Have you heard of Shinola? I first heard of the company when my brother called: “Hey, there’s a really cool new company making watches in Detroit. They’re the first watch made in America in a long time. I pre-ordered one.”
I’m originally from Detroit and the house where I lived as a child is abandoned and broken. It's a pretty good stand in for a city as a whole. Once the "Paris of the west” we all know that it has seen much better times. So any good news from Detroit makes me happy, and naturally I wanted a Shinola too. Then last year I got one as a gift. I love the watch, and the packaging was over-the-top well done. It even came with a little tin of leather cream to use on the band now and then. Nice touch.
When the little orange lightning bolt thread in the strap unraveled, I made the trek to their Tribeca flagship store for a replacement. The place had an uncannily well done retail presence that brought to mind Anthropologie’s temple of too-expensive-to-be-real cool. And it was filled with a too-perfect collection of leather goods, bicycles, and watches in an awesome space replete with a hipsterific 3rd generation coffee shop in the foyer.
You know, this place might just too good to be the scrappy Detroit-based startup it presents itself as. What’s going on? I Googled them, but at the time I didn’t find a whole lot except for bits here and there extolling them for bringing manufacturing jobs to the Motor City.