“Why not accept that manufacturing is gone from this country? Why not let the rust and weeds finish what they started? Why not just embrace the era of disposability? And why didn’t we buy a warmer coat before we moved here?”
These are the questions the team at Shinola ask themselves throughout the long winter. As more and more companies start to move out of the US, Shinola is opening more factories and stores within boundaries; specifically in Detroit and around Michigan. Shinola chose Detroit because they are both restoring beauty and history to something that was once vibrant; in one case, a watch company, and the other: a city.
Shinola started out as a shoe polish company in World War I and World War II, and slowly disappeared. In 2001, after being bought by another group of investors, Shinola decided to try again with luxury watches, leather goods, and now, bicycles that are all produced in the US. They bought a portion of an automotive factory and opened for business. I like Shinola as a company because they truly seem invested in their employees: training them with Swiss partner Ronda AG and giving them a chance to become great at something.
Shinola is one of the few watch makers based out of the US, and gets all of their leather for goods and watch straps from the Horween Leather Factory in Chicago, which is the oldest leather tannery in the US opened in 1905. Shinola recently opened their own leather factory in Detroit, and plans on starting to produce small leather goods through it by the end of the year.
I recently ordered a watch from Shinola, and was impressed by the quality of the watch and small personal touches. Every watch comes with a serial number, and a card with who made the watch. The watches come in beautiful wooden boxes, and really stand out from other companies.
You can check out Shinola on their website.