Of a Kind, co-created in 2010 by Delaware native Claire Mazur, commissions limited editions from emerging designers and promotes items with backstories. “You have a sense of the people who made it,” the Brooklyn resident says of the 350 makers so far on www.ofakind.com. The site merges several hot retailing trends: exclusivity (only so many of each item), curating (she and co-founder Erica Cerulo select their favorites), artisanship (handmade stuff) and storytelling (consumers learn about the makers and their mantras). In 2015, Bed, Bath & Beyond recognized their success by buying the site.
Mazur says Of a Kind’s selection “tends to be elevated classics or basics,” mostly women’s items (such as jewelry by Delaware natives Lizzie and Kathryn Fortunato) and home goods, but it is branching out (an herb stripper is an example for people who love to cook at home). Stories now extend to podcasts and a weekly newsletter of 10 lifestyle discoveries.
Mazur, 33, was a teen fashionista, using DKNYClaire as her screen name, when she scored her first industry internship. She earned a master’s degree in arts management and worked for art organizations and artists before merging fashion and art into Of a Kind. She and Cerulo, a fellow University of Chicago alumna, “often found themselves talking about peers who had started businesses and their mutual admiration for those who had taken the plunge. When they conceptualized Of a Kind—over the course of 25 frantic emails in 12 hours—they knew they had to pursue it.”