Waiting in the lobby of the A. Alfred Taubman Center for Design Education at the College for Creative Studies in the Midtown district of Detroit, the wonders of Shinola waiting floors above, creativity literally oozes from the walls. Shinola chose Detroit as the headquarters for their newly developing manufacturing company after careful consideration of what city could help nurture their dream of reviving the beauty of manufacturing. Not only did they decide to move to a city with a lengthy story of success and turmoil, but they chose to bring along with them a brand with a colorful history. Now they have chosen to take this brand and make watches, bicycles, leather goods, and paper journals all in America. What came from these choices is a brand that revels in American manufacturing, reliability, ingenuity and innovation.
After being greeted and led to the Shinola floor within the historic Argonaut building, the tour begins in the expertly designed and beautifully arranged lobby and retail space. The aesthetic is one of clean lines and classic style that embodies the reinvigorated brand. On display are watches, bicycles, journals, leather goods and other sundries boasting how the brand has evolved in its short developing stages. It is here that guests are greeted by enthusiastic Shinola team members who prepare guests to experience and learn about the careful craftsmanship of their products.
Each tour member must be outfitted with booties, a hair net, and a coat before the group is lead into the watch manufacturing room. Shinola transformed 30,000 square feet of raw space into an assembly area where skilled workers from Detroit carefully hand assemble watches that can be described as both beautiful and ready to sustain the test of time. The passion and dedication of the assembly team and all other entities at play in the development of Shinola watches come together in this space to create a timepiece that speaks to the history and future of American manufacturing and innovation.
The company is dedicated to procuring as many parts and products for their creations from companies in the United States. It is a business model of sustainability and partnership that speaks to the ways in which Shinola works.
Following the inspirational exploration into the art of watchmaking, the tour proceeds on to the bike assembly portion of the Shinola manufacturing space. It is here that guests are amazed by the artistic elegance found in a lovingly crafted bicycle. The frames and forks are created in Wisconsin by Waterford Precision Cycles, led by Richard Schwinn, where their reputation is exceptional and revered in the bicycle world. Then, each Shinola bike is a custom-crafted masterpiece that is assembled on site, by hand, and with intense attention to detail by the Shinola bike-makers. Soon, this part of the process will occur at the Midtown retail space and lounge that is set to open in June.
As the tour ends, feelings of nostalgia and intense excitement for the future of Shinola, and Detroit itself, are in the air. The company’s dedication to every little detail is both apparent and undeniably appreciated by the community. To find out more about what’s next for the company, its partners, and its projects, feel free to follow their Journal where this developing and prospering company shares each success.
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