Al Sandimirova, the founder of Automic Gold, an inclusive fine jewelry brand, moved to the U.S. in 2009 when they were twenty. As a LGBT-identifying queer refugee, they didn’t know how to speak English, or have a way to make money, which created Automic Gold. As a non-binary individual, Automic Gold was also a way for Al to express their identity.
Now, Automic Gold is a NYC-made fine jewelry brand that is unisex, size-inclusive and made from reclaimed solid gold, providing a mindful expressive jewelry option for everyone.
Tell us about how you started Automic Gold and why?
I came to the US as a LGBT refugee when I was twenty years old, by myself. I didn't have access to any education, and didn't know the language. So, starting a business was the only way of providing for myself.
You have really thorough values and guidelines on representation and being a jewelry company for everyone - why is this important to you?
Being queer impacted everything, from the creation of jewelry collection to how I do business. I started making my own jewelry because as a non-binary person, I couldn’t find fine jewelry that wasn’t too feminine or masculine that I could fit or afford. So, that was originally why I created the brand. Right now, everything I do is genderless, size inclusive and accessible - it’s a must!!
How has gender and sexual identity impacted your journey as an entrepreneur and founder? How is your product made?
Queerness to me is not just the queerness of fashion, but also queerness of attitude and how business is done. Respecting nature, community and workers is very important. That’s why we produce everything in house, why we only use reclaimed materials sourced locally, and why we pay living wages to the people who make it. We only ever use solid 14k reclaimed gold and diamonds.
I hate capitalism as much, as the majority of queer people do, so I am implementing communist practices that I grew up with, rather than focusing on profit or gaining capital for myself as an owner. We focus on creating a flow of business where everyone eats at the table, from suppliers, to workers, and to customers.
I share the salaries of the company between our workers. The highest paid wage cannot be more than the lowest paid wage in the company. The income the company makes is distributed in bonuses or wage raises.