Shinola Opens New Leather Factory, Plans to Add 60 Jobs


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The new factory will launch with a team of approximately 50 professionally trained leather makers.

Shinola is expanding its manufacturing capabilities, with the addition of a leather factory within its headquarters at the College for Creative Studies in the New Center area in Detroit.

The Detroit-based manufacturer announced Tuesday that it expects to employ 60 leather makers by the end of the year — professionally trained through Braloba, a Swiss family-owned and operated business that has been making leather goods for two generations.

“We are proud to continue our growth in Detroit and the opening of our leather factory is a very important step for us,” says Steve Bock, CEO of Shinola. “The more we can manufacture at Shinola, and the more we can manufacture in Detroit, the better. Investing in our people, equipment, and facilities is essential to our long-term success.”

Bock says Galli S.P.A., an Italian leather goods machine company, designed and produced a line of custom-built machines for the factory — the first of its kind in the world.

“We’re proud to have built highly innovative, world-class equipment for Shinola’s new leather factory,” says Carlos Galli of Galli S.P.A. “Leather watch straps demand more precision and care to make than handbags, wallets, or even boots. They are the most difficult and complex leather goods to produce.”

The 12,000-square-foot factory will begin by producing a portion of Shinola’s leather watchstraps and will expand to small leather goods and eventually handbags.

This opening comes on the heels of Shinola’s announcement to open a sister store, Willys Detroit, in Midtown next month. The company also plans to open a flagship store in Minneapolis this summer, as well as other stores in Chicago, Washington, D.C., London, Berlin, and Amsterdam.

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