Dripping in Gold
Nestled in between the bustling neighborhoods of Little Havana and Coral Gables is Grimal Jewelry. Founded by Angel Grimal in 2011 the store is sought out by celebrities around the world. It’s common for notorious rappers, athletes and reggaeton stars to visit. Grimal drips them in gold, unique designs, that are handmade. He specializes in the Cuban link chain. A signature series of loops that takes hours to make, made popular by hip-hop culture.
Grimal is an artist. He had been making jewelry since he was a child in Cuba. Osvaldo Garcia was the father to one of his friends and gave the young boys his old tools. Grimal would spend hours in a small wooden room, fiddling with the old fashioned tools.
“The first piece I ever made was a silver bracelet made of metals.
These days he works with gold and diamonds but he still likes to create new things. Once he sees that a trend has taken off he switches things up. His clients enjoy coming to him not only because of the craftsmanship of the pieces, but he always has a surprise of something new and fresh. Recently he designed a custom pin featuring his logo and the colors of the United States of America.
Being in the states has given him a lot of opportunities and he loves this country.
“The United States has given me the opportunity to chase the American dream.”
In Cuba his business was limited. Due to the lack of internet he wasn’t able to reach as many. Now he is able to create for people all over the world. The best thing about what he does is seeing the joy in customers face when they get their piece.
Grimal’s family was poor, but having jewelry is a sign of wealth in Latin culture. You can always melt the gold down, create something new or sell it. Grimal compares the buying and selling of jewelry to the characteristics of the stock market.
“People who buy chains look at it as an investment. They go into the deal thinking how much can I get for this tomorrow.”
Every morning when he wakes up he checks the price of gold on the market, has a Cuban espresso and starts work. Grimal’s job requires long hours and long weeks. For over thirty years he has been building his brand, only taking Sundays off. Now that he has two daughters he makes an effort to turn off his phone after 8pm so he can spend time with his family.
“At this point in my career, my family is my motivation. They inspire me to keep going.”
His family is not the only people that rely on the growth of his business being successful. With 16 employees on his team, he does feel the pressure of being an entrepreneur and staying ahead of the competition.
“The way to success is to always be creating. Working harder than your competition, and staying fresh.”
The jewelry industry, or as Grimal calls in “the jewelry game” is very strong right now. In particular, the Cuban link style has become very competitive in recent years especially in South Florida. Originally it was dominated by Russian and Jewish designers. Using the power of social media and platforms like YouTube has set the Grimal brand apart from others.
With over 12 thousand subscribers on YouTube and over 371 thousand on Instagram buyers that want not just a piece of jewelry, but a custom piece, something that is brand name go to Grimal.
“If it doesn’t have the Grimal stamp on it, people don’t want it.”
He says proudly. He manages his social accounts by himself. One more thing to keep him busy.
It’s not all about work for Grimal. He returns to Cuba often to visit his family, making a trip for Mother’s Day this past year. He also gives back to the local Miami community by handing out backpacks during back to school, and turkeys during thanksgiving. He prefers to stay out of politics as it deters him from staying focused on what brings joy to his life. His art.
“I love it when a new random artist walks into the store. People want to see me when they come into the store.”
Since he can’t be at multiple places at once it made sense to have one location. Over the course of his career, he made the decisions to close his other to be stronger. In the future, he is looking at expanding his brand to empower other jewelry makers.