Archive for the ‘Plus size kimono’ Category

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

Do you leave reviews about a business?

Saturday, May 29th, 2021

customer service

 

We receive a steady flow of positive reviews, compliments and thank you notes from customers and work hard to provide all customers with a great shopping experience. Once in a while, we receive a complaint, which can be expected since people have different assumptions about what their experience will be. Thankfully, the complaints are far and few between, which lets us believe we are doing the right thing, communicating well, offering great products, fair pricing and excellent service. In business, a customer that has a negative experience is likely to leave a bad review. This is especially true today with social media and online reviews making it so easy to post. On the flip side, a customer that has a great experience is less likely to leave a positive review. In general, only one in ten happy customers will leave positive feedback.

Since we receive so many positive comments and reviews, it surprised us recently when a customer left us a negative review on a rating site. It was the customer’s first experience shopping with us and we are certain their last. The puzzling piece about this feedback was that the customer never contacted us to discuss the matter or give us a chance to rectify their complaint. Instead, they chose to post and broadcast to the world how bad we are as a company in general.  Because of one issue, this customer labeled all of our products as inferior and not worth the money.  The comment was difficult to swallow considering we have over 100 products and have served over 32,000 happy customers.  If we offer such poor quality products as was claimed, how would we last over 25 years in this business? It simply made no sense to us.

As we read and discussed the review in a staff meeting, it became more obvious to us that this person damaged the robe through their own negligence.  At first, they implied that the kimono arrived with tears in it and claimed that because our return policy was too difficult, they were now stuck with this robe. They also elaborated on being a near-expert on Japanese kimonos because of some life experience. Granted, we are ad-libbing a bit here and everyone, especially customers are entitled to their opinions, but as a reputable kimono dealer for nearly three decades, it became evident after their story changed a few times that this person simply wanted to blame someone else rather than accept their own responsibility for their situation.

We are confident that the kimono arrived in perfect condition, it was worn a few times, they tore it and wanted to pass blame on us. Otherwise, why wouldn’t you have reached out to us to ask for a replacement?  If we ever make a mistake by sending out the wrong color, size, or the robe actually had a flaw, we stand by our reputation and would have corrected the issue at our expense. Our manufacturers have stringent quality assurance plans in place. We receive very few returns and of those we receive, most are simple exchanges. Everyone is human and if we make a mistake, we fix it. Unfortunately today, there are people that just don’t want to accept responsibility for their own actions and instead choose to blame others. We believe this customer purchased a size that was too small and that is how it tore. This would happen with nearly all fabrics. If stretched and pulled with too much force, cotton will tear.

This reminded us of how fragile business review systems are today. With the internet, information is passed at lightning speed and with little recourse. The right thing to do when you are unhappy with a situation is to contact the business and discuss it with them. Don’t become frustrated and paint an unrealistic and untrue picture of someone. We look at all reviews and comments with the utmost attention and seriousness. Negative reviews are harmful to a reputation and can be difficult to overcome. We have made exceptions to our policies and have gone out of our way to make a customer happy. No business wants an unhappy customer. If this person would have reached out to us, we might have been able to do something, but we were never given a chance. In the end we both lost.

Be aware of the importance of good communication and feedback.  If you have a problem with something you buy or a service you hire, give the business a chance to help and fix an issue. You could save yourself money, save your sanity and above all, focus on believing in people and businesses rather than being angry and aggressive. It isn’t good for your soul and certainly isn’t good for anyone around you.  It is a good lesson and one we will remember.  Life is too short, be happy!

Why We Don’t Require Registration To Shop With Us.

Sunday, May 16th, 2021

no registration required

To register or not to register. The choice is yours!

Customers sometimes ask if registration is required on our website and the answer is always, absolutely not. While we do offer the registration feature, we never require anyone to do so and will never pressure you into it.  Some customers like having an account where they can review their purchases, check on past orders, and more.  We understand this, but also recognize it should be a personal choice and your decision.

