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!



While traveling through Northern Thailand in 2002, two women, Jane McBride and Patricia Zinkowski, discovered fifteen girls living in an abandoned school in the village of Doi Luang. The girls had little adult supervision and were trying to survive as best they could in an area known for human trafficking agents. Pattie visited us at Mexicali Blues recently to share the whole story of how this chance meeting led to the creation of Friends of Thai Daughters: an awesome organization dedicated to protecting girls who were trafficked or who, due to poverty or social status, are most vulnerable to trafficking, by offering them a safe living environment and an education.

These girls come from the hill tribes of Northern Thailand and are typically ages 8 to 23, without documentation or citizenship, orphaned, and/or victims of abuse. The shelter, support, and skills they receive from Friends of Thai Daughters can completely transform their lives.

These girls and young women live happily and healthily in a bright, cheerful safe house called “The Sunflower House.” Visiting the Sunflower House and seeing these wonderful young ladies grow and flourish over the years is one of the things we most love to do when we visit Thailand! Not only are we grateful to know these incredibly vibrant young people, but we are honored to continue to support their well-being.

In fact, if you have ever shopped at Mexicali Blues, YOU have contributed to creating a safe and healthy environment for these and other young girls in Thailand who would otherwise be at high risk for human trafficking. With 1% of all purchases going back to programs like Friends of Thai Daughters, your contribution is essential to our philanthropic endeavors. . . so, THANK YOU! (Learn about other organizations we support here)

At Mexicali we strongly believe that we all need to be aware how our choices as consumers can contribute to a shameful world problem and use our purchasing power—and philanthropy—to prevent it!

You can learn more about Friends of Thai Daughters and their fight against human trafficking in Thailand on their website  and on their Facebook page



We send 100% of the proceeds from our Guatemalan beaded bracelets right back to the communities that created them.

In the Guatemalan highlands, millions of families live through the driving rains of June through November in homes made from cornstalks, cane, and scavenged materials. After working hard in the fields to earn less than $3 per day, they return home to find dirt floors turned to mud, belongings vulnerable to theft, and children sick from exposure. In this beautiful but poverty-stricken region a safe, secure house doesn’t just change lives—it saves them...

Read more



Earth Day is Monday 4/22, and we want to give you a heads up that we'll be celebrating in two cool ways that day:

  • Spend $30 in any of our locations, or ANY amount at, and receive a free reusable market bag. These canvas bags feature a laminated interior for easy cleaning, and we just LOVE them!
  • 10% of ALL Earth Day sales will be donated to the awesome organization Bye Bye Plastic Bags, a beautiful environmental endeavor started by two sisters in Bali who recognize the single-use plastic pollution crisis and rightly believe that kids can change the world!

Plastic bags are essentially indestructible, yet they're used and thrown away with reckless abandon. Most end up in the ocean, where they pollute the water and harm marine life; the rest are burned in garbage piles, where they release harmful dioxins into the atmosphere. Melati and Isabel Wijsen are on a mission to stop plastic bags from suffocating their beautiful island home of Bali. Their efforts — including petitions, beach cleanups, even a hunger strike — paid off when they convinced their governor to commit to a plastic bag-free Bali by 2018. "Don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too young or you won't understand," Isabel says to other aspiring activists. "We're not telling you it's going to be easy. We're telling you it's going to be worth it."

Check out what Bye Bye Plastic Bags is all about in the videos below, including a TED talk by the AWESOME sisters who started it!



Eat more plants and fewer animal products

Recent studies have shown that avoiding meat and dairy products is the single biggest way a person can reduce their negative impact on the planet. Meat and dairy uses 83% of all farmland and produces 60% of agriculture's greenhouse gasses, while providing just 18% of the calories we consume. Even if you don't go completely vegan, being mindful to moderate your meat consumption, starting today, can help!

Aim for energy-efficiency

From carpooling to turning off the lights when you leave a room, every action you take to decrease unnecessary energy consumption makes a difference. We've spent the past couple of years working to address this at Mexicali, and with 145 solar panels on top of our warehouse and 36 on our flagship store in Newcastle, we now generate enough solar energy to power both buildings and offset the equivalent of driving over 113,000 miles each year!

Reduce dependence on single-use plastic

Awareness grew in the past year about plastic pollution, with anti-straw initiatives and our sudden inability to throw all but #2 plastics into the recycling bin and call it good. So much of our modern society is built around packaging and products that are designed to be used briefly, but ultimately last forever as toxic plastic trash. We invite you to join us in working to be more aware, and saying no to unnecessary plastic: bringing our own containers to fill from the bulk bins at the co-op, making it a point to always bring our reusable shopping bags, and supporting organizations that work to stop plastic pollution at the source.

Support businesses that give back

We are proud to give 1% of every sale (not just profit) to organizations dedicated to making the world better. In the past couple of years, that 1% has allowed us to give $50,000 to build two earthquake-proof schools in Nepal and provide support to organizations that foster community health and development, education, equality, the arts, and the environment, locally here in Maine and across the globe. In turn, directing our attention in this way has made us more aware of the ways that the businesses we frequent and support make their mark on the world. The two questions we always ask: 1. Are their sourcing and business practices ethical? 2. Are they actively working to improve the world?

Like everything, 100% aligning our actions with our values is a process, but we're working hard to be traveling down a positive path! We invite you to join us this year in checking and redirecting old habits, and mindfully choosing to take actions that will benefit our beautiful planet and the creatures on it. We'd love to know your ideas or intentions for being green in 2019; please tell us in the comments!

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