Posts Tagged ‘kimonos’

Retail Theft Comes In Many Forms

Sunday, July 17th, 2022

Retail theft is a common problem across the United States. Shoplifters often think of it as a victimless crime. The truth is that retailers lose millions of dollars every year due to theft. It’s easy to understand why someone might steal a physical object, like a piece of jewelry or a pair of shoes. But it’s not always so clear why someone might steal something that can’t be seen.

This doesn’t mean that the motives aren’t just as complex and interesting. Retail theft comes in many different forms, with motivations that range from financial need to psychological compulsion. Understanding these motivations is key to preventing theft.  It can also help those who may have committed it in the past.

So what are some of the most common types of retail theft?  In a physical retail environment, it can range from stealing merchandise, changing price tags, passing bad checks, using a stolen credit card, or counterfeit money. Not only do you have to watch customers, but also employees. Employee theft is a major obstacle for store owners.

Internet and Web stores that only sell online have different kinds of problems. Financial security is a major consideration when accepting credit cards online. The use of stolen credit cards to purchase goods is prevalent. Online stores must take added precautions on web purchases. Some of the safeguards include only accepting valid billing addresses, security codes, and a host of other proprietary technological tools used behind the scenes.

Another theft that occurs in brick and mortar stores and web stores is Intellectual Property. This includes stealing product descriptions and plagiarizing store information. Thefts include informative articles, blogs, advertising, and commonly your copyrighted and trademarked photos and images. Internet thieves in need of photos for their website will steal yours. This is piracy. They use them for personal financial gain rather than going through the expense of creating their own.

Producing images of products and services doesn’t usually come cheap. Depending on the quality and depth of your image needs, you may hire a photographer, build and outfit your studio or rent someone else’s. You might hire models who can add make-up, hair, and clothing costs. They say copying your work or stealing images from your site is the sincerest form of flattery but it goes beyond that.

A good photo is worth many times its acquisition cost because images drive sales. If a customer sees a beautiful kimono in an image, it allows them to make a reasonable decision to purchase that product. Since kimonos and yukatas are so unique, photos can take into account many hours of creative thinking, and intellect. It also uses the time of others when using models, photographers, set designers, editors, and more.

We have caught dozens of “so-called” competitors stealing our images over the years. We usually resolve this by sending a Cease and Desist Notice. In most cases, the thieves complied and removed the pictures. Others ignored us until we had our attorneys write a demand letter. Two companies didn’t think it was a big deal until we filed suit in court and won. Neither of these two is in business any longer.

Overseas dealers regularly use our product descriptions, sizing information, and ideas on their websites.  We chalk this up to being one of the Internet’s Leading Providers of Authentic Japanese Kimonos and Yukatas. We have been online since 1994 and other businesses look up to us. They feel stealing from us may help their success too. It comes down to ethics and morals. If you steal others’ work, you don’t have ethics, therefore you will steal and cheat your customers as well.

We have various methods to check for copyright theft. These include the use of digital watermarks, scheduled web surfing, customer reports, and other dealers word of mouth. A recent theft incident arose on a website that deals in Kimonos, Japanese knickknacks, and tourist trade trinkets. This site dared to steal and use over two dozen images that belonged to us. The couple who own this business never asked for permission. They feel stealing others property in the darkness of their home is easier. Can you imagine how they might lie and cheat their  customers?

Ironically this theft was discovered by a staff member processing an order they submitted. Since they are so familiar with our website they thought to take advantage of a clearance sale we have for some kid’s kimonos and outfits. Priced below cost, they were savvy to recognize the deal. But they are so arrogant, they didn’t think that using their business name on the order might lead to someone surfing their site simply out of curiosity. We don’t discourage competitors from taking advantage of our sales, but we frown on thieves stealing our copyrighted images.

Management wrote them a cease and desist notice and they complied and removed the images. Not only did they steal images outright, but they also modified some to use for alternate products. The real irony was the reply letter one owner sent us. He tried to come off as the victim, alluding that we were overzealous in our demand. This owner relayed how knowledgeable he was on the laws of image theft and placed blame on some rogue employees that come and go.  He proceeded to explain how reputable he is and how many friends he has and works with within the industry.

We say with friends like this, watch your backs or at a minimum watch the images on your website. Unfortunately, these situations will happen again. It is part of being in business.  Our issue besides stealing from us is the time consumption involved with calling the thieves out. We would rather spend our time providing our customers with quality service, value, and the fast shipping they receive, rather than banter back and forth with crooks.  You can shop online 24 hours a day in our online Kimono Shop. Our Shop is safe, secure and honest.

Piracy Image Thieves

2022 Obon Festivals in the USA

Saturday, June 25th, 2022

What is an Obon Festival?

The Obon Festival is a time for celebration in Japan. It’s also an opportunity to get together with friends and family members.

The tradition entails music, dance, and crafts as well as martial arts. It honors ancestral spirits from your past who have watched over you throughout life.  The lighting of candles represents wishes fathered by these same energies during happier times gone by.

Entertainment will be offered with groups playing drums including taiko drumming groups.

Plenty of groups and cities participate in this cultural experience in the USA.  Find an Obon Festival near you.

Downtown Denver – Cherry Blossom Festival – June 25 and 26.

Venice, CA Japanese Community Center – June 25.

Salt Lake City, UT – Salt Lake Buddhist Temple – July 9.

Fairfax, VA  Ekoji Buddhist Temple – July 9.

Seabrook, NJ – Seabrook Buddhist Temple – July 16.

Pasadena, CA Buddhist Church – July 16.

