Veronica is our main business partner in Taxco, Mexico!
This is where one can find Veronica between 10am – 7pm almost any day of the week: behind mounds of sterling silver in her shop. She’s a keen business person. Not only does she sell her brother Marco’s work, but she has some of her uncle Thomas’ and some silver from various others. She also has some silver from Italy in her shop and some interesting rocks and stone masks.
Veronica’s no slouch. Her first floor silver shop is enduring difficult commercial times. If I understood correctly, the rent for a shop like Veronica’s is over twice that of a “normal” home that is rented in Taxco. (This is true for us in our Manhattan store, by the way. Veronica's store and our store on Poyntz have prime locations which, fairly, call for higher rent.)
I’m a fan of google’s translator. It has enabled Veronica and me to visit this week and although it’s a little off, we can almost always understand one another. It’s a communication miracle, I tell you! Dane is probably extremely thankful that I have google translator too because now he doesn’t have to speak for me :)
I've longed to understand the financial situation of “regular” folks in Taxco. Veronica has been kind to share with me some general financial information as we’ve corresponded this week.
First, the minimum wage in her area of Mexico is less than $5 US dollars a day. I commented that the minimum wage in the United States isn’t a living wage and wondered what a living wage would be in her area of Mexico. She complimented my good question (star!) and started going through a typical month of bills. For a “normal” family of four each month, it costs around $120 for groceries, $77 for living bills, $58 dollars for rent/mortgage. It costs $88 a year for a younger child’s school uniforms (every school seems to wear uniforms) and $35 for food and transportation each month. If a child does anything extracurricular like Veronica’s daughter Fernanda who takes classes in English, another $80 per 2.5 month session is tacked on to the budget. Older kids who have to go to a boarding school for what we would call high school have a much larger expense.
If two people work at minimum wage for a family of four, there is no way the kids would be going to school or that the family would enjoy “normal” living. Obviously the USA and Mexico share the problem of not paying a living wage as a minimum wage.
Artisans like Marco get paid by the piece just as they do here. Some days stretch on when Marco doesn’t have work. Some days he sits for hours on end working to fulfill an order. (He’s currently working on an order for us!) Shop owners like Veronica get paid (or not paid) depending on sales… just like here.
Veronica and Marco have two additional siblings who both live in Chicago and sell the silver Veronica ships to them. Their silver business is indeed a family business! Including us at Connected now too… and you if you like beautiful silver jewelry :)
Cheers to market access, fair payment, children who are able to go to school and gorgeous silver!