EXCLUSIVE: Shinola to start working with UK retailers

After years of expensive brand building and limited retail exposure, American brand Shinola is rolling out the next phase of its European strategy that will see it develop a UK network of watch retailers.

The ‘Built in Detroit’ brand, which produces leather goods and bicycles alongside watches, had always stated that it would launch its own e-commerce and bricks and mortar store in the UK before seeking to work with retail partners and, 18 months after doing so, Shinola’s European managing director John Argento has confirmed to WatchPro it is now seeking to do just that.

Speaking exclusively to WatchPro, Argento explained: “Everything has been about putting the brand where people expect to see us, it hasn’t really been a very aggressive commercial approach, it’s been part of our positioning and marketing strategy.

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“We’ve been at Baselworld since we started, this was our fourth year there, and we’ve decided to open up the door to distribution. So we will be increasing our footprint with those kind of lifestyle doors, so department stores or other independents that sell multi-category products. But we will be initiating relationships with key watch retailers.”

Argento describes the UK as being Shinola’s ‘key market’ and although the company has not yet entered into discussions with UK retailers, he expects to be able to announce the first partners by the end of the summer. Until now Shinola has only worked with a handful of ‘influencer’ doors across Europe, including Selfridges in the UK.

The full interview with John Argento, Shinola’s European managing director will be published in the June issue of WatchPro.

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