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Video: Beautify your life with small-scale style and art

  1. Transcript of: Beautify your life with small-scale style and art

    SAVANNAH GUTHRIE, anchor: This morning on BOBBIE'S STYLE BUZZ , small batches. In a world of mass produced items and shopping at your fingertips, sometimes less is more. TODAY style editor Bobbie Thomas is here with a spotlight on special, unique finds. So what is this trend? People are looking for things that are one of a kind ? Like everyone knows the horror of you're going to go somewhere and someone's going to be wearing your same outfit.

    Ms. BOBBIE THOMAS: See the same dress across the room.

    GUTHRIE: Yeah, exactly.

    Ms. THOMAS: You know, I was really inspired by the first Web site we're going to talk about, Of a Kind . What they do is they send out an e-mail every week and they feature just one item. And they only make either five to 50 of those items. That's why it's called Of a Kind .

    GUTHRIE: Not one of a kind .

    Ms. THOMAS: Five a kind...

    GUTHRIE: Right.

    Ms. THOMAS: ...50 of a kind. And it was just such a nice, unique thing in this world today. We have the convenience of mass produced items. Its really nice we're all craving something special and unique . And so I really love that this Web site features a different artist and then you'll see that they give you a tag that comes with your purchase that says this is number 13 . This is actually number 11 of 13 tunics. So this -- there's only 13 of these tunics made. And it's a great way for emerging designers to also be introduced to you, so.

    GUTHRIE: And they have the photos. I just was looking at it before the show. That you can see what you're getting.

    Ms. THOMAS: Right.

    GUTHRIE: It's just like shopping on any Web site .

    Ms. THOMAS: Even for guys. This bow tie, there's only 20 of these made. And I think there's six left. So they'll do something new every week. I really love that concept.

    GUTHRIE: And then I know you found this. This is Mineralogy , is what they're calling it, on etsy.com?

    Ms. THOMAS: Yes. I am such a huge fan of etsy. I talk about it all the time. Because it's a handmade marketplace where everyone benefits. You as the consumer can find really unique stuff like this Mineralogy and designers like Theresa Cowan who creates this collection.

    Ms. THOMAS: She was introduced to fossil places, etc., by her science teacher. This is a prehistoric horse tooth that's two million years old.

    GUTHRIE: Oh my God. Wow .

    Ms. THOMAS: And she makes affordable jewelry finds. This is around $100 or a little less for some of these really unique rings. So search places like Etsy . Look for places like Of a Kind online. You can find more unique stuff that's special.

    GUTHRIE: Well, I'm partial to etsy.com.

    Ms. THOMAS: I know.

    GUTHRIE: My sister has jewelry on that Web site so, and it's beautiful.

    Ms. THOMAS: I can't wait to check it out.

    GUTHRIE: Now, you're saying that some...

    Ms. THOMAS: OK.

    GUTHRIE: ...some of the big retailers whose names we know are also getting into this. Explain.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yes. I'm actually wearing Urban Outfitters today. And what I'm a fan of is their Around the World collection. They go and find designers abroad and buy small, you know, chunks of their pieces and put them up on their Web site . So they're -- they even do an urban renewal where they'll repurpose old material.

    Ms. THOMAS: And this is another example of their Around the World collection, designers you may not have heard of. Also, Free People . If you're somebody who doesn't like to go to the thrift of flea market stores, this is what they'll do. They'll go to their -- go to their Vintage Loves collection.

    GUTHRIE: OK.

    Ms. THOMAS: And they have curated items for you. And even Macy's , big retailers, are on the heels. Just like Target and H&M did designer exclusives, Macy's has launched their second designer, Matthew Williamson . And so every few months they'll rotate somebody new. And it's just for a limited time, so.

    GUTHRIE: And it's also -- it's less supply so the idea, to create more demand, I suppose?

    Ms. THOMAS: Exactly. All of this is about less supply, more demand. I think we're kind of, you know, over the convenience in a way and we want something more unique or special.

    GUTHRIE: And you said this trend of people wanting something special extends not just to clothes but also some things around the house.

    Ms. THOMAS: Yeah.

    GUTHRIE: Show us what you've got.

