Posts Tagged ‘kimono store’

Where to Buy a Kimono (Part 2)

Friday, June 17th, 2022

Welcome to Part 2 of our blog on what to look for when choosing a dealer to buy a Kimono. In the last column, we pointed out how some retailers advertise in an unscrupulous manner.  Some of the things they do include being vague about where the kimono is made. Another trick is calling it a Japanese Kimono when it was made in China.

Now let’s dive into some other fun facts. One complaint we hear about is the shipping times. Dealers in Asia, Etsy, eBay, and even Amazon frequently state quick or fast shipping. But according to customers we hear from, it is often anything but quick. We are told stories of waiting 4 weeks or longer and rarely is there an apology.  A benefit of working with a US-based dealer that imports directly is their ability to ship quickly. Chopa prides itself on shipping orders within one day of order receipt with many shipping the same day. Chopa uses FedEx, UPS, and USPS and most orders arrive within 2-3 days.

It is also important to know what kind of fabric is used. Just like where the kimono is made, an honest dealer will state the type of fabric, whether it is cotton, silk, or polyester. Most customers prefer cotton because it is easy to care for and is usually machine washable. We have located dealers offering that claim cotton, but when customers receive them they are rayon, polyester, or some other type of fabric. This is also when some customers discover their Japanese Kimono was made in China because the tag said so.

Is the pattern the same in person as it was on the web?  This is another trick we see by dealers overseas. They show one type of design, but ship an alternate pattern to the customer.  This may be deliberate. Perhaps they ran out and consider substituting without the customer’s approval acceptable? Maybe they don’t care because they know once they have your money, they are in control and it is difficult to get a refund. Shipping an item back to China, Japan, or somewhere else in Asia is not cheap. Shipping costs go up every year and people in the USA usually pay more to ship an item overseas than people overseas pay to ship to the USA.

Communication with an overseas dealer can be difficult. There are often language barriers, time zone differences, varying hours, etc. Time and time again, a common complaint we hear is that an overseas dealer simply never replied to any email. Calls were not returned or calls to the number on their site were dead and not even in operation.

In today’s world of electronic communication, many companies don’t operate live phones any longer. Chopa decided to forgo its live telephone call center in 2021. Staffing a call center is expensive and over the years, we saw a downward slope in the number of calls each month and year. At the same time, we saw a steady increase in emails and texts. Add in the number of solicitors and Robocalls we received, it made sense to shut down live phone service. It was a difficult decision because we enjoyed speaking with our customers, but the cost outweighed the benefit so we took the plunge.

Cutting off live telephone service makes answering and responding to emails and texts that much more important. Customers want and deserve a quick reply to a question, a suggestion, or inquiry on sizing, shipping times, or in-stock availability. We do our best to answer every inquiry as quickly as possible, even on weekends, holidays, and evenings.

Our text service allows staff to monitor messages at random times through their mobile devices. All of the employees at Chopa are owners. As an employee-owned and operated business, you can assure that everyone here has the same work ethic to take care of customers. Over 28 years of doing this, we feel we are pretty darn good at it and even though we have the experience, we learn every day.

Chopa has a passion for the beauty of Kimonos and Yukatas. Our appreciation and admiration for these robes are worth sharing and we want everyone to experience this great tradition.  Be safe out there. Shop with caution and reason. Realize if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Just like paying the least isn’t always a good idea, spending the most isn’t always the best method either. Find a dealer that prices robes fairly and provides many other value-added services along with it.  Shop our ONLINE STORE anytime, anywhere, we never close.

Lightweight cotton cherry blossom yukata for women

Pink Cherry Blossom Yukata

Best Selling Kimono for June 2021

Monday, July 12th, 2021

Chopa Zen Home has been a leading online supplier of Japanese Kimono and Yukata since 1994.  We offer a large selection of patterns, styles and sizes for men, women and kids. From the beginning, we offered a variety of Asian style home decor, tatami mats, furnishings, accessories, meditation supplies and of course Kimono and Yukata.  We realized many years ago that these fashionable robes were our pride and joy. Not only do our staff wear them, but also our friends and family members.  Rarely a birthday or gift giving holiday passes without our group perusing our online catalog deciding which yukata or kimono to buy for the lucky recipients.

In October, 2018 our warehouse was a victim of hurricane Michael. This category 5 storm tore apart many lives, homes and businesses in the the Florida Panhandle and beyond.  While our offices suffered great damage, we were fortunate that none of our staff or their families were harmed and for that we are forever grateful.  It was at this point we had some decision making to do.  Some staff were reluctant to stay in the area and moved on to other cities. Among our partners, several had been considering retiring or moving on to do something else. After careful discussion, meetings with staff, the outlook for rebuilding in the area and a lot of soul searching, we made the decision to focus solely on what always made us the happiest; Japanese kimono and Yukata robes. To us, wearing a robe is like wearing art. The colors, styles and patterns are distinct, beautiful and symbolic. Coming home after a long day and slipping on a soft, comfortable yukata makes everything feel alright.

We still receive emails from former customers asking about items we used to carry.  They are sometimes disappointed to hear we no longer offer Asian home décor, but most understand.  To those who inquires we say, the show must go on and like a cherry blossom blooming for a short period of time, life is similar. Like the seasons, life brings change and people move on.

For the next chapter, we are now in our third year of offering Japanese kimono exclusively and we couldn’t be happier. We are excited with new ideas we have and future changes in store. Like a fine wine, some things take time, but we are patient and want to do it right.  Our customers are of the utmost importance to us and we are grateful for each and every one.  We have many repeat customers who like us, buy for gifting or simply add to their loungewear wardrobe. Coming home to a kimono or yukata waiting for you is like coming home to a piece of Japan.

June was another fantastic month at Chopa. Lots of different styles departed our warehouse. It is always exciting to see customer choices as orders come across our system. Due to higher summer volumes we shipped six days a week this month including Saturdays. We faced some delays of orders that shipped through USPS and couldn’t really get an answer from the local terminal as to the reason.  Packages delivered to them were sometimes held for several days before they scanned and forwarded onto the next station along the route to the recipient.  One employee that spoke with us “off the record” blamed the Amazon Prime Days for the delays. This along with other online retailers that wanted to compete with Amazon and held similar sales in the same time frame.  We also saw a surge during this time window so its possible that people just decided to get online and spend some money.  After all summer is upon us and many decide to shop online rather than go outside and brave these hot, humid days. Chopa monitors many of our shipments and carriers to determine if any issues arise.  When we observe some delays like the handful we saw, we emailed our customers to let them know.  It is frustrating as a delay in shipping isn’t something we base our service standards on and we know how much customers like receiving their packages quickly. We do too!

Thanks to all of your business in June.  July is already starting out busier than June and we anticipated this with new shipments of kimono and yukata arriving daily during the middle of the month. More short length kimono and wide, plus sized kimono are back in stock.

Here are the Best Selling Kimono for June, 2021.

  1. Blue Koi
  2. Eternal Chain
  3. Tree of Life
  4. White Moji
  5. Pink Cherry Blossom

kimono-mail

Image courtesy of: Joel Moysuh