Behind Of a Kind

I am a huge fan of Of a Kind and the ladies behind it, Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo, so I was excited to see this interview with them up on The Cut, where they talk about how they came up with the idea for their business and all the panic — okay, and hard work — that went into making it happen.

Art support systems were beginning to crop up online, specifically Kickstarter and 20×200. I started to get interested in those models. I was really obsessed with 20×200 and ended up applying to multiple jobs because I thought what they were doing was so revolutionary.

It was actually when I sent Erica a cover letter to edit that we came up with this idea that was basically taking a 20×200 model, which was selling limited-edition art prints from emerging artists, and translating it to fashion. What if we sold limited-edition pieces by young designers online and got them that sort of exposure? And offered the thrill of discovering a new designer. Erica was in magazines at the time, and I thought, For this really to work, we need to tell a story.

My claim to Of a Kind fame is that I was working at Tumblr around the time they launched, which was where they wanted their blog to be, so I got to meet with them over tea and hear about the site before it existed. I will never pretend to know a damn thing about fashion but I knew it was a brilliant idea and remember how cool it was to witness two people on the verge of this big thing, women who knew they were onto something and were committed to it, even if they didn’t really know how it would all come together, or if it would.

I love this part, because being in that in-between place at cocktail parties is kind of the worst and also who doesn’t love a good shower-cry?

Mazur: I had my first set of high-school friends get married the September before we launched, so I went home and it was everyone I had ever known from high school, including my high-school boyfriend and his new wife. Everyone asked, “So, what are you doing?” And I’d say, “I’m starting a business.” And you don’t actually have a business to show for it yet, so they kind of pat you on the hand and say, “Aw, that’s nice.” Now it’s something to really be proud of, and even at the time I was really proud of it, but it’s very awkward.
Cerulo: Remember you said that the day after you quit your job, you were in the shower doing child’s pose just, like, crying?
Mazur: Yeah, thinking, What have I done?

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