True - but then the question you have to ask is whether or not you want to encourage a dojo culture in which people are motivated by belts and hakama.
For me its about creating a culture of learning Aikido - when someone looks in at us for the first time you'll see a lot of people doing the best they can. I'm a firm believer in critical mass and people are more likely to stick around if they see a lot of others whereas I believe they are put off by just a couple of high grades and few other newbies. (In general of course as there are always exceptions).
Sticking to Dojo Management - I think the thread is about getting people in the door. If uniforms and hakama gets people in the door then all good.
If uniforms and culture and belts keep them training then all good too.
Of course there comes a time when they have the belt, they have the hak.....and then its up to the dojo to be good enough to to keep them interested.
So of course at some time it has to be about the Aikido, but in my experience very few newbies really know what they are getting into...hell, we can't even agree here what Aikido is so for me its a long term game and it takes time to change the mindset.
I'm evolving all the time, so why not the students?
So why expect them from day 1 to chase kokyu power or whatever your seniors are looking at. Why not give them time to grow away from the normal ego driven trappings? Its no big deal in my eyes how you start...its how you finish.
Of course I know that in the world that is the internet its not trendy to stick to such things as uniforms, gradings, belts etc....Such trappings can be construed as attributes of a 'McDojo'....but just because a dojo is successful, and has good numbers doesn't exclude it from creating good students of Aikido.
So in answer to the question that has to be asked...I want to encourage a culture where people want to train, where its a pleasure to train and where honest open pursuit of Aikido progress is encouraged and I don't see using short term targets such as grades, hakama etc as a barrier to long term objectives.
If gathering in a room in casuals works for you then thats no problem to me either, I do that too on occasion and don't have a problem with it but in terms of dojo management I don't see it giving any benefits in gaining memberships...except avoiding clothing cost maybe.
Heck - if it works for you train naked...now theres an idea.
Anyway - I know the things I've written about work for me so thats been my experience that I offer up to Krystal ....under the banner of Dojo Management...and carefully trying to avoid embroilment in a which model is best for technical transmission arguement.
What I say may not work where you are, so thats your experience.
Whos to say which works best? I'm just say'n...what works best in my experience.