Archive for the ‘Plus size kimono’ Category

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 Used.

Top Selling Kimono and Yukata – September 2021

Sunday, October 3rd, 2021

The kimono is a traditional Japanese garment that has been worn for centuries. Kimonos have been around since 1868 BC. Japan’s Emperor Tenmu decreed that nobles should wear them over their Chinese-style robes during certain ceremonial activities in order to distinguish themselves from commoners who were not allowed to wear silk.

Kimonos are made of a flowing fabric that can be worn as an outer or under garment. In Japan and Korea, they are considered formal wear.  The culture of wearing kimonos is not limited to Asia; they’re also popular in Europe where they’re often used for ceremonial occasions like weddings.  Modern Westerners might think the kimono is outdated but many cultures still find it to be a desirable piece of clothing that showcases their individuality and creativity. We have seen a steady surge of sales for years as the kimono and yukata have been gaining popularity around the world. Kimono translates from Japanese as “the thing to wear”.

Some people have fears about how to wear them, but they are simple to slip on and very similar to a bathrobe. Always wear the kimono wrapped around you with the left folded over the right.  Wearing the right over the left is usually reserved for the deceased and funerals. Once you feel comfortable wearing one, you can step out with style or feel like a true samurai warrior. The fascinating styles of patterns and designs will allow you to look your best at any event. The reasons why kimono are so popular among men and women alike range from their rich history to how they can be worn by anyone who wants to look good and feel great.

The Japanese wear kimonos for a variety of occasions. They are often worn at formal events, such as weddings, tea ceremonies, graduations  and religious festivals. The kimono is also traditionally worn by women when they give birth. Kimonos are both feminine and masculine garments with flowing sleeves that cover the hips and long length robes help you keep warm in cold weather. A wide variety of designs can be found on these traditional clothing pieces, from modern prints to classic patterns and some with embroidery. The sister robe to the kimono is the yukata which is lighter weight fabric and often worn at festivals and summertime outings. While yukata are made of cotton, kimono can be made from silk and cotton fabrics with some types of kimonos costing up to $10,000.

Each month we like to publish our list of the Five Top Selling or Most Popular Kimono and Yukata in our store. Our customers make the decision and we share their interests.  So here we go….

The Top Five Selling Kimono Yukata for September 2021

  1. Yukata – Great Wave
  2. Pink Cherry Blossom Yukata
  3. Black Zen and Martial Arts Yukata
  4. Eternal Chain Yukata
  5. Dragon and Bamboo Yukata

The lighter weight yukata is always a popular choice during the Summer and Fall seasons especially in men’s robes and loungewear.

Check out our website at www.chopa.com to see the wide variety of styles, patterns, colors and sizes we offer. As a leading online provider of kimono and yukata since 1994, it’s easy to see why we are your Kimono Source. Great service, fast shipping and free shipping on orders of $75 or more anywhere in the USA.

Beautiful kimonos and yukata are a must have for the fall season. Check back next month to find out what top selling kimono is dominating the market in October! Thank you for reading and now go Get Your Kimono On!!

                      Cherry Blossom Yukata

Top Selling Kimono Yukata – August 2021

Saturday, September 11th, 2021

It’s difficult to believe that August has come and gone. Labor Day has passed, schools are back in session, most tourists have gone back home and traffic in Florida is getting back to normal. This is the time of year when locals in the Panhandle of Florida appreciate living here the most. The weather is still warm, beaches are empty and the water is still enjoyable.  This is when you will still find us wearing our short length kimono and yukata at the beach or the pool. For those new to the World of Japanese Kimonos, a Happi Coat is a short length kimono or yukata. They are lightweight, versatile and comfortable to wear. They make great cover ups at the beach or to wear after a day in the yard mowing and trimming shrubs and trees. Getting the work done, hopping into the shower and slipping on a Happi Coat to relax with a cold beverage is so satisfying.

