Monday, July 04, 2016


"How Shinola turned Detroit into a luxury brand" PBS NewsHour 6/30/2016


SUMMARY:  When it comes to luxury items, consumer minds are likely to think about some of the world's fashion meccas.  Think Paris.  Milan.  New York.  But Detroit?  One growing company would like to think so. With its line of watches, bikes, bags and other items, Shinola (aka 'Shinola Detroit') is aiming to have the Motor City known for more than its cars and financial woes.  Special correspondent Roben Farzad reports.

HARI SREENIVASAN (NewsHour):  How a small company in Detroit is trying to bring more manufacturing of a different kind back to the Motor City.

In fact, the company is branding its products as built in Detroit.  But what does that really mean?

Special correspondent Roben Farzad has the story, part of our series on business and economics, Making Sen$e, which airs Thursdays.

ROBEN FARZAD, special correspondent:  Shinola's flagship store in Midtown Detroit showcases hand-made leather goods, bicycles constructed on site, and, of course, watches, the product that put this luxury brand on the map.

When you look at your marketing research for, say, a 40-something with some money to spend walks into a store, and aspires to buy a Shinola watch, what is that person buying?

JACQUES PANIS, President, Shinola:  First and foremost, a high-quality time piece that has a story behind it

ROBEN FARZAD:  President Jacques Panis says that story is about Detroit, a city that got hit especially hard by a financial crisis that saw Washington bailing out General Motors.

Adding insult, the NFL's Lions went winless, the city's mayor was indicted, and Detroit later filed for the biggest bankruptcy in municipal history.  Even so, five years ago, Shinola set up shop here in a former GM lab.

JACQUES PANIS:  It's a city that is going to be one of the great stories of our country.  And, yes, it fell on hard times.  And we at Shinola have come to this city and have been a small part of this revitalization.

ROBEN FARZAD:  The company has created almost 400 jobs here, 240 in manufacturing.  Mesha McCoy was laid off by a car parts maker in 2009.

This feels much less kind of what I imagine manufacturing to be.  It's a clean room.  We're wearing, you know, smocks and we're wearing things over our shoes.

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