Posts Tagged ‘japanese yukata’

Is Scrooge Visiting for Christmas?

Friday, July 2nd, 2021

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which brought worldwide closures, shut-downs, lock-downs and layers of additional government regulations, many retail operators are bracing themselves for what could become big shortages of merchandise for the Christmas Holiday shopping season.

Target, Walmart, Amazon.com and other retailers reported to Reuters News that they were attempting to place holiday orders for goods as early as possible this year. Besides backlogs in the manufacturing sector, shippers are facing major hurdles trying to keep up with soaring demand for container space on ships transporting goods over the oceans.

Across the globe, shipping ports are backed up, shipping containers are scarce and ships are experiencing delays entering ports and unloading goods. The Port of Los Angeles is experiencing record high volumes of container processing. Adding to these delays, China recently shut down or minimized operations at three major shipping ports due to a rise in Covid cases. In the U.S., once containers are unloaded there is a fight for the limited number of chassis available. Chassis are used to mobilize the large steel boxes for truckers to haul to their destination. Beyond these problems, truckers are in shorter supply as more veterans quit or retire and the younger generation has less interest entering the trucking business as a career, thus diminishing the number of truckers overall.

All of these situations are putting intense pressure on the price of goods. The rate to ship a 40′ container from Shanghai to Los Angeles was recently quoted at $9500.00.  One year ago, the same rate would have been under $3000.00. The cost of container rentals has seen large increases as have chassis rentals, trucking and shipping costs. Some US importers report their containers getting bumped from ships because other parties offer a higher bid for the ship space days or even hours before the ship sails. Additional surcharges imposed by shipping operators are also adding fuel to the demand fire.

Whether it’s toys, computers, electronics or clothing, many retailers and suppliers are warning customers to shop early this year. Others are quick to point out that they don’t expect much in discounting either. When there is a shortage of goods along with high demand, there isn’t a compelling reason to do offer sales. This year, retailers are facing lower margins to begin with. Many are absorbing as much of these cost increases as possible to remain consistent and competitive, but at some point they must wave the white flag and surrender. If they don’t make a profit, they don’t have a business.

One retail operator who ships packages regularly through her online business expressed disappointment with parcel carriers like UPS and FedEx. She stated that these carriers raise their prices each and every year, but also add additional surcharges in some situations during the holiday season. She explained how FedEx adds a $26.00 surcharge on top of existing rates for packages over 50 lbs. She sells over a dozen outdoor items on her website that weigh around 60 pounds and says she is absorbing the additional cost, but isn’t sure she can do so much longer.  Her product costs have already risen 10-18% on average because manufacturers are experiencing raw material and labor cost increases. Add that to rising import and shipping rates, growing packaging costs, her own higher labor costs and domestic carrier shipping costs, she adds “we only have so much profit to work from and all of these outside issues are eating away at the pie. There is barely any left at the end of the day.” Inflation has certainly been in the news over the past few months and while the Federal Reserve is dismissing it as transitory, many others, especially ones running businesses are losing confidence and believe higher prices are here to stay.

Many businesses are also struggling to find labor. Advertisements for help are at near all-time highs, but roughly 16 million people are still at home accepting some form of government assistance left over from stimulus bills and subsidies. Whatever the reason, and people do have reasons for not wanting or not being able to work, the situation doesn’t seem to be ending in the near future.

Chopa Zen Home has been working diligently with our providers in Japan to continue offering fine kimono and yukata to our customers throughout the Pandemic and we will work hard to do so in the future. Japan is still facing capacity issues with lock downs and partial closures. We have rearranged and restructured our production schedules to better align with their manufacturing abilities. If a select fabric or print isn’t available, we back order it and move on to what is deliverable. We have also faced large shipping cost increases and so far, have absorbed these.  In fact, we recently reduced our standard ground shipping cost to just $6.95 and continue to offer Free Shipping on orders of $75.00 or more within the USA. Rather than getting bottlenecked at shipping ports and having orders delayed for weeks or months, we have mainly turned to Air Freight to obtain our shipments directly. It is much more expensive than Ocean rates, but allows us to maintain a broader and more diverse inventory on a regular basis.

While we don’t anticipate shortages of kimono and yukata per se, we would encourage customers to shop earlier. While receiving smaller monthly shipments throughout the year, we rely on large quantity shipments in the Spring, Summer and Fall. Our annual Fall shipment normally arrives in time for the Christmas shopping season and allows us to offer a great selection of styles, patterns and sizing. But we are well aware of the many obstacles facing retailers this year and sometimes events occur beyond our control. We normally publish an extended return window well before the Holiday gift buying season which allows you to shop early and still be able to return or exchange a robe after Christmas. As always, we welcome feedback, ideas, comments and the like. Use our online contact form to send us a message, post below on this Blog or visit us on Social Media like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

holiday shopping

Photo courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio.

New Shipment of Kimono and Yukata Arrived!

Monday, January 18th, 2021

Chopa strives to have a full offering of Japanese Kimono and Yukata at all times, but with sudden surges in sales related to Holiday Gifts, a mention in social media or a large bulk order, we experience shortages from time to time. We like to be busy and shipping hundreds and hundreds of robes, but we dislike running out and work hard to alleviate the dreaded “Out of Stock” notation on any particular style.

