Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

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!

Which Kimono or Yukata Should I Buy?

Saturday, May 22nd, 2021

online kimono shopping

We receive frequent inquiries from customers asking us to recommend a kimono or yukata.  Questions vary from sizing, fabrics or shipping times and we are always happy to help.  But, if we are asked to recommend a print, we like to expand on the subject and offer some insight into the symbolism of these robes. It isn’t that we can’t suggest a particular style or personal favorite, but we prefer to share our love of these robes and educate our customers on the meaning of the patterns. We believe selecting a Japanese robe is a personal choice and it should be recognized as such. Some would even say it is sacred.

In general, sizing is fairly straightforward. To determine the length of the robe you want to wear, place the end of a tape measure on your shoulder and let it fall down your side or in front of you. Kimono and yukata are available in standard lengths of 54″, 56″, 58″, 60″, 62″ and 64″. You can decide which length fits your needs and style. Some customers prefer a full length robe to the top of their feet, others want it to fall above their ankles and others prefer it to reach their shins or fall to the knees. If you seek a shorter length kimono or yukata, shop for a Happi Coat. Happi Coats are short length kimono and yukata. These short length robes are available in 35″ 42″ and 45″ lengths.  These are popular in the summer and used as coverups at the pool or beach, lounging around the house or to add some allure for your spouse or significant other.

Next, measure your waistline and hips.  Measure the circumference or girth at the widest part of your waist and hips. Reputable dealers will offer a selection of sizes in length and width. It is common for clothing to fit individuals differently, but this process will provide you with a better understanding of how the robe might fit you. Kimono and yukata are wraparound robes, meaning the left side is pulled over the right side and tied or held in place by a sash or belt.  Normally 8-12″ is adequate for the length of the fold over.  You want to allow some room to move, stretch or adjust comfortably so it isn’t too tight. Chopa was one of the first dealers on the web to offer wide or plus sized kimono and yukata. Americans are generally larger in size than their Japanese counterparts, so the larger sizing is a welcome feature.

Once you determine an appropriate size, the fun part begins, choosing a pattern or print. The joy of Japanese kimono and yukata lie within the beautiful prints and patterns available. Whether it’s a flower, bird, dragon, fish or artistic print, let your inner self make the decision.  Ask what inspires you? What motivates or drives you? If you are purchasing a robe as a gift, it works the same way. Analyze the recipient. What kind of person are they? What traits make them unique? What in their personality stands out in your mind?

The symbolism of the kimono and yukata is wide ranging.  For example, the dragon is considered a protector of mankind and represents strength, courage and wisdom. The koi fish represents fortune, good luck and abundance. A crane symbolizes long life and good health. Bamboo suggests prosperity, strength and flexibility. A kamon is a crest used to identify a family, its origins and often to be of a higher class, or nobility like Samurai or Shogun. The peony is considered the flower of good fortune, nobility and honor.

When shopping for a kimono or yukata, read the style description to understand the meaning of the pattern or design. Look within and decide what characteristics you have and find a matching pattern. Are you a dragon, a koi fish or do you resonate with a mum or iris flower?  If you are selecting a gift, what type of person are you giving this too? What symbolism matches their personal character? When presenting a kimono or yukata as a gift, explain the meaning of the pattern to the recipient and it will make the gift much more special. You might even enlighten the recipient when you discuss the symbolism.  Perhaps you see traits in the individual that he or she does not. It may shed a light on their persona that they didn’t realize they had.

Of course, for as beautiful as kimono are, you can always select a robe simply because you like the pattern. If you like a style, buy it and wear it with great joy. Many Japanese patterns date back over 1000 years ago and are inspired by nature. Symbolism is very important and revered in Japanese culture. Wearing a kimono or yukata can make you feel like a part of the Land of the Rising Sun. Happy Shopping!

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Chopa Zen Home and Gift Receives 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chopa – Your Kimono Source Since 1994,  Receives 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award

Panama City Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PANAMA CITY BEACH August 29, 2013 — Chopa  has been selected for the 2013 Best of Panama City Beach Award in the Online Retailer category by the Panama City Beach Award Program.

Each year, the Panama City Beach Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Panama City Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2013 Panama City Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Panama City Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Panama City Beach Award Program

The Panama City Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Panama City Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Panama City Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Panama City Beach Award Program

 

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Understanding your Chakras -The Solar Plexus Chakra

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

This month we are going to explore the third of the seven energy systems. The solar plexus chakra, also known as Manipura, is the Sanskrit word for shining jewel and is believed to be a metaphor for the inner beauty of oneself. It is located in your abdomen just above the navel and is associated with a vibrant yellow color. Its associated element is fire. The primary purpose of this chakra is power, integrity, self-discipline and personal esteem. It provides us with the necessary strength and endurance to work through life’s challenges while remaining true to our core values of honor and ethics.

The solar plexus chakra is where our sense of ego, self-control and our sense of authority are based. If you have ever experienced “butterflies” in your stomach before a presentation or during a stressful situation, this is where your 3rd chakra is housed and actively at work!

This chakra also holds our intellect, individual personality and cognitive thinking skills. When faced with a difficult situation and weighing the options, your may find the decision is often rooted in your “gut instinct”. This is your 3rd chakra at work. It is integral to facing and working through every day challenges at work, home or in personal relationships. It allows us to make confident decisions, handle a crisis and distinguish right from wrong and good from bad.

When your 3rd Chakra is balanced, you have the ability to be spontaneous and feel satisfied and happy in life. You believe in yourself and don’t view the world as a threatening or frightening place. Your self-perception has changed from belonging to a tribe (first chakra) to developing your own self-identity and a strengthened ego. The ability to clearly and freely express your emotions and decisions to people is the result of a balanced 3rd chakra. Having the courage to follow your “intuition” or “gut” in making decisions without fear of reprisal from others or fearing your own safety is also a key function of this chakra.

Signs of an unbalanced 3rd chakra are seen in long standing anger or resentment and fear of life. Ongoing criticism of others, refusal to admit wrongdoing and thoughts of helplessness without initiating steps to correct the situation are all indicative of being in a state of unbalance. An under active chakra will exhibit as indifference, poor self-esteem, feelings of being powerless, and remaining in unhealthy relationships. Over active chakra signs are seen in people who crave power, control and will frequently manipulate or bully to get their way. Success is measured by how much can be accumulated in both personal wealth and power rather than focusing on inner power. They are often viewed as impatient, short tempered and unable to cooperate for the greatest good of all concerned.

If you feel out of balance, try spending time outdoors in the sunshine. Burn a few candles, or build a bonfire, if you have the proper place! Introduce the color yellow into your wardrobe, your office or home as a reminder. Place sunflowers on your desk. Eat more yellow fruits and vegetables like bananas, squash and peaches. Try belly dancing! Go for a brisk walk, watch a comedy and enjoy deep belly laughs. Perform an act of service to nurture someone else through praise, respect and acknowledgement for a job well done. Using your time to teach a skill or support someone who could use a boost in their self-esteem are power gifts of the 3rd chakra. If you meditate, visualize a golden yellow; it will help ground your energy center to your physical body. If you work with mala beads, the gemstones related to the solar plexus chakra are amber, tiger’s eye, yellow topaz and citrine. Incense can also be a useful centering aide. Cardamom, cinnamon, coriander, ginger and orange are incense associated with the 3rd chakra.

In the next issue, we will explore the fourth or heart chakra.

Cover your Man in Yang Male Energy with this Navy Dragon Yukata

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010
Navy Dragon Yukata

Navy Dragon Yukata

Ladies, do you want your man to look fashionable by the pool or spa this summer?  Then maybe it’s time to start doing some early Father’s Day shopping.  This striking Navy Dragon Yukata is certain to get attention and make your favorite guy feel like a million bucks.  Perfect for lounging by the pool, as a summer bathrobe, or wherever he likes to relax, this 100% cotton yukata makes an impressive statement.

Made in Japan, the legendary dragon is emblazoned on this navy blue yukata, along with gray and white stylized clouds and calligraphy.  The dragon is depicted across Asian cultures as one of the Four Legendary Creatures, each of which is the guardian of the cosmic “directions”.  The Dragon guards the East, and was often painted alongside the other “creatures” (tortoise, tiger and red bird) to keep evil spirits away from early Chinese tombs.  The dragon is also represents the spring season, the colors green and blue, and the element of wood.  Its virtue is Propriety and it is an enduring symbol of Yang male energy.  (more…)

Slip into something more comfortable with this Blue Carp Koi Yukata Robe!

Monday, February 22nd, 2010
Blue Koi Yukata Robe

Blue Koi Yukata Robe

Transform your downtime with this sumptuous Blue Carp Koi Yukata Robe.  A lighter-weight cotton version of a traditional Japanese kimono, the Yukata is still widely used in Japan.  These summer kimonos are worn by both men and women, but linen “yukatabira” were originally draped around court noblemen after bathing.  They didn’t gain popularity with the general public until people started wearing them in Japanese public bathhouses.  Today, they are worn quite regularly at Japanese festivals and ryokan, or simply as loungewear.

