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SHOPPING IS FUN WHEN PRICES ARE FAIR

SHOPPING IS FUN WHEN PRICES ARE FAIR

Pete and Kim with one of our Batik Textile Designers in Bali, Indonesia.

As the world gets smaller and our story gets longer, customers sometimes ask why an item in our store costs what it does. And that’s a great question! When you are importing handmade, one-of-a-kind objects from all over the world, pricing can get complicated. So we do our best to keep everything super-simple.

We set our prices to always give the best value, and those prices always reflect our values.

We’re committed to supporting the craftsmanship, culture, and communities of the countries we buy from while providing our patrons with fabulous handcrafted fashion and accessories at the most competitive price.

That means we may not always have the cheapest price. The thing is, the cheapest price is almost always extremely unfair to someone down the line. 

 

We have four rules for fair pricing:

1. Pay Artists and Artisans Well for Their Work


“When I’m on a buying trip abroad, I never try to bargain down a price,” Pete explains. “Not ever. This shocks vendors at first; they expect western buyers to bargain aggressively. When you ask someone for their price and you respect their answer, you build a real relationship based on trust and, in my experience, you get a better deal in the end. We have built a reputation as fair buyers and everyone brings us their best price right from the start.”

“One of the fastest ways to cut an item’s price is to lower the wages of the workers producing it– or their ages,” adds Kim. “We will never sell anything made with child labor. We insist that all of our makers pay and earn a fair living wage. The artisans we support are keeping their communities—and their national economies—healthy. That’s worth paying for.”

2. Only Buy the Best

“We shop hard when we travel!” Kim says. “We’re not going to trade shows, because we want to see how the things we buy are made. We’re going into all the shops in the local markets and we’re visiting our maker’s shops and studios. We want to be sure our goods are unique, authentic, sustainable, ethical, and durable. When you see for yourself how much work, skill, tradition, and inspiration go into a hand-stamped batik, you know what you are paying for, and why.”

“Every once in a while a customer will say they have seen the same item cheaper somewhere else,” adds Kim. “But when you look closely, they’ve seen a similar item—but it wasn’t Fair Trade Certified, or sustainable, or handmade like so many of our products are.”

“If something is cheap but it falls apart quickly, did you really save any money?” Pete asks. “Knock-offs and imitations will always cost less. We only sell the real deal. That’s how you keep a beautiful and ancient cultural tradition like batik alive—you don’t accept cheaper substitutes. You can see and feel the difference in thread counts, materials, weaves, and finishes when you are holding the real thing. That feeling—and the objects that inspire it—will last. And I think that’s worth paying for.”

3. Share Our Profits with Our People

“We don’t just pay the people we buy from well,” Pete continues. “We give the whole Mexicali Blues team great wages and benefits, too—with perks like flexible time off for travel that you don’t often see in a retail job. The customer service experience everyone raves about in our stores and online is at the heart of Mexicali Blues. We price our products to support that happy, healthy work environment.”

4. Give 1% of Our Proceeds Back

“We donate a full one percent of our sales, not just our profits, to good causes in our own communities and in the countries we source from,” Pete adds. “Every single year we give tens of thousands of dollars to organizations doing good work here and abroad. [In years past] we supported earthquake relief in Nepal through prayer flag sales, protected young girls in Thailand from traffickers, invested in our local schools, contributed to conservation areas, sponsored arts organizations, and much, much more.”

“The World of Goods program really keeps the good vibes going,” Kim agrees. “We support affordable housing in Guatemala by donating the sales of beautiful beaded bracelets, and I’m really excited to see how our generous customers respond.”

How else do we keep prices fair? We fill our stores with a mix of products in a range of price points so that everyone who comes in can find something awesome that they can afford. And we have fantastic sales! You might have gotten lucky with our Labor Day sale, but if you missed that one, keep an eye out for the Early Bird discounts for the holidays! That will start soon, so you can get a jump on holiday shopping! If you’re not signed up to receive our emails, that’s truly the best way to know when the deals start.

That vibe in our stores that everyone can’t get enough of? That’s the fair price feeling. Shopping is a lot more fun when you know that everyone is getting a good deal!

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: 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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