Detroit Shinola Storefront - Web Site Photo

If there is one thing I’ve learned in my lifetime, it’s that you can’t please everyone.

And based on the comments generated from online news stories, there are some people who will never be pleased.

karen-buscemiI like to think that a proper education would help to enlighten some of these commenters, who would come to see the one-sidedness of their pissy remarks, but if you’ve ever read any of those comment threads, you know as well as I do that trying to change someone’s one-sided thinking just leads to more pissiness. And more pissiness.

And more pissiness.

Because when people have opinions, they don’t want to be told that they’re wrong. Even if they are.

Take the subject of Shinola. For every positive article generated about the company, praising the quality of its products, the jobs the company has created, the positive light they have shined on Detroit, there is a negative story, focused on the number of products actually made in the city, and pointing out that the average Detroit resident could never afford to own a watch. Or a bicycle. Or a leather iPad cover.

In fact, there is almost a sense of pride in condemning this company. Whatever for? Several months ago, a reporter for a national magazine that I will not name here interviewed me for a story regarding Shinola along with the manufacturing of apparel and other fashion-related items in Detroit. That reporter fished and fished and fished, working so hard to get me to take that bite and unleash on Shinola. She was practically generating my answers for me. However, I didn’t have anything negative to say about the company. Imagine her disappointment! I remember saying to her, “Any company that comes into town, creates jobs and gets people talking about Detroit in a positive ways is ok in my book.”

Needless to say, she didn’t print any of my comments.

But that’s the thing. They ARE doing all those wonderful things. Who cares exactly how many watch parts are made outside the state? They keep growing and adding more workers and adding more items that they are actually manufacturing right here. Everything can’t be 100% from the get go, right? And who cares if the founder actually did use Detroit as a marketing tactic? I’m pretty sure the proof will show that the city is benefitting from it. And who cares if the average Detroit resident can’t afford their products? Are we saying Detroit is not allowed to have high-end stores or high-end restaurants or high-end hotels because the average resident can’t afford it? Having all these high-end places will only bring more money into the city. Money that can afford more police officers and fire trucks and demolished abandoned houses. We want to find all kinds of ways to pour money back into the city. Shinola is a part of that. I never hear anyone say that the London Chop House shouldn’t be in Detroit because the average resident can’t afford to eat there, so why get up in Shinola’s business?

There is an even bigger question to be considered: Are any of the complainers and whiners adding anything positive to Detroit? (How many guesses do you need?)

Just as John Varvatos will bring more national designers’ boutiques to the city, Shinola’s presence and marketing campaigns will bring more retail to the city. This will bring more shoppers to the city. And more tourists to the city. And more opportunities to the city.

Their manufacturing efforts will bring more fashion manufacturing to the city. Something we could desperately use that would provide many jobs of many levels to a variety of Detroiters. And again, improve the city’s economy. DG3 has received dozens of phone calls from companies around the country (and Canada!), who are more than familiar with Shinola’s success and want a piece of that Motor City pie by manufacturing their own apparel lines in Detroit. I welcome them all. (With a giant-sized fork.) Because when the world begins to recognize Detroit’s value, we win.

The picture is big, my friends. And it can’t be summarized in one pissy comment.

Or a whole thread.

Ed. Note: Karen Buscemi is the President and Founder of the Detroit Garment Group Guild who wanted to take her passions for both the local fashion industry and the city of Detroit and create an organization that could make a positive contribution to both. The result is a group of local “doers” poised to provide education and opportunities for Detroit’s fashion community. Learn more at and is posted here with her permission. The views expressed are hers and not necessarily those of Daily Detroit.