Where to Buy a Kimono (Part 2)

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

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