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Haggling discouraged, respect encouraged at artisans’ markets

Casa de las Artesanías campaign to bring awareness to their members' talents and hard work

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Artisans offer their wares at a pop-up marketplace in Merida. Photo: Sipse

Merida, Yucatan — Haggling over handicrafts is disrespectful and doesn’t take into account the artisan’s hard work. That’s the message of a new campaign aimed at tourists shopping for souvenirs from Yucatan.

The Casa de las Artesanías de Yucatán (CAEY) launched the advertising campaign to bring awareness to their members’ talents and hard work.

Among the campaign’s objectives are to emphasize the training, materials, time, effort and investment on the part of each artisan. That, they hope, will help shoppers think twice before trying to pay less than the price tag indicates.

A single piece can represents months or years of training and work, said CAEY Director Daphne Lopez Osorio.

“We worked on an awareness campaign so that the citizen who buys handicrafts understands the time and effort required to make it,” she explained, saying that the campaign includes speaking engagements and brochures.

Getting materials, such as stone, or threads for a dress’ cross-stitch embroidery, can take years, she said.

Haggling for crafts is common around the world, even with it’s well-to-do shoppers trying to withhold cash from someone living hand-to-mouth. This hurts the economic situation of hundreds of artisan families, she said.

In another promotion, the state official said that as part of their year-long campaign, the agency will launch a call for garment-makers to compete in a contest for huipils and guayaberas — Yucatan’s traditional dresses and shirts.

Contest rules are published on CAEY’s social networks.

CAEY promotes the work of artisans and helps them develop their businesses by connecting them with shoppers. The state agency has promoted Yucatecan handicrafts since 1978.

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