The good news is that a new shipment, the first of the year, just arrived and we are pleased to announce that over 25 sizes and colors are back in stock and ready to ship. Among the list of new arrivals are the Men’s Kagome yukata, the ever popular “Dragon” yukata, Tree of Life, Daimonji Kimono, Royal Cranes, Ukiyoe, Dragon and Tiger, Cherry Blossoms, and Ribbons Kimono.

Some styles are offered in five different sizes and those are back in stock. This is just the first of many more shipments scheduled over the year. We generally receive new inventory monthly along with several large shipments in the Spring, Summer and Fall. It has been more difficult scheduling over the past 6 months due to Covid restrictions throughout Japan. Production has slowed and in many situations, our producers are working with smaller staffs for social distancing and to allow others to work from home.

We welcome inquiries on any pattern or style of kimono or yukata we offer. If you don’t see a size in stock, email us and we can let you know when we expect more to arrive. Chopa offers a free email notification service to anyone. When a particular size or style is available, we send you a courtesy email alerting you of the news.  There is never an obligation to make a purchase and we will only send you one email.  It’s a free service and we are happy to monitor upcoming shipments for you.

Happy Shopping!

kimono and yukata robes

Fresh Kimono and Yukata.

 

What is a “Vintage” Kimono?

Saturday, January 16th, 2021

The word “vintage” has different meanings and connotations. One person might recall a fine wine they enjoyed and make note of the year it was produced. Another may think about the classic car their grandfather drove. Some remember an antique they found at a garage sale.

In the kimono industry, vintage describes used kimono and yukata robes. There are a growing number of dealers that trade in “vintage” clothing. In many cases, vintage is simply used for marketing purposes. In advertising, “vintage” sounds better than “used.”  The same is true of used car dealers referring to their vehicles as pre-owned.

“Pre-owned” clothing fits in people’s lives for many reasons. Some shop used clothing stores looking for a bargain, others seek a unique clothing piece to compliment an outfit. Of course, there are true fans of the “vintage” look that browse resale shops or conduct online searches in hopes of finding that trove of special threads.

Occasionally we receive an inquiry for vintage kimono, but more commonly, someone asking if we buy vintage kimonos. The quick answer is “no, we do not.”  Since we already offer nearly 100 different kimono and yukata styles for men, women and kid’s in our online store, www.chopa.com, we are content to focus only on new Japanese robes.

What is the true meaning of a vintage kimono?  Does it mean the kimono was made in a “good” year like a fine wine? Does three years old qualify or must it be 20 years old to be labeled vintage? Is it just another word for old? In our mission to learn more about vintage kimono, we discovered the market appears to be very arbitrary and difficult to follow along a hard set of rules.

A used kimono may be discovered at a garage sale, but often there isn’t a reliable story behind it.  Sellers can be vague and the most common information we were given was that it was a gift a family member received or someone visited Japan years ago and it was sitting in a closet since.

Just like in most industries there are wholesalers and retailers trading in used kimonos. Wholesale dealers often buy kimono in bulk bundles or even pallet-size loads.  Some may be auctioned or sold sight unseen, while others may offer a glimpse into what a buyer might expect to find as far as the average age, style, condition, etc. Sometimes these bundles are sold by the number of pieces and other times sold by the pound.

Dealers will then sort and rank the robes, selecting the best for resale. Robes in average condition may be flipped to another dealer and kimono in poor condition are usually sold for fabric use only.  These remnants can be used in art, fashion, design or repurposing pieces and sewn to make a quilt or even a kimono.

Vintage kimono and yukata will often be graded by the seller. Keep in mind, grading is highly subjective and most dealers feel they know more about grading than the next competitor. We have seen grading range from A to AA, Good to Very Good and Normal to Top Grade. If you shop for a robe by grade, research this yourself first. Ask yourself, who is the dealer?  How long have they been in business?  Where did they learn how to grade? Did they spend years in Japan or work in the industry prior?

Here are two grading descriptions we located on a website.

Condition C – Well-used Japanese kimono. Clear signs of wear and staining. Not suitable for formal occasions, but suitable for sitting around, cosplay, costume or decorative purpose.

Top Grade – Fabric is in great. Pattern and fabrics are both wonderful. Kimono used in our shop standard. Reference price – brand new – over $2500. (sic)

In the examples above, the explanation for Condition C is pretty self-explanatory, like wear it at home when nobody is looking. The Top-Grade description doesn’t really tell us much. While it might be in part to a language barrier, it is vague and doesn’t provide specifics.

Ads for used kimono will often indicate any soiling flaws, like “light staining” or “some spotting.”  The first question that may pop into your head is “stains from what?”, while others may not want to know the answer. Don’t hesitate to ask how and when a kimono was cleaned?  With infectious diseases and heightened concerns about Covid-19, caution should never be dismissed.

Another question one should ask is how were the robes stored?  Were these stored in a climate-controlled environment? Were they stored in an old warehouse with high temperatures and humidity? Are there musty or moldy odors? Consumers with lung issues or concerns should be extra careful.

Each individual can decide if a used or “vintage” kimono is right for them. There are thousands of beautiful and unique, used Japanese kimono and yukata available on the market. Some have a great history and story behind them, but like any form of art, a buyer should research, investigate and question any seller. Good luck and happy shopping.

kimonos for sale

Shop for New Kimono and Yukata at www.chopa.com. We offer a large selection and fast shipping from the USA.

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.