A New York boutique is positioning the city of Detroit as both a luxury brand and a cause, reports Jon Caramanica in The New York Times (8/22/13). Located in TriBeCa, the shop is called Shinola – after the "the resurrected shoe polish brand." It "specializes in bicycles, watches and leather goods, many of which are made in Detroit." The items are high-end. Bikes run from $1,950 to $2,950, and the watches from “$500 to $700."
Tom Kartsotis, "a founder of the Fossil brand of watches," is behind Shinola, via a company called Bedrock Brands. He based the concept on a study he commissioned last year "in which people were asked if they preferred pens made in China that cost $5, the United States at $10 or Detroit at $15, and when offered the Detroit option, they chose it regardless of the higher price." The conceit, apparently, is that you can buy "a small piece of the revival of a great American manufacturing city."
Not everything sold in the store is Shinola branded – in fact, only about half of it is. "The rest of the space is at least partly filled out in partnership with Hickoree’s, the nouveau-Americana store in Williamsburg. There are Hickoree’s napkins and picnic blankets, small bags by Kletterwerks, oxford shirts by Gitman Bros. and more." Of course, you can also procure a tin of Shinola shoe polish for just $15 … assuming you can tell the difference between "it" and that other thing.