I had the amazing opportunity to connect with Shinola’s creative director Daniel Caudill after the event I co-hosted with the brand at Steven Alan in October. Along with many others, I’ve admired the incredible influence this brand has had on the Made in America movement. They’ve gone beyond just talking about the importance of bringing production back into our country, they’ve managed to set up successful manufacturing in Detroit, a city rich in manufacturing history but has been neglected over recent years. I was excited to chat with Daniel about why he personally felt Shinola was making a difference and what drew him to the brand and the city of Detroit.
Q. After 20 or so years in the industry, what attracted you to Shinola?
To me, Shinola is a completely modern brand that’s a small part of a growing movement. We believe consumers want to know how their product is made, where’s it’s built and who’s behind it. It’s exciting to be apart of a team of people who care about design, care about the product and the quality of it.
Q. And why was Shinola attracted to Detroit?
Detroit was a natural decision for us for many reasons including it’s strong manufacturing history and amazing creative talent. Where do you go to find people that are used to assembling product and small componentry, and who want to work? There is a lot happening here – art, culture, music, food and we are proud to be based in this city.
Q. As Creative Director, what are some of the challenges, and rewards, of making a USA made product that is durable, semi-affordable, and appealing?
To build our watch factory in Detroit was a leap of faith – watches are a complex product, and a hard one to set up and manufacture. It’s by sheer will that this exists and the fact that we’re doing this successfully, and the right way, is really proving that anything is possible. There are many layers to this brand, but in a way it’s all based on that. The process for everyone involved is exciting, and it keeps building.
Q. Shinola has partnered with Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean to celebrate Steven Alan’s 20 years of business. As a fellow in the industry, why do you personally feel it’s important to celebrate this industry icon?
Steven understands how people like to live and how people want to shop. He has created an authentic line of American cool, comfortable and classic clothing. The must-haves for every wardrobe.