Posts Tagged ‘cotton yukata’

Kimonos In Flight

Tuesday, April 12th, 2022

It’s a long process.  Starting in the farm fields, cotton seeds are planted and soon sprout. The tender plants are well cared for, nourished, watered, and grown to mature plants. The cotton is harvested and processed and woven into a giant blank canvas. From the multi-stage dying process and careful printing of the fine virgin cotton fabrics, it is on to the buyer’s markets.  Our buyers are meticulously seeking out the best of the best. Fabrics must pass their vigorous inspections and only the best are purchased. The fabric bolts are delivered to the sewing rooms where production begins.

The talented seamstresses and tailors cut panels from the large bolts of materials. From there, the panels are sent to experienced artisans and sewing teams where careful attention is given to every stitch.  As the process continues, what once looked like stacks of fabric jigsaw puzzle pieces, a Japanese Kimono started to take shape in the traditional form we know.  Further inspections and finishing touches are checked not once or twice, but three or more times to make the final cut or approval. Once the quality assurance team gives their approval, the Kimonos and Yukatas are neatly pressed and folded, and individually packaged.

Once packaged, team members sort and stack the finished robes into boxes where they are labeled and processed for shipment. This process varies in detail depending on whether the shipment contains hundreds or thousands of Japanese robes. The method of how the goods are transported to the United States also plays into the equation. Chopa – Your Kimono Source has opted for air cargo for some time now especially because of the Covid Pandemic.

Shipping on container ships became very expensive and major delays are now the norm. We pride ourselves on offering a full selection as best as we can and air cargo eliminates many delays.  Air transport isn’t cheap, but sometimes a company absorbs additional costs to serve their customers and this is something we strive to do.

While air travel is relatively quick, goods must still go through customs, and taxes and duties must be paid. Once they arrive at a major hub in the USA, our carriers work on delivering the shipment to our warehouse as quickly as possible.  This normally encompasses a few shorter flights from a few states away and then finally “the last mile delivery” as it is known in the shipping world is made.  Freight trucks roll up to our doors and the unloading begins.

This process includes opening boxes, and scanning and entering data into our inventory database. The reports are forwarded to our web team where they go into the back end of our website and add the new sizes, colors, and other pertinent information.  Little by little over the next 3-5 days, the website is updated and dozens and dozens of sizes, styles, and colors are instantly back in stock.

We are often amazed at how quickly orders begin coming in that selected new items we just added. We have a complimentary electronic notification list if a customer wants to be notified of an out-of-stock item coming back in stock. But many customers regularly check our website and are ready to hit the BUY button when it is posted.

With social media, we announce when a new shipment is arriving. Most customers get alerted of this fact through Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. If you don’t follow us on social media, we recommend you do.  Besides announcements of new shipments, we also alert subscribers to special sales, closeouts, price reductions, and overstock deals. We also share simple news items about something of interest to our Kimono Loving Family of customers.

We try to keep it fresh and never beat anyone up with multiple posts per hour like some stores do.  We want it to be relevant and interesting. As a 100% employee-owned business, we want to treat our customers the same we like to be treated. We understand what a turn-off it is to be bombarded by solicitations and advertisements. This is simply something we do not participate in.

With that said our work is cut out for us.  Planes left Japan over the weekend and trucks already delivered the first shipment of many this morning.  We expect more truckloads throughout the week.  Our warehouse was in full operational mode this past weekend prepping for the deliveries. Our priority is to always process customer orders as soon as possible, so this doesn’t hinder getting orders out.  It is an art and science but since we have been doing this for 28 years, we think we know a thing or two and make it as painless as possible. Now Go Get Your Kimono On…SHOP NOW!! 

 

                     Kimonos In Flight

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