Archive for the ‘Kimono for sale’ Category

Where to Buy a Kimono (Part 2)

Friday, June 17th, 2022

Welcome to Part 2 of our blog on what to look for when choosing a dealer to buy a Kimono. In the last column, we pointed out how some retailers advertise in an unscrupulous manner.  Some of the things they do include being vague about where the kimono is made. Another trick is calling it a Japanese Kimono when it was made in China.

Now let’s dive into some other fun facts. One complaint we hear about is the shipping times. Dealers in Asia, Etsy, eBay, and even Amazon frequently state quick or fast shipping. But according to customers we hear from, it is often anything but quick. We are told stories of waiting 4 weeks or longer and rarely is there an apology.  A benefit of working with a US-based dealer that imports directly is their ability to ship quickly. Chopa prides itself on shipping orders within one day of order receipt with many shipping the same day. Chopa uses FedEx, UPS, and USPS and most orders arrive within 2-3 days.

It is also important to know what kind of fabric is used. Just like where the kimono is made, an honest dealer will state the type of fabric, whether it is cotton, silk, or polyester. Most customers prefer cotton because it is easy to care for and is usually machine washable. We have located dealers offering that claim cotton, but when customers receive them they are rayon, polyester, or some other type of fabric. This is also when some customers discover their Japanese Kimono was made in China because the tag said so.

Is the pattern the same in person as it was on the web?  This is another trick we see by dealers overseas. They show one type of design, but ship an alternate pattern to the customer.  This may be deliberate. Perhaps they ran out and consider substituting without the customer’s approval acceptable? Maybe they don’t care because they know once they have your money, they are in control and it is difficult to get a refund. Shipping an item back to China, Japan, or somewhere else in Asia is not cheap. Shipping costs go up every year and people in the USA usually pay more to ship an item overseas than people overseas pay to ship to the USA.

Communication with an overseas dealer can be difficult. There are often language barriers, time zone differences, varying hours, etc. Time and time again, a common complaint we hear is that an overseas dealer simply never replied to any email. Calls were not returned or calls to the number on their site were dead and not even in operation.

In today’s world of electronic communication, many companies don’t operate live phones any longer. Chopa decided to forgo its live telephone call center in 2021. Staffing a call center is expensive and over the years, we saw a downward slope in the number of calls each month and year. At the same time, we saw a steady increase in emails and texts. Add in the number of solicitors and Robocalls we received, it made sense to shut down live phone service. It was a difficult decision because we enjoyed speaking with our customers, but the cost outweighed the benefit so we took the plunge.

Cutting off live telephone service makes answering and responding to emails and texts that much more important. Customers want and deserve a quick reply to a question, a suggestion, or inquiry on sizing, shipping times, or in-stock availability. We do our best to answer every inquiry as quickly as possible, even on weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Our text service allows staff to monitor messages at random times through their mobile devices. All of the employees at Chopa are owners. As an employee-owned and operated business, you can assure that everyone here has the same work ethic to take care of customers. Over 28 years of doing this, we feel we are pretty darn good at it and even though we have the experience, we learn every day.

Chopa has a passion for the beauty of Kimonos and Yukatas. Our appreciation and admiration for these robes are worth sharing and we want everyone to experience this great tradition.  Be safe out there. Shop with caution and reason. Realize if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Just like paying the least isn’t always a good idea, spending the most isn’t always the best method either. Find a dealer that prices robes fairly and provides many other value-added services along with it.  Shop our ONLINE STORE anytime, anywhere, we never close.

Lightweight cotton cherry blossom yukata for women

Pink Cherry Blossom Yukata

You Ought To Be In Pictures!

Sunday, February 27th, 2022

Want to be a Model or just look like one?

Has anyone ever told you that you should be in pictures?  Have you had a secret desire to be a model? Do you like posting images on Social Media?  Then read ahead and see what we have available for you.

Kimonos are a beautiful and unique aspect of Japanese culture. If you’re ever in Japan, it’s worth your time to wear one. And if you’re not in Japan, don’t worry – there are still ways to enjoy kimonos. Chopa – Your Kimono Source since 1994 has over 100 kimono, yukata, and short-length Happi Coats to choose from.

After you acquire one, where will you wear yours?  What will you do while wearing a beautiful robe? Some wear kimono lounging around the home or using it as a coverup after a bath or shower.  Others wear yukata as loungewear while catching up on their reading or emails. Some customers wear one while tending to light household choirs, while others binge-watch their favorite movies or TV series. Heading to a party or special event? Don’t leave home without your kimono.

