To that end, Shinola will add a few jobs to the Bay Area with two stores opening this winter. The first, set to open Dec. 18, is a 1,700-square-foot space in downtown Palo Alto — chosen, in part, because it was a college town. The retail space will serve as a home to the brand’s versatile assortment in addition to acting as a “community gathering space” for public and private events.
A San Francisco store will follow in February, on a date that has yet to be finalized, in the city’s Jackson Square. The 3,200-square-foot space will also include a rotating pop-up shop featuring American designers.
The Bay Area, said Shinola president Jacques Panis, was chosen for the company’s 12th and 13th stores because of the region’s forward-thinking people “who understand what we are doing.”
And, to be clear, Panis said, Shinola’s primary objective is creating jobs in America. The company employs 534 people, not including those who have resulted from manufacturing partners, and is expected to generate about $100 million in sales this year.
“In addition to Detroit, we collaborate with factories and makers from many cities. It’s with these collaborations that we create products that are long-lasting and made with passion and purpose,” said chief operating officer Heath Carr. “We are energized by the entrepreneurial spirit of the Bay Area and are excited to be part of the community.”
Although the company is known primarily for watches, it also produces handbags, bicycles, journals, footballs, pet accessories and soon, Panis said, leather audio equipment, including a Seventies-inspired, limited-edition wood turntable console.
However, he was firm in his assertion that “timeless,” “classic” and “contemporary” were the appropriate adjectives to describe Shinola’s signature, rather than “vintage” or “heritage,” and said he didn’t focus on any one era in informing that aesthetic.
Panis said the mind-set was revival combined with innovation to bring back skill sets in various categories at scale. The watches have achieved the greatest scale; the company is on track to produce as many as 225,000 in 2015.
Carr said there are no limitations to what Shinola might produce going forward; thus far, he said, the company looks at “industries that have left our shores or, how can we engage with people doing the quality that we want?”