Shinola, Grado Labs, And Adafruit To Talk Making And Manufacturing At Disrupt NY

Manufacturing never left America. Even during the recession, good people were still building good things. Recently, though, thanks to the maker movement, small-scale manufacturing is seeing a renaissance throughout the world, something the president of Shinola, Vice President of Grado Labs, and founder of Adafruit will discuss at Disrupt NY. Each of these people have a unique vantage point on this movement and we’re excited to have them.

Jacques Panis of Shinola, Jonathan Grado of Grado Labs and Limor Fried of Adafruit all will join me on stage at Disrupt NY to talk about the renewal of urban manufacturing and what it means to be made in Detroit, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

Jacques Panis is the president of Shinola, the watch and leather goods maker located in Detroit. He joined the company in 2010 as the firm was setting up shop. In 2013 he became the company’s president and oversaw the massive expansion into leather goods and bicycles. Shinola prides itself on being Made In Detroit. That fact is stamped on everything it makes including the company’s trademark watches, which are hand-assembled in Detroit — even the movement is assembled in the Detroit office.

Grado Labs makes some of the world’s finest headphones. And the tiny company has been assembling everything they make in a nondescript Brooklyn brownstone since 1953. As the great-nephew of the founder and son of the current CEO and President, Jonathan Grado grew up in a family that makes amazing things. While the rest of us were building LEGO kits, Grado was assembling headphones. He was directly responsible for the company producing their first in-ear headphones and the company’s latest cans, The e Series.

Adafruit makes things makers use to make other things. And it’s all because of Limor Fried. She founded the company in 2005 with the goal to create the best place online for learning electronics and making the best designed products for makers of all ages and skill levels. Since its founding, the company expanded into tools and merchandise, all while keeping its focus on electrical components. Now ten years into this venture, Fried has had a front row seat in watching the makers movement grow into a major force.

The Hardware Is Eating The World panel takes place on at noon on Monday, May 4th at Disrupt NY. Sadly, there will not be a Shinola watch, Grado headphones, or Raspberry Pi under everyone’s seat, but attendees will hear what makes these fantastic companies thrive in the current economy.

The show runs May 4-6 at the historic Manhattan Center. Tickets are still available.

Our sponsors help make Disrupt happen. If you are interested in learning more about sponsorship opportunities, please contact

Image: TechCrunch / Flickr/Jonathan Grado under a CC-by SA 2.0 license / Getty Images/Tasos Katopodis