Submit your photo and you might win prizes!!

For those that want to be in pictures, we have an option for you. Chopa is looking for customers that want to show the world how they wear their kimono or yukata. We invite you to send us your images wearing your robe.  If we select your image to use, you will be entered into our contests where you are eligible to win prizes and or cash awards.  Chopa will hold drawings where selected winners can win Kimono, Yukata, Happi Coats, Gift Certificates, and even cash prizes.

Chopa will use the images online either on their website or social media like Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. It’s a fun way to show our family of kimono lovers how they look, different styles, enjoying some fun times with friends and family and just being you. After all, what is better than being yourself? Chopa also sends occasional emails to customers advertising new styles, sales or random news we feel is worthwhile to share. Your image may be included in these emails.

Share your images with other customers!

If we select your image, we will contact you via email to verify your submission and approval to publish the photos.  Whether you wish your name to be listed in the images is completely up to you. We respect people’s privacy and won’t publish names without written approval. If you want to be tagged with your social media handle, we can do that.  You can also publish on your social media page and tag Chopa.

This idea has been submitted to us several times over the years. We love when our customers tell us what they want and feel this is a good time to launch this program.  Seeing real customers wearing their kimono and yukata in real-life environments is as good as it gets. Send your photos in today to info@chopa.com.

kimono photo contest

Be a Model, or just look like one!

Top Selling Kimono for January 2022

Friday, February 18th, 2022

Chopa is one of the leading online shops offering fine Japanese Kimono and Yukata robes. We like to provide our customers a list each month of what is popular right now.  There are many options available when choosing a kimono shop. Since we have been operating since 1994, we are confident that we offer some of the best choices out there.

Our goal has always been to enlighten and educate customers about the beauty and symbolism of Japanese Kimonos.  Whether you admire the cultural significance, the bright, vivid colors, the symbolic patterns, or the luxury and comfort these robes provide, we take the guesswork out of online kimono shopping.  Our fast shipping is just one component that sets us apart from the crowd.  Chopa is your Kimono Source and as such, we ship most orders within one business day. Many orders ship the same day if your order is placed early in the day. Most orders are delivered within 2-3 business days, weather permitting.

Chopa ships your order safely and securely from a warehouse in the Northwest Panhandle of Florida.  We do the importing for you and carry over 100 styles, colors, and patterns that are in stock and ready to ship. Orders of $75 or more ship Free anywhere in the USA, including Hawaii and Alaska. You avoid duties, taxes, and import fees when shopping with us.

Every week, we hear from customers expressing how happy they are to have found us.  Many come from referrals and word of mouth. They share stories with us about their previous experiences. To put it bluntly, they are not pretty stories.  People ordered directly from a dealer in Japan and were told shipping is quick, usually 3-5 days.  Reality is a wait of up to 30 days in many cases. Customers are told they could return it. An issue lies with translation issues. The purchaser doesn’t speak or write Japanese and the vendor doesn’t communicate in English. To this, we say good luck and recommend taking an aspirin for their headaches.

Other resulting issues are duties and taxes.  Their package arrives and they have presented a bill for $10, $15, or even $25 more for duties, taxes, customs clearance, and import fees.  Shoppers were never told about this. But if they don’t pay the costs, the carrier keeps the package and the customer is out. Sometimes these packages are submitted to customs. They are sold for liquidated damages and other times sent back to the shipper, who doesn’t issue a refund.

Frequently we hear about requests for returns being denied by the dealer.  Customers are told, the wrong size doesn’t qualify or 3 days is too long. Worse yet, they simply ignore emails and telephone calls. If a customer is granted a return approval, they are shocked when they go to the post office. Here, they discover that shipping a 2-pound package can cost $60 by Priority Mail. This cost is born by the customer, not the Japanese dealer.  We feel dealers operate this way because they discovered most customers will keep the robe instead of investing additional money into their losing investment already. It is sad but true.

In summary, you can see how we make this an easy choice to shop with us. One of our mottos is “We take the guesswork out of Kimono shopping” and once a customer shops with us, they realize how true it is.  We welcome you to go to our online Kimono Shop and see for yourself. Whether it’s men’s or women’s kimono or yukata or perhaps an outfit for your little Samurai or Princess, we have a large selection to choose from.

It seems like 2022 just began and we have now already blown through January and are over halfway through February.

