What is the real value of crafts?

Mexico occupies one of the main positions in the world in the production of handicrafts, together with countries such as China, Japan, India and Peru. Unfortunately, in our country the cost of handicrafts is not always valued, since everything that the production process implies is ignored.

Several specialists agree that the crafts lack recognition, even though they are made by hand, are unique pieces and the author impregnates feelings. That is, there is a value in the non-material production factors, says researcher Ernesto Piedras.

In spite of several obstacles, thanks to the efforts of producers, academics, merchants and cultural promoters, handicrafts have become a resource to obtain income in the urban, tourism and export fields.

According to the Satellite Account of Culture in Mexico (CSCM), in 2016 the crafts as a whole presented a contribution of 17.8% of the GDP of the culture sector, or 0.6% of national GDP, having a contribution of $110,121 billion pesos.

This is more than what was generated as a whole by design and creative services, publishing, music and concerts, and is similar to the GDP generated in the same year by the basic industry of iron and steel, which amounted to $74,720 billion pesos.

Hence the importance of giving the work of craftsmen and women the value they deserve, who create unique and extraordinary pieces that can be considered works of art, as they provoke a reaction.

With fair prices, you can have a better income and a better quality of life. Therefore, we invite you to value this cultural richness.

So how much does a craft really cost?

Defining the cost of a craft or anything else depends on several factors, there is no single answer.

However, in order to know if you are paying the right amount or if you are a producer and want to know the cost of your work, there is a mathematical formula endorsed by financial professionals and successful entrepreneurs that will help you calculate the price of a product without many complications.


It includes in materials everything, absolutely everything, that is used to make a product, from a pencil to the thread (and not just the fabric).

There are crafts with different techniques such as wood carving, volcanic stone, cardboard, ceramics, weaving, paper mache, clay, silver, pottery, among others. Therefore, from here there will be an important variation. There are pieces that are created from scratch, with pure raw material, so this makes the process longer and the final product more expensive.

Now think about the elaboration of a huipil, which is perhaps the most illustrative example to think about the true value of a craft.

A huipil can be made, more or less, depending on the complexity, in 4 months of full time. So, let’s suppose that among all the materials to make a textile you have a cost of $1,000.


The labor corresponds to the time it takes you to make the craft multiplied by your hourly rate.

Putting a price on your time can cost you. You know it’s important to do so, but at the same time the idea of paying you a fixed salary sounds strange.

Continuing with our example of the 4-month huipil, with a full-time dedication and taking as a reference the minimum wage of a seamstress according to the National Commission of Minimum Wages which is $110.08 per day, the pure labor would cost: $8,864 (yes, eight thousand eight hundred and sixty-four Mexican pesos).

Another way to make the calculations much more practical, because it will fit your particular case much better, is to take into account everything you need to pay at the end of the month to support yourself (rent, utilities, food…). Then you divide the amount by the number of hours you want to work per month and the result will correspond to the rate you are looking for.


Consider here the extra expenses you have to pay for running and selling your creations.

Think for example of the packaging. Also the shipping costs and taxes you had to pay for buying material that you hadn’t considered until now. Or the trips to buy and sell if you didn’t do it online.

For other types of expenses, how to do the calculations that correspond to each particular product is complicated.

Every month you pay a series of fixed operating expenses. Some examples are workshop rent, water, electricity and Internet connection. This is undoubtedly a very important reason for you to make your budget automatically, making use of technology.

You will have to add up all the fixed costs and divide them by the number of products you make per month in order to make an estimate.

You should also include what you would be paid if you had to do certain tasks while working for others, such as phone calls or photos.