Wet cement candles? Leather bike locks? Shinola selling more than watches

Shinola DetroitWho doesn’t love the smell of shoe polish and freshly-poured concrete?

Now you can smell it all the time, thanks to Shinola Detroit, our local celebrity watchmaker. These luxurious fragrances now are available as $48 artisan candles hand-poured in Brooklyn.

But that’s not it. The company that makes its name on Detroit also sells $75 pencil pouches, $250 bike locks and $135 footballs. None of these are made in Detroit.

Obviously, this $190 leather piggy bank has already sold out.
Obviously, this $190 leather piggy bank has already sold out.

The products are  drawing criticism from those who believe Shinola is capitalizing on the city with their willingness to “put a Detroit on it.”

Shinola’s community manager defended the candles on reddit, saying, “They are very high quality, and they are very popular.” Pulling no punches, he criticized the city’s reluctance to embrace Shinola.

“It blows my mind that our own locals, who supposedly love this city and who want to see it improve, get better, and succeed, sit here and bash a company who is creating jobs and paying taxes in this city,” he complained.

Others disagreed.

“You branded some products and sold them by slapping Detroit all over it and selling the story of a downtrodden Detroit being saved by the corporate missionaries that brought the gift of jobs and tax money to boost our economy in its final days.”

Abigail Shah

Co-founder of Motor City Muckraker, Abigail Shah is a native Detroit and graduated with a BS in psychology from Wayne State University.

  • Alan Stamm

    Good post, Abigail.

    One transparency suggestion: Participation in the reddit discussion (“I’d really love this $135 Shinola Detroit football”) doesn’t mean you can’t also report on it, though disclosing the dual role in an endnote seems worth considering next time.

    • Thanks, Alan! I wasn’t sure what the rules on that were.

      • Alan Stamm

        No sweat. And we make “the rules” as we roll along! I lean toward full disclosures as a best practice..

  • bebow

    Really nice non-Detroit candles are available at mysticmasala.com. They’re handmade in the U.S.A.

  • Company is selling products! News at 11! Crack detective work there!

  • Kelley Girlw

    Odd, they could have found locals to make these other products.

  • Smartest OneHere

    Lovin’ my watch…by Shinola.