In one of the more coherent brand launches in recent memory, a new venture called Shinola is poised to capitalize on the trend of American manufacturing with products ranging from bicycles to watches and a forthcoming line of leather goods, all made in the Heartland of these United States.
We're starting with watches first, a product that hasn't been mass-produced in the US for decades. We've built a state-of-the-art watch movement and assembly factory in Detroit with the help of Ronda AG—a legendary movement manufacturer based in Lausen, Switzerland—and our workers have already begun assembling the Argonite 1069, the movement at the core of our watches.
But we're not stopping with watches. We're also producing American-made bicycles using hand-welded frames from Wisconsin, high-quality notebooks through a partnership with Michigan-based bookmakers Edwards Brothers Malloy, and a wide variety of leather goods—including iPad cases, MacBook envelopes, rucksacks, and handbags. Through hard work and collaboration, we believe we can establish ourselves as an iconic brand, while expanding the capacity—and reinvigorating the spirit—of manufacturing in America.
If it all sounds too good to be true, it's been a long time coming: they launched their website nine months ago and have been developing the products for nearly twice as long as that. The brainchild of Tom Kartsotis, founder of Fossil watches, the brand takes its name from a popular shoehine brand that is best known for its cheeky alliterative slogan. Both the bicycles and the watches are assembled in Shinola's Detroit factory in the same building as College for Creative Studies' A. Alfred Taubment Center for Design—a former GM factory. The design school has already proven to be an invaluable talent pool for its upstairs neighbor.
We won't go so far as to say that the startup will singlehandedly revitalize the manufacturing culture of the Upper Midwest region, but Shinola is making a bold statement with its winning combination of in-house savoir-faire, carefully curated local producers and nicely executed video documentation of all of the above. All ten of the videos on their Vimeo page are well worth watching, from the backstory of the building above to the bike-building short, posted just yesterday:
The watch one has been making blog rounds, but the videos about the as-yet-unreleased leather goods are also excellent examples of storytelling to highlight the value of a premium product.