Say Nice Things About Detroit

Worthmore’s visit to Shinola

We have been having a brand romance (brandmance?) with Shinola since we first heard about them in 2013. We were fortunate enough to be chosen to be one of their independent retailers in 2014 and we have been off and running since the first shipment. Shinola is the first company to build watches to scale in the US since Hamilton left for Switzerland in the 70’s. Last week we traveled to Detroit to see their factory and their flagship store for ourselves.

We know what you’ve heard about Detroit. We know the pictures you have seen. We’ve seen them too and all of that abandonment is definitely there. There is also a thriving arts community, the most amazing Art Deco achitecture and some very dedicated sports fans. Detroit is actually quite lovely. The people there were so nice and the food was delicious. The abandoned parts of the city were more sad than scary. The most haunting of reminders of how delicate economic structures are and how important it really is to support American manufacturing, and shop local. Which is something that we “knew” but after seeing it for ourselves now we KNOW. Which brings us to Shinola and why we love them so much.

Our first stop was the flagship store on Canfield St. So, for those of you who keep up with their goings on, the name of Shinola’s newest watch gives a nod to the address of their first store (PS we’re expecting our first Canfields to arrive by the end of the month). The store is sleek and beautiful. The air smells like coffee from their in-store coffee shop and that glorious Shinola leather. So basically, it’s heaven. To the right, you will see the dial shop and can watch some of the first dials that are being screen printed in Detroit as they come to life.

In the back left corner of the store is the bike shop where you can see racks and racks of the most beautiful bike frames you have ever seen. Across from the bike shop is a newly aquired space that will house the shop for one of Shinola’s new ventures, which you will have to wait to find out about…we have to leave some surprises. There were a few other things we saw that we are bringing to you right here in the ATL this summer. But again, those are surprises. (Its OK if you want to go ahead and start getting excited. We are!)

The next stop was a few blocks over to see the actual factory. After a quick spin through the offices and some introductions to the people who take care of our store on the Shinola end of things we made it to the mother ship. The glass wall that separates us mortals from the watch room. The actual watch making area is a clean room so you aren’t allowed to tour it but the progression of the line is clearly marked and you can see all these amazing crafts people plying their trade.

This is where it all starts. The first person on the line who sets the hands on the dials.

Cases of Gomelskys at the end of the line.

Next up was the leather shop. You can actually go around the entire facility and see all the stations performing their part of the process. Everyone in the leather shop was so welcoming, taking the time to offer us a little show and tell about all the fine detail that goes into each piece from Shinola.

The keeper of keepers. There were THOUSANDS.

SO MUCH leather.

If you have never toured a large scale manufacturing facility put it on your bucket list. Everyone is responsible for one small part of a large process and no part of the chain can break down or it all comes to a halt. Its a pretty good metaphor for life, too. Shinola boasts over 500 employees in their manufacturing facility now including administrative and production. The pride that each of them have for what they do is palpable and everyone knows they are a part of something incredible.

We did sort of breeze past our trip around the office (which included the creative department). Just know that we have seen things… things we can’t unsee and if you have been impressed so far, just wait. There is a VERY exciting collaboration in the works between Worthmore and Shinola, the first of its kind. This summer is going to be one for the history books.

You can stay up to date on all of our shenanigans and have the first look at our newest merchandise by following us on Instagram @worthmorejewlers and by liking us on Facebook.