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Inspiring Action Brand Of The Week: Shinola

Shinola is our fifth Inspiring Action Brand of the Week. Past winners have been Bonobos, Everlane, Casper and ThePointsGuy.

Jeep. Budweiser. Levis. John Deere. Shinola.

Shinola?

Yes, Shinola. The next great American brand.

The Detroit-based luxury lifestyle brand, founded five years ago, has positioned itself as the general of an army of entrepreneurs and artists all trying to march the Motor City back to its former glory.

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Jobs.

Sure, Shinola handcrafts beautiful watches, bicycles, and leather bags, but its greatest creation is undoubtedly the jobs that come with them. The fact that it’s in Detroit, a city known just as much for its storied manufacturing past as the decades of decay that followed, really helps tie the bow on a beautifully packaged brand backstory. Not unbeknownst to founder Tom Kartsotis, the carefully selected location of their headquarters and factory have successfully added to the “Americana” lore that circulates the brand.

Shinola understands the importance of origin. Dissimilar to nearly all of its competitors, Shinola’s products are pre-dominantly manufactured in America (a small minority of the components are sourced overseas). The product of that decision has been hundreds of jobs, many of them to former auto workers who were previously unemployed.

In a recent New York Times article, Kartsotis was quoted saying “We’re not a watch company. This company really started as a job creation vehicle.” That mission has proven successful, and with big plans on the horizon for 2016, it seems as if that vehicle is only picking up speed.

Shinola knows what their devotees love about themselves, which is one of our Ten Signs of an Inspiring Action Company. Americans are patriotic. It’s in our wiring. Whether it’s watching July 4th fireworks, or suddenly becoming a huge soccer fan when the United States is in the World Cup, we love to root for the home team. Shinola represents that team, and they aren’t shy about it, either. Their tagline proudly states “Where American Is Made.”

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Massive in size, Shinola’s first factory is a far cry from the decrepit factories of yesteryear. Nestled inside the renowned Argonaut building, the factory boasts 30,000 renovated square feet of clean, state-of-the-art equipment. The building is a former laboratory for General Motors.

It’s not just the work space that gives the factory its world-class reputation. Shinola brought in the best Swiss watch builders in the world to train their people, and absorbed the cost. Additionally, Shinola pays hourly workers at least $3 more than the $8.50 minimum wage, a figure that is unrivaled by the majority of its competitors.

So go home and throw on whatever red, white and blue you have and head to your closest Shinola. Uncle Sam will be proud.

Feeling inspired? Want to learn more about Shinola? We’ve got you covered. Check out our full length case study here.

-James Nieman, Integrated Marketing Manager