How I Did It
VIDEO  •  HOW I DID IT

Of a Kind Founders Decide Fast, Iterate Later

Soon after Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo launched Of a Kind, a fashion website, in 2010, they realized their initial web site ideas would always be wrong, and require changes.
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Video Transcript
00:08 Claire Mazur: Of a Kind is a website. We promote emerging fashion designers by commissioning limited edition pieces that we sell exclusively on the site and in conjunction with the pieces we sell, we tell the back stories of the designers who made them. So we designed our own website, more or less, by committee.

00:23 Erica Cerulo: There were five of us working on it. And there were lot of fights and brawls... Why should we do this this way? Should the product roll out before the editorial? Lots of back and forth.

00:32 Mazur: And it was... Remains one of the most challenging things we did was figure out the web design and layout because we didn't feel we had anyone to look to in terms of an example because we didn't feel like anyone had integrated retail and editorial in the way we wanted. And because everything we did was limited edition... 30 of kind. We naturally assumed everything is going to sell out really quickly and having something on the site that would say 25 out of 30 left, 10 out of 30 left was a total no-brainer, right? Because...

01:01 Cerulo: We were pressuring people to buy. They'd see the number dropping. They'd want to get in before they can't. Let's do this.

01:05 Mazur: And we were totally, supremely overly confident about how fast things would things would move. In just the most amazing way. We were lucky enough to have strangers start buying early on but not at the rate that that ticker did anything. Except just... Make people... Wow there's still 25 left? I cannot believe we thought this was a good idea.

01:26 Cerulo: And I think our sort of take away from that was that... There's no way to know what like things are going to be. There's no way to know where you should be really spending your time and attention, energy. Especially pre-launch and I think we were able to get the site up pretty quickly. We quit our jobs in August and launched in November. And I think from there you can start figuring things out. We didn't launch in beta, but that idea of, get something up so that people could respond to it and you can see what's working and what's not, rather that spinning around really thinking things through and really intellectualizing it.

02:04 Mazur: Because it's always going to be wrong. You're always going to have to change it.

02:08 Cerulo: I kind of get bummed... When we do what is a totally natural thing but start getting really cynical about things. And... We have to do that and there's healthy amount of cynicism always at play. But I also love that... Well why wouldn't we sell 30 $300 bunny bags in one day. If you don't have that then you're never going to have a business. Because the idea of having a business, you have to believe that it's going to be huge, and you have to believe that it's going to be a huge success.

02:32 Mazur: Or you'd never take the risk.

02:33 Cerulo: You'd never do it.
Last updated: Mar 30, 2012

NICOLE CARTER | Staff Writer | San Francisco Bureau Chief

Nicole Carter is Inc.'s San Francisco bureau chief. She was previously an editor at New York Daily News, and her work has also appeared in Consumer Reports magazine.