Without further delays, here is our list of Top Selling Kimono and Yukata for January 2022:

  1. Tree of Life Yukata
  2. Dragon and Bamboo Yukata
  3. Navy Kagome Yukata
  4. Dragon and Hawk Yukata
  5. Yukata – Dragon & Mt Fuji Navy 

Chopa.com currently has two orders in production with smaller shipments arriving in mid-March and April. Our largest Spring order is expected to arrive from Japan in late April. The logistics staff continues to monitor shipping and supply chain issues.  We have been and will continue to use Air Freight for our future shipments. This is necessary until the Ports along both sides of the country catch up and fix their lengthy delays. While air is more costly than a cargo ship, we would rather absorb the cost and obtain our product quicker and more efficiently. Thank you for visiting our site and reading our Blogs.  Now Get Your Kimono On!!

                     Dragon and Hawk Yukata

Need it There by Christmas?

Saturday, December 18th, 2021

Need last minute gifts?  Need them to arrive before Christmas?  Look no further.

Shop now through Sunday, December 19th at midnight and use the coupon code below.

You will receive Free 2-Day Express shipping on us.  It is our gift to you.

Offer applies to the USA only, no PO BOXES. Coupon must be entered at time of checkout.

Orders Ship Monday and should arrive Wednesday!

Merry Christmas!

SHOP NOW!!

Best Selling Kimono and Yukata, October, 2021

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2021

Fall has arrived and soon we will be facing the long, dark nights and in some places the frigid weather of winter.  The holidays are upon us.  Thanksgiving is around the corner and then the official countdown until Christmas begins. People are busy making plans for visiting family and guests, parties, festive gatherings, holiday decorating and shopping. Have you made your gift list yet? If not, at least make some time to think about what you want for each special person in your life.

Since many experts in the retail, wholesale and shipping industries have been predicting possible product and food shortages coming soon, it may be the time to get started on your own shopping list. We recently received our new and largest shipment of kimonos and yukatas of the season. Now is the time to take advantage of full inventories and the best selection of kimono and yukata.

While we may seem partial, we simply love giving a kimono for a gift. For those new to this Japanese phenomenon, kimonos and yukatas are traditional Japanese robes. They were originally worn by the samurai class, but today these garments can be seen at festivals and performances all year long. Our kimono robes are made of 100% cotton which makes them comfortable to wear and easy to care for.

If you need help picking one out, let’s take a look at the five best-selling kimono and yukata for October 2021.

  • Kimono – Embroidered Samurai
  • Yukata – Dragon and Bamboo
  • Yukata – Pink Cherry Blossom
  • Yukata – Dragon and Mt. Fuji
  • Happi Coat – Great Wave

The Embroidered Samurai Kimono is a distinguished robe for men. Made of 100% cotton shantung. Shantung is made from cotton spun fibers which provide a weave design and a ribbed effect on the surface. Slubbed yarns are woven into the material. This produces a durable, nubby fabric which contains an airy feel with a textured and visual attraction.  A finely embroidered samurai calligraphy symbol is embroidered on the back and twin red Sakura symbols on placed on each front panel.

The Dragon and Bamboo Yukata is consistently a top ten selection. In Japan, the dragon and bamboo have been considered symbols of beauty and endurance throughout history. The dragon symbolizes water and bamboo represents endurance. Dragons are a symbol of strength and the bamboo plant brings luck and prosperity.  This robe is produced in Japan of 1005 lighter weight cotton and is machine washable.

The Pink Cherry Blossom Yukata for women is always popular. The lightweight fabric makes it the prefect choice for lounging around the home, enjoying a relaxing breakfast or enjoying your favorite book and a glass of wine. The robe features a beautiful shade of pink and is adorned with delicate pink cherry blossoms. This will surely delight the woman in your life.

The Dragon and Mt. Fuji Yukata, Blue. This yukata is designed with historic Mt Fuji against a dark blue background. The artist accented the palette with dragons and gold calligraphy symbols producing a truly inspiring design. Produced in Japan by artisans in 100% cotton and a matching belt is included with all of our robes. This yukata is also available in black and in short length kimono called Happi Coats.

Speaking of Happi Coats, the fifth best-selling robe in October was the Great Wave Happi Coat. This ever popular deign is also offered in the traditional full-length yukata in black or purple as well.  The Great Wave is one of the most iconic works of art created in Japan in 1830 during the late Ido period. The original design inspired countless renditions throughout the years and is still one of the most recognized works throughout the world.

If you are seeking unique gift ideas for the holidays, look no further than our large selection of beautiful kimono and yukata robes for men and women. We offer quick shipping from the Panhandle of Florida and orders of $75 or more receive Free Shipping anywhere in the USA, including Alaska and Hawaii.

