Of a Kind, an art gallery for emerging designers that carries only exclusive limited editions, became the first store on Tumblr when it launched Wednesday.
Visual blogging platform Tumblr is getting lots of attention (and venture capital investment) as the place to find experimental visual content from early adopters in creative fields such as art, media and fashion.
“We think of it as an art gallery for emerging designers,” said chief executive officer and co-founder Claire Mazur. “The idea is to promote emerging fashion designers through e-commerce and editorial content.”
Of a Kind will feature one designer each week, and offer exclusive items in numbered editions of five to 50 pieces. Prices will range from $50 to $500.
Inspired by New York concept store Opening Ceremony and 20×200, a site that sells affordable prints from emerging fine artists, Mazur and co-founder and president Erica Cerulo thought up the idea in January after starting a Tumblr blog of the same name about things they loved. Mazur worked in arts management, and Cerulo was an editor at Lucky magazine; they both quit their jobs in August to launch the site.
The site will focus first on accessories that don’t have sizes, but will gradually add clothing, said Mazur. Of a Kind funds production for every item it carries, so the venture is low-risk for the designers.
Some of the first designers will be Mandy Coon, Lizzie Fortunato Jewels, Dusen Dusen and Symmetry Goods. The first item will be Mandy Coon’s bunny-shaped bag in tweed, which sold well in velvet and leather at Opening Ceremony.
Tumblr does not currently support e-commerce, but Of a Kind integrated it with e-commerce platform Shopify.
The Of a Kind store is part of a bigger trend toward new retail formats, including distributed retail, such as the custom shoe store JeffSilverman.com that lives in a widget on blogs, and the Facebook store that Gilt put up over the weekend. Of a Kind’s store format is similar to Ahalife, which features one “globally curated” product each day.
“We really know these designers and want you to feel like you love them,” said Mazur. They chose to put the shop on Tumblr because they wanted to tightly integrate the editorial and the store. As well, the fashion and arts community on the site is their customer.
With about 47 million visitors a month, according to Quantcast, Tumblr has been growing quickly. It is expected to close a fifth round of funding soon. It recently hired Weardrobe co-founder Rich Tong as fashion director.
Notable fashion- and design-related Tumblrs include Hippy Kitchens, Not Gilty, Erie Basin, Outsider Art, Subversive Glamour and What I Wore.