The full-page ad in the WSJ appeared on 15 March…so it couldn’t be an obvious practical joke. Then I visited their web site. It ain’t no joke.

shinolaAdYou can forgive my incredulity at a picture of a watch, attributing its manufacture to Detroit, and the brand name being Shinola. I am of a certain age, old enough to recall my father using the word “shinola” in a way that would not presage its use as an emerging brand.

But Shinola definitely appears to be a brand ready to emerge.

The return of “American Made” has been heralded for as long as soccer has been the fastest growing sport in America. The challenge to “Buy American” has always been that people won’t pay a premium for it. Shinola isn’t asking for a premium price except that they are offering what they consider a premium line of products.

It’s a smart gambit: Watches, bicycles, leather goods, and journals are all relatively high-margin items. The line of products runs the spectrum from no barrier to entry (journals) to high-barrier / very difficult to manufacture (watches).

All this feels very good so far…except the name. That might be hard for certain folks to get past.

To be continued for certain.