If you have a little samurai or princess in your life, consider shopping our line of kid’s kimono, yukata or jinbei outfits. They are sure to be a hit with your little ones.  From all of us at Chopa, we wish you a safe and enjoyable Holiday Season.

                    Kid’s Kimono

Is your Kimono Produced by Slave Labor?

Tuesday, October 19th, 2021

Are you buying a Kimono produced by Slave Labor?

If you purchase a kimono or yukata from Chopa, you can be assured that no slave labor was used in producing these fine robes. We only offer robes produced in Japan without the use of forced or slave labor.

If you are buying a kimono elsewhere, chances favor that you are, if it was made in China. Forced slavery in China has been a hot topic for decades as the world looks closer at how some things are produced for such low costs. One of the reasons is low-cost labor. Ask any manufacturing manager or factory owner what one of their most important factors are in determining price, and labor is inevitably among the top answers.

China has a long foothold on producing low cost goods and labor is a predominate factor. Days are long, the standard workweek is six days and benefits for many are nonexistent. In some factories, employees also live there. Some consider it part of their pay; others call it forced imprisonment. Some factories have block walls around the perimeter with razor wire fences and watch towers that resemble prisons.

Jonathan Bass, CEO of PTM Images told Gordon Chang, Author of The Coming Collapse of China that “We all need to decide our moral responsibilities as Americans and what we stand for. We do not stand for slave labor. We in fact fought a war on our own soil to end it.” Mr. Bass’ insights are a startling reminder we shouldn’t take for granted and the message should never be forgotten.

We often see kimonos for sale on Amazon, Etsy and similar sites selling for $20.00 to $30.00.  They are often deceptively advertised as Japanese kimono, but we immediately know from the price, that these are not made in Japan. Japan is not a communist country and their leadership does not condone slavery. In China, the communist government denies any knowledge or acceptance of slavery but there are far too many documented cases and facts that disprove their claim.

Forced labor doesn’t begin inside the walls of a factory, but rather in the fields of cotton. China is the largest cotton producer in the world, with 84% of its cotton coming from the Xinjiang region. Chinese officials force hundreds of thousands of Uighur Muslims into cotton harvesting.

Cotton and yarn produced in Xinjiang is also exported to other garment-producing countries like Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam. All three are also low-cost producing countries with subpar working conditions and little accountability for employee rights. According to Anti-Slavery International, one fifth of all cotton production in China is presumed to be linked to forced labor. Persecuted Muslim Uighurs in China are forced to supply the world’s fashion companies in the fields and in the factories.

In contrast, The United States has been a major supplier of raw cotton to Japan for more than a century assuring that the cotton kimono you buy from Japan is made without forced labor.

In 2016, the Global Slavery watchdog group estimated that on any given day in China, there were over 3.8 million people living in conditions of modern slavery. Forced child labor cases were detected in a garment factory in Changshu, Jiangsu Province, where underage workers were forced to work overtime and beaten if they refused. They also had their passports and mobile phones confiscated if they attempted to run away. Huge numbers from within this minority group, who are from the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) in the north-west part of the country, have allegedly been locked up and hired out by Communist party officials to greedy factory bosses. A leaked Beijing document revealed the scale of its detention camps, with officials admitting that up to eight million people had gone through “training” at state “gulags”. Global Slavery said “This is the largest mass detention of an ethnic and religious identity since World War 2.”

A coalition of more than 180 human rights groups believe that “virtually the entire global apparel industry is tainted by forced Uighur and Turkic Muslim labor. You could inadvertently be putting on a product that was made off the backs of forced labor of Uighurs.”

In February 2016, President Obama signed the Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act of 2015.  This Act removed the “consumptive demand” exemption which allowed importation of goods produced with forced labor if they were not made “in such quantities in the United States as to meet the consumptive demands of the United States”. This effectively gutted the forced-labor prohibition. Unfortunately, his administration did not enforce the law against many large corporations, like Nike. Chang proposed the question to CPB, Customs and Border Protection, “How can Nike shoes made in a factory surrounded by walls, barbed-wire and watch towers, and where the workers, many from a racial minority, are not allowed to leave, not be made with forced labor?

The audits of Chinese suppliers are nearly always suspect. It is said that buyers of goods, when asking for prices of China-made products, are quoted two prices; one for goods with inspections and the other for goods without. The spread between the two prices approximates the cost of bribes for inspectors.

While U.S. law states that products made with forced labor can be seized, those made in horrible conditions in China and elsewhere are routinely cleared through Customs and end up on the shelves of American retailers.

