left panel: newspaper ad right panel: Shinola Runwell Sources: Edward Boches, Andrew Kim



Shinola photo by Andrew Kim

The watch strap is slightly padded and made from Horween Leather* by Hadley-Roma in Largo, Florida. The strap is nice and thick to balance the heft of the solid-steel watch.

* Worth noting that Horween is America’s oldest continuously-operated tannery.

Photo by Andrew Kim.



This is the story of a brand. A company called Shinola. Headquartered in Detroit with a store in Tribeca, they make wristwatches, bicycles and leather goods. They do a pretty good job with their marketing. And prove my six points below.



  1. Brands matter. We want to know their stories, their beliefs and their behaviors.
  2. Advertising still works. I may never have gotten interested in Shinola without it.
  3. Content has to live everywhere: And be accessible and cohesive to reinforce a brand’s core values.
  4. Design is essential: For a product, its presentation, its user experience and its advertising.
  5. Brands have to do not just say: That can be utility or programs like Makers Monday.
  6. Passion fuels business: You need people to love you not just to know you.



Pamphlet Photo by Andrew Kim



Shinola Tribeca via PaperMag

Shinola Tribeca Store via PaperMag



Everything about Shinola contradicts what we think of as a new age company. It’s not digital, it’s analog. It’s not a service, it’s a manufacturer. Its factory doesn’t run in the far east, it operates in Detroit. Its primary product is something no one needs in the era of smartphones. It’s an analog wristwatch. And it’s most recent advertising campaign? It runs in newspapers. What’s going on here?

Shinola is building its brand. That’s what’s going on.

Read in full over at Ed Boches.
Learn more about packaging and design from Andrew Kim.
Visit Shinola’s website.