Posts Tagged ‘Buy Kimonos’

Why Are Our Kimono and Yukata Affordable?

Tuesday, August 17th, 2021

At Chopa Zen Home, a.k.a. Your Kimono Source, we hold weekly meetings to discuss business, trends, customers, what is selling, problems, solutions and most importantly customer feedback. We have an open mailbox for anyone, whether a customer or not to reach out to ask a question, make a comment, provide us with feedback or even a referral if they are seeking something we don’t carry. We like to help people and will review and share our resources if we have an answer for you.

A longtime customer wrote us the other day to ask why our kimono and yukata were affordable. Well for one, we strive to keep our costs down.  We don’t occupy a fancy multistory office building, nor do we spend money on luxury art work for the offices, but we do provide great working wages and benefits for our staff.  Most of our staff are actually partners in the business.  It has been a time-honored tradition for us and has served its purpose well over the years. If an employee has a stake in the business, it benefits them directly to have happy customers. Besides the economic benefit, we are also genuinely nice people and want customers to be satisfied with their purchase.

In addition, we are a direct importer our beautiful Japanese yukata and kimono. Among our manufacturing partners, most of our robes and loungewear are either made to order or they hold an ample number of robes we normally buy in inventory for us. Eliminating a middleman or broker allows us to purchase our robes at a lower cost and we can then pass along the savings. We ship from our main warehouse in the Panhandle of Florida and most orders ship within one business day of order receipt. We also ship 6 days a week within carrier operating schedules.

Orders of $75 or more ship free within the USA. Orders less than $75.00 pay a small fee of $6.95. We have had customers ask why we don’t offer free shipping on all orders and the reason is that we have to maintain a threshold to cover our basic costs. Shipping has become more expensive than ever. Unlike Amazon, we don’t charge $119 a year to become a member for free shipping. After all, is anything truly free? Depending on the carrier, you have accessory charges like tracking fees, insurance costs, signature required charges on high value orders, residential delivery fees, fuel surcharges and more.  A few years ago, the major carriers like FedEx and UPS changed their shipping charges from size tiers to actually measuring each and every package and using a formula to determine the “dimensional” weight.  This way if a customer is shipping a large box full of feathers that weighs 4 pounds, they will pay as much as a customer shipping a small heavy box that weighs perhaps 20lbs. These are theoretical examples only and do not reflect the actual formula, but it is expressed to give you a better understanding of the new era of shipping.  After a period, these carrier decisions influenced USPS to do the same. Some have called it price fixing or a monopoly, but we avoid getting into those discussions.

On top of normal surcharges, fees and extra charges, carriers have also charged additional fees during the Holiday periods.  This year, USPS has tagged along and is attempting to initiate Holiday Period Peak Season surcharges. The increased costs on top of their already higher prices would range from 25 cents to as much as $5.00 per package. One would think that if you are handling such a large volume of packages, your costs would be reduced since your trucks can be fully stuffed on the same route, but USPS says otherwise. The irony of this tag-along practice, is that they want the period to begin October 18th and run through December 27th. Charging for the holiday packages in October is the equivalent of seeing Christmas goods for sale in stores in September. A bit early if you ask us.

As most people know, USPS has been losing money for years. Even with their multiple price increases they are still losing money. We don’t want to get into the politics of their business structure or why they charge so little for handling Amazon packages, no matter the size, because it isn’t our style, but charging for holiday deliveries in October?

Back to our original question on why we sell our kimono and yukata so affordable.  In summary, we are a direct importer; we buy in volume, when possible, to take advantage of the economies of scale in shipping and we operate out of modest warehouses and offices.

Most of what we do is done in house. We don’t farm out advertising, we don’t employ sales people and we don’t travel and attend trade shows to sell our kimono. We operate online and want to tend to our customers as best and as quickly as possible. Chopa had a goal to take the guesswork out of buying a kimono online and we believe we achieved that goal. We don’t call it a simple business, but a great functioning business with a customer service approach. We know what works and when we try something that doesn’t work, we change course, and always stick with our core principles. Customer Service is very important to us. Why not become a happy customer of ours? Kimono and yukata are the ultimate loungewear with style, comfort, distinction and Japanese symbolism. Join the other 33,000+ that have called Chopa their Kimono Source.

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Photo courtesy of Vinicius Wiesehofer.