How can retail brands deepen their emotional connection with consumers? American luxury watch and leather goods maker Shinola is one company that believes a move into hospitality and travel could be the answer. A hotel stay allows guests to be totally immersed in a brand for a long time. Something stores just can’t offer.
Tom Lewand, Shinola CEO, says: “We are about more than beautiful product. For us, great design and quality extend beyond product to experience. Whether you are in one of our stores or on our website, your experience should be comfortable, positive and rewarding. The Shinola Hotel allows us to create that experience in a much more immersive and comprehensive way.”
Launched in 2011 by Tom Kartsotis (who also co-founded watch brand Fossil and Shinola’s parent company Bedrock Manufacturing), Shinola has expanded from watches to bicycles, leather goods, jewelry and speakers and turntables, to become a lifestyle brand. The company’s products have a classic, vintage look intended to give the feel of an American heritage brand even though it is less than 10 years old.
The business was founded to help regenerate Detroit and provide training and employment for local residents. Kartsotis has said: “At the core of what we are doing is job creation so when we look at a new category we ask ourselves whether this category can bring manufacturing jobs back to the places in America where jobs are needed.”
Today, Shinola employs over 600 people, with an average of 200 in manufacturing. More than 30 people are involved in the assembly of a single watch.
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