SOPHIE BRAGGINS' CAME TO US IN SEARCH OF A MULTIFUNCTIONAL BESPOKE PIECE. WHEN WE LEARNT OF HER STORY, WE WERE HUMBLED INSTANTLY.
TOGETHER, SOPHIE & I DESIGNED AND CREATED SOMETHING FOR A VERY SPECIAL OCCASION...
AND BY SHARING SOPHIE'S STORY, WE HOPE TO BUILD AWARENESS ABOUT KINDNESS & GRATITUDE FOR OUR OWN LIVES, THROUGH SOPHIE'S POSITIVE SPARK & LOVE FOR HER OWN.
Sophie, tell us about your journey, and why you wanted something made especially for the occasion:
SB | In 2018 I was a surrogate for my beautiful best friend. We are both optimistic people by nature and we agreed over a glass of wine to make it happen. It was an incredible experience and it still feels surreal seeing baby Lachie as a happy and thriving bonny boy.
Near the end of the pregnancy, my friend had a baby shower planned and I wanted something special to wear for the occasion. Brooke’s thoughtful approach to the design process meant a perfect finished product.
We can only imagine the waves of emotions throughout your journey, and what you would have unravelled within your own self. Do you have any main discoveries you learnt about yourself and life itself along the way? How will you apply these to your own family & life moving forward?
SB | The experience reinforced for me that mindset is everything. If you think you can, you can. I really hope that our children have learnt that with kindness, positive intentions and determination, anything is possible.
I also gained a renewed appreciation for how fortunate we are if we have a healthy body and mind.
It has definitely inspired me to do more. From random acts of kindness to more significant contributions to meaningful causes, it feels like a privilege to help.
"...From random acts of kindness to more significant contributions to meaningful causes, it feels like a privilege to help."
Can you describe in your own words the look of your special piece we designed and created, and how it makes you feel?
SB | The dress designed by Brooke is just stunning to wear. Her work is the epitome of quality and not one detail is compromised, from the beautiful fabric to the thoughtful design.
We have noticed a significant colour in your recent wardrobe - which also relates to your initial choice in colour for your Bespoke piece. Is there a link with these?
SB | I seem to be drawn to dusky blue tones. I find the colour fresh, relaxing and classic. The link with my bespoke piece was because I was carrying a little boy and I wanted to dress ‘in theme’ for the baby shower.
Tell us about your current style, and what you're most influenced by?
SB | Of course, I am inspired by what’s happening culturally, on the streets and internationally, but ultimately I’m a loyal supporter of our incredible New Zealand designers. I flow in and out of casual, colourful and feminine patterns to classic and corporate workwear looks.
You not only have 2 of your own beautiful children, have offered the opportunity of life to one of your best friends, but your family has also opened your arms to the Big brother, Big Sister project. You may not even see these yourself as selfless gestures, though we really admire your want to give more - and would love to know the reasons that make you do so?
SB | I’m very aware of the struggles, disadvantage and tragedy that many people face and I just feel so fortunate to have a healthy body, healthy family and comfortable life. I feel compelled to help people in my world however I can.
"...mindset is everything. If you think you can, you can. I really hope that our children have learnt that with kindness, positive intentions and determination, anything is possible."
How did you first hear about the Big Brother Big Sister programme?
SB | I was inspired by a colleague to join the BBBS programme. At the time they were in need of Male influences so I signed my Husband and I up as a team (without his permission but with good intentions)
What made you want to jump on board with this?
SB | BBBS is a wonderful international programme with a single goal of having a positive influence on someone else’s life.
We have been fortunate to have had strong and positive role models in our world and we wanted to pass on our energy for life and a positive mindset.
Do you have any advice for others wanting to join the programme?
SB | Become a mentor! One hour, once a week, to influence one life.
And what do you feel is the greatest reward for helping others?
SB | As I get old (lol) I’m energised by making good things happen; by helping people and by being a positive and useful citizen.
You've made some pretty major achievements over your life! Chief Executive Officer of one of New Plymouth's leading Law Firms, Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce, and Partner of Renown PR to name just a recent few. What is your personal mantra to maintaining motivation, and pushing through personal hurdles?
SB | I don’t cut myself a lot of slack when it comes to tough situations. My courage has been tested on plenty of occasions and I just expect myself to front it. My life mantra is centred around making the most of life, accepting the challenge and learning from the experience.
"...My life mantra is centred around making the most of life, accepting the challenge and learning from the experience."
If you had to give your 20-year-old-self advice... What would it be?
SB | I’ve had the best balance of advice and influence in my life from my hubby, my bestie, Mum and Dad. Surrounding yourself with amazing people is the ultimate way to thrive through life, so seek out more good people. And sugar is bad, lay off it a little.
Top 3 reasons why you love living in New Plymouth?
SB | Taranaki is a special region to live, in my biased opinion. I love that we have beaches and bush walks accessible but also a city with enough happening to keep us all entertained, social, well-fed and connected.
It’s a community that has exciting work opportunities but also a culture of pursuing the side-hustle as well as an inspiring social enterprise scene.
If you want to know more about ‘Big Brother, Big Sister’, and like Sophie, want to help positively guide the life of someone else...
> click here for more information: http://bigbrothersbigsisters.org.nz/taranaki.html
> Follow here to read about the beautiful friendships that have formed: https://www.facebook.com/BigbrothersbigsistersofTaranaki/
> Click here: http://bigbrothersbigsisters.org.nz/become-a-mentor.html to find out more info on becoming a mentor
> And fill out your application here http://bigbrothersbigsisters.org.nz/sign-up.html to help positively change the life of someone needing that special support.
And you can read more about Sophie’s story:
> and here: https://www.stuff.co.nz/life-style/parenting/106933905/sophie-braggins-he-feels-like-my-best-friends-child
Sophie wanted something she could wear for the baby shower, then also wear once little Lachie was born to Summer barbecues & events.
We used a Silk crepe de chine from our in-house selection of fabrics, and just love how it looks!
THANK YOU, SOPHIE! x
WITH AN EXTRA BIG THANK YOU TO OUR CREATIVE TEAM:
- Makeup by Annalee
- Lola Hair
- Natalie Waugh photographer