This is Sonia in her Christchurch workshop where she creates pieces of jewellery made from sustainable materials – think recycled, repurposed, ethically sourced, and socially responsible. I love what Sonia stands for and that her jewellery isn’t your run of the mill, off the shelf offering. Each piece is unique and comes with LOVE included at no extra charge!!! I am lucky enough to own two pieces of her work and I just love them.
What was the most challenging thing you’ve had to manage in 2020??
Border closures broke my heart! I think when Covid first broke I couldn’t see an end to it, and it was frightening. I was actually in New York at the time it was all unfolding and I only got back to New Zealand a matter of a weeks before the borders closed.
I have people that I love very much overseas and the idea that I might not see them again, that the option to travel to them, or them to me was taken away really shook me to my core. It was very challenging to not dive down the rabbit hole that fear invited in, but to remember science, and rational thought, and to know that we will come out the other side of all this eventually. Yeah, that’s been pretty challenging!!!
Has Covid affected you personally..??
Yes, I think it has affected every single one of us in some way or another. I know people who have had the disease and I have people very close to me who are incredibly vulnerable to it. I have people I love who have lost their jobs, their businesses, their entire way of life.
For me, I changed a lot of things that I did in my business. Before Covid I was quite frantic in my life. I was trying to do everything; in business, in my family, for my own self, for my friends and for my community. The enforced Great Pause allowed me to stop, to breathe, and to realise that the world wouldn’t fall apart if I took a break!
I know that a lot of people have endured great pain, distress and hardship as a result of Covid. But for me, it has been one of the best, most transformative experiences of my life. I am a better person and have better relationships with the ones I love because of it. It’s actually been a gift!
Five words to describe 2020…
This is Sonia at New York Fashion Week earlier this year. She was one of only ten international designers to be invited to showcase her work as part of a “Ones to Watch” show at this iconic fashion event. How awesome is that…??!!
What are you most looking forward to in 2021 (and beyond)??
I am an adventurer in my heart and soul, and I am really looking forward to being able to travel again. Adventure is my true north, and I can’t wait to visit the ones I love overseas again; I miss them dearly. I am also looking forward to taking on a trainee jeweler in my business next year. There has been a lot of growth and I regularly get overwhelmed, so I can’t wait to have someone that can help me reach more people!!!
What is your favourite Christmas memory or tradition?
My son absolutely loves to play monopoly – mainly because he’s so good at it and pretty much always wins. So we have a tradition in our house on Christmas Day. After lunch, everyone in the house (including any visitors who may have fallen into the trap!) sit down and engage in a vigorous, competitive, hilarious game of good ol’ capitalism!!! It’s a hoot – and everyone loses except for my son!
What do you like to eat at Christmas?
We usually start the day with french toast, bacon and something bubbly (to drink, that is!). I LOVE having food from my own garden and the real treat is to dig our first new potatoes and have our first meal of homegrown peas…MMmmmm! There is always a pavlova for dessert too with fresh berries (hopefully) warmed by the sun from our own garden. I love my garden and it’s such a joy to be able to put food on the table, especially at Christmas time.
Who do you normally spend Christmas with and is there anyone you will be missing this year due to covid?
We have a multi-generational household with my mum (in her mid 70’s), me, and my nearly 18 yr old son. His dad usually comes by and has breakfast and lunch with us as well. Friends and other family usually drop in and say boo. My brother and sis-in-law live in the USA and they certainly won’t be coming to visit this Christmas which is very sad; we will miss them a lot! There is also a special someone in my life who lives in the USA and I won’t be seeing him this Christmas either – sigh….
What is your most popular (and/or your favourite) Christmas product and why?
Ooh, well, because I personalise a lot of my jewellery, anything that can have a personal message or name on it is usually a sure bet at Christmas. This year my freedom feathers have been a big hit, I think because we have all felt very trapped in a myriad of ways. They are a powerful reminder that freedom is a choice! Meditation and intention rings are perennial favourites. I LOVE to make these and I wear them myself every day. My meditation ring has a recycled gold spinning band that says “Let Go, Flow and Be Free” and this has been my 2020 mantra!
What’s your top tip to help people that want to support small Kiwi businesses this year..??
Not everyone is in a position to purchase from small businesses. Money is a concern for so many people this year! But something you CAN do, which costs nothing, is to support them on social media. When your fave business asks a question on FB or IG, or asks you to participate in a vote, or just like and share – well… do it! You have no idea what a difference it can make to any small business owner’s emotional and mental state when a complete stranger reaches out and supports them.
Pick one business that you absolutely love and send them a DM to say that you appreciate them, their message and their hard work. Encourage them to keep going and let them know that you love to see their content. That could be the difference between them choosing to throw in the towel on a really bad day or choosing to give it another crack. Remember, these small businesses are the outward expression of someone’s life purpose and dreams…!
What can customers expect when they shop with YOU (versus a high street chain store)…??
Gosh, where do I start!? Firstly I truly believe in my message of “believe in the beauty”. This translates into totally unique and bespoke handcrafted products. Each is one of a kind, made with aroha by hand, intended to reflect the beautiful uniqueness of the person who wears them! When you buy from me you know that AROHA is poured from my heart and soul into that piece; that I truly think of the person who will wear it as I make it. This means that we are connected by this piece of taonga and I think that’s a beautiful thing!
This is our final Vendor story and we’re going out with a bang….!!! I’m beyond excited to have this absolutely beautiful meditation ring from Sonia Therese to giveaway to one very lucky person. The ring is hammered sterling silver and has three individual spinning bands made of copper, silver and brass. It’s worth a whopping $350… Thank you SO MUCH to Sonia for sharing her story and giving us such an awesome prize to give away. You can view this and Sonia’s other work over in her Green Elephant Store.
If you would LOVE to win this ring, click on the image which will take you to our giveaway page. Good luck everyone. We will be drawing a winner for this on Christmas Eve…xx