This Blue Carp Koi Yukata is emblazoned with a legendary symbol of perseverance and strength.  According to Japanese legend, a koi fish will generally swim upstream until it reaches the final waterfall, where it vaults itself into the mists and emerges as a water dragon.  This is how the koi became emblematic of purposeful determination in the face of adversity, and today it still stands for superior courage.

Also known as a wild carp, many Japanese families keep koi in a garden pond at their home to bring them good fortune or luck.   As a result, koi enjoy an elevated status throughout Asia and have become a popular theme for tattoos.  It is the koi’s association with worldly aspiration and advancement that make them such a highly regarded symbol of success.  Some koi are bred for their spectacular colors, which range from silver and gold to orange, black, yellow and even calico, making them appear like swimming jewels.

Celebrate the beauty and magic of the legendary koi with this Blue Carp Koi Yukata Robe.  Its navy blue and white pattern makes an elegant statement in crisp 100% cotton.  Made in Japan, this robe is available in three sizes (XL, XXL and XXXL) and includes a matching belt.

A Black Japanese Shogun Kimono – A Gift Fit for Royalty

Monday, December 7th, 2009

What man or woman needs a Japanese Kimono for the holidays?  Everyone knows someone who should be wearing this gorgeous, regal looking Japanese robe.  Not just any kimono, the Black Shogun Kimono is made for a person who should have been born into nobility. You know the type: always in command of every situation, a veritable dynamo in all aspects of life.

This obsidian black kimono is accented all over with the Japanese calligraphy symbols for “shōgun” in red and gold, and comes with a matching belt.  It can be worn on lazy weekend mornings as a robe, or as a cover-up at the pool.  For that person in your life who has everything, this robe will be appreciated for its uniqueness and versatility.

In Japanese culture, the symbol for a shōgun refers to a “general who can fight off barbarians”, and is also known as a warlord or “generalissimo” – the highest military rank in the Japanese armed forces.  While the title shogun is no longer used today, it recalls an important time in Japanese history.

Calligraphic symbols are often used in Japanese fabric design because in Zen culture, they are akin to art.  In fact, all Japanese calligraphy was influenced by masters of Zen thought.  This is because a calligrapher has only one chance to create a symbol with a brush.  Fluid execution requires extreme concentration for a brief moment in time, which requires the master to clear his mind and let the letters flow out effortlessly.  Known as the “no mind state”, this practice is based on the spiritual principles of Zen Buddhism.

When one wears this Black Shogun Kimono, they are not only the master of their physical plane; they are also connected to the spiritual world of Zen calligraphy. The classic style of this Japanese-made robe fits comfortably on a 5’10” – 6’1” frame, and has extra-long sleeves.  It makes a dramatic statement and a luxurious gift.

       The Shodo Yukata is available at                                             www.chopa.com

Kimonos – The “thing to wear”

Monday, June 1st, 2009

 

In Japan, the  kimono is such a commonly known garment that the word “kimono” is literally translated as “thing to wear”, or clothing.

This particular type of full-length robe is a roomy, wide, and T-shaped, with little design variation, other than being available in a selection of splashy satin fabrics and colors.  In Japanese ceremonies, kimonos are worn by both men and women, which is why the hem falls about 56” down to the ankle.  They are typically wrapped around the body, left side wrapped over right, and finished with a wide belt, or obi, tied in the back. 

In modern-day Japan, kimonos are worn more often by women, primarily on special occasions.  A few elderly ladies and even fewer older gentlemen still wear a kimono every day.  They are also seen wrapped around professional Sumo wrestlers, who must dress in traditional Japanese attire when making public appearances. 

A lighter, more summery version of the Kimono is called the Yukata.  This 100% cotton, kimono-style robe is more commonly worn as loungewear, after a bath, or as a cover-up at the pool. While most Yukatas are made in less decorative fabrics than kimonos, there are many brightly colored fabrics available for women. 

Popular kimono designs include repetitive patters of koi, dragons, butterflies, cranes, lilies or cherry blossoms.  Most kimonos come with a matching fabric sash, but they are often worn with a heko or kaku obi, or belt, on special occasions.  

Kimonos are an elegant and traditional piece of Japanese culture, and the act of wearing one is steeped in tradition.  In addition to the many methods for wrapping and tying a kimono, there are subtle aspects of kimonos that, to a trained eye, can tell a lot about the wearer.  But don’t let this keep you from wearing one.  Unless you are attending a formal gathering in Japan, chances are you will never need to worry about adhering to these traditions. 

Pretty woman reading while wearing a kimono

Zen Inspired Life