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Meet Julie Sabella of SAND+GRIT in Carlsbad

Today we’d like to introduce you to Julie Sabella.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Julie. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
SAND+GRIT was born out of a passion for making jewelry for loved ones, along with an appreciation of geometric shapes, nature and finding beauty in unexpected places. With the tons of support from my husband Greg and three children Ava, Claire and Charlie, friends and family and my community, I took the big leap and jumped into the jewelry business in October 2016. With each new wholesale account, (thank you Ashely/Seaworthy Surf for being my first huge supporter) and successful market event, I become more grateful of San Diego County’s desire to support local and small businesses like SAND+GRIT.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
For me, there have been two challenges in starting SAND+GRIT. With a science and math background, I have a passion for geometric shapes and the beauty in nature/geology, but no formal training in business, finance, or marketing. Three Carlsbad businesses, Lauren Conroy Photography, Aura Candles and George “Shukata” Willis Choctaw Jewelry, along with my marketing genius husband, have served as my mentors to all things small business.

From introducing me to the early steps of establishing a business and website, to how to use social media, to calculating profit margins and cost of goods, to jewelry prototype testing, to the fine art of soldering, to taking the most beautiful ear photography, these smart and talented people continually support me with genuine kindness and selflessness. Their generosity has inspired me to give back in my own way with projects like The Horn Hoop Project, The Friendship Cuff and Medicine For Humanity African Beading Workshops.

The second challenge is one I’m sure I share with most working parents, how to balance work and family time. During the holidays especially, this is a difficult task that sometimes requires some “all-nighters” to prepare inventory for holiday markets and lots of leaning on my family for support. The success of SAND+GRIT is as much my family’s and mentor’s, as it is mine. I am appreciative not only for their priceless guidance but even more in their belief in me that I could succeed.

Please tell us about SAND+GRIT.
Minimalist Everyday Jewelry, SAND+GRIT pieces are equal parts classic + edgy, pretty + gritty. Who says we can’t be both! Each design is handcrafted by me in my workspace in Carlsbad, California. I love spending my days sanding, bending, hammering, designing new shapes and searching for inspiration in unexpected places, in the end creating a piece that will hopefully bring someone joy.

SAND+GRIT specializes in delicate geometric 14K gold filled earrings including the popular Horn Hoop, Obtuse Angle Climber, Suspender, Half Hoop, Nonagon, Circle Earpin, and TIny Staple. Original design and uniquely sourced gold filled and quality 18K matte gold plated charms are used to create the S+G’s Necklace Collection. One of my favorites is the Kelp Necklace, which is part of The Tamarack Collection. It was created from a blade of giant kelp by 3 Carlsbad artisans, Collected, designed, cast, and reproduced all in our rad little beach town, this charm is our iconic Carlsbad foliage and represents our pretty+gritty, laid-back coastal community.

I am currently working on an exciting Manhole Cover Collection, designing and gold plating my very own unexpected and beautiful urban grit medallions from the sidewalks around the globe. They will be available in Spring 2018. The SAND+GRIT collection also includes hammered and personalized cuffs and African Beaded Bracelets of different shapes, textures, colors and metals. I love to see how my customers mix + match to create their own everyday stack, expressing their own personal style. Pretty+Gritty minimal design, being handcrafted with high-quality materials and priced fairly, makes my pieces perfect for everyone and everyday wear.

Hands down, my proudest accomplishment is The Horn Poop Project. This Mother + Daughter Conservation Project was inspired by a tram ride at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. After learning about the horrific poaching of the Black and White Rhino of Africa, we joined in the fight to end extinction. Designing the logo and information card and cleaning/packaging the earrings became the job of my conservationist daughter Ava. My part in the project is forming the horn-shaped earrings and selling them online and at SAND+GRIT events. In four short months in 2017, we raised over $1,000 to donate to San Diego Global Wildlife Conservancy and spread rhino conservation awareness to hundreds of customers.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I feel grateful for my journey with SAND+GRIT thus far, missteps and all! Each one an opportunity to grow and learn and then become stronger.


  • 14K Gold Filled/Argentium Sterling Silver Earrings $20-$32
  • 14K Gold Filled/Argentium Sterling Silver/Brass/Copper Cuffs $18-$32
  • 14K Gold Filled Necklaces $32-$58

Contact Info:

  • Address: 2988 State St Carlsbad (Seaworthy Surf)
    3843 Mission Blvd Mission Beach (Bare Brush Tan)
    520 2nd St Encinitas (Violet Salons and Boutique)
    1817 S Coast Highway Oceanside (All Ye Citizens)
  • Website:
  • Phone: 760.845.9684
  • Email:
  • Instagram: @sandandgritca
  • Facebook: @sandandgrit

Image Credit:
Lauren Conroy Photography

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