A man and woman walk into Sandcastle Time on Carpinteria Avenue and search the jewelry-filled counters, looking for something new. A curious looking ring grabs their attention—the antique-styled one in the back row. Jocelyn Jones, owner of the shop, brings it out from the display. The lady slips it on her ring finger, and it’s a fit. The man smiles, knowing he’ll soon ask his girlfriend a question she’ll never forget.

Since opening 22 years ago, Sandcastle Time has been a catalyst for innumerable moments like this. Filled with fine jewelry, clocks, watches, handbags and other curiosities, Jones describes her business as a “mom-and-pop (minus the ‘pop’)” jewelry store in Carpinteria.

It’s interesting that Jones chose this line of work since she had no previous retail or jewelry experience when she bought the business in 1997. “I was a communications major at UCSB,” she explained. “I purchased a jewelry store that was going out of business, and got extremely fortunate to inherit a fantastic jeweler and watch repairman.” Jones credits both artisans to her continued success. “They taught me the ins-and-outs of repair and design, while already having the town’s trust.” For Carpinteria and the surrounding areas, Sandcastle Time specializes in jewelry repair, custom design and high-end watch repair. “We also have basic services, like replacing watch batteries, bands and minor repairs while you wait.”

Aside from having a highly skilled staff, Jones says the secret to her success is the local community. “Plain and simple, shopping local keeps the doors open,” she said. “In return, I have tried to offer the best service and become knowledgeable of what my clients need.” She and her staff have formed close relationships with customers, particularly when designing a special piece. “I love working one-on-one with my clients to create the perfect piece of jewelry,” she said. “My work is an extension of who I am.” Jones notes her greatest influences in design are vintage jewelry, texture, color, art and fashion.

She says the best business advice she’s ever received is to take full responsibility for your business. “It took me a few years to realize what this meant,” Jones said. “Most businesses start out with a clear vision, but over time the daily grind causes our vision to fade.” Writing out a plan to achieve her goals has kept Jones focused. “I hit a mental plateau on growth when gold prices rose,” she said. “My competition was discounting (gold) too much” and internet-shopping over in-store purchases were becoming a concern. She had to adapt in order to survive. She brought in a wider variety of jewelry lines that could accommodate a range of budgets.

Currently, Sandcastle Time carries local business lines and nationally sold lines as well. Jones offers designs from: Waxing Poetic; niobium metal jewelry from Arcata, California called Holly Yashi; a multi-textural line called Ayalabar; internationally known leather and accessory brand, Fossil; J&I handmade artisanal jewelry made in America from silver and gold fill metals and topped with gemstones and pearls; and Mariana Jewelry which makes a gold or silver jewelry with special hand cut gemstones, crystals, fabric beads and Swarovski crystals.

Jones and her jeweler also create one-of-a-kind pieces using sea glass she finds on Carpinteria State Beach—a feature that makes this local business stand out from other jewelers in the area. With the diversity of its offerings, Sandcastle Time has a selection that will fit most budgets as well as tastes. When asked if she could narrow down one trade secret, Jones said her answer coincides with advice she would give to her younger self: Accept failures and learn from your mistakes. “The best business plan is trial and error, and finding your true course sometimes begins with failure.”

Sandcastle Time is located at 1078 Casitas Pass Road.

Megan Waldrep is a columnist and freelance writer, currently living on a 34-foot sailboat. To learn more about Megan, visit meganwaldrep.com.

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