In Taller Leñateros, everybody is busy. The serigraphy team is making these brilliant multicolored proofs for our next line of products, of which I’ll have to photograph this afternoon for a series. And we’ve also received an enormous quantity of old flower arrangements: daylilies, roses, bromeliads, etc. which will have to be disassembled into the raw materials for organic paper making before they wilt. The bookbinding and sewing continues on by the hundreds. There are more walk-ins for tours. The industrial engineers are leaving this week, so there is pressure to finish projects. We are two weeks away from the peak season for San Cristóbal de las Casas, and the artistic maps are finished and printed though we still need to prepare the offset prints. The graphic posters are hoisted.

And me? Well in the mornings, I’ve been scrambling around town approaching foreigners, striking nearly 60 to 70 conversations trying to achieve that intimacy gap under fifteen seconds, equipping them with friendly information, maps and tips to better navigate the town’s cobbled stone streets, and all with the warmest and most genuine concern for them I can muster. I think there’s an art to greeting people and making individuals feel appreciated and it first begins with the eye contact and remembering their names and who they are. The trick is maintain level-headed poise under pressure and begin each conversation with honor, grace and presence so that they don’t feel like just another tourist being “sold” to.

In California, I’m not a big shopper. (Besides it’s all about shopping in Asia, where in addition to better prices, assistants bring you tea and let you try things on while they bring out their best.) But when I have to study unparalleled service, about how I’d like to be approached as a client, I think about the special treatment at Neiman Marcus. The flagship store, which originated in Dallas, Texas, is the high-end department chain that opens doors for you, remembers your name, and gives you special gifts that make you look and feel really good. For some reason they manage to distinguish themselves and you always walk out of the store feeling a few inches taller. And even though I’m involved in a Mayan artisan guild and paper cooperative in the south of Mexico, with a lot of indigenous colleagues, my way of approaching the foreigner and potential clients here is inspired by exactly that same energy. My philosophy is inspired from Neiman Marcus + Anthropologie + Scharffenberger Artisan Chocolates + OrangeBeautiful Paper.

And maybe a pinch of the dramatic Baz Luhrmann’s Moulin Rouge: Elephant Love Medley + Come What May + Your Song. A way to bring that privileged sparkle… to the masses.

I can show you the world | Shining, shimmering, splendid | Tell me princess, now when did you last | Let your heart decide? | I can open your eyes | Take you wonder by wonder | Over, sideways and under on a magic carpet ride. — Aladdin


Spanish Words of the Day:redil” sheepfold | “rosticero” roaster | “promotor” supporter | “aprendiz” apprentice | “colmena” beehive