur, India!

Sorting through recycled silk curtains in Jaipur, India!

 

Meet the Mexicali Blues Makers; Anil, Gopal, his son Nikhil, and Diksha! One of our longest vendor relationships and most valued friends, we met Anil through a mutual friend on the very first day we were in India TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO! Time really flies when you’re having fun, and it continues to be such a pleasure to work with and spend time with Anil and his family, who have become wonderful friends over the past two decades. Our visit this year was cut short but we know it will be just like old times when we go back to visit.
 
Carly and Diksha picking out block printed textiles together!
  
Our children grew up playing with his children, and we are all so happy that now our two daughters are working together as part of our respective family businesses! Carly and Diksha working together feels even more special because women working together in this sort of business is not the norm in the male-dominated culture of India, though things are thankfully changing. When they first met and played together at Rajasthani themed village Chokhi Dhani many years ago, they had no idea that this beautiful future was where the path would lead them!
 
 
 Carly sipping customary "chai before we buy!"
 
 
Both of our businesses started small and have grown over the years, and we always go to them for many of the uniquely magical textiles that we sell in our stores. Specializing in the traditional art of block printing, they are keeping an ancient art technique alive! We are proud to work with Anil, Gopal, Nikhil, and Diksha, both for the quality of their artistry and the fact that they also believe that a happy healthy working environment where artisans are paid fairly for their skills is paramount. On top of having such a positive business relationship, it is one that is based in true friendship.  From sharing delicious home-cooked meals to celebrating traditional Indian festivals like Holi, when we get together we get work done while having FUN (and that’s the most important thing!)
 

Shop Anil and Diksha's Collection here!

 
Check out Diksha and Carly's tour of the factory: 

MEXICALI MAKERS: NYOMAN, INDONESIA

MEXICALI MAKERS: NYOMAN, INDONESIA

 

Meet Nyoman, the talented woman behind many of our hand painted batik designs! Join the Mexicali Blues owners, Pete and Kim, as Nyoman takes us on a tour of her workplace and shows us how her gorgeous one of a kind textiles are crafted. In this video she walks us through the process of creating a hand painted sarong - a popular item we’ve carried for many years.

Thinking back, Kim muses, “I remember when we discovered Nyoman, we were on a motorbike headed to a market outside of town and I spied some great hand painted chakra flags and wall hangings. I made Pete turn around!

Carly, Nyoman, and Kim in Bali.

Carly, Nyoman, and Kim in 2018.

“Upon entering Nyoman’s shop we were greeted with a huge smile and welcomed as if we had been working with her for years. We started with a small order, which was no problem for her because she knew that her quality and attention to detail would keep us coming back with more and more orders. Nyoman’s beautiful smile and personality radiates happiness, kindness, and a feeling of being in the ‘now’.”

With so many talented artists in Bali and everywhere our team travels to, we have one simple rule when it comes to who we choose to work with. If they’re smiling and in good spirits, then we know it’s the right match. We instantly could tell that Nyoman and her family would be the makers we wanted to collaborate with when we met her about ten years ago in the market we almost zoomed right past.

 

And thank goodness we did turn around that day! With over 30 years of experience in batiking, Nyoman has helped us design one of a kind pieces and she even helps us pick out colors–which can be so difficult when they’re all SO gorgeous! She has a certain way of making you feel that you are the only one that matters, even though you know she has many other buyers she is creating for.

The hand painting of all her textiles is all done at her family compound in Ubud. Families in Bali usually live communally with extended family all living close by. You can see in the video that their home is beautiful and filled with joy. Their deity is established in the center of the courtyard and watches over all of them and offers protection and good fortune.

See what we have available from Nyoman’s shop right now!

MEXICALI MAKERS: BHARAT & SADAHANA, INDIA

MEXICALI MAKERS: BHARAT & SADAHANA, INDIA

Meet Mexicali makers Bharat and Sadahana! We have been working with this mother/son team for over 10 years in the magical Holy City of Pushkar, India. We found their shop one day while exploring the city when the kids were young. The bright colors were so inviting, we were drawn right in. Little did we know that after walking in we would feel as though we were part of the family, and a long-time business relationship was just about to blossom!

Sadhana and Bharat have been providing Mexicali Blues with beautiful magic skirts since our first trip to Pushkar. Welcoming and kind--not to mention Sadhana being an amazing cook--it is a joy to stop by for chai and couple of laughs whenever we are in town!

Their incredible eye for picking out the prettiest and most colorful silk saris to upcycle has made the Mexicali Magic Skirt a long-time customer favorite. New on the scene are Mini Magic Skirts, which can double as a kid's magic skirt! Shop the mini magic skirt here.

Also coming soon for the Holiday season we will be offering the option for another cool thing they've crafted for us: free reusable recycled sari bags as an alternative to our recycled paper bags! Stay tuned for those coming soon to a Mexicali store near you!

MEXICALI MAKERS: LALA, INDIA

MEXICALI MAKERS: LALA, INDIA

Meet LaLa! We started working with LaLa in 2018 when we met in Pushkar, India. In the past few years, we’ve been able to confirm we will be friends with for a long time! Through our relationship, we have been struck by the fact that LaLa is always giving kindness and respect to everyone around him. He thoroughly epitomizes our belief in "working with people who smile!” We first met him when we tagged along with our shipper who was dropping off labels to Lala for another client. We were immediately impressed with his samples, ethical production facility, and his absolutely contagious smile and positive personality. Although we had already spent our budget, we made a small order to appraise the quality and the timing of his production. After our initial order we decided to dedicate a serious portion of our buying budget to grow our relationship over the next few years.

Working with LaLa has been a completely different process from our experience working with our other vendors. We had the opportunity to develop our on Mexicali clothing line and so we ventured to his small factory, overlooking the desert on the outskirts of Pushkar. First we decided on design samples, then the quantities, material, sizing and how many colors or prints for each design.

Our next meeting was held eight hours away in a vast and extremely crowded clothing market outside of Delhi. Here we went to visit the big fabric wholesalers to choose our materials and prints! Having this opportunity gives us a whole new level of choices that are simply not available in other markets where our goods come from. Lala has great relationships with many of the larger suppliers who also adhere to the "working with people who smile" business philosophy.

Working with LaLa makes what could be a long, grueling, and hectic process into a really fun and rewarding adventure with awesome outcomes and results!

Journey along with Pete, Kim, and Carly as LaLa leads us through fabulous fabric markets that the local artisans frequent, where we found some of the most magical textiles for our awesome new clothing collection. You’ll see many of these creations now at Mexicali stores and mexicaliblues.com, with more coming this week!

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