Shinola - John Argento (MD Europe)

With its own Detroit factory and presence in some of the world’s most prestigious stores, Shinola appears more established than its actual age of four.

Fusion Associates caught up with European MD John Argento to talk about the brand story and its future developments.

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Shinola’s premise is quite different. How did the idea behind it come about? 

Shinola’s founder, Tom Kartsotis, wanted to create jobs for locals in Detroit and at the same time revive American manufacturing. With his sound background and credibility in the field of watches – as the founder of Fossil – he decided to set up a watch factory in Detroit. At first everyone thought Tom was mad in trying to resurrect an industry that had left American shores a long time ago. 

A little over three years on, Shinola continues to grow, continually adding new product categories made either in-house at our own factory or in the workshops or factories of artisans and other producers we’ve teamed up with. Part of our business model is to promote creatives who share our passion for craftsmanship and local production.

Shinola’s premise is quite different. How did the idea behind it come about? 

Shinola’s founder, Tom Kartsotis, wanted to create jobs for locals in Detroit and at the same time revive American manufacturing. With his sound background and credibility in the field of watches – as the founder of Fossil – he decided to set up a watch factory in Detroit. At first everyone thought Tom was mad in trying to resurrect an industry that had left American shores a long time ago. 

A little over three years on, Shinola continues to grow, continually adding new product categories made either in-house at our own factory or in the workshops or factories of artisans and other producers we’ve teamed up with. Part of our business model is to promote creatives who share our passion for craftsmanship and local production.

You have an enviable stockist list. Which are your criteria when selecting wholesale partners?

We like to work with people who can tell our story. It’s like an introduction through a good friend. We have a Shinola corner in London’s Selfridges, for example, and have we’ve been stocked at Colette for a few years now.
 
How does the e-commerce side complement physical retail and wholesale?

Everything is developed to create synergy, and it’s important for us to break things down, adding layers that mean something. When you buy online, you’ll get a handwritten note with your purchase. We actually have two staff members whose sole responsibility is to write these notes. Most people appreciate touches such as these as it adds a human element to the online shopping experience.

 
FashionAlex Pescott