Design Shopping Trips

La Bodeguita del Mar
Mita Artisans Resources
By Katherine Nidermaier

Custom shopping trips to introduce and guide you to the best shopping in Mexico

My mother and grandmother had me shopping in a stroller starting from one month of age. They were always looking for a bargain, a hidden antique, or the best tomatoes. Mind you, this was not always a local venture – they were willing to travel far and wide for that perfect item or exquisite deal. I credit them with setting in motion my shopping and traveling addictions.
When I first arrived in Mexico twenty years ago, I was overwhelmed at the variety of Mexican handicrafts. All I wanted to do was splash bright colors on my walls, and shop–for exquisite hand woven shawls, multihued pillows, rugs and sarapes, hand painted pottery, leather items and innovative hand blown glass. As the years passed, my knowledge broadened to know which indigenous community, co-operative or artisan crafted the “barro negro” (black pottery) piece, colorful wood carving or embroidered “huipil” (indigenous dress).

As my Spanish improved, I was finally able to actually talk to the artisans and gain an understanding of how deeply their traditions and roots related to their lives, planet and spirituality. I was in a potter’s studio in Michoacán looking at his bare dirt floors as he explained that he wanted to feel the earth and clay with which he worked under his feet. In Teotiltlan del Valle, I asked a family of weavers—whose ancestors had been doing the same weavings for years—which dye they used to obtain a certain color for the handspun wool. Their 12-year-old son reached up into the tree, plucked off a pomegranate and handed it to me, telling me to take a bite. There was the color.

I worked with a then-small cooperative in Chiapas (which now consists of 850 woman) and learned that the indigenous peoples of Mexico never embroider anything that does not have a spiritual meaning for them. The Mayan diamond pattern symbolizes the unity between the earth and sky, or the universe. In the heart of the diamond the image of a butterfly is often found, which is the symbol of the sun and center of the Mayan cosmos. I had a revelation as I admired a hand-loomed cotton “huipil” from their workshop that was intricately embroidered in silk with the four cardinal points and the mythological “universe” wrapping around it (later to be framed in silver leaf with a linen mat and hung on a wall). I realized that just as embroidery and weaving had helped to preserve the design, culture, and dreams of the Mayan universe, I wanted to also help preserve the folk art traditions of indigenous people and artisans of Mexico. Hence the extensive traveling and shopping!

Following are a few of my favorite Mexican shopping experiences:

The colonial city of Guadalajara, with its carpenters and marble factories specializing in custom items, antique stores, and markets.

In the area surrounding Guadalajara are the contrasting shopping meccas of Tlaquepaque and Tonala. Tlaquepaque has a row of magnificently renovated private mansions, now transformed into a pedestrian walkway filled with shops brimming with furniture and antiques as well as artisan studios featuring locally crafted works of art and ceramics. Tonala has an estimated six thousand artisans and an open-air flea market to showcases their wares.

An iconic shopping experience in this country is the “Bazar Sabado” in the San Angel neighborhood of Mexico City.  It’s the icing on the cake in a city filled with art fairs, galleries, unique specialty boutiques, and shops.

In Michoacán each village specializes in a specific craft, displayed in popular markets.

The work of the crafts people and indigenous groups of the traditional regions of Oaxaca and Chiapas are sold both in colorful open-air markets as well as stores in the surrounding villages.

Luxury shopping trips are custom tailored based on your interests and interior design requirements. We take the guesswork out of shopping in Mexico to help you to find the latest, most unique home accessories and furniture while showing you the best Mexico has to offer.

Highlights include:

Ability to meet noted artisans in their local villages.

Resources for local, high quality furniture, art, accessories and one-of-a-kind items…we know exactly where to go.

Savvy, bilingual design and buying scout in unique shopping districts.

Ideal for those individuals interested in something different and off the beaten track.

Chauffeur-driven excursions that take you from one amazing place to another with your own personal shopping expert as your guide.

Direct access to factories.

Benefit from savings off of retail prices.

Enjoy galleries, great art and private studio visits with emerging and established artists.

Expertise in shipping and exporting Mexican goods abroad, as well as within the country. We can assist you with the ins-and-outs of doing so, or handle it directly for you.

All tours are private, flexible, and customized to suit individual interests and schedules. Highly personalized itinerary planning and expert advice is a part of every trip.

Benefit from the insights of a Mexico specialist, who has traveled extensively in the country.

How to book the trips

Contact KND directly by email or by phone to arrange for custom itineraries and quotes: U.S. Telephone: (415) 839 – 8604 Local cel: (011 52 1) 333 137 0584  e-mail: Any particulars or preferences you can provide us with in advance allow us the ability to fully customize your shopping experience. Advance reservations are required, and can be made up to 6 months in advance, or a minimum of 24 hours in advance. I’ll respond back to you with trip confirmation, finalize deposit and payment requirements, and arrange transportation pick-up at your location.
Trips canceled in 48 hours or less in advance of planned departure will be charged the 50% deposit or are subject to a cancellation fee. You may reapply the deposit if the trip is rescheduled for another date.