This week on the SUPERLATIVE podcast, our host and aBlogtoWatch Founder Ariel Adams is joined by Awenate Cobbina, the CEO of Bedrock Manufacturing and Interim CEO of Shinola. Ariel dives right into Awenate’s work history, and they give a list of some of the brands that he has either been CEO of or played a major role in. The two also talk about what ties everything together at Awenate’s two current companies, Bedrock and Shinola. Awenate then dives into how Shinola’s original goal was to help create jobs in the heart of America based on the passions of its creator, Tom Kartsotis, and how Awenate is honoring that goal while trying to also advance the company even further into more goals and aspirations. Ariel asks about the manufacturing of watches and if it is the “ultimate challenge” within today’s industrial complex, and also asks Awenate about the best way to defend or explain the reason behind higher prices to the customers and the marketing challenge behind that. Ariel also wants to know from Awenate what he is looking to learn from his customers and stores when he is visiting the retail spaces and getting a hands-on experience. The two jump back to Shinola’s roots and how the journey may have changed since its inception, but also on how Shinola is always aiming to bring American culture into their watch designs and the stories behind them. Listen below or on the player of your choice. 

Shinola’s Detroit Headquarters

Awenate Cobbina has a somewhat unlikely background for a CEO of a watch brand: He’s spent time in real estate, politics (including two stints at the White House), and sports (he spent almost five years in the Detroit Pistons’ front office). But ultimately, he ended up as the CEO of Bedrock Manufacturing Group, which also put him at the helm of Shinola, the 10-year-old watch brand based in the Motor City. The throughlines for every position he’s held, though, have always been people and purpose.

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