Aug. 9 2019
Claire Mazur and Erica Cerulo are the co-founders of Of a Kind, a website that tells the stories and sells the pieces of emerging designers. Launched in 2010 to give up-and-coming creators a platform, these entrepreneurs sold their successful brand to Bed Bath & Beyond in 2015, where they continue to oversee and grow the company they built. Though goodwill between co-founders can be rare, Claire and Erica’s working relationship is so strong they even wrote a book about it, called Work Wife, that explores the power of female friendship as fuel for a successful business. We asked this dynamic duo to tell us how they end a typical day in NYC. Claire and Erica break down their nightly routines below.
Claire: I get home by 6:30pm to relieve our nanny, Paulette. If I get home with a few minutes to spare I try to hop in the shower for a quick rinse before she leaves. I have never been a shower-at-night person but I think it’s nice to scrub the subway grime off before my kid starts putting all of my body parts into his mouth. It’s also a nice way to get the face-washing portion of my evening out of the way immediately. I hate washing my face in the sink. I’m 35 years into this life and still haven’t figured out how to do it without drenching myself and the floor, so the shower option feels like an especially big win. I really like our Rose and Willow Facial Cleanser which moisturizes like an oil cleanser but doesn’t leave my skin feeling weirdly slick like other ones I’ve tried. Alternatively, if I’m running so late that I feel like I don’t have time to even properly wash my hands, I’ll cheat with our Jao Refresher.
Erica: If I don’t have anything going on after work—an event, a hang with friends, a dinner—then this is probably when you’ll find me waiting for an elusive C train on the subway platform at High Street in Brooklyn. As annoying as unreliable trains are (and they are very annoying), I try to make use of my commute time for reading. I’m a superfan of Libby, an app that lets you check out Kindle and audiobooks from the library without even having to make your way into a branch, and of Goodreads, where I track everything I want to read and have read (because there’s sadly no Book It! for adults). A few recent favorites: A Very Large Expanse of Sea, The Autobiography of Gucci Mane, Wordslut: A Feminist Guide to Taking Back the Language, and—like everyone you know—Normal People.
Claire: I feed my son. He just started eating solids which is delightful and also insanely messy. I recently figured out that there are these things that are basically like full-body bibs and they’ve made a big difference. We’ve been using a BEABA to make his food. Before I had a kid when I would hear about people making their own baby food it seemed crazy to me, but it turns out it’s easier than making most adult food so it feels like a no-brainer because at least I know what he’s getting. He likes squash and sweet potatoes so much that he cries in between bites if I don’t move fast enough with the spoon. If being hangry is genetic, he definitely inherited it from me. After that circus he gets the boob, we play for a bit, and then he goes down in his crib.
Erica: Getting home from work calls for a drink. Sometimes that’s a glass of wine or a cocktail—a negroni sbagliato is a summer go-to, and we buy these mini bottles of La Marca prosecco so we don’t have to crack a big one and give it the chance to go flat. More and more nights, though, I’ve been reaching for a shrub mixed with seltzer so that I’m drinking less by pure habit. INNA shrubs are fantastic, especially the strawberry and the concord grape. Also, this is when Ash the bunny gets her dinner—parsley if she’s lucky. This makes everyone involved very happy.
Claire: My husband and I have always tried to cook dinner at home at least a few nights a week but as soon as we had a kid it quickly increased to most-nights-a-week. It’s a nice way to wind down and talk to each other while the baby is sleeping. I’ve started using Our Harvest for most of our groceries and I really love it. It’s basically an online farmers market and the produce and seafood that they have available from week-to-week typically determines what we’re eating. I’ve also found that cooking a big thing of brown rice in the Instant Pot at the beginning of the week really helps things come together quickly later on—I add it to quick things like soups and vegetable sautées or make a salad with it.
Erica: It’s time to start making dinner for humans. For me, cooking at the end of the day is a meditative thing. Which does not mean I’m doing anything elaborate. More often than not, I’m whipping up an ol’ standby like wok-fried asparagus and walnuts, this tuna tomato bowl, or ceviched-mushroom pasta. But I like the process, I like sitting down with my husband without a phone or any other distractions, and I like that we light a candle on our kitchen table. Yeah, it sounds a little cheesy, but so what?
Claire: My husband and I usually make an attempt to sit down and watch something on TV together but our taste in entertainment rarely overlaps so unless one of our favorites is in-season—Pen15 and Vanderpump Rules among them—it’s usually one of us watching something we like while the other one sort of drifts off to sleep on the couch. I’m constantly on the hunt for something we can both get excited about because I really like having a shared show. It’s absurd that Stassi Schroeder is somehow the one thing we can both get amped about.
Claire: I try to go to bed sometime between 9 and 11pm these days. I get up between 5 and 5:30am in order to exercise before feeding my son so anything later than 9pm means I have no chance at 8 hours. Somehow one of my biggest takeaways from Marie Kondo’s book was that it’s important to have pajamas that spark joy which means I’ve really invested in them over the last several years. We just started carrying a bunch on Of a Kind. I’m especially excited about the nightgowns because it’s really hard to find good ones; I think because they’re not as popular as pajama sets right now. But it’s the best feeling to change into something nice before climbing into bed—especially if that nice thing does not have a waistband to contend with.
Erica: Welcome to the “do you want to watch a couple episodes of something?” hour! Which means The Bold Type or The Office or PEN15 or The Other Two or something similarly 1) low stakes and 2) low stress. I recently made my way through Hart of Dixie, which I highly recommend for these purposes—though please note that it’s not so much good as it is satisfying.
Erica: My bedtime routine takes about four minutes, and two and a half of those are dedicated to my teeth. A few years ago, I became a Sonicare diehard, and my dentist immediately noticed a difference. Also, I’ve been weirdly into this Dr. Tung’s floss lately. It’s texturally perfect, and the cardamom flavor is oddly good. For my face, it’s Peet Rivko’s gentle cleanser, P50, and the moisturizers and serums I’m testing for Of a Kind. A couple times a week, I add about five extra minutes with a fast-acting face mask, and this Joanna Vargas one is dynamite.
Erica: If all goes according to plan (i.e., I don’t fall asleep on the couch), this is when I’m climbing into bed and aiming for a very solid seven and a half to eight hours of sleep. I wish I could get by on less, but I’m grouchier, more irritable, and less focused if I try. I plug in my phone where I can’t reach it—goodnight, IG stories black hole!—and read for a few minutes from a stack of books that populates my nightstand. I’m currently working through How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy and The Collected Schizophrenias—something that’s not too plot-dense so I can take in a few pages before my eyelids start drooping.