Artisans sell their work in Nuevo León Artisans sell their work in Nuevo León. milenio

Chinese products are the artisans’ enemy

Monterrey violence used to be bad for business, now it's cheap imitations

Artisans selling their products in Nuevo León face stiff competition from imitations made in China, preferred by some consumers for their lower prices.

On the Art Corridor (Corredor del Arte) in the state capital Monterrey, artisans and vendors from all over the country have found a venue that over the years has grown in popularity among locals and visitors.

Established 13 years ago, the marketplace has survived the worst years of violence in the streets of Monterrey, but cheap Chinese knockoffs are now seen as the main enemy of the artisan.

Margarita sells embroidered garments woven on a loom. Originally from Oaxaca, she explained that the most complex garments can take three years to complete.

Those pieces she sells for 2,800 pesos (US $156), an amount that translates into 2.55 pesos per day of work that went into its creation.

But many people refuse to pay what they consider a steep price, Margarita explained.

Nohemí Villalobos, an artisan from León, Guanajuato, works in filigree, macrame and leather.

“The biggest enemy of an artisan are Chinese products,” she complained, observing that they often sell at half the price of her own pieces.

“They limit us as producers, because I live from this . . . I try not to exaggerate [with her prices] but I can’t go too low either, because it can turn unprofitable given the time [invested in each piece],” she said.

Those pieces can take days or months to finish, depending on their complexity, but few customers accept the prices without bargaining.

Dalinda Bracho has sold antiques, books and other collectible objects for 12 years in the Art Corridor. Over time she has noticed that fewer people appreciate and acknowledge the real value of the objects she has to offer.

Still, most vendors expect to close the year with good sales, as the positive trend registered since the worst years of the violence ended is expected to continue.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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