The Insiders: Chris Roan and Thomas Hauner (A.K.A. The Significant Others)
No, The Significant Others is not a name of a band. (Ok, well, it probably is, but that’s not what we’re talking ‘bout here.) These are the husbands SLASH husbands-to-be of the Of a Kind co-founders. That’s Chris Roan, Claire’s boy, on the left—he works on brand strategy at Mother New York and has masterminded such things as this and this. Thomas Hauner, Erica’s better half, is on the right: He’s in a PhD program for (whoa) economics and is a sometimes Of a Kind model. Oh, and they happen to be two of most supportive dudes on the planet.
Q: How did you guys meet your respective girls?
Thomas: Basically, our first meeting was an interview. I was a first-year at University of Chicago applying for a position on the Major Activities Board, a concert programming sort of thing, and Erica was a third-year who was already on the board (incoming chair, no big deal) and was running the interviews with some other older board members.
Chris: I was waiting for this question! I met Claire at a wedding of a mutual friend of ours—I want to shout out Kate Oppenheim and Ben Walsh on this one. I engineered the seating arrangement so I could sit next to Claire. Kate wants to take credit for the arrangement, though.
Q: So do you own a ton of Of a Kind pieces?
Chris: Part of how I got a first date with Claire was because I ordered the Matt Singer dopp kit. When we first met at the wedding, she told me about Of a Kind, and I asked if they sold any men’s stuff. She told me about the kit and pulled it up on her phone. Up until that point, I threw my toiletries into a Ziploc bag when I traveled, which was pretty juvenile and gross. So to impress her, I was like, “Oh, I’ll buy that.” She didn’t think I was being serious about it and started to put her phone away, but then I stopped her and said, “No, I’m going to buy that right now!” And I bought it on her phone.
Thomas: During Of a Kind’s early, early days, I was assigned to model various accessories during my lunch break, and in return, sometimes I got to keep an edition. Now I’m a happy owner of an ALL Knitwear hat, a Dusen Dusen backpack, a Symmetry Goods scarf, and an Apolis tie. I was also gifted the Fischer henley, which I love.
Q: What’s the last cool trip you each took?
Chris: Claire and I just went to a wedding in Napa, and it was the first time I had ever been. I had always imagined that Napa was really inaccessible and really hard to navigate, but I was surprised at how welcoming it was. We did a couple of wine tastings, and the wedding was at the Krug Estate—and I had a really, really good time. We were there in the fall, and we got to see all the leaves across the hills start to turn, which was stunning.
Thomas: I took an econometrics course at the University of Copenhagen last August, so Erica and I got to spend a week in Copenhagen together before I started my class. It was our first time in Scandinavia, so it was really fun to explore a new culture and city. We did not, however, take up Chris’s resounding endorsement of Dine with the Danes and instead opted for a fancy dinner date near where I was living at Relæ. During the rest of my stay there, I ended up regularly eating lunch with several Danes at the University cafeteria, so I don’t think I missed out tremendously.
Q: What’s your New Year’s resolution?
Chris: At the beginning of 2013, I made a promise to myself not to take on any personal projects, which is the flipside of saying commit to the stuff that’s on your plate now. And it worked out so well. For 2014, my resolution is to plan and put on a killer wedding at Claire’s family home in Delaware.
Thomas: I tend to have the same one every year: to stop biting my nails. I’ve read and tried all of the psychological methods for addressing this habit and none have been effective for me. The best aid to finally honoring this resolution has been Nailtiques, which Claire vouched for in one of Of a Kind’s “10 Things” emails.
Q: I’ve heard you both have great taste in music. What are the last three songs you’ve listened to?
Thomas: One that I listened to earlier today was “Get it Right” by Aretha Franklin. It’s hard to listen to music when I’m studying for an exam, so I’m always searching for ambient-sounding music that also doesn’t make you fall asleep, so I tend to listen to The Field a lot when I’m studying. Today I listened to “It’s Up There.” And I really like “Reflektor” by Arcade Fire, so that was in the mix, too.
Chris: I just heard "How to Be The Man" by Riff Raff and "Faded" by Future, which both just came out, I think. Highly recommended. And I keep coming back to the Three 6 Mafia “Who Run It” Tycho remix. It popped up on a Hudson Mohawke mix a couple weeks ago. It’s what you might call a new twist on an old favorite, and I love it.
Q: You both live in pretty awesome Brooklyn neighborhoods. Where do you hang out?
Thomas: There’s a great coffee shop down the street from us in Prospect Heights called Crosby Coffee—it’s so bright and un-coffeehouse like and has this elephant motif, which I enjoy. And there’s a little Dominican restaurant called Puerto Viejo. It’s just the weird, funny mix: It’s a family business—almost diner-like—but then they re-did the entire space after a fire. Now the décor has all of these Edison bulbs and is so hipster.
Chris: Since moving to DUMBO, it’s been Brooklyn Bridge Park. The skyline does all the heavy lifting, so nobody’s too bummed when we have to wait for a table at Gran Electrica, which is the #2 DUMBO spot I take all out-of-towners.
Q: Which TV character do you think is totally badass?
Chris: My coworkers have lately taken to calling me Brother Mouzone, from The Wire. I like to think it’s because I am a ruthlessly efficient assassin. Or maybe it’s that the “zone” in his name reminds them of my handle @roanzone. Or maybe it’s my bowtie-and-glasses look. Either way, I love that character, and I am flattered by the comparison.
Thomas: My favorites would have to be Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon from Ab Fab. They’re oblivious with such conviction. They also have such strong tastes and preferences, in all the wrong, gaudy, tasteless, culturally offensive ways that you cannot help loving them.
Q: What’s your favorite social media platform?
Thomas: Well, I don’t really use Facebook…or Twitter. I guess by process of elimination I’d say SoundCloud, if that even counts. It’s interesting to explore what other people are listening to. And I love that there’s so much experimental stuff on there—not everything is on a released record.
Chris: Instagram is my favorite. The photos and all that are cool and seeing the world through other people’s eyes, blah, blah. But, to keep it real: It’s fun for lurking. There. I said it.