While we move deeper into September we are working diligently preparing for Christmas and the shopping season. As with most retailers, the Holidays bring a lot of traffic to our website and with traffic comes lots of orders. Chopa works hard planning ahead to keep on top of the volume surge including inventory, packaging supplies, work schedules and working with carriers to see that packages are delivered on time.  With the employment shortages hitting UPS, FedEx and USPS, carriers are experiencing delays. With their own increase in package volumes, it is inevitable that delays could become longer especially with winter weather. All three carriers are implementing Holiday Season surcharges beginning in early October and into 2022. With shipping costs increasing around the globe, domestic carrier surcharges and price increases, packaging supply hikes, raw commodity demand and labor wage surges, life is becoming more expensive each day. We are doing our best to maintain and absorb all of these cost increases but understand that raising some prices will be necessary soon.

While no business operates without profit, Chopa has always been fair with our pricing. We like to think it is the tortoise and hare race. We operate under the slow and steady method. Offer quality kimono and yukata robes at fair pricing and provide great service with fast and low cost shipping. Orders of $75 or more receive Free Shipping anywhere in the USA, while smaller orders pay a simple $6.95 shipping fee in the USA. This system has worked well for us for nearly 30 years and we plan on doing the same moving forward.

We suggest customers shop early for Holiday gifts. Nobody knows for sure what will transpire this year, but we continue to hear warnings about merchandise shortages and lengthy shipping delays being possible. On our end, we have been planning ahead and will continue to do so directly into the Holiday season. Customer satisfaction is so important to us. We want you to receive your packages and gifts on time and with time to spare. Let us know what we can do for you.

With that said, let’s go to the most popular kimono and yukata in August.

Top Selling robes were:

  1. Tree of Life Yukata
  2. Great Wave Yukata
  3. Blue Koi Yukata
  4. Kagome Kimono
  5. Shokaku Yukata

We thank all of our customers for their support during the year. Without you, we wouldn’t be here. We are grateful for the business and hope to be of service to you soon. Now Get Your Kimono On!!!

Blue Koi Yukata for Men and Women.

What is a Kimono and Yukata?

Sunday, August 8th, 2021

A short history about the Kimono and Yukata robe.

The Japanese Kimono is widely recognized throughout the world. The history, symbolism and true beauty of these fine robe’s dates back centuries. The word Kimono translates as the “thing to wear” or “thing that is worn.” Today the Kimono is considered the national dress or national costume in Japan and is still a major part of the culture.

Some wear Kimonos daily while others wear them for special occasions, ceremonies, festivals or family gatherings. The sister robe to the Kimono is the Yukata which is typically a lighter weight fabric and worn during warmer summer months.  In the West, the yukata is a favorite loungewear all year long.

One of the features that make this unique clothing so popular is the ease of putting it on as well as the genuine comfort. Spas and resorts are known to offer guests robes to wear and the kimono or yukata fits the same purpose while lounging at home. The kimono is a wraparound garment meaning that it wraps around your body, the left side folds over the right side and is held closed at the waist with a belt, sash or obi.

Kimono are produced in various fabrics with the most common being cotton, silk, rayon and polyester. Cotton is the most popular today, since it is chemically organic and contains no chemical compounds. Cotton is also easy to care for and usually machine washable. Cotton kimonos are normally made with a heavier fabric and yukatas with a lighter weight material.

The colors of kimono and yukata cover the rainbow. From blues, greens, reds, yellows, pinks, purples, oranges, whites and even black, shopping the vast never-ending styles are a feast for your eyes. The patterns range from intricate, ancient, historical, simple and modernistic. The true relevance is in the symbolism.

Symbolism in Japan dates back as far as history allows it. Many of the patterns represent a story, proverb, poetry or event. You will often find flowers, scenery, dragons, trees, waves, koi fish, water and more. Basically, anything found in nature is recreated in a kimono pattern. The natural beauty and meanings are just another example of why so many people love to wear kimono.

