Where To Buy A Kimono (Part 1)

Buying a Japanese Kimono used to be difficult, often requiring a visit to Japan. As the popularity of these popular robes grew so did the buying choices of consumers. Today, there are many options when purchasing a kimono or yukata, but doing your research and educating yourself is essential. There are tell-tale signs when a dealer is being dishonest. You need to know where to look.

There are hundreds of dealers on the web today offering rainbows and unicorns. Unfortunately, many deliver headaches and disappointment. Chopa – Your Kimono Source has been an online retailer of Japanese robes since 1994. We were one of the first to do so and also one of the first to offer Plus-Sized, Short Kimono, known as Happi Coats, as well as Tall and Wide sizing. Some customers call us Kimono Pioneers.

Like shopping for anything on the Internet, finding a reputable dealer and buying something sight unseen can be daunting. When we began offering Japanese Kimono Yukata 29 years ago, our mission was to make it easy, and painless, and to take the guesswork out of kimono shopping. It was our goal to be upfront, honest and forthcoming with policies, pricing, and service.  We are proud to say, we still hold these convictions today.

We have conversations with customers every week asking us for help with a transaction they made with a dealer in Japan, China, Bali, and even on Amazon and Etsy. These customers thought they found a deal or believed their kimono was more authentic by purchasing it from an overseas dealer.  What many came to find out is that many unscrupulous retailers offer something other than advertised, inaccurate pricing, service, and shipping times.

A common complaint is that the kimono they bought wasn’t made in Japan, but rather in China.  The fabric was different, and the prints and colors were not what was advertised online. If the robe didn’t fit, which is a common complaint we hear, they get nowhere with the dealer attempting to return or exchange it. This is always disheartening to our staff as we want everyone to enjoy the art and beauty of the world of kimonos.

Unfortunately, since we are not part of this shady cast of characters that mislead and misguide unsuspecting customers, we cannot do much.  What we can do and are happy to help is offer advice and suggestions on how they might solve their problem. Where we can do the most good for people with questions is if they ask us questions before making a purchase. We have several simple things to look for and ask before handing over the credit card to finalize their purchase. Here are a few of those things we would look for and or ask the dealer directly.

Location. Where is the dealer located?

Are they actually in Japan? Many dealers mention Japan throughout their websites but are operating in China, Pakistan, Cambodia, Vietnam, or other regions. Realize that just because they claim they are located in Japan, doesn’t always ring true. We have come across numerous websites that claim Japan as their headquarters, yet they are operating in China and are selling Chinese-made kimonos.

Origin. Where was the Kimono made?

This is one of the most common false or elusive elements of the dishonest dealer. They will state “Japanese” Kimono, “Japanese Style”, “Kyoto” Kimono, etc. It sounds legitimate that you would be expecting the kimono was made in Japan, but in fact, it is being shipped from China and was made in China. This ties back to the location. Where are they operating from?  It is highly unlikely you will find a dealer in China, selling Japanese-made kimonos.  We have searched hundreds of listings and have never located such.

Just because the listing title says Japanese Kimono, does not mean it was made in Japan. Any reputable dealer will list the origin in the “About” section that describes the robe. If you are unable to locate it quickly, we usually say, run, don’t walk to the exit. There is only one reason a retailer won’t disclose the origin upfront in plain English, clearly and distinctly. That is because they are not being honest. If they are being dishonest about the origin, what else are they going to lie about?  The list goes on and can become very lengthy.

We will continue this Blog and reveal additional puzzles to solve to know whether you are about to be tricked, duped, or outright lied to. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us and we will do our best to address your concerns. Buying a kimono is easy, buying from the right dealer is the key to happiness and a pleasant shopping experience.  This is what we thrive on. Shop our online Kimono Shop anytime, we are always open and it never closes.

 

Hanu Garden Kimono

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