Long Beach, CA. Cultural Center – July 30.

Portland, Oregon – Oregon Buddhist Temple – August 6.

Kingston, NY – Kingston Point Beach – August 6.

Palo Alto, CA Buddhist Temple – Aug. 7

Lahaina Hongwanji Mission – Lahaina, HI – Aug 12 and 13.

Gardena Buddhist Church – August 13.

Charlotte, NC – Wells Fargo Atrium Plaza – August – Dates TBA.

San Diego, CA – Japanese Friendship Garden – August – Dates TBA.

Las Vegas, NV – Location TBA, August – Date TBA

St. Paul MN – Como Park – August 21.

St. Louis, MO – Missouri Botanical Garden – Sept 3-5.

Atlanta, GA – Gas South Convention Center (Duluth) – September 17 and 18.

Dress for the occasion. Kimonos and Yukatas are very popular to wear to these festivals. The yukata is lighter weight and will help keep you cooler on those warmer days. Check out our wide selection of robes and headbands for your celebration. Shipping is always fast. Shop our ONLINE STORE now.

Search the web for more dates and cities near you. Buddhist temples and Japanese clubs and gardens may have more information in your local area.

 

mens shodo yukata in 100% cotton

The Shodo Yukata is available at       www.chopa.com

Frequently Asked Questions

Saturday, March 19th, 2022

Chopa – Your Kimono Source is a leading online provider of authentic Japanese Kimono and yukata since 1994.  We receive many inquiries and questions each day and thought it would be informative to share some of these on our Blog.  If you want to learn more about Kimono, yukata, and Happi Coats, see our FAQ section on our website.

WHY SHOP WITH US?

There are many reasons to shop with Chopa because we are your Kimono Source. First is our reputation. Entering our 29th year in business, we are a leading online retailer of authentic Japanese Kimono and Yukata. Our customers provide us with many referrals and repeat business.  That alone speaks for itself. Some love our large selection with over 100 styles, prints, and sizes available. Others appreciate our fast shipping, while some love Free Shipping anywhere in the USA on orders of $75.00 or more. Combining any of these services along with our home office being based in the USA, it’s easy to see why customers shop with us.

HOW DO I PLACE AN ORDER?

Shopping with us is easy, safe, and secure.  Just visit our online kimono store anytime, anywhere. Our Kimono Shop never closes and you can browse, shop, and purchase kimono and yukata 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO SHIP A KIMONO?

Most orders ship within one business day and many ship the same day. We pride ourselves on fast shipping and work diligently to expedite orders. We are located in the Northwest Panhandle of Florida and ship six days per week. We are a professional, full-time business that understands the need for a quick turnaround of your order. Some companies only ship a few days per week. Others are located in other countries like Japan, Taiwan, Korea, or China. From the feedback we receive from customers, many of these foreign-based companies lie about quick shipping and fail to deliver promptly.

Common complaints we hear from customers buying a kimono from an Asian-based company are lack of service, the long shipping times, and the inability to receive a response or reply from those businesses.  This is something we deplore in any business and always respond to our customers quickly, timely, and responsibly. Another complaint we hear about buying from an overseas company is the difficulty of returning an item.  Most customers say it is impossible.

DO I HAVE TO REGISTER OR SET UP AN ACCOUNT ON YOUR SITE?

No.  We never force our customers to store information on our website.  There is an option to establish an account and some customers choose to do so, but it is not mandatory. It is offered simply as a convenience for our customers.  The majority of customers who opt-in for an account are frequent buyers of our fine robes.  They often gift them to their business customers, shop for theater groups or hospitality companies.  We have several customer groups that rent homes, condos, and beach retreats, and provide their vacation renters with complimentary kimonos, Yukata, and Happi Coats. The bottom line is that you can purchase robes as a guest or establish an online account. The choice is yours.

WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?

Chopa accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, and PayPal. If you use PayPal, you can also use American Express. We use state-of-the-art technology including SSL, Secure Socket Layer platforms. All information is encrypted and payment information is never stored on our servers or computers. We also accept mail orders via checks or money orders.  We do not accept cash and never advise customers to send credit card information through email or mail.

HOW MUCH IS SHIPPING?

Orders of $75.00 or more ship Free anywhere in the USA including Alaska and Hawaii. Orders less than $75.00 are charged a nominal fee of $6.95 for one robe. We also ship internationally and the cost is listed in the shopping cart at checkout. The amount varies depending on the country and weight of the package.

DO YOU CHARGE SALES TAX ON PURCHASES?

Yes, we collect sales tax on orders shipped within the state of Florida.  We do not collect taxes in other states. While sales tax isn’t collected in other states, this doesn’t mean that you may not owe sales tax. Many municipalities require purchasers to self-report and pay their own.  You can check with your state to determine if this is required.

WHY DON’T YOU CHARGE CUSTOMS, DUTIES, TAXES, and IMPORT FEES ON ORDERS LIKE OTHER COMPANIES DO?

This question is common and the reason is that we have taken care of all import fees for you if you reside in the USA.  If you purchase a kimono or yukata from a business in Japan or another foreign country, you are subject to these costs. The package is an import and you are responsible for customs taxes, import duties, import fees, and other accessorial charges imposed by the government and the carrier for handling the cost of collecting.  Chopa is a direct importer and we pay all of these costs when we receive an order from one of our partners in Japan. This is another reason, customers like to shop with us. You won’t receive a surprise bill with your order. Our reputation stands on its own and we take the guesswork out of online kimono shopping. Shop with confidence when you shop with us.

Chopa makes online kimono shopping easy!

Kimono Shopping | 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

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