So Chanukah is here today and Christmas is under a week away. I like when the two holidays collide so that I can host all my friends & family of both religions. I will be honest I have not done much shopping so I will have to spend the day online grabbing last minute gifts. Skope works with Def-Shop.com out of Berlin, Germany and they have one of the finest selections of urban clothing from Ecko to Nike to Zoo York. They also offer some of the best daily deals you can find. Join me today as I go shopping on Def-Shop.com and talk to them about how they got started, selecting styles to carry, trends in urban fashion, and much more. Happy Holidays to all!
Stoli: What are we talking from and are you ready for the Christmas season?
Def-Shop.com: Our Company was found and still resides in Berlin, Germany. We are basically within walking distance from the most infamous housing projects of the city: MÃ¤rkisches Viertel. We see a lot of our Product, especially Winterjackets on the kids here these days. Karl Kani visited our Offices in the Summer, during the Bread&Butter Trade Show, and since he is all about the energy and people of a place, we went for a walk through the projects, while talking about his life, company and our business. As of now, we are the number one distributor of Karl Kani Streetwear and Hip-Hop Clothing. Something we are very proud of. Christmas Season can come, we are well prepared ;)
Stoli: How did Def-Shop.com come to be a real Internet based retail store?
Def-Shop.com: DefShop actually started as a small, family-run retail store for Brand Hip-Hop Clothing and Streetwear. The shop was going o.k., but eventually the sale of Winterjackets, Sneakers, Zipped Hoodies and Baggy Jeans on Ebay demanded more and more of the familys time, until everyone was literally drowning in Hip-Hop Merchandise and Packaging Material. That ´s when the family decided to take it to the next level, and opened DefShop as a premiere online retailer for Urban Fashion and Accessories.
Stoli: Was it always the initial idea to cater to the hip hop/urban market?
Def-Shop.com: Yes, sort of. It began with Hip-Hop Clothes because that ´s what we understood. We were wearing the Hooded Winterjackets with Fur Inlays, Champion Hoodies and Rocawear Jeans. And there was still room in the market for a dedicated Streetwear store. So it was a logical choice, yeah.
Stoli: What is your process for selecting what clothing labels you will place on the site?
Def-Shop.com: Tough Question. We have a purchasing team of very talented boys and girls, all of them share the passion for crative brands and fine Urban attire. In the Beginning, it was all New Era Caps and Hip-Hop Brands. We have a very diverse group of young Adults now that constantly quabble about our shop ´s portfolio. The tastes go from Classic Urban Hip-Hop Clothes like Karl Kani, Urban Classics, Rocawear and Ecko over Streetwear for Skaters and Surfers like Billabong Tees to finally High Urban Fashion.
Although this is a market that we only slowly are easing into. We do not want our core Audience to assume that we are changing our ways. Quite the opposite, we plan to expand so DefShop can accommodate the taste of our growing audience.
Stoli: How do you explain & monitor trends in hip hop styles like baggy jeans to tight jeans and jerseys to button downs?
Def-Shop.com: We have a very active Facebook community at www.facebook.com/defshop.de that we listen to closely. Our social media representative is very hands-on with our fans and customers, which helps a lot to plan and choose our merchandise for the coming seasons.
Stoli: You are based in Berlin but your site caters on a global base. Where do you see most of your customers coming from and what is hot right now?
Def-Shop.com: The Sky is the limit for online stores like us. But with Streetwear, Urban Fashion and Hip-Hop Clothing specifically it is a lot of “word-of-mouth” when it comes to promoting a dealer like us. Naturally, most of it was in German up until now. Since we are, obviously, very interested in broadening and expanding our customer base, we hired several highly motivated and talented young individuals that now work hard to expand our reach into the international market. The Netherlands France, Sweden and other Scandinavian Countries are already ordering Streetwear and Hip-Hop Clothes from our online store in significant numbers, and already constitute a hefty portion of our income. Our Head of International basically built the French market on his own. Trucks filled with DNGRS Winterjackets, New Era Caps and Karl Kani Jeans leave for France weekly now, its all very exciting to be honest.
Stoli: Is there any special holiday deals that Skope readers should know about?
Def-Shop.com: We have a special deal every day until the 24th of December, check www.def-shop.com and it should be all over your screen.
Stoli: How tough is it for a new entrepreneur who wants to launch their own clothing line and any advice you may have?
Def-Shop.com: Probably the one most entrepreneur give after they succeed: Do your own thing, bite hard and take the losses as good as the wins. We became as successful as we did because we believe in our product and respect our customers. When your company starts to skyrocket, higher motivated and young people, and treat them well.
Stoli: Hip hop music has gone global. What artists would you say have the most influence on what people are wearing?
Def-Shop.com: Well, with Hip-Hop, it was actually a lot easier back in the days that it is now. We discussed this actually with Karl Kani during the interview. You probably know better than us, that he is one of the first, if not the originator of Urban Clothing and Hip-Hop Styles. In his early years, Hip-Hop Artists were promoting his clothes in the lyrics and not because of a promotion deal. Later, as the rap game and music business became more and more professional everything was revolving around the deal. Which isn ´t a bad thing necessarily, every musical genre or youth movement goes through this evolutionary lifecycle. It’s now at a point where there is so many brands that the only Brands that keep going strong because of artists are the ones that are here for years. Oh, and wearing unbranded Wivebeater ´s most of the time didn ´t help either. Come on New Orleans!
Stoli: What advantage is their having an online store in regards to price & inventory?
Def-Shop.com: Well, distribution, marketing and shelf space in retail is basically the biggest cost factor in the clothing industry. Since we buy in large quantities, directly from manufacturers, we are able to secure good deals. Both benefits result in the dramatic difference of our MVP and the one you see in the stores for the same product. To give you an example of the quantities: We are the largest distributor of New Era Caps in Europe.
Stoli: What is coming up for Def-shop.com and how can we stay in touch with everything you have going on?
Def-Shop.com: 2012 will be as existing as 2011 and 2010 I guess. Continuing the expansion of the European, Eastern and American Market. You can always of course become one of our satisfied customers buy checking DefShop and its Streetwear.
Our Social DefShop Media Channels are: