Shinola’s Single-Speed Strategy: The Detroit Arrow

Detroit success story Shinola, known for its high-end watches and leather goods, is expanding its bicycle line with its first single-speed model: the Detroit Arrow.

“Bikes are a very important part of the whole concept at Shinola,” Steve Bock, Shinola CEO said. “This new model fits into the DNA and high-end design of all of the Shinola products that we sell.”

Shinola, which against many odds started up in Detroit four years ago, boasts of making handcrafted, American built products. Like the company’s other classic designs, the Detroit Arrow is hand assembled and tested in the Motor City.

“The idea is to always bring as much back in terms of capability in manufacturing to the United States,” Bock said. “Detroit is world renowned. It has a reputation across the board for manufacturing, design and creativity for innovation.”

Shinola is capitalizing on Detroit’s long history of manufacturing. It’s commitment to help the city rebuild an industry that’s struggling to thrive associates it with some of America’s greatest brands.

“Being a startup business in Detroit, more than 100 years after Henry Ford, the Dodge brothers, and many seminal American industrialists started in the Detroit area provides Shinola with interesting links to the renaissance of U.S. manufacturing,” Burt Flickinger, Strategic Resource Group Managing Director, said.

And Shinola’s commitment to American manufacturing expands beyond its 2,000 square feet of factory space in downtown Detroit. The “Made-in-America” brand partnered with a well-known bicycle builder to design the bike’s frame, which is hand-welded at Waterford Precision Cycles of Wisconsin.

The Detroit Arrow is available in black or white for $1,000; while a limited-edition nickel-plated design costs $1,700.

A $1,000 price tag for a bicycle may seem expensive to many, but it’s a bargain when compared to Shinola’s other models. The Bixby and Runwell retail for $1,950 and $2,950 apiece.

“The brand has the feel of Coach … a real attention on quality products at affordable price points, that just so happen to be handcrafted in the U.S,” Brian Sozzi, Belus Capital Advisors CEO, said.

Since opening its flagship store at 441 West Canfield in Detroit, the company has added six locations around the world, including stores in London, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.

“We’re planning to open another seven or eight locations in 2015, so we’ll be up to a total of 15,” Bock said. “The stores stretch from California all the way to the East Coast.”

One of the new stores will be in Brooklyn on the Dumbo waterfront.

“I think their Brooklyn location will be a fantastic fit for the brand. Also their exposure to Silicon Valley will be smart as well,” Kristin Bentz, consumer luxury expert and president of Talented Blonde LLC, said. “Brick-and-mortar retail is extremely expensive and risky to pull off at this juncture, but I believe they are prudently managing their expansion.”