In the wake of COVID-19, as exhausted healthcare workers on the frontlines remain bravely committed to public health, it seems like everyone is looking for a way to give back to them — and Shinola is no exception. Today, the Detroit-based lifestyle brand announced a partnership with the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, a full-service regional philanthropic organization, to support local heroes in healthcare.
Shinola has pledged to donate $197,500 to the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan through sales of The Champ, a new multi-colored timepiece available now for pre-sale at shinola.com for $395. (Delivery of the limited-edition watch is expected to begin in late July, as the company’s watchmakers will be returning to work only when it is 100 percent safe to do so.)
Hour Detroit spoke with Shannon Washburn, CEO and president of Shinola, and Mariam Noland, president of the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan, about the mission of the partnership and how it will benefit local healthcare workers.
Hour Detroit: The Champ was originally designed for the Olympics. Tell us a little bit about its history and the moment you realized you had to pivot?
Shannon Washburn: The Champ is part of [Shinola’s] Detrola Collection — that’s the watch we call “The Official Watch of Something.” So, we were doing The Champ to celebrate the Olympics for 2020 … and then COVID hit, and people had to rethink how we were working, where we were working from — and I think everybody was also thinking, “How can we contribute?” In one of our creative meetings, we were talking about The Champ … and someone said, “You know, we’ve got champs right here on the frontlines.” We thought about how we could reimagine that story, and we reached out to our partners at Lovio George on connecting us with an organization that was likeminded and supported healthcare workers — and that’s how we were introduced to Mariam at the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan.
What percentage of sales from each timepiece will be donated to the Community Foundation?
SW: We’re designing 500 pieces … and 100 percent of the sales will be donated.
How will the Community Foundation of Southeast Michigan help local healthcare workers through this partnership?
Mariam Noland: When the crisis began, we looked around to see what wasn’t being helped by others — and certainly one of the areas was to help the frontline workers in healthcare. Thanks to the generosity of many, we have been making a number of grants. We’ve granted almost $9.5 million already for COVID activities. This is really an amazing opportunity to recognize those who have done so much every day on the frontlines. If you buy this watch, you really get a triple benefit. You’re helping healthcare workers — and they need it. Secondly, you’re supporting Shinola, a local company in Detroit. And third, every time you wear the watch, you’re going to get great pleasure because you’ll know you helped the recovery of healthcare workers.
SW: I have a fourth benefit [to add] because it’s something I’ve already had people tell me. People are buying these as a gift for someone that’s been on the frontline … their champion.