#MakeItPersonal with Shinola Team Leader CeCe Martinez

BY Taylor Rebhan

Cecilia Amoles Martinez, better known around our offices as CeCe, is a Team Leader in the cutting room of our Detroit leather factory. She’s a proud Mexican American who has lived in Detroit since she was four years old and considers the Motor City her forever home. Today, this mother, artisan and leader is best known at work for her contagious giggle and dedication to her job.

When it came time to show off just how special personalizing a gift can be, we decided to pick someone from our very own #TeamShinola to be awarded with a product from our #MakeItPersonal Collection. We wanted to appreciate someone who wasn’t expecting recognition, but deserved it. Learn more about CeCe below. 

Before coming to Shinola two years ago, CeCe worked in a factory that constructed cardboard boxes. “I feel a part of something bigger in this corporation, it’s totally different than any other job that I’ve had,” CeCe says. “A Shinola product you can’t throw away like you would a cardboard box.”

In her short time here at Shinola, CeCe has gained a world of knowledge about different types of leather, the tanneries we work with, how to spot defects within hides and more. She moved up from hand-assembling watch straps to a team leader position where she manages three people to ensure every piece of leather used for small leather goods in the Detroit leather factory passes a strict quality check.


Cecilia Martinez (pictured above) in the Detroit leather factory.

“This is a totally different world in small leather goods compared to watch straps because we’re working with larger pieces of leather. Moving up into this role is when I really started to learn how to cut the leather, skive the components, and everything that comes from cutting all the components from scratch,” CeCe says.  

Cece was nominated for this #MakeItPersonal gift by her manager Kathryn Hoffman, a production manager in the Detroit leather Factory.

“CeCe exudes positivity along with having an impeccable work ethic. She leads her cutting room team with respectful communication and sets a great example for her coworkers. It’s a pleasure to work alongside CeCe, her dedication to the leather factory is infectious,” Kathryn says. “One of CeCe’s greatest strengths is her ability to train. Her patient teaching has allowed many artisans to learn new operations quickly.”

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CeCe got to pick one item from the #MakeItPersonal Collection and chose to engrave her initials on the Gold Coin Edge Signet Ring

All leather factory workers start their day at 7:15 a.m. and leave at 3:55 p.m. with scheduled breaks in between, in addition to their lunch break. CeCe is known for being the first one to show up and the last one to leave.

“All the multitasking I do during the day keeps me busy and I never get bored in this company,” CeCe says. “Honestly, I had never received recognition in any of my other jobs before this. When I got the ring it meant a lot to me because I thought, ‘Finally, someone actually said good job at what I am doing.’ Receiving the ring was very surreal and I never expected somebody to do that for me, especially from a job.” 

When asked what her favorite part about working at Shinola is, CeCe emphasized how grateful she is to have the opportunity to get promoted into management roles. 

“Shinola gave me the opportunity to actually learn about management. Before this I had never in my mind thought I was ever going to become a team leader. My management team and coworkers gave me the confidence to learn more about the company and gain more responsibility. I couldn’t have grown into this role without their motivation.”


CeCe Martinez and her manager Kathryn Hoffman inside the Detroit leather factory. (pictured above)

Shop the #MakeItPersonal Collection


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