Kimono and yukata have evolved over the years. While formal kimono is still worn on special occasions, the traditional kimono is worn anytime. Sleeve lengths are usually a bit shorter and are now offered in many different sizes as the Western demand increases. Since many people in the West are larger than their far East counterparts, the strong demand necessitates a larger array of size offerings.

At Chopa Zen Home, “your Kimono Source”, sizes range from small to 2XL and even 2XL/wide which allows for a wider and roomier fit. Chopa was one of the first to offer large sizing on the web. In addition to plus size kimonos, they also offer short length kimono called Happi Coats. Established in 1994, Chopa continues to be a great source for Japanese kimono and Yukata. Operated and based in the USA, Chopa is a direct importer of quality robes and offers fast shipping in the USA. Orders of $75.00 or more receive free shipping, including Alaska and Hawaii. Orders under $75.00 pay just $6.95.

The benefit of shopping with a US provider, beyond quick shipping is ease of returns, no duties, taxes or import charges and easy access to electronic customer service. In business since 1994, Chopa is a name that can be trusted. This is easy to see as their family of 33,000 happy customers and counting grows each day. Many customers are repeat shoppers and referrals are common. Chopa ships from the Panhandle region of Florida. Most orders ship within one business day with many shipping the same day. They offer a wide selection of over 100 Kimono and Yukata for men, women and kids. Shop online for your next kimono or yukata and see why so many others consider Chopa Zen Home their Kimono Source.

kimono shopping

Photo courtesy of Victoriano Izquierdo.

Most Popular Kimonos for July, 2021

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021

Greetings Kimono Fans.

Another month has passed and that means it is time for the Best Selling Kimono and Yukata for last month.  This was a busy month and shoppers took advantage of a surprise discount we offered to existing customers during the middle of the month.  Customers have the chance at check out to join our newsletter email list where we randomly send out updates, news or nice discounts on our entire line of Japanese Kimono and Yukata.  Coupons are always popular and our “kimono family” usually takes advantage of the bargains.

Covid cases are on the rise in Japan and we have been in regular, direct contact with our manufacturing partners. Some divisions are working from home while others have a shortened workweek.  Much of Tokyo was closed the past week due to the Olympic Games.  Closures and work from home mandates may be helping calm the spread of Covid.  Even with ongoing challenges, Chopa is diligently working with providers to assure we have ample stock of these comfortable robes. While the manufacturing process faces obstacles, we are also finding that many fabrics are scarce or running out. The dying process can take months for some fabric due to the large number of colors used or intricate designs, and with mandated closures, obtaining fabric has probably been the biggest hurdle we face.

We placed our largest Fall order a bit early this year to allow more time for production and transit time since many carriers are also facing delays and operating over capacity. International shipping can be tricky and if it wasn’t for our great long term relationships and experience we could face major shortages. It is always better to be safe than sorry and our staff works hard to maintain adequate inventories as best as we can.  As we wrote in an earlier blog several weeks ago, many retailers are expecting shortages and limited supplies of goods for the Christmas Holiday season.  This is something we definitely want to avoid.  Shortages as you may have seen in stores isn’t good for anyone.  The retailers lose sales without having merchandise and customers are left holding an empty bag or paying a substantially higher price because quantities are so low.

Nearly everyone we know has spoken about price increases on most things we buy each day. Whether it is lunch at the neighborhood deli, a burger at McDonalds, groceries, tires, vehicles, clothing, housing, etc, it seems everything is getting more expensive. Chopa is pleased that we have not raised our prices for some time and we are doing everything we can to hold costs and prices where they are, but in reality, there may be a time in the near future that we have to adjust pricing upwards.  We have experienced cost increases for our products, especially shipping, but so far we have bitten the bullet and maintained our prices.

We are not one to panic, and even though it is August, we do suggest customers review their holiday shopping needs, and plan accordingly. Whether shopping for a kimono or yukata from our online store or buying that perfect sweater for your family member, make your list and plan on shopping early this year. We believe you will be happy that you did.

