Zeroing in with Claire Mazur
The co-creator of A Thing or Two explains her process of curation, and how she avoids all the noise.
- Words By: Liam Boylan-Pett
- Images By: Claire Mazur
Claire Mazur is busy. A mother. A podcaster. A consultant. She has a newsletter and a book out, too. Working with her co-founder and friend, Erica Cerulo, Mazur has been busy for a while. With Cerulo, she founded the e-commerce site Of a Kind in 2010, which grew and grew, launching a partnership with Target in 2014. They sold the company to Bed Bath & Beyond in 2015, and continued to grow the company until 2019.
Still, Mazur has stayed busy. Along with Cerulo, she published Work Wife: The Power of Female Friendship to Drive Successful Businesses in 2019. Plus, she still curates like she did for Of A Kind, now with the newsletter and podcast, A Thing or Two.
Busy is not bad for Mazur. She spoke with Article One recently about how she handles her work life, what goes into her process of discovering “the next big thing,” and how to zero in on what matters to her in her career and in life.
Article One: Thanks for chatting with us today. With our first question, we wanted to get right to it: What goes into your process of curation with the podcast and newsletter?
CM: I think the nice thing about my creative partnership with Erica is that we have a sense of exactly what the podcast and newsletter are--which is a number of things. It's obviously taste driven. You want it to be something that people are excited about, but maybe not everybody's heard about--established enough that it’s worth watching, but not overexposed. So, for us, there's just sort of that gut feeling of something that feels right, and something that appeals to us.
Of A Kind was an E-commerce business for so long, where it was really important to have those crowd pleasers, that maybe aren't the things that you feel best defines your brand or your aesthetic. Now, not having to rely on something being a big cash cow, I am trying to lean a little bit more into “This is just what I'm excited about.”
Article One: Where do you go for inspiration--in life or in curation?
CM: Living in New York is a really big source of inspiration, and so is travel when I can--I think when I come back from a trip that is often when I havethe most ideas. My friends are also an inspiration. Seeing them, texting with them all day, and going to dinner with them tends to be one of the biggest generators of ideas for me.
"Now, not having to rely on something being a big cash cow, I am trying to lean a little bit more into “This is just what I'm excited about.”"
Article One: What are some of your favorite newsletters or other spaces of curation?
CM: One recent newsletter that has kind of taken me by surprise is Ruth Reichl’s La Briffe. She's a longtime food writer, restaurant critic and former editor-in-chief of Gourmet Magazine. She has a substack and it is so good, making really strong recommendations mostly around food products but every once in a while something not food related. She's an iconic veteran of media, so she surfaces vintage pieces from her archive, old menus that she had for dinner parties and restaurants she went to years ago. I really, really love it. It's inspiring both as an editorial approach to newsletters and because she's great with recommendations.
Article One: It seems that you are quite busy this year--just like every other year. What are you excited for most in 2022?
CM: Erica and I have been trying to carve some time out of the week to focus on just being creative, which is something that gets lost in the day to day work of our lives. Many of us get into a creative field and then end up doing so much non-creative work. We have run a business together for so long and that ends up becoming a lot of administrative work. So, I am excited for us both to carve out the time to commit to being creative and seeing what comes of it.
Article One: And how do you go about making that time? What can you tell someone who might be trying to slow down and make time to be creative?
CM: I think a big part of it is honestly just putting it on your calendar. Even if that feels a little silly, you know, being so formal about that sort of a thing. I treat that like a meeting like I wouldn't you know, just blow off a meeting and I'm not gonna blow off my creative time. You have to just treat it with the same commitment you would treat any other non-negotiables whether that's brushing your teeth or meeting with your boss, you just do it because you have to.
"We have run a business together for so long and that ends up becoming a lot of administrative work. So, I am excited for us both to carve out the time to commit to being creative and seeing what comes of it."