Details are emerging about Shinola, the classic American brand being totally reinvented with a flagship store at 177 Franklin. As you may recall, the company behind Shinola is Bedrock Brands, which is also Steven Alan’s parent company. Steven Alan will be headquartered in the floors above the store.
First, temporary signage went up on the storefront (click to enlarge):
The graphics are a mix of Shinola’s new logo and old advertisements for the brand when it was shoe polish (hence the phrase, “doesn’t know shit from Shinola”). But shoe polish doesn’t appear to be in Shinola’s future. According to the Shinola website, which is no longer a placeholder, the company will start by selling “watches and bicycles, followed by leather goods and journals.” It’s all very handmade and small-batch, obsessed with provenance and craftsmanship. Here’s a snippet of text about the maker of Shinola’s watch straps: “Hadly-Roma in Largo, Florida, a company that dates back to 1905 and is one of the last manufacturers producing watch straps at a large scale in the United States. The hand-crafted component of this process comes largely from our second partnership with Rob Montana of The Strapsmith. Rob has been designing, developing and constructing custom watches and straps for years.” Some teaser images from Shinola’s site….
And better yet, some images from Coolhunting’s recent visit to the 60,000-square-foot Shinola office in Detroit. (The post has more details about how the watches and bikes are made.)
It’s an ethos/aesthetic that you probably associate with certain neighborhoods in Brooklyn. But Shinola is taking it a step further and headquartering in the new Brooklyn. “Why Detroit, Michigan? With deep roots in manufacturing everything from cars to air conditioners, Detroit’s history and success when it comes to producing American-made goods was something we couldn’t ignore. [...] When we arrived in Detroit, we were overwhelmed by the number of people willing to open up their businesses to help us with our own.” Well, they do have a lot of spare time…. “We met with the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation who led us to The College for Creative Studies located in the former Argonaut Building. The history of manufacturing and innovation in this building from it’s days as General Motors Research Laboratory, partnered with the energy of CCS’ student body made it the perfect home for us.” The Shinola site has a map of Detroit neighborhoods, a driving tour of the city, and interviews with cool locals.
Last I heard from Bedrock, Shinola’s relaunch was set for “late fall or early spring.” But Coolhunting said this: “The definite launch date has not been confirmed, though e-commerce is tentatively slated for Fall 2012.” And according to Coolhunting, the Franklin Street space will start as a showroom before being turned into a store early next year.