So let’s take a look at the most popular kimono and yukata for July….

  1.  Great Wave
  2.  Tree of Life
  3.  Lily Garden
  4.  Dragon
  5.  Blue Koi

Ironically, the Lily Garden yukata rose to the number three best selling yukata. This robe was marked down as we are discontinuing the style. While it has been a performer over the years as far as sales go, the popularity has dwindled a bit as more customers have selected its sister yukata, the Peony and Princess yukata. The background patterns are nearly identical but feature Geishas across the print. It is fairly rare that we decide to discontinue a pattern, but we have been evaluating our selection lately because we have new patterns arriving early next year. On one hand, we need to make a little room and on the other hand, sometimes it is time to say good bye to an old friend. The sale was popular as we are down to just a few size small at this publishing date. In most other cases we discontinue a pattern because the manufacturer has discontinued or retired a fabric.

It is hard to believe but August is upon us and we want to wish everyone a great balance of Summer. In many states school starts back later this month and we know you want to get those last days at the beach or pool under your belt. We know many people still have vacations planned and will head out in a car or airplane soon.  Have fun and most of all stay safe. Thank you for reading our Blog, stop by again.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

What do Kimonos Cost?

Saturday, July 24th, 2021

We received a question from a customer asking why kimono and yukata are offered at different prices.  There are many reasons why a Japanese robe is priced the way it is. The most basic reason is that a retailer can pick and choose whatever price they want. As an example, let’s look at two stores. The ABC store sells a widget for $10.00 while the XYZ store offers the same product for $15.00.  It’s a choice each store owner makes and there are a variety of reasons for this.

The ABC Store may buy larger quantities from the manufacturer and receive a lower cost or discount for the volume purchase. They may have lower shipping costs and maybe lower overhead. It could simply be that the ABC store feels they are making a reasonable profit at $10.00. Every retailer has their own reasons why they charge what they do. The XYZ store may pay more for rent and pay more for labor and sales staff.

Chopa Zen Home has been a leading online retailer of Kimono and Yukata robes since 1994. Our number one goal when we started was and still is to offer quality robes at reasonable prices. We don’t attempt to be the low-price leader, nor do we want to be the most expensive. Being the most expensive retailer doesn’t necessarily mean you have the highest quality and best product. Being in business since 1994 has provided us with a deep level of understanding, experience and knowledge about the kimono market in the USA.

We purchase our kimono clothing from experienced, reputable, high-quality providers. We have longstanding agreements and constantly strive to accommodate each other, maintain a successful partnership and a great working relationship. This philosophy has long endured and is a reason why we are still a successful provider of beautiful kimono robes today. We have seen many firms come and go over the last three decades, but we stick with and maintain the principals we started with. One question we ask ourselves regularly is, would we purchase a specific kimono at the price we offer it?  The answer is yes, or we decide on a lower price or discontinue the item. There needs to be a reasonable profit or no retailer stays in business. Businesses have overhead including the cost of goods, advertising, utilities, rent, labor, taxes, insurance, duties, shipping and an array of other costs.

Pricing has a lot to do with the fabric. Obviously a nicer, richer and heavier fabric costs more to produce a robe than a lesser quality material. This is how our producers determine their costs, profit and asking prices. A retailer does the same. Sometimes we have two yukata that appear similar and are made with the same fabric but one costs $10.00 more than the other. The reason for this is usually tied to the cost of the fabric and mainly the printing and dyeing of the material. Solid colors are made by dying fabrics. Designs are made by printing on a dyed fabric. The more detailed the print, the costlier the end product is because there are more steps in printing, more time involved, more labor more dye or inks and this longer process adds up. A robe with one or two colors, not withstanding the underlying fabric will cost less to produce than one with 9 or 10 colors.

