Posts Tagged ‘USA kimono’

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

Honored as Best Online Retailer – Kimono

Thursday, February 10th, 2022

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Chopa – Your Kimono Source, Receives 2022 Best of Panama City Beach Award Online Retailer for Kimono and Yukata

Panama City Beach Award Program Honors the Achievement

PANAMA CITY BEACH February 3, 2022 — Chopa – Your Kimono Source has been selected for the 2022 Best of Panama City Beach Award in the Online Retailer category by the Panama City Beach Award Program.

Each year, the Panama City Beach Award Program identifies companies that have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These local companies enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and their community. These exceptional companies help make the Panama City Beach area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information are gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each year. The 2022 Panama City Beach Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Panama City Beach Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Panama City Beach Award Program

The Panama City Beach Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Panama City Beach area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Panama City Beach Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Chopa – Your Kimono Source is an online retailer specializing in authentic Japanese Kimono, Yukata and Short Length Happi Coats. Established in 1994, Chopa, a 100% employee-owned Company offers great customer service, a large selection, quality robes and some of the most competitive pricing in the industry.  Chopa only offers Japanese Kimono robes, made by known family operated manufacturers that pay fair wages and offer excellent working environments. Other dealers on Etsy and Amazon often offer Chinese kimono sometimes using slave or forced labor to achieve low cost robes and larger profits.

If you are seeking a USA based company with 28 years experience that ships quickly anywhere in the USA, then Chopa is for you.  Visit their online Kimono Shop at www.chopa.com

                       Japanese Kimonos

It’s a story we hear over and over……

Friday, May 14th, 2021
kimono gift

The gift of a kimono.

We received a very nice message the other day from a customer that wanted to thank us for “the beautiful selection of Kimono and Yukata robes “we offer and to share an experience they had with an overseas dealer.  This client purchased a kimono from a “marketplace” in Japan  as a birthday gift for her husband.  Their website claimed they were located in Japan and extensively scoured dozens of cities for the best kimono available.  They claimed they had private connections with shops that produced the finest robes and even alluded that they had some form of a limited government license making them an exclusive provider.

She placed her order online and was looking forward to receiving her robe in 5-7 days as they advertised. She paid $20 for a shipping  upgrade to have the package insured and be trackable.  She became concerned as three weeks passed and no sign of her kimono and no information on the tracking number she received.  She emailed the company several times but didn’t receive a response.  When she checked her card statement online, she was surprised to find that she was charged in Japanese yen instead of dollars.  The amount billed was nearly $20 more than what she thought she was being charged and she was assessed foreign transaction and currency conversion fees by her credit card issuer which added even more to her final purchase price.

Another ten days and completely dismayed at this point, she was surprised when a package arrived.  She eagerly opened it but was upset when she saw the robe, because it was a different pattern than what she ordered.  While it wasn’t the print she ordered, she thought she would keep it because the birthday was getting closer.  When she felt the material, it didn’t feel like cotton, but a bit slippery.  She looked at the tag to see what material it was, but the tag wasn’t printed in English. Unable to decipher the language she was able to identify one word, China. She new she was duped and became even more frustrated.

She emailed the company again asking to return the kimono and relay some of her frustration.  She received a reply 5 days later. In their response, the company claimed the robes were made in China but produced for Japanese export.  This explanation didn’t sit well and she knew she had been taken advantage of.  They said she could return it but the cost was her responsibility, even though they sent the wrong kimono and it wasn’t as advertised.  Begrudgingly, she went to the post office to send it back, but was shocked when the postal clerk told her with shipping, insurance and tracking the cost was over $60.00. Rather than risking this much money and fearing they may not refund her anyway, she decided against it. She didn’t have any trust in this company.

Ironically, a teacher in her child’s school was fluent in Chinese and she asked her to translate the tag. She determined the fabric was viscose, which is a synthetic type of rayon fabric made from wood pulp and processed with chemicals.  The tag was completely in Chinese, there was no mention of Japanese exporting and it even included the address of the factory showing it was made in China. The story the dealer provided her was completely false.

She had just about given up the idea of giving her husband a kimono when she performed an online search and found Chopa. After checking our reviews and seeing we were based in the USA, she sent us an email with a few questions about our robes, the shipping times, our return policy and was impressed with our response time of less than 15 minutes. She decided to give us a try and we gained a new customer.

She felt compelled to send us a summary of her experience with the overseas dealer versus her shopping experience with us. In her words, “it was night and day.”  She placed her order, it shipped the same day and arrived two days later. She was even more pleased that it was what she ordered, the size was right, true to our word and it had tags that stated “Made in Japan.”  In essence, we allowed her to regain her trust in online shopping and she couldn’t be happier.  Her husband received his gift in time for his birthday and she says “he wears it everyday and absolutely loves it.”

We are sorry for anyone that goes through an experience like she did, but hope more people realize the benefits of buying local in your own country from a reputable retailer.  Chopa opened its online store in 1994 and we have been serving customers for over 27 years. It is gratifying to hear from clients that appreciate what we do and what we offer.  There is a rule of thumb in business that for every compliment you receive, there are a dozen more just like them, but go untold. We understand people get busy, intend to write, but forget and we are okay with that.  We base our success on the number of customers we have helped, including many repeat customers and the very low number of returns we receive. Of the few returns we do get, most of those are simple exchanges for a different size. We appreciate customer feedback.  If you have a story to share, send us an email, we would love to hear from you.