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February 12, 2016


Walking to a Different Beat — Te'Nesha "T.T." Martin, One of Our First Employees

Te’Nesha Martin, Willie Holley, and Titus Hayes (L to R). Photograph by Christian Witkin

February 12, 2016

Growing up in Flint, Te’Nesha Martin has memories of her parents taking her to downtown Detroit to explore the big city. And now, as one of the first employees we hired four years ago, Te’Nesha does the same thing with her children. As a Product Process Audit Tech working within the watch factory, Te’Nesha, known as "T.T.", says she remembers when Shinola first opened its watch factory and people would try and sneak onto the elevators to get up and take a peek at the factory. Watch the video and read more about her story below.

Video courtesy of Vice.

As a mother of two children, what do you think is the best piece of advice you’ve given to them?

You have to have a lot of positive people in your corner because the small things can build up into a lot of negativity and the next thing you know you’re frustrated and mad, and that’s the last thing you need. Positivity is key.

What is it like to work in Detroit?

It was always a dream to work here. Growing up we would come down here to visit family members and see where they work and come in to see this big ole’ city. Knowing we’ve got Chrysler, GM, and Ford all here and they produce and manufacture cars for the world, that’s amazing. Knowing the drive those people must have had always motivated me.

The Caliber 5021 Date Jump Operation being put together on the movement line.

What did you do before working at Shinola?

I was working for Walmart as an overnight stock associate for six years.

How did you become interested in working in a watch factory in the first place?

I was ready for a change, ready for something better, and ready to do something out of the ordinary. I had always stuck to what I knew and it was just not working for me. You know that feeling where you just don’t want to go to work, you’re not excited about it, or wondering what is next? When it comes to a company that’s brand new like Shinola was, there was a lot of room to learn new things and grow, and that got me excited.

What is your favorite part about working for Shinola?

I love this job. I get to interact with not only my coworkers but everyone and working here has changed me. It gives me a sense of pride and having that pride is something nobody can just give you, you have to gain it on your own. Once you get it, oh my goodness, it’s like I walk to a different beat now.

I’ve been here long enough to know that every step in our watch factory has a need and we are all an important part of the process to meet our goals.

Organizing all the little parts that go into every watch at the initial quality check.

What is your favorite Shinola watch?

My favorite is the Ladies Gomelsky 110274 watch because the look is so elegant. It's a grown woman’s watch. It’s for a woman who has pride, determination, and this attitude of ‘I’m getting there’. She has goals and ambition, and when she puts on this watch she’ll feel somewhat invincible.

Do you own that watch?

No, but that’s my birthday goal. In July I plan on having that watch.

This interview is part of a new series called JOBS that highlights the people that make Shinola tick. Find their stories here on The Journal or on our Jobs page

Nearly all of Shinola Products are Built in the US with US or Imported Parts

Making Moves — Shinola Watch Assembler Craig Steele talks about changing industries

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