Sizing also plays a vital factor in determination of price.  A size small uses one amount of fabric while an large uses more. Manufacturers will usually blend the cost between the first few sizes because a larger size may leave less cutting or material waste while the smaller may have more.  Patterns can have an effect on the cost based on the cutting patterns. Some patterns must be cut a specific way for sewing, so the pattern isn’t lost or out of place. Wider sizes obviously cost more because more fabric is needed. Special collars, sleeves and other variables all play a part in pricing.

We recently shopped around to comparison shop and were surprised to see major price differences.  A specific kimono was available at one online store for $69.00 while the same robe was offered at another for $129.00.  Others listed the same robe at $89.00 and $99.00.  This proves there are anomalies in the market place but seeing this wide of a variance proves that some retailers are simply overpricing. No matter what the shipping costs, labor and overhead, if one retailer can justify selling the robe for $69.00 and making a fair profit to stay in business, how can the one asking $129.00 justify that price?

Chopa stands behind its history, longevity, customer service and fair pricing. We have many repeat customers and receive many compliments and thank you letters  throughout the year.  This is not only gratifying to us, but it proves to us that we are Your Kimono Source for styles, variety, sizing and price.  We offer easy returns if you are not satisfied with your purchase and are based and operated in the USA. We have made kimono shopping easy by taking the guesswork out of online shopping. When looking for a kimono, yukata or short length kimono or Happi Coat, Shop with Confidence, shop with Chopa Zen Home.

kimono fabrics

Photo courtesy of Beth MacDonald

Best Selling Kimono for June 2021

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Chopa Zen Home has been a leading online supplier of Japanese Kimono and Yukata since 1994.  We offer a large selection of patterns, styles and sizes for men, women and kids. From the beginning, we offered a variety of Asian style home decor, tatami mats, furnishings, accessories, meditation supplies and of course Kimono and Yukata.  We realized many years ago that these fashionable robes were our pride and joy. Not only do our staff wear them, but also our friends and family members.  Rarely a birthday or gift giving holiday passes without our group perusing our online catalog deciding which yukata or kimono to buy for the lucky recipients.

In October, 2018 our warehouse was a victim of hurricane Michael. This category 5 storm tore apart many lives, homes and businesses in the the Florida Panhandle and beyond.  While our offices suffered great damage, we were fortunate that none of our staff or their families were harmed and for that we are forever grateful.  It was at this point we had some decision making to do.  Some staff were reluctant to stay in the area and moved on to other cities. Among our partners, several had been considering retiring or moving on to do something else. After careful discussion, meetings with staff, the outlook for rebuilding in the area and a lot of soul searching, we made the decision to focus solely on what always made us the happiest; Japanese kimono and Yukata robes. To us, wearing a robe is like wearing art. The colors, styles and patterns are distinct, beautiful and symbolic. Coming home after a long day and slipping on a soft, comfortable yukata makes everything feel alright.

We still receive emails from former customers asking about items we used to carry.  They are sometimes disappointed to hear we no longer offer Asian home décor, but most understand.  To those who inquires we say, the show must go on and like a cherry blossom blooming for a short period of time, life is similar. Like the seasons, life brings change and people move on.

For the next chapter, we are now in our third year of offering Japanese kimono exclusively and we couldn’t be happier. We are excited with new ideas we have and future changes in store. Like a fine wine, some things take time, but we are patient and want to do it right.  Our customers are of the utmost importance to us and we are grateful for each and every one.  We have many repeat customers who like us, buy for gifting or simply add to their loungewear wardrobe. Coming home to a kimono or yukata waiting for you is like coming home to a piece of Japan.

June was another fantastic month at Chopa. Lots of different styles departed our warehouse. It is always exciting to see customer choices as orders come across our system. Due to higher summer volumes we shipped six days a week this month including Saturdays. We faced some delays of orders that shipped through USPS and couldn’t really get an answer from the local terminal as to the reason.  Packages delivered to them were sometimes held for several days before they scanned and forwarded onto the next station along the route to the recipient.  One employee that spoke with us “off the record” blamed the Amazon Prime Days for the delays. This along with other online retailers that wanted to compete with Amazon and held similar sales in the same time frame.  We also saw a surge during this time window so its possible that people just decided to get online and spend some money.  After all summer is upon us and many decide to shop online rather than go outside and brave these hot, humid days. Chopa monitors many of our shipments and carriers to determine if any issues arise.  When we observe some delays like the handful we saw, we emailed our customers to let them know.  It is frustrating as a delay in shipping isn’t something we base our service standards on and we know how much customers like receiving their packages quickly. We do too!

