We catch up with fashion buyer, designer and mother of two Sophea and her right-hand woman, Emily. This divine duo are the babes behind multi-brand, destination fashion boutique, (and Saben stockist) Coco Wellington.
Coco Wellington boasts the most beautifully curated collection of New Zealand design with a few international favourites peppered between. An exquisite edit of swoon-worthy basics through to covetable occasion-wear.
Sophea and Emily also make up half of the team of locally produced in-house fashion brand ESSK. And if that wasn't business enough, Sophea also owns a NZ Wine boutique in Cambodia. Throw in some travel and raising her daughters, we admire the way she juggles it all with such an effortless panache!
Photographed by Rachel Burt, it is such a treat to feature to Sophea and Emily in our SHOP LOCAL series. We talk about friendship in business, why their customers are at the heart of what they do, and the effects of lockdown. PLUS, in the name of supporting local, they share their favourite places to eat, shop and play; so take note and enjoy their fantasticness.
Tell us about the early days for Coco, the dream and how this become a reality.
Coco has been a dream for me since day one! Being able to make the dream a reality has been a big achievement for me. I have loved watching the business grow over the years and have been lucky enough to meet amazing people along the way.
Having the support from my family, friends, staff and of course our customers have meant that Coco has been able to go from strength to strength.
Coco wouldn't be here today without them!
Who is the coco-women you have in mind when doing the buying?
The best way to describe a Coco customer is a woman who has love for fashion.
We have all types of women walking through the coco doors and we do our best to offer a selection of clothing that suits their body shape, personality and lifestyle.
Quality and functionality plays a huge part in the selection process for our customers. We want to embrace women and have them leaving feeling empowered and ready to tackle life wherever they may be going!
How is Covid19 affecting your family, business and way of life?
We’re both social butterflies, who love to be out and about, and around lots of people particularly with our friends and family. Every weekend, we would normally have some form of food gathering; lunch and/or dinner. It provides an opportunity for our (Sophea) girls to meet with their grandparents and cousins, and eat delicious food!
Our love for fashion and helping others to find that perfect outfit and accessories in store, is what ‘sparks joy’ and helps motivates us. We really miss not being able to see our clients try on different outfits.
How are you personally coping / evolving? And what about your business?
Having this time has sparked a new sense of creativity, it has forced us to be more creative and think of new ways we can engage with our customers. It has also reminded us of how proud we are to be Kiwis! In between working on the business there has been a lot of cooking with my kids and drinking a lot of mummy special juice which has been a lot of fun but let’s just say… the lock-down tum is happening!
When it comes to business, any major pivot points or words of wisdom that have really stuck through the noise?
Trying to stay positive and focus on the good out of a bad situation, we are all experiencing similar things so if we can all stick together and support one another there will be a light at the end of the tunnel. I have been reminded by this experience the importance of family and quality over quantity. I believe in this when it comes to fashion but have also been reminded that this translates into the time I spend with my family.
You have cultivated a strong community of coco women. What inspires you when it comes to your customers / what do they mean to you?
Our customers mean the world to us, their ongoing support for 15 years truly inspires us to keep doing what we are doing, without them Coco Wellington would not be the same. We both live a breathe fashion so it is important for us to share that passion with our customers.
When our customers come to Coco we love to spend time with them, listen to what they want and what will make them feel comfortable, confident and beautiful. This also helps us when we are looking at future collections as we always have them in our minds.
Sophea – tells us about working with Em, and the values you admire in her
Working with Ems never seems like work. Its like catching up with a good friend and always having something to say while having a fabulous day. I admire her hard working attitude nothing is too big or to small for her. Her outlook on life is beautiful just like her. Her attention to detail and her ability to be a calm perfectionist to something I value. She is young in age but has an old soul that translates to her skill to deal with a wide range of people and situations. I just adore her, she has a heart of gold.
Emily – whats it like working Sophea and the values you admire in her
I have been working alongside Sophea for 5 years now, not only do I admire her as a business woman and business partner but also a best friend.
Her encouragement towards life goals and fighting for what you love and believe in is really what I admire most about her also her loving and caring nature, she is always putting other people before herself.
I have never met someone more inspiring than her.
What’s keeping you sane?
Technology - the ability to keep in touch with family and friends through video chats and social media is fantastic! How they coped during the last pandemic amazes me! Also, the ability to research, study and following the latest fashion trends online for inspiration has been great. We’re so lucky with where we’re at in our technology.
Food - we both really love food, so cooking and trying new recipes has helped us during the lock-down.
Fresh air – going outside for walks and scooter rides with the kids for some fresh air has also been really helpful.
What are you most looking forward to after lock-down?
Getting back to normality and looking at venturing out into some bigger plans for Coco Wellington - stay tuned.
Getting back to normality. We really miss seeing our wider group of family and friends, and working in-store.
AND for our readers coming to Wellington, tell us the best paces to eat stay and play.
We are such foodies we have too many to share!
@cafe_neo - our neighbours
Ohtel – a sweet personalised boutique hotel on Oriental Parade. An elevated home away from home that focuses on design and service.
Saben Style: what is your MUST-HAVE fail safe style, and what is next on your wishlist
We love the Tilly family! These beauties will just work for anyone and any occasion!
Such a staple style that will continue to stay there for years!
Next on the wish list is to keep growing our luggage collection, we are in love with the luggage! We both travel A LOT we can honestly say that the luggage range has made our travelling life a lot easier - who wouldn't want to travel in style?
Outfits: Sophea and Emily are both wearing Zimmermann, check out Coco Wellington's Zimmermann range here.
Saben Style: Shop Saben handbags here.
Photography: Rachel Burt Photography
SHOP TAX FREE AS YOU DEPART AUCKLAND INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Going Places? Ensure you add Saben to your pre-flight itinerary. Our store is situated in departures, after security. Shop S275 past the escalators. Open every day 4.30am until midnight. Our full collection of handbags, wallets and accessories is on offer including carry-on suitcase to ensure you travel with stylish ease. If there is something on your wish-list now, but your flight isn’t for a while, we recommend you utilise our click and collect service via TheMall.co.nz to ensure you secure your favourite style. Simply purchase now and pick up on your way through. Ready to shop all your favourite Saben styles tax free? All you need now is a boarding pass.
For more info please call 09 533 9406 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
SHOP TAX FREE ONLINE via TheMall.co.nz
Take advantage of Auckland Airports online click and collect service. You can now shop Saben tax free online via Themall.co.nzbefore you depart and collect your new goodies as you travel. Pick up before you take off OR pick up as you return home – ideal if you don’t have space to take your new work handbag on holiday, or your new evening clutch backpacking through Nepal.
Picking up a new Saben to welcome you home? Sounds like the perfect cure to post-holiday-blues!
HOW TO SHOP TAX FREE ONLINE with Auckland Airport The Mall
Shop Online at themall.aucklandairport.co.nz
Pick your pieces and add them to your cart, select your pick up preference: arrivals or as you depart, apply your flight information and click through to check out. You will be asked for passport details as you proceed to payment.
Receive an order confirmation email
After placing your order, you will receive an order confirmation email for each flight you have purchased for. Please keep this email safe as you will need to be able to show it when you pick up your items at the Auckland Airport Collection Point.
If your flight details change please contact THE MALL directly so they can update your order or if you miss collecting your order, so we can notify our retailers to arrange a return and refund.
Bring your email to the Collection Point
Orders can be picked up at an Auckland Airport Collection Point. There is one in departures and one in arrivