Image: Shinola

Shinola x Double Eleven

Towards the end of last year Double Eleven collaborated with Shinola on their store employee Chore Coat (seen here on Double Eleven founder, Nathan Bogle). We were very excited about collaborating with such a great brand that has led the revival of the Made in USA movement and made it an emblem of their philosophy. 

To work on this project with Shinola was not only a pleasure, but also an honor, for many reasons. The relatively new company (founded in 2011) has taken the bull by the horns in terms of domestic manufacturing and been an integral part of the Detroit workforce revival, in turn shining a spotlight on the iconic city; home of Motown, Techno and the 'Big Three' (Ford, GM & Chrysler) which has gone through years of hardship.

The hub of the manufacturing takes place in the 30'000 sq. ft watch factory they built in the Alfred Taubman building in Detroit. Equipped with state of the art watch making machinery (through Ronda AG, their Swiss partner, who also trained the staff), it's the first time large scale watchmaking has been on home soil since the 1960's. Currently, the factory has the capacity to finish the assembly of 500'000 watches per year.

Image: Shinola

In addition, there is the 12'000 sq. ft leather factory, equipped with custom-designed machines produced by Galli S.P.A, that produces small leather goods and over 50 percent of the watch straps (the other half are produced in Florida) and right next door is the Leather Studio where everything is designed. Most of the straps are made from leather, which is supplied by Chicago based tannery, Horween Leather, which has been in operation since 1905.

Lastly, there is the bicycle component to the brand, with three models available, whose frames and forks are made by Waterford Precision Cycles, in Wisconsin, thereafter complete assembly of the bikes taking place at Shinola's flagship retail store on W. Canfield Street.

Image: Shinola

The commitment to American manufacturing and suppliers is a testament to those who built and run Shinola. Some have criticized it as exploitative of the 'Detroit story', however our view is that their is real value in this story and it is a business after all but if jobs are being created, lives being changed and impact is being made in the community, then why not take an asset like Detroit and bring it out from the decay it has been enduring for so many years and transform that energy into a gleaming watch, bike or bag that consumers want. That's sound business, plain and simple.

At Double Eleven we are always looking to celebrate and utilize the local workforce to produce products of exceptional value that embody the American spirit and enterprise. Shinola is doing the same, all be it on a grander level, in principle the value proposition is the same. We greatly admire this company, in particular for the positive impact it is having on the lives of Detroit locals and the community at large.

Nathan Bogle, recently did an interview with Shinola for their Journal, it's a good read if you have another few minutes.