With online shopping so popular and convenient these days, it is evident that a growing number of companies require it.  If you are a buyer of supplies for your business, make frequent purchases at a specific site or shop for a household several times a week, we understand the benefits. But, people are becoming more concerned about online data than ever before and rightly so. There are convenience factors with an online account, but with cyber security theft and attacks in the news almost daily, many customers feel that the less personal information stored on the web, the better.  We tend to agree. We also avoid online stores that make you register just to see their products.

Why do some companies require it?  In simple terms, to track and use the information to market to you and sell more products.  Companies spend billions of dollars each year to tap into customer data. With online registration accounts, businesses can watch your shopping patterns, determine when you shop, what products interest you the most and even analyze and rank you based on your transactions. This is something we have chosen not to do.  A registered account is for the customer’s convenience only and we do not track information from account registrations. We do not monitor registered online accounts, track you, watch you or stalk you. That is a promise.

We, like our customers, want to be treated fairly, discreetly and largely unmonitored when we shop online, and a mandatory registration is something we frown on. We find it a turn off and know it can turn away a customer.  Most of us here at Chopa, admit to leaving an online site at some point, if we had to register.  It can be annoying, frustrating and a nuisance.  Between work and home, it isn’t uncommon to already have an ocean of logons and passwords we have to deal with, so why add another one? This is especially true if you are making a unique purchase or a one time buy. If you are buying a green, two-sided, polka dot widget with sparkles online, why would you want to register if you won’t need another one for five years?

Most people are aware of the incessant tracking done regularly today. It has become a byproduct of our online activities. If you are on social media such as Facebook, Twitter or just using your cellphone, you are being tracked, monitored and your data is being stored, analyzed, used and profited from. Chopa might be a small piece of the world’s puzzle we live in and play on, but we do our part to be as minimally invasive as possible.  One of our mottos has long been, “Shop with Confidence” and that holds true with online registrations. They are optional and the decision to register is yours and only yours.  If you have thoughts, comments or experiences on this subject, we invite you to share your ideas. We always welcome feedback. We also appreciate online privacy and this is something that is being taken away, site by site and day by day.  Our message to all, Stay Safe. It’s the Wild West out there.

 

 

 

 

It’s a story we hear over and over……

Friday, May 14th, 2021
kimono gift

The gift of a kimono.

We received a very nice message the other day from a customer that wanted to thank us for “the beautiful selection of Kimono and Yukata robes “we offer and to share an experience they had with an overseas dealer.  This client purchased a kimono from a “marketplace” in Japan  as a birthday gift for her husband.  Their website claimed they were located in Japan and extensively scoured dozens of cities for the best kimono available.  They claimed they had private connections with shops that produced the finest robes and even alluded that they had some form of a limited government license making them an exclusive provider.

She placed her order online and was looking forward to receiving her robe in 5-7 days as they advertised. She paid $20 for a shipping  upgrade to have the package insured and be trackable.  She became concerned as three weeks passed and no sign of her kimono and no information on the tracking number she received.  She emailed the company several times but didn’t receive a response.  When she checked her card statement online, she was surprised to find that she was charged in Japanese yen instead of dollars.  The amount billed was nearly $20 more than what she thought she was being charged and she was assessed foreign transaction and currency conversion fees by her credit card issuer which added even more to her final purchase price.

Another ten days and completely dismayed at this point, she was surprised when a package arrived.  She eagerly opened it but was upset when she saw the robe, because it was a different pattern than what she ordered.  While it wasn’t the print she ordered, she thought she would keep it because the birthday was getting closer.  When she felt the material, it didn’t feel like cotton, but a bit slippery.  She looked at the tag to see what material it was, but the tag wasn’t printed in English. Unable to decipher the language she was able to identify one word, China. She new she was duped and became even more frustrated.

