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New Retail Startup Aims to Disrupt Fashion Industry

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By Raquel Laneri (Writer, Forbes)

After months of late-night brainstorming sessions, cold-calling designers and raising $100,000 in seed capital from friends and family, Cerulo and Mazur launched Of A Kind, a retail site devoted solely to limited-edition items by emerging designers.

Of a Kind operates at the break-neck speed of an online sample sale, with its blink-and-you’ll-miss-it items, which come in editions of five to 50. But it has the soul of a local artisanal shop.

Each week Cerulo and Mazur spotlight a different designer who has created an item specifically for the site: from Minnesota-based Annie Larson, who makes retro winter hats on her 1980s knitting machine, to ex-model Mandy Coon, who shows her buzzy, tough-girl line at New York Fashion Week. The merchandise includes silk-screened backpacks, bold statement jewelry, leather bags and filmy silk tunics — with prices ranging from $40 for a knitted cap to $400 for an architectural striped leather vest.

Of a Kind is unique. First, all its products are made especially for the site. Some of the stuff is so bizarre you can’t imagine another retailer carrying it, such as a cream suede bolo bow tie on a black leather cord by suiting company Alex and Eli, which sold out its edition of 13 in a matter of hours. (“We still get people e-mailing us asking if there’s some way to get it,” says Cerulo.) Second, its scale really does underscore the idea that every item is special, and that you in turn are special for possessing it — not only because you’re one of only 20 or 40 women in the world who own a particular item, or because you know of a particular under-the-radar designer, but also because you’re supporting small, struggling artisans: It’s shopping that makes you feel good — and hip.

» Read the full post at Forbes.