Louboutin bag with Mayan design. Louboutin bag with Mayan design.

Women paid 200 pesos for embroidery

The work appeared on bags by designer Christian Louboutin, and sold for 28,000 pesos

“It’s good that they sold well. The work was a blessing and we were able to earn good money that we hadn’t seen in a long time.”


Those were the words of María Deysi Balam Cauich, one of four embroiderers from the community of Santo Domingo, Yucatán, who completed typical Mayan designs that were featured on 2,000 bags sold by French designer Christian Louboutin for 28,000 pesos (US $1,562) each.

The collection was launched under the name Mexicaba on May 3 and has already sold out.

But despite the hefty price tag, the artisans were only paid between 220 and 240 pesos (US $12-13) for each of the embroideries they completed.

María and artisans from other municipalities in the south of the state worked for three months to deliver 2,000 embroideries of either mestiza women in typical regional dresses or colorful flowers to the prestigious French designer.

Around 20 precious stones also appeared on the bags, each of them a unique, one-of-a-kind design.

One of the looms the artisans used was the telar de cintura or backstrap loom, a traditional Mayan weaving device. They also used a technique involving the use of a cow horn.


Louboutin visited the municipality of Maxcanú, about 60 kilometers south of Mérida, in December and provided thread, looms and other materials to the women who collaborate with the non-profit organization Fundación Haciendas del Mundo Maya and its design brand Taller Maya.

The foundation acted as an intermediary between the local artisans and Louboutin and stated that 10% of the profits of each item sold in Christian Louboutin’s boutiques would go directly to social enterprise programs that benefit the artisan women.

“We saw that he was relaxed and very happy with our work because he saw how we embroider and that we are dedicated to this [work],” some of the artisans remarked about Louboutin.

None of the women was aware of the price that the bags were sold for but when they found out they expressed surprise rather than anger.

Alba Leticia Cituk Tzec, another artisan who worked on the order, told the newspaper El Universal, “he paid 235 pesos for each embroidery and we made good money, thanks to God we had work and could contribute to the expenses of our homes.”

“We are very poor,” she added. “This collaboration motivated us because we appeared on the internet.”

Other artisans also expressed that they were happy with the payment because they were able to use some of the money to build a new, larger workspace.


The designer with Mayan artisans.
The designer with Mayan artisans.

Taller Maya sells bags featuring designs by the same artisans but for much more accessible prices, ranging from 500 to 1,000 pesos.

Louboutin previously collaborated with artisans from Senegal and Mali to produce a collection under the name Africaba.

The Mayan artisans are prepared to work for the French designer again on a second order or a different proposal but now that they know just how expensive and in demand their designs are, they may well seek a larger slice of the pie.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • Mike S

    Ivanka Trump has a contracted sweat shop in China with hundreds of employees who work for basically for slave labor under deplorable conditions to make one of her clothing lines with a 2000% mark up. Greed never sleeps.

    • Michael C

      Never! Well said, Mike!

    • TioDon

      You have no idea what you’re talking about and are parroting CNN, etc. Grow up.

    • cooncats

      Don’t look now but they all do it. I notice in your zeal to post some fake news you left out all your leftist buddies using the same contractor or others just as bad. Too bad you didn’t just stick to commenting on this deplorable practice in general instead of twisting it to suit your own political agenda.

  • jaime

    Hey Mike, did you notice who was smiling in the above picture? It sure wasn’t the women that did all of the work. Talk about Ivanka some other time. The women got .7% of the sale price. If my math is correct. I guess that is not greed, huh?

  • Gerald R Meyers

    Always someone trying to screw the ones that need it the most, this piece of work knew that their work was more than what he paid, but he still only paid them nothing. The locals should have run him out of town.

    • softunderbelly

      I understand how you feel but look at the other side of the coin.
      These two thousand pieces made by these women earned them
      200,000 pesos. Where else would they have gotten this opportun-
      ity? From you? I rather doubt it. Plus too, future opportunities will
      come to them.
      I know piece work. I’ve done it. I’ve contracted out for it. I’ve made
      a little bit of money as well as a lot. So have a lot of people. You
      really don’t know the circumstances.

      • Mike S

        Oh I think we do. The numbers speak for themselves.

        • monroe doctrine

          Mike, Who is “we”? The voices in your head don’t count as other people. Take your meds.

          • Mike S

            “We” is a pronoun for more than one person. Most Americans would look at these obscene numbers and be outraged. You’re not one of those of course. You probably think Ayn Rand is a moral beacon. I’m not on meds but if I were at least I could stop and sober up. That’s not possible for you.

          • monroe doctrine

            Stop trying to convince yourself that you’re well. You need the meds to quell the voices.

          • Mike S

            I’m hearing a voice of moral outrage. You are hearing Trump’s voice. One of us needs help.

          • monroe doctrine

            LOL. You and your voices are morally bankrupt.

    • djr4nger

      Gerald: So, you’d like to keep the village people poor and without employment opportunities? They can choose themselves whether they want the work or not. With the proceeds, they have built a new, expanded work space. They also have a template for starting their own business and marketing their own bags. With a little help, this could continue to work out really well for these families. Instead, you choose to blame an entrepreneur for bringing attention to their work in the high-end European market.

  • j_b_spence

    French designer Christian Louboutin exploits poor Mexicans. He’s a scumbag!

  • Patsy Lowe

    I wrote Christian a rude letter.

    • monroe doctrine

      You meanie! That’ll show him!

  • Beau

    Oooops!!.I just posted this article on his website!.

  • Commander Barkfeather

    Greed knows no politics. Let us not get side-tracked on who exploits whom; left or right, I’m sure both sides are guilty. The question remains what is to be done about it? Does government step in and say, “If you contract out to, or hire our people, you must pay so many dinero?” Or does the government stay out of it and allow the marketplace to set the rules? At what point does free enterprise become exploitation, and who decides?