November 27, 2022
An open letter about Stuff-A-Cube availability, our drive to protect our customers and kimono fans, and extended processing time for Stuff-A-Cubes:
Hi everyone, we’ve been made aware of a situation that affected your ability to purchase Stuff-A-Cubes this weekend, and we’re taking some steps to fix the situation. Here’s the TLDR version: a) a business attempted to buy up a large chunk of our Stuff-A-Cube stock, we had to go back and make more boxes available manually, so it looked like our stock was fluctuating in ways it typically doesn’t on a Black Friday weekend; b) we’re going to be stamping each Stuff-A-Cube piece with a disclaimer that it is, in fact, damaged and not intended for resale as a wearable garment; and c) we’re extending ALL of our Black Friday coupon codes for a week to make up for the lack of availability of one of our more popular products, and to reward our loyal and awesome customers for your support.
Now, here’s the long version:
Hi everyone—we hope that you’re enjoying the Black Friday through Cyber Monday Sales! We’ve definitely enjoyed bringing you the most robust selection we’ve ever had online to kick off this Holiday Season. Unfortunately, we have to take care of some unpleasant business that cropped up over the weekend, and in the interest of protecting our customers and being transparent, we’re going to address it now.
When we import Japanese clothing, we grade our rack and grab bag pieces to help customers understand what they’re buying and in what condition their purchases are in, and price them accordingly. When we deem pieces too damaged to wear, we put them in Stuff-A-Cube boxes and sell them by the pound. We hold a big blowout sale for these boxes every Black Friday, slashing prices by roughly 75%, so that we can make kimono remake as accessible as possible to artisans all over the country (and the world).
In Japan, “kimono remake” (the Japanese term for upcycling traditional Japanese clothing), is a centuries-old tradition that continues to make sense in the modern world. Our awesome customers—who include artisans, cosplayers, live-action combat and role-players, small crafts makers, fashion designers, interior decorators, and creative types the world over, have utilized our Stuff-A-Cube pieces to create clothing, bags, shoes, doll clothes, entire cosplay ensembles, historical reenactment garb, or just run around the woods with foam weapons whacking each other in pieces that they don’t mind getting dirty. Not only do our Stuff-A-Cubes provide support to artistic communities (people near and dear to our little artist hearts), but they help reduce textile waste in landfills and oceans (another cause near and dear to our hearts).
Now comes the problem. Despite our efforts and intentions, from time to time, some businesses have abused our “Stuff-A-Cube” sales as a sort of substitute for wholesale ordering, with some taking things one step further and selling our “Stuff-a-Cube” garments as wearable garments at conventions and online. While we make it abundantly clear in our listings and on our boxes (when we sell them in-person) that these pieces are damaged and not intended for resale as-is, these businesses have misrepresented what they bought from us as garments that are in wearable condition. Customers have been deceived, and when they have justifiably complained about what they paid vs. the quality of their purchases from these unauthorized sellers, some of these businesses have given them disappointing responses. Shockingly, some have tried to claim that they were an extension of Tangerine Mountain, while others have told customers that we, not they, were responsible for the misrepresentation.
In the end, the person who is most negatively affected is the customer. People end up with a bad experience with kimono when they don’t get the proper information about what they’re buying. But we’re hurt by this practice as well. What these businesses have done has diluted our brand and misrepresented everything we strive to bring to the world.
Now, if you’ve been around for a while, you know we are not the types to stir up drama. Every time this has happened over the years, we’ve handled it with discretion. We always want to assume the best of other business owners and have wanted to give the businesses that have done this the grace to make amends for bad business decisions. Usually, this bad behavior amounted to a few boxes at a time, but when a business attempts to buy hundreds and hundreds of pounds of Stuff-A-Cubes in a couple of transactions, it looks a bit suspicious, and it affected our stock availability for our loyal artisan customers. In short, this escalated, so now we have to escalate our response.
After looking into the situation and communicating with the purchaser, the business in question had already sold some “Stuff-a-Cube” items purchased earlier this year at conventions, possibly without proper notice that they were damaged. We’ve been bantering around what to do with Stuff-A-Cube resellers who sell damaged goods as wearable for a while, debating whether to rip sleeves off pieces, make cuts in them, or otherwise damage them even further, but that would risk making them unusable for the 99% of people who purchase the boxes for the reasons we intend them to be used for. We don’t want to let a few businesses’ bad actions spoil a good thing for everyone else. While we can’t stop someone from reselling damaged goods as wearables, this weekend made it abundantly clear that we have to do SOMETHING, and we think we’ve got a compromise that can help the end customer understand what they’re buying, even if the person reselling the item isn’t doing so, themselves, without compromising the usability of the textiles in each box.
So, effective immediately, we will be stamping the inside of every damaged garment in a visible but unobtrusive location (e.g. inside the collar, on the underside of the obi) with an indelible ink stamp. That stamp will explain that the piece is damaged and not intended for resale. This way, the piece can still be worn if you’re, say, running around the woods whacking people with foam weapons, or the fabric is repurposed for quilting or costuming. But it also warns people who might stumble upon these pieces for sale far after the they leave our hands, so that they can be appropriately informed as to what they are buying. And, for those who are not informed, they can use that stamp to engage in conversation with the seller about the quality of the garment and its intended use, and if necessary, respectfully ask for their money back.
So, if you have purchased “Stuff-a-Cube” boxes from our 2022 Black Friday sales weekend, there will be a slightly longer processing time as we stamp the Stuff-a-Cube garments before we send them out. We will obviously work as quickly as we can, and we appreciate your patience. It’s unfortunate that the situation has reached this point, but hopefully our transparency will help you understand what we’ve had to do and why.
We have refunded the business that attempted to use the Stuff-A-Cubes as a forced wholesale opportunity and put back the stock that was taken up by their order. We also just got in a large amount of additional pieces that we will be checking ASAP for condition. So in order to make up to you the lack of availability of Stuff-A-Cubes, and to give us some time to process new stock, we’re extending our Black Friday/Cyber Monday Sale to 11:59 pm CST on December 5th. And to further reward our loyal and legitimate customer and fan base, we are extending ALL coupon codes—not just Stuff-A-Cubes—to that date. Hopefully, these steps will give all our consumers more time to acquire the items they’ve wanted at Black Friday prices, and give us more time to make more stuff available.
As always, we are so grateful for the support of this awesome kimono community, and we hope you all have a safe and happy rest of your holiday weekend. If you have questions, please feel free to message or email us. Stay safe everyone, and Happy Holidays.
Cheri Santellano & all of Team Tangerine
June 14, 2019
An open letter regarding Ohio Kimono’s legally required retraction of slander against Tangerine Mountain
Dear Friends and Customers of Tangerine Mountain,
My name is Cheri Santellano, and I am the president and founder of Tangerine Mountain. This morning it has been brought to my attention that hurtful defamation regarding who we are and what we do is yet again being spread. Unfortunately, these lies have once again made the jump from verbal statements to writing; and as such, Team Tangerine again feels the need to defend our good name and correct the lies being spread about us.
This morning, a statement made publicly by a convention attendee on the ColossalCon public forum stated, “Tangerine Mountain was at Colossal. But Ohio Kimono is better. No fake shit or re sell from Rag Stock.” While troubling enough on its own, this statement also shows that some of the content of the original defamatory statements made in writing by the proprietress of Ohio Kimono from 2016-2017 are still being shared by other parties that were not involved in that situation, and being spread as truth.
We believe that everyone should be able to support any business of their choosing, but that does not give people the right to spread hurtful lies. Stating that we sell “fake shit” is both false and ridiculous, and stating that we “resell from Rag Stock” is also false and ridiculous, especially given that our photographic evidence of receiving kimono in 20 foot cargo containers straight from Japan has been aired repeatedly on TV Tokyo in Japan.
To further set the record straight, at the end of this statement we will be sharing the original, lawfully published retraction that came as a result of our successful legal action against previous, similar lies. We have no desire to drudge up the past, but we feel this is a necessary step to take. We maintain the right to defend our business and good name through any reasonable means necessary, which is our goal in addressing this unfortunate situation today.
As our loyal customers know, we have always imported our vintage kimono and kimono accessory stock directly from Japan. We have traveled to Japan at least twice a year to ensure that we are current with kimono trends and to build additional relationships with suppliers. We do so to ensure that our actions are supported by and in turn support the Japanese community here and abroad. Today, we are proud to say that despite the defamation against us, our company has grown and flourished in ways we could not have even imagined at our inception. Our convention appearances have multiplied, and we have brought cultural programming to Japanese cultural institutions and to the convention circuit. We are the only kimono company in the USA to have been featured on prime-time Japanese television for our efforts. We are the only American business to have been selected for participation in the prestigious Kimono Salone Nihombashi, the premiere kimono expo in Tokyo. And, we continue to work with cultural institutions to bring kimono exhibitions, events, and programming to any and all throughout the country who wish to have access to authentic materials, collections, and education about kimono. Though our company started in a basement with a dream, our small family business has grown to a 3,000 square foot facility with the resources and connections necessary to spread our love of Japan and dedication to cultural exchange through kimono throughout the United States.
We would not have been able to get to this point if it were not for the love and support of our family, friends, customers, fellow vendors, convention staff, and partners with whom we do business. We want to take this moment to reassure those who brought this matter to our attention that we will not let such things stop or deter us from our mission, and we thank you for bringing this to our attention.
For further questions regarding this matter, or to report similar instances of such situations occurring, we encourage you to reach out to us directly at [email protected].
<<Screen-reader Friendly Retraction text>>
To Whom It May Concern,
You are receiving this letter because you have either had direct contact with me regarding the material contained herein, or have indirectly been the recipient of this information. The purpose of this letter is to inform you that over a period of time in 2016 and 2017 I made false statements to other people regarding Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs, its owner, and associates.
These include, but are not limited to, statements that Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs, its owner, and associates are uneducated about their product, lie to their customers, engage in unethical business practices, harass me and other vendors, engage in unwanted physical contact, violently injure convention personnel, sell bootleg material, and steal from other vendors. I had no factual basis to make any of these false statements and, with this letter, I fully retract them.
I further acknowledge that my false statements have harmed the reputation of Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs, its owners, its associates, and that these statements have possibly influenced your opinion of Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs, its owners, and associates. I also acknowledge that these false statements have had the potential to irreparably harm Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs’ ability to conduct regular and peaceful business through its participation at conventions, expos, festivals, and trade shows through which its owner makes her living. I have sincerely apologized to Tangerine Mountain Imports & Design, its owner, and associates for making these false statements. It is my intention that this full retraction restores all faith in the fair and peaceful operations of Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs, its owner, and associates.
It is my intention through this retraction to correct any misperception regarding Tangerine Mountain Imports & Design, its owner, and associates, and to have taken the necessary action to preserve the reputation of both of our businesses with respect to the conventions, festivals, events, and people with whom we do business. If you have any further questions about this retraction, I request that you reach out to Tangerine Mountain Imports & Designs or its attorney directly through the means provided below. Thank you for your prompt attention and anticipated cooperation in these matters.