Re: Dont everyone run at once. (Aikido24.com and Bujin Hakama)
I recently ordered the Bujin dogi and hakama from Aikido24, and based on my experience with them I am compelled to let folks know.
I will tell you that I felt like a bit of a guinea pig, because the company is based in Germany and I'm in the US - so it wasn't without a bit of trepidation that I ordered. Doing business internationally seems dicey to me since any recourse for the buyer is either complicated or not immediately clear (to me). I ordered the hakama first, in late October. I followed their measurement guide that, yes, had to be translated with google translate. Their web site said that once an order was ready for shipping (four to six weeks), I would receive an email notification that the item would ship. They have an order status page that indeed showed acknowledgement of my order.
There was a little "burp" in the delivery date that made me very nervous. But they promised my hakama by the end of December so in mid December I decided to add the dogi jacket to my order. Apparently, Aikido24 has been ironing out issues with their web site's order status page that needed debugging, and process issues with their suppliers that resulted in delays. When I contacted them, they were very responsive and apologetic about the delays.
I will tell you that I was very nervous about dropping over $300 into a company that didn't really have any proven reputation for timely delivery and the quality was yet to be seen. However, I am pleased to say that I did receive my hakama and dogi jacket by the end of December as promised, and Aikido24 really stepped up to the plate to ease my dissatisfaction with the confusion.
My hakama and dogi jacket are of outstanding quality -- nothing less than you would expect from Bujin. If it's true that things are being made in China, they aren't being made cheaply or by cutting corners. I'm now proud to don my new dogi jacket and hakama. My dogi jacket looks feels and wears exactly the same as one of my friends with whom I train -- his was purchased from Bujin years ago. The hakama does have sewn pleats, but interestingly, the pleats are sewn on the inside folds, not the folds that show. This helps keep its shape and the stitching on the inner pleats is inconspicuous. It drapes beautifully, fits perfectly, and is of lasting quality.
This is a clip of the note that I sent to them
"Indeed, your response to the problem was exemplary and truly a cut above other vendors. This is a testament to your quality as a company, your dedication to your business, and your promise to your customers."
In short, I will buy from them again.