Thanks to all of your business in June.  July is already starting out busier than June and we anticipated this with new shipments of kimono and yukata arriving daily during the middle of the month. More short length kimono and wide, plus sized kimono are back in stock.

Here are the Best Selling Kimono for June, 2021.

  1. Blue Koi
  2. Eternal Chain
  3. Tree of Life
  4. White Moji
  5. Pink Cherry Blossom

kimono-mail

Image courtesy of: Joel Moysuh

Kimonos and Covid – The Challenges

Thursday, June 24th, 2021

We received a steady stream of questions during the peak and early stages of the Covid-19 outbreak beginning in March, 2020.  Customers  asked if our kimonos were safe? Was there risk of obtaining the virus from our kimono and yukata? What precautions were we taking? Were we open? Since we import from Japan, how safe were our robes? The answer to these questions, was that yes, our kimono were and are safe. Yes, we took and take a lot of precautions. Yes, we were and are open.

Chopa Zen Home stocks a rather large inventory of kimono and yukata robes throughout the year. Even with the outbreak, we had plenty of kimono in stock that we received months before any outbreak of the virus was known.  Our inventory levels constantly turn as orders ship out and new deliveries arrive. Some styles sell quicker than others, while some have unusual patterns similar to many retail products in your local store. Style XYZ may sell just a few one week, then the next week rolls around and sales of that style explode.  We don’t always know why this happens, but it is part of the business and we try our best to adjust and move with the flow. Tracking previous sales patterns establishes a baseline for future sales, but there are always outliers that can take place and that is when things become unpredictable. A story may be shown on TV about kimonos, a movie may run several times over a weekend that showed the Japanese lifestyle and actors wearing yukata. A well known celebrity may appear wearing a kimono and we see a spike in sales, especially in that particular style.

Our producers in Japan were very cautious throughout the pandemic and remain so.  Masks are worn, hands are sanitized, gloves are used and many staff members work remotely or in well ventilated rooms with partitions set up between each work station. Orders are packed with care, boxed, sealed and shipped air freight which lessens the time in transit.  Once they arrive, our staff uses the same practices to assure their safety as well as our customers. Masks, gloves, partitions, some remote work and constant sanitizing are and were the norm for many months. With so many people in the USA staying home through furloughs, work-at-home assignments and business closures, we saw a large increase in business like many other online retailers did. People were afraid to go to stores to shop, discovered the many benefits of online shopping and wanted casual things to wear while at home. Since Kimono and Yukata robes are so popular as loungewear, shopping for kimonos was an easy choice, especially with our large selection of prints, colors and sizes. We are proud to say we introduced many new customers to the fine luxury of wearing a yukata while lounging, working at home or taking care of kids and the Homefront. Welcome to all of our new customers and thank you for all of your kind words you sent our way. It is always a joy to read how much customers love their robes. It is also gratifying to see how many repeat purchases are made as people realize they want a second or third kimono to expand their new style at home.

Chopa is happy to report that we had zero infections among staff and families throughout the pandemic. The precautions we took benefitted everyone involved and our staff meetings were open for everyone to share experiences outside of the office, to relay what precautions they took when venturing out for groceries, gasoline, errands and the like.  Sharing our stories went a long way in educating ourselves on what or what not to do to stay safe.

