This Pair of Fashion Entrepreneurs Has a Brilliant Reason Why You Should Buy Less Clothing

Source: Getty Images
Source: Getty Images

Of a Kind is pretty much the opposite of fast fashion.

The company’s founders, Erica Cerulo and Claire Mazur, have spent years building a very different kind of business. They bring together clothes, jewelry, accessories and home goods from small, independent designers — produced in limited quantities — and make them available to anyone with an Internet connection. They also personalize every item by telling the story of the designer behind it. In a world of $7 sweaters that last for a few months, their vision for your wardrobe is refreshing.

The idea behind Of a Kind is that by highlighting unique items from up-and-coming designers and telling their stories, it helps to build a connection between buyer and producer. It’s part of a larger trend, in its founder's eyes, toward a more conscientious approach to how we curate our own sense of identity and wardrobes.

“People are starting to realize that you can wear things more than once … even in the same week,” says Mazur. “That whole thing speaks to more conscientious consumption: spending more on one item than ... on a bunch of items.”

Of a Kind exists not only to infuse wardrobes with unique items, but also to support the young designers producing them. The site offers limited-edition products with a note about how many are available. A gold and silver ring by designer Elizabeth Thompson is available for $208, but only 35 are available. A wool cardigan by Han Starnes is $235, but there are only 40 of a kind.

“We’re excited to support young designers,” says Mazur. “They make up an important part of the fashion ecosystem and helping them continue to have their careers grow … keeps us going.”


Image credit: Of a Kind

Storytelling has always been a part of the Of a Kind business model. Elizabeth Thompson works out of Brooklyn in her own studio and named her jewelry line, Elizabeth Knight, after her two grandmothers. Han Starnes, based in Nashville, started out knitting Christmas hats for friends in high school; her line, Josi Faye, features pieces “you might have inherited from your long-lost New Zealand grandmother."

It’s been a tough road. When Cerulo and Mazur first started in 2010, they waded into the startup world. They had venture capitalists asking who they were like, looking for scale.

“We met with a lot of VCs who asked whether we were like Rent the Runway or Foursquare. That’s been a learning experience and struggle,” says Mazur. “People would be asking us why haven’t we raised 3 million dollars.”

Mazur and Cerulo decided they didn’t want to go that route. Of a Kind just had its fourth anniversary in November (and celebrated with a website redesign). After years of hard work, its founders are now entering their next phase. In 2015, they’ll continue selling entire collections from their designers and pushing further into paid marketing. They say the growth so far has been mostly word-of-mouth.

“Being trendy … conveys a certain thing,” says Cerulo. “But we decided,” continues Mazur, “[that there was a different] answer on our end.”

Their answer was to take the path less traveled.

This story is a collaboration between Mic's branded content team and Cadillac; it was not written or created by Mic's editorial staff. To learn more, visit our Branded Content FAQS page.

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

MORE FROM

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.

Journalist Kevin Powell sues 'All Eyez on Me' filmmakers, claims they stole from his Tupac articles

More bad news for the embattled Tupac Shakur biopic.

Who won 'RuPaul's Drag Race' season 9?

A lip-sync battle tournament leads to a surprising winner.

Halsey just started a feud with Iggy Azalea

The pop singer thinks Azalea is a "fucking moron."

'Game of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin has a new TV show in the works

An early, gory novella from Martin is heading to Syfy.

The 'Will and Grace' revival will lay out the "rules" in the premiere

Series creators Max Mutchnick and David Kohan are addressing that pesky finale

'Han Solo' director Ron Howard recalls his first 'Star Wars' experience

The veteran filmmaker revealed 'Star Wars' creator George Lucas was talking about it as early as 1972.