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Small Business Snapshot: Of a Kind

Small Business Snapshot: Of a Kind Credit: Of a Kind

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. Erica Cerulo, co-founder of Of a Kind, explains how this image represents her business.

When my business partner Claire Mazur and I started Of a Kind, our e-commerce site that sells the pieces and tells the stories of emerging designers, in 2010, we had been friends for eight years. We met as undergrads at the University of Chicago and had both since moved to NYC where I was working in magazine editorial at Detail and Lucky, and Claire got a master's degree in arts administration from Columbia.

Of a Kind's origin story feels a little fated – at least to us! Claire was applying for a job at an amazing company 20x200. In going back-and-forth about her cover letter and what made that endeavor so exciting, we had the realization that a similar biz model – one that puts discovering and supporting creatives at its core – could and should exist in the fashion and design world. We mapped out the basics over a couple dozen emails that night and met for coffee the very next day to start fleshing out what this company could be.

Seven years later, having experienced the highs, lows, and dramatic swings between that come with running a business, one of the things Claire and I are most proud of is the strength of our partnership. We've struggled through and celebrated so much together, from hiring to firing, from freaking out about cash flow to selling our company to Bed Bath & Beyond, from feeling burnt-out to getting so hyped on an idea we can hardly stand it.

That doesn't mean being in this as a twosome is always easy! Through the years, we've realized that a business partnership is something you really have to work at (very much like a marriage), and we've invested time, energy, and headspace to that – and are now exploring the topic more deeply with other female duos for our forthcoming book Work Wife. We're learning more about ourselves and each other – and, as we hope this photo demonstrates, realizing how much fun we still have together.

Edited for brevity and clarity by Jennifer Post.