With shutdowns and ongoing government restrictions in Japan we came across and still face challenges to keep our selection as full as possible. Sometimes we have to scale back orders or adjust timeframes in production. Other times we make adjustments solely to help our partners and producers. It was often more difficult on them, since many of their customers shut down and business slowed. There were restrictions on workdays, openings, number of people allowed in one workspace location and more. Obtaining fabrics was and still is an  obstacle. Businesses that dye fabrics face mandated closures or went out of business. Some cotton fabrics are still scarce or unavailable. Silk robes have been the most difficult to obtain. We have been unable to offer new silk stock for nearly a year. This sources back to the silk mills where the fabric is made right through to the dyeing and printing of the material.  Chopa anticipates this will change in the coming months and we will be offering beautiful silk kimonos again by the Christmas season. Silk Happi Coats are always popular as gifts. Soft, silky, smooth to the touch, short and sexy, they make magical gifts for men and women.

If you shop our online store and see some empty slots of a particular size or pattern, don’t hesitate to send us a text or email and ask.  We are working hard each day doing what we can to keep adequate supplies for large and full selections of kimono robes, but sometimes things happen beyond our control. We can always provide you with an update and we maintain a courtesy email notification service. When a style or size you seek is out of stock, ask us to put you on this alert system. When that yukata or kimono arrives, we will notify you by email. There is no obligation to complete a purchase, we only email you once and your email will not be used for marketing. It is deleted once we send out the notice.  Once again, we thank all of our customers for your support. As always, let us know what you think.

photo by cottonbro

Photo courtesy of cottonbro.

The Story of Father’s Day.

Sunday, June 6th, 2021

fathers-day-surprise

Father’s Day is a day of recognition. We remember our father’s both passed and present. It’s common practice of celebration to share a meal together, let dad have the day off or do something he truly enjoys.  Outdoor events are popular, whether attending a sporting event, golfing, a day at the beach, a barbeque, hiking, riding bikes or whatever it is he loves to do. Some families let dad have a day at home, alone and  uninterrupted to enjoy quiet time, gathering thoughts, taking a nap, catching up on TV shows he likes with some binge watching or even having a day with just the “boys” and good friends. While it is traditional to present him with a gift, it isn’t necessary and many feel spending time with him is worth more than any gift. Gifts do not have to be expensive, but personal in meaning to show that you remembered him and want him to know he is loved and appreciated. But where did Father’s Day originate?

Father’s Day started in Spokane, Washington in 1910 by Sonora Smart Dodd at a local YMCA. It was supposed to compliment Mother’s Day which was already being recognized. Ms. Smart’s father, a Civil War veteran and single parent had raised six children and was living at the YMCA.  Ms. Dodd spoke to her pastor at church about creating a similar day to recognize fathers. It was difficult getting the word out and making this an annual event. Little did she know it would take nearly 60 years to be fully recognized.  President Woodrow Wilson went to Spokane in 1916 to speak at the Father’s Day celebration, but resistance and apathy made it difficult for the idea to be fully accepted. In fact, after about a dozen years, Ms. Dodd who resided in Chicago returned to Spokane to resurrect the idea. She knew she needed national awareness and began contacting companies that could help, and perhaps benefit themselves like tobacco pipe manufacturers, tie making companies and clothing retailers.

Most people continued to resist the idea for several decades, believing it was just a day that retailers created to drive up sales, like they did for Mother’s Day. The retailers persisted, building a larger following and throughout the years garnered more and more support to make this a well remembered day. It was in 1966, when President Lyndon Johnson proclaimed the third Sunday in June as the day to recognize fathers. Six years later, President Nixon made it a permanent holiday by signing it into law in 1972.

In the U.S., Father’s Day is now the fourth biggest day for greeting cards with approximately 72 million being sent. Of those, nearly  20% are given by wives to their husbands. Over 70% of men plan on celebrating Father’s day in some way. Last year, 46% of men spent money on clothing while 44% purchased gift cards. The most popular gift purchased is neckties. Over 40% want to buy their father, step father or husband a unique and special gift. Female shoppers spend 50% more on gifts for their fathers than their male counterparts. Father’s Day garners half of the amount of gift spending that is spent on Mother’s Day. Father’s Day is also the busiest day for collect calls.  Today, over 40 countries around the world have a special day to honor dads and flowers are not just for Mothers. The official flower for Father’s Day is the rose. Tradition states that a red rose is worn in your lapel on Father’s Day if your father is living, and a white rose is worn if he has passed away.

No matter how you plan on spending Father’s Day, enjoy it. Whether your father is present or passed, take a moment to recall, reflect and honor the person who is or was your father. Happy Father’s Day.

Top 5 Sellers for May 2021 – Consumers Demand Comfort

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2021

One of the retail categories that saw large spikes in sales during the Pandemic was loungewear. It makes sense because whether you were shut in from mandated lock downs or working from home, people like to feel relaxed and comfortable at home. Analysis from a recent study of retailers showed a large jump in loungewear sales online, with some reporting double and triple digit sales gains over the prior year. Many stores found little reason to advertise and promote swimwear last summer and instead saw the demand for loungewear and jumped on it.

Many customers prefer something unique and different rather than a pair of sweatpants and an oversized t-shirt to lay around the home. Whether you are doing chores, binge watching your favorite TV series, cooking or catching up on your reading, Japanese Kimono and Yukata robes have become a popular alternative.  The prints and styles are striking and beautiful. With the wrap around style of these robes, they can be loose fitting or tied more snugly depending on what you are doing and how you are feeling. After all, nothing feels better than cool cotton when hanging out at home. Those that want an even lighter feel turn to Happi Coats. Happi Coats are shorter length versions of kimono and yukata. They are available in several lengths and have one or two side pockets making it easier to keep your glasses or cell phone close to you.

We received several notes from customers who were on work-at-home assignments and expressed their desire to permanently work from home. One customer, Janice said if she was granted the opportunity she would buy five yukata and Happi Coats so she could wear a different one each work day. She thought it would give herself the feeling of a traditional workplace with the added luxury of loungewear.  We can’t argue with her.  Another customer said his work at home team enjoyed their daily Zoom teleconference calls because he wore a different kimono each day. They all wanted to know where he was getting them from and was happy to refer several new customers to us over the months.  Thank you Ben, we always appreciate referrals.

Another longtime customer of ours discovered another benefit of the Happi Coats. She wore them out when she went to pick up food for dinner or had to drop something off at the post office. Ellen shared with us that she would never feel comfortable heading out of the house in a regular bathrobe, but in a Happi Coat she was making a fashion statement. Slip on a pair of shorts or jeans and she was good to go. She regularly received compliments from others and it not only boosted her confidence, but she started trying on different outfits at home preparing for the days when America fully reopens again. She discovered that her Happi coats complimented some of her slacks and jeans even with heels.  She plans on educating her girlfriends when they start heading out again on weekends to restaurants and clubs. She calls this fashion Street-Chic. Ellen, we welcome your photos if you would like to share, so we can show the rest of our Happi Coat audience. Happi Coats, they aren’t just for lounging anymore!

Each month we like to share with our customers what is currently popular among the kimono and yukata we offer.

For the month of May, 2021, here are the Top Five Sellers:

  1. Yukata – Red Crane and Tree
  2. Yukata – Pink Cherry Blossom
  3. Yukata – Eternal Chain
  4. Yukata – Blue Dawn
  5. Yukata – Dragon and Bamboo

Three of the ladies styles made the Top Five this month. Sales were brisk early on as Mother’s Day was approaching. Don’t forget about Father’s Day. It’s just a few weeks away. Nothing would make Dad happier than lounging in a summer yukata. Happi Coats make great cover ups at the beach and pool. If Dad is an active swimmer, give some thought to this unique gift idea. Thanks for reading, we will be back soon with another blog. Please comment below or email us with any questions, comments or thoughts, we love hearing from our customers and might mention you in a future post.

 

blue dawn yukata

Blue Dawn Yukata

red crane yukata

Red Crane and Tree Yukata