She emailed the company again asking to return the kimono and relay some of her frustration.  She received a reply 5 days later. In their response, the company claimed the robes were made in China but produced for Japanese export.  This explanation didn’t sit well and she knew she had been taken advantage of.  They said she could return it but the cost was her responsibility, even though they sent the wrong kimono and it wasn’t as advertised.  Begrudgingly, she went to the post office to send it back, but was shocked when the postal clerk told her with shipping, insurance and tracking the cost was over $60.00. Rather than risking this much money and fearing they may not refund her anyway, she decided against it. She didn’t have any trust in this company.

Ironically, a teacher in her child’s school was fluent in Chinese and she asked her to translate the tag. She determined the fabric was viscose, which is a synthetic type of rayon fabric made from wood pulp and processed with chemicals.  The tag was completely in Chinese, there was no mention of Japanese exporting and it even included the address of the factory showing it was made in China. The story the dealer provided her was completely false.

She had just about given up the idea of giving her husband a kimono when she performed an online search and found Chopa. After checking our reviews and seeing we were based in the USA, she sent us an email with a few questions about our robes, the shipping times, our return policy and was impressed with our response time of less than 15 minutes. She decided to give us a try and we gained a new customer.

She felt compelled to send us a summary of her experience with the overseas dealer versus her shopping experience with us. In her words, “it was night and day.”  She placed her order, it shipped the same day and arrived two days later. She was even more pleased that it was what she ordered, the size was right, true to our word and it had tags that stated “Made in Japan.”  In essence, we allowed her to regain her trust in online shopping and she couldn’t be happier.  Her husband received his gift in time for his birthday and she says “he wears it everyday and absolutely loves it.”

We are sorry for anyone that goes through an experience like she did, but hope more people realize the benefits of buying local in your own country from a reputable retailer.  Chopa opened its online store in 1994 and we have been serving customers for over 27 years. It is gratifying to hear from clients that appreciate what we do and what we offer.  There is a rule of thumb in business that for every compliment you receive, there are a dozen more just like them, but go untold. We understand people get busy, intend to write, but forget and we are okay with that.  We base our success on the number of customers we have helped, including many repeat customers and the very low number of returns we receive. Of the few returns we do get, most of those are simple exchanges for a different size. We appreciate customer feedback.  If you have a story to share, send us an email, we would love to hear from you.

 

And the WINNERS are…..Top Five Sellers for April, 2021

Thursday, May 6th, 2021

Top selling kimono

Each month we like to celebrate and wrap up the month with our Best Selling Kimono and Yukata list. This idea came as a result of our customers who write us and asked for ideas about which Kimono or Yukata would be the right one for a gift, a spouse, a kid, significant other or even themselves. While we always point out that selecting a kimono is simply a personal choice, we are happy to provide feedback if they have certain questions or need comparison information. We have been selling kimono and yukata for over 27 years and have learned at least a thing or two.

This has become a fun and enjoyable task each month and also helps us with inventory, ordering needs and knowing what’s the most popular choice during the past 30 days. Check back each month if you have an interest in what the current trend is for the most popular Japanese robes. We received an email  from a repeat customer the other day, who had been sitting on the fence deciding on a choice for his next yukata.  He has purchased several from us over the past year and wanted to add to his collection.  He mentioned that he sometimes has a hard time deciding because of the many styles we offer, but began to look at this list we publish monthly and said it really helped him. His newest yukata was shipped last month and he wrote us to say he couldn’t be more happy with his choice.  He wanted us to give a shout out to our customers for helping him decide. This customer thinks he is getting older and has a harder time making decisions to which we say, you are not getting older, just becoming more “retro”. Last month was his birthday and we included a nice little gift with his purchase. It’s the little things like this that make us love what we do.  We love hearing from customers, so if you have thoughts, questions, comments or concerns, please let us know.  You can use the email address listed on our order confirmation or our Contact Us form located on the web.