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kenneth Cuccinelli, who oversees the border agency, called “Made in China” a “warning label.” The cheap cotton goods you may be buying for family and friends during this season of giving, if coming from China, may have been made by slave labor in some of the most egregious human rights violations existing today in the modern world.”

The next time you seek to purchase a kimono, check the source carefully. Don’t be fooled by descriptions simply because the dealer says Japanese style, Japanese Robe or Japanese Kimono. Look for where it was made. If they don’t tell you clearly and plainly, ask. One of the biggest frauds we see on Amazon is that of companies claiming they are made in China but for export to Japan using Japanese standards. If you don’t shop carefully, they may have a bridge to sell you as well.

It may not seem like an issue but if you are against forced labor and slavery, don’t purchase a China-made Kimono. There is a reason we offer true, proven, quality made kimono and yukata from Japan. We don’t want to participate in the slave trade and won’t. Nor should you.

Yukata From Japan – No Forced Labor 

Shopping for a Kimono?

Tuesday, September 7th, 2021

As an online retailer of Kimono and Yukata robes since 1994, we understand the challenges of online shopping.  While we strive to have a easy to use, easy to find, and easy to shop website, we know nothing in life is perfect and this is why we make changes whenever possible to provide our customers with a better shopping experience.

Our top priority has always been customer safety and Chopa has never taken this lightly. We spend a large sum of money each year on security software, encryption, offsite services and more to keep customer information safe and secure at all times. We never rent, sell or loan customer information either. If you receive an email from us, it is a courtesy email based on a purchase you made on our website. In these periodic emails, we may alert you to a sale, special discount, or new product introduction. We always include an “unsubscribe” button in these emails and if you click the button, rest assured you are immediately removed from the database and you won’t hear from us again.

One service we introduced a few years ago was our Email Notification Shopping Service. Chopa offers over 100 different patterns and styles of Kimono, Yukata robes and short length Happi Coats, and while we try to maintain a full inventory at all times, it isn’t always possible. For instance we may have 20 Dragon Kimonos in stock at the moment and based on sales, additional inventory may currently be in production. Then along comes an order for 16 of these kimonos, leaving us with 4. If we normally sell 5 a week, you can see out easy it is to run out unexpectedly. Large orders are fairly common as business customers purchase yukata or kimonos as gifts for their sales team or their customers and for employee recognition.

Chopa has also been a Kimono source for theatrical productions, movie studios, model photoshoots, costume companies, restaurants, television shows and weddings. Many brides and grooms have been outfitted in our yukata or kimono, and many bridesmaids and groomsmen have also found our attire to be a special part of that memorable event. We see a large increase in summertime orders for weddings. Early summer also brings a surge in kimono sales for graduation gifts. Besides traditional holidays, birthdays and anniversaries that are common throughout the year, Halloween brings in a quick flurry as customers choose a kimono or yukata for their party costumes. Kimonos simply make great gifts for so many occasions.

Mother’s Day and Father’s Days round out a common theme for choosing kimono robes for gifts. Short-length Happi Coats are very popular for Valentine’s Day as well as the warm summer season as people want a shorter length robe for lounging at home or at the pool or beach. Seeing someone in one of our Happi Coats at the beach always brings a smile to our face.

We have provided some reasons why we may be out of stock in a particular size or style at any one time. If this happens to you, simply drop us an email or text and ask when a certain size or style will be back in stock. We can instantly check our inventory database and let you know an approximate time frame when new stock will be available. We can place you on our email notification list. When the item arrives, we send out one email letting you know that the kimono you want is available. There is no cost for this service and no obligation to follow through with a purchase. This email alert is a courtesy notice only. We do not add you to our email database and only send you one notice. There is no sales pitch, no hassle and absolutely no sales pressure. Consider it a quick note from a friend saying “Hey there, the Pink Cherry Blossom yukata in size medium is now in stock and available.”  That’s it, plain and simple.

So the next time you are surfing our online Kimono Store at www.chopa.com and don’t see a size available in a pattern you like, or don’t see a specific kimono today that you saw a week earlier, go to the top of the web page you are on and hit the “Contact Us” button on the tool bar menu. Send us a text or complete the contact form and submit. We will check our database, reply with a time frame and ask if you want to be added to our free alert system. This takes the guesswork out and allows you time to enjoy life rather than checking back every few days. As always, we invite feedback, suggestions, compliments and even complaints. Thanks for reading and happy kimono shopping.

Customer shopping for kimonos online from www.chopa.com

        Kimono Shopping Made Easy. 

Photo courtesy of Damir Spanic