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Must Read: How Shinola Went From Shoe Polish to the Coolest Brand in America

September 16, 2015

At Think Retail we are always interested in talking about and getting to know cool and exciting brands. These days, Shinola is on our radar.  Founded in 2011, Shinola designs and manufactures a range of luxury products, including watches, belts, bicycles, pocket knives, clothing and leather accessories.

The Shinola name, which comes from an old shoe polish label, has become a cultural phenomenon, with mentions on late-night television and plenty of unsolicited celebrity endorsements.

Shinola is already diversifying into new categories and securing its reputation as a full lifestyle brand.Products are sold internationally online and via a select group of retail partners, however it also has nine stand-alone stores in the U.S. The company does an amazing job of making its stores true destination spaces, where people gather for community events, such as whiskey tasting.

What’s most exciting (at least in our business) is Shinola has big plans for expansion. In the U.S., the aim is to have 16 stores by year’s end, with plans for up to a dozen more each year thereafter: Shinola already has a shop in London and is eying other international markets.

I encourage you to check out Robert Klara’s great piece, published in AdWeek, which celebrates the rise of Shinola by delving into its backstory and discussing what’s next for this fascinating brand: “How Shinola went from shoe polish to the coolest brand in America, Nobody’s confusing shit with Shinola anymore.”

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