So, without further delay, here are the TOP FIVE SELLERS in April:

  1. Yukata – Pink Cherry Blossom
  2. Happi Coat – Blue Koi
  3. Yukata – Great Wave – Purple
  4. Yukata – Dragon & Mt. Fuji – Black
  5. Yukata – Dragon and Hawk

We have been very busy shipping Mother’s Day gifts over the past few weeks, so it wasn’t a surprise to see the Pink Cherry Blossom yukata hit the number one spot.  The balance of the list were men’s robes, so it would appear that customers are shopping early for Father’s Day, June 20th, and perhaps picking up yukatas for the warmer summer months. Of course we usually see a brisk shift in business for graduations and weddings from now through the end of July.

Whatever the event you have throughout the year, if you need a unique gift, visit us online at www.chopa.com. We offer a large selection of Japanese robes for men, women and kid’s. We receive dozens and dozens of notes each season telling us what a great idea these were for gifting. Of course, don’t forget Christmas which is our biggest selling season of all. It’s never to early to start a gift list and we offer an extended return window for Christmas purchases which is announced later in the year. For now, let’s just enjoy the warmer weather rolling in and the bright sunny days ahead.  Here in Florida it has already warmed up and the roads and beaches are becoming more crowded each week. Our short length Happi Coats are popular and very stylish as cover ups at the beach or pool. Lounging on the patio with a cool cocktail isn’t a bad idea either.

Best Selling Yukata in March

Saturday, April 17th, 2021

March Best Sellers.

The TOP FIVE Selling Yukata for March are:

  1. Yukata – Pink Cherry Blossom
  2. Happi Coat – Blue Koi
  3. Yukata – Tree of Life
  4. Happi Coat – Longevity
  5. Yukata – Eternal Chain

Happi Coats are short-length versions of the yukata and kimono.  These are very popular during summer months to lounge in or as cover-ups at the pool and beach. If you are looking to make a statement at your favorite swimming spot this summer, wear a happi coat and all eyes will follow. They also make great gifts for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Dragon meets the Kimono

Sunday, April 4th, 2021

The dragon is a popular pattern used in Japanese Kimono and Yukata robes. Dragons have been revered in Japan for over one thousand years and were considered to be ancestors of the first Emperor of Japan. These mythical creatures were commonly associated with bodies of water.

The Japanese dragon has three claws versus the Chinese version which has four or five. Dragons are believed to control fire, rain and the earth. Variations in history featured dragons in water, among the clouds and sky or nestled in forests surrounded by the majestic Japanese  Tsuri pine trees. Sometimes referred to as Tatsu which translates to ‘sign of the dragon.’

Dragons are considered to represent wisdom, power and success which in turn produces luck, fortune and most importantly strength. It’s easy to see why the Dragon is popular in Japan which is rich in symbolism and culture.  The fascinating history of the dragon has reached continents far and wide. Chopa Zen Home has been your Kimono Source since 1994.  We offer two dozen patterns celebrating the symbolic  dragon. Whether you seek a full length Kimono, lighter weight yukata, short length Happi Coat or a robe for Big and Tall men, you will enjoy shopping our wide range of styles and patterns in our online store.  Shop 24 hours a day and receive Free Shipping on orders of $75 or more in the USA. Most orders ship within one business day.

dragon yukata for men

The dragon yukata is available at www.chopa.com

 

TOP FIVE SELLERS IN FEBRUARY

Tuesday, March 16th, 2021

Best selling yukata.

The best sellers in February were:

1)  Dragon & Mt. Fuji Yukata – Blue
2)  Navy Kagome Yukata
3)  Wave Yukata
4)  Dragon Yukata
5)  Great Wave – Purple

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers. We hope you enjoy your Japanese Yukata.

 

 

 

January Best Selling Kimono and Yukata.

Friday, February 5th, 2021

Top 5 Sellers for January, 2021.

1) Dragon and Bamboo Yukata
2) Great Wave Yukata (Purple)
3) Navy Longevity Yukata
4) Tree of Life Yukata
5) Navy Dragon Yukata

Top five selling robes.

Top Five Best Sellers for January.