    Ms. THOMAS: I was so excited because I hear so many people when they want to decorate their house, they'll go to IKEA , which is great, or Bed, Bath & Beyond . But you can find authentic art. Exhibitiona.com is a place where you can find contemporary artists like Richard Phillips , who did this great painting and more. Even David LaChapelle is on there this week. And between $100 and $500, you can get authentic art. And it's a really great way to start collecting pieces. You can also find on a Web site called oneoftwenty.com just what it says. There's only 20 pieces made of each thing. This is a great ceramics artist.

    Ms. THOMAS: And then such an adorable name, Imissyyou.com . Her name is Missy . She is going to -- she can take a custom picture...

    GUTHRIE: Oh, you send your own photo in of whatever.

    Ms. THOMAS: You could send your own photo...

    GUTHRIE: Yeah?

    Ms. THOMAS: ...and she'll hand-paint a watercolor or portrait for you.

    Ms. THOMAS: And she did this with celebrities, too. It's a great Mother's Day gift.

    GUTHRIE: It really is. It's darling.

    Ms. THOMAS: So I just wanted to inspire people to look at some things that are unique and made in smaller quantities because I do think that we have plenty of big stores out there but a lot of small designers looking to share their work. And it's a great way to boost the economy.

    GUTHRIE: And I know you put all those Web sites on our Web site , today.com. Bobbie ...

By TODAY Style Editor
TODAY
updated 4/21/2011 3:16:53 PM ET 2011-04-21T19:16:53

Lately, less seems to be more in our mass-produced world: Quality, not quantity, is very much en vogue. From accessories to art, TODAY style editor and Bobbie.com’s  Bobbie Thomas highlights an emerging trend.

Spotlight on small scale
While big brand names dominate the retail scene, websites such as OfaKind.com are on a mission to help you discover new designers. In a weekly email, Of A Kind spotlights a limited edition of one unique item from an independent designer, from five to 50 pieces. Each item comes with a certificate personally signed and numbered by the designer — something not likely to be found in any mall ($40-$500; OfAKind.com).

Another great resource for those who crave something special, as well as up-and-coming crafters, is Etsy.com’s online marketplace. Inspired by an earth science class, Etsy seller Theresa Cowan’s mineralogy collection caught my eye. Her handcrafted jewelry is fashioned from perfectly imperfect uncut and unpolished crystals, along with obscure elements such as animal bones and prehistoric animal teeth, ensuring one-of-a-kind status ($45-$200; MineralogyDesign.Etsy.com).

Less supply, more demand
Mass-market retailers are seeking out special collaborations and partnerships to provide consumers with select merchandise. Urban Outfitters currently scours the globe for their “Around the World” collection, which connects popular overseas designers with American consumers by bringing small quantities of goods directly to their U.S. stores. The retailer also churns out original pieces in their “Urban Renewal” line, which utilizes dated and discarded items, turning them into stylish garments of which no two are alike ($10-$590; UrbanOutfitters.com).

Similarly, vintage-inspired Free People handpicks antique garments for the “Vintage Loves” section of their website. From delicate slips to leather handbags, only one of each item is available — so savvy shoppers are adopting a now-or-never mentality in hopes of getting their hands on a rare gem ($98-$228; FreePeople.com).

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And on the heels of H&M’s designer exclusives and Target’s Go International Designer Collective, Macy’s has kicked off a series of limited-edition designer capsule collections that will be rotated every few months. In stores this month, Matthew Williamson for Impulse includes unique printed tops, dramatic dresses, leather jackets and more, starting at $59. While the appeal of owning a designer garment for less is as strong as ever, the allure of being one of few is proving to be equally exciting ($59-$299; Macys.com).

Authentic art accents
In a society with the convenience of superstores like Walmart and Ikea, it’s nice to see art get a boost, too. ExhibitionA.com is helping bridge the gap between street art and upscale galleries. They work with well-known names like David LaChapelle, as well as lesser-known artists looking to grow their fan base, to create exclusive editions of their work at affordable prices ($100-$500; ExhibitionA.com).

Created by two brothers in Connecticut, OneofTwenty.com is another online art hub. Featuring limited-edition runs of 20 copies, the website is an online artist collective and clothing company that showcases many talents ($50 & up); OneofTwenty.com).

And long gone are the days of stuffy portraiture — working from photos submitted to her website, watercolor artist Missy McCullough can turn around fresh, custom-painted illustrations of your loved ones, pets, or even your favorite heels within a few weeks. You can also purchase unique prints of celebrities, from icons like Elizabeth Taylor to younger stars like Janelle Monae ($25-$195; IMissyYou.com).

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

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