By  on July 19, 2007

NEW YORK — DJ Networks Inc. is getting serious about going premium.

The parent of e-commerce site drjays.com, which was launched in 2000 as the go-to site for streetwear labels like Baby Phat, Rocawear and Ecko, is upgrading its consumer base and offering something more high-end on the new djpremium.com.

The site offers contemporary sportswear with an edgy street feel; brands such as Evisu, Frankie B., Charlotte Ronson, Diesel and J Brand. The idea is to offer its traditional urban customer something else when he or she begins to shift away from that hard-core urban look, said Jean Patrick Charles, cofounder and chief financial officer of DJ Networks.

"Customers have been requesting that we sell more premium lines for a while," Charles said. "We just knew that some of these labels they were asking for wouldn't fit into the mix on drjays.com."

The site is denim-heavy with brands that include Antik, True Religion, Hudson and Goldsign. Julia Davidson, merchandise manager for djpremium.com, said she was making it her mission to bring in more designer brands, since that is what the customer demands. Recently, Davidson said she had added and would add more from Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, C'N'C Costume National, Just Cavalli, J. Lindeberg, KLS Collection and Moschino Jeans.

"There is that customer out there who wants a more edgy, contemporary look. Not everyone wants that California contemporary look," she said. "We are very selective with this site, but we also offer a broad selection of product."

Traditionally press shy, Charles said he chose to focus his efforts directly on the customer. His in-house marketing and engineering teams look closely at click trails on the sites to see where viewers spend their time, and make buying decisions based on that information. In addition, the company buys popular search keywords to make sure the sites pop up immediately when Googled. Charles said he launched a blog on the drjays.com site, which keeps customers up-to-date on the latest news in hip-hop and will bring customers to the site on a more regular basis.

"When Vanessa and Angela Simmons launched their sneaker line, we put up an article about them on the blog," Charles said. "And then, when we brought the sneakers in and put them up, they sold like crazy."Now Pastry, the Simmons' sneaker line, is among the best-selling brands on drjays.com. Baby Phat is by far the site's best-selling label for women, but Applebottoms and Dereon are not far behind, Davidson said.

Dr. Jay's opened its first store in the South Bronx in 1975 and quickly became the destination for hip-hop inspired streetwear. There are 19 locations in Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Newark, N.J. DJ Networks was cofounded in 2000 by Hymie Betesch, the son of Elliott Betesch, Dr. Jay's founder. Today, DJ Networks is run as a separate business from the brick-and-mortar stores. Although Charles declined to give sales expectations for djpremium.com, he did say that sales were on the rise, with an average 22 percent growth each month.

Charles said he was working on the relaunch of streetstyle.com, which previously was a site that allowed browsers to post pictures of themselves and have other people rate them. When the site restarts in about six months, Charles said it would be more informational and would focus on fashion and contain user-generated content.

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