Shinola, the long-defunct shoe polish brand relaunched in 2011 as an upscale U.S.-made watch, bicycle and leather accessories label, opened its own dedicated leather goods factory in Detroit this week.
One of the stable of brands owned by Santa Monica-based Bedrock Manufacturing, Shinola cut the ribbon Tuesday on a nearly 12,000-square-foot space that the company says by year's end will employ 60 professionally trained leather workers who will cut and sew tanned leather into the brand's various watch straps, small leather goods and, eventually, handbags.
The company, which partnered with Swiss movement maker Ronda to make its watch factory a reality, has partnered with another Swiss company, Braloba, on the in-house stateside leatherworks. In addition, Shinola has contracted with Italian leather goods machine company Galli to create custom machines for the factory.
Like the watch production facilities, the leatherworks are located within the College for Creative Studies in the former Argonaut building in downtown Detroit. The company also announced that in September 2015 the college will begin offering a bachelor of fine arts degree in accessories design in conjunction with the new space.