When friends ask me my favorite spots for online shopping, Of a Kind is always on the list. I’ve followed this incredible e-commerce + editorial site – which launches limited edition products from emerging fashion designers each week- for years and was ecstatic when we arranged this interview. I could have talked retail and favorite designers with Claire and Erica for hours – and they come across on the phone exactly as you’d imagine on the site. Read on for more about Of a Kind – and a preview of the items that are launching this week!
TELL ME ABOUT HOW OF A KIND CAME TO BE:
Clare: We’d been friends since college at the University of Chicago and had both moved to New York. Erica was working in magazines and I’d been working in the art world. I felt like the future of supporting artists and creatives was on the internet, and I wanted to be a part of it. Erica was helping me edit my cover letter for 20 x 200, a site focused on introducing artists to new collectors, and we realized that we could translate that model to the fashion world. We knew that if we told the story behind the product, we could sell the work of unknown artists and designers.
We had the idea in January 2010 and launched in November 2010, focused on one of a kind pieces and content geared towards the designer – interviews, photo essays, etc.
WHAT (AND WHO!) INSPIRES YOU?
We’re inspired by other companies in our space and in similar industries. The magazine world. The food world. We’re very inspired by other entrepreneurs:
Ten Over Six Founders Kristen Lee and Brady Cunningham have built an incredible brick & mortar business that is now five years old and still growing.
Susan Feldman, the founder of One Kings Lane. She has built a huge company that is backed by venture capitalists but is still very grounded and down to earth and she takes things one at a time.
Jen Bekman from 20×200.
The designers that we work with. It’s inspiring to be a small business that supports other small businesses. We’ve built great relationships with many of our designers and we learn from each other and can help each other.
LETS TALK ABOUT E-COMMERCE VS. BRICK & MORTAR:
We still love an instore experience. We are focused online but we still love to support boutiques. These boutiques support the same ecosystem that we are in and we can support each other.
Our story telling perspective is best for an online model. We grew up in small cities and towns that didn’t have many independent boutiques so we like that we have created something that everyone can have access to.
We take inspiration from the best boutiques – the owners can give you guidance as to what to wear or buy and can tell you the story behind the product. Those are enriching experiences and that is what we are trying to create online.
TELL ME ABOUT COLLECTIONS, THE NEWEST ADDITION TO OF A KIND:
Launching Collections was a natural step in growing our business. As the site grew, we found that there was a need from our customers to access the entire collection from the designers we featured – either because our exclusive item had sold out, or the customers simply wanted to buy more pieces than what we were selling. Our designers also started to come to us for help in building out their e-commerce sites so we realized we could create a solution for our customers and our designers.
Collections make it easier for designers to sell their product and also provides customers with more options and selections, as well as the comfort of shopping from a site they can trust.
Champagne Diamond Tiny Solitaire Ring by Blanca Monros Gomez for Of a Kind | 45 of a kind | $215
WHAT ARE YOUR STYLE ESSENTIALS?
Jeans and a flat boot, typically Loeffler Randall. Statement accessories – shoes, bags, and necklaces that can stand out when paired with streamlined clothing.
WHAT HAVE YOU RECENTLY PURCHASED FOR SPRING?
E: A Black Crane Striped Linen Top
C. Two A Piece Apart shirts and a Demylee cropped sweater – I buy a new version every year and wear them all of the time.