Season: Three

Episode: One

Date: November 2018

Happy Thanksgiving, it’s Shinola Time. Birthplace of US auto manufacturing, Motown music, public works and Tupperware parties—Detroit is one of America’s most iconic cities. Once considered the heart of the American Dream, in the latter part of the 20th Century, this buckle of the American rust belt was shaken by racial unrest, a struggling auto industry, and mass migration of residents leaving the city. Detroit is a massive 139 square miles—but the city’s population fell from over 1.8M in 1950, to only 675K in 2017.

Yet as any local will tell you, never discount Detroit. In the last five years Detroit has experienced a significant re-birth, due much in part to the people, companies and brands bringing new life, new jobs, and renewed pride to the city. One company helping re-set the clocks is Shinola Detroit—a 19th Century shoe polish brand reinvented for the 21st Century consumer. Founded in 2011 by Fossil’s Tom Kartsotis, and headquartered in the historic Argonaut Building, Shinola sells luxury watches, bicycles, leather goods and other design-forward and ‘bespoke’ products.

Though Shinola started selling watches and watch straps, its brand is about so much more. Like the city of Detroit itself, Shinola was built on the belief that things should be well-made and build to last. And after years of decline, the city is again making it’s own destiny—with passion, pride and a commitment to craftsmanship.

In this episode of 12 for 12, Adam explores Detroit and learns more about Shinola’s brand, and the part it’s playing in being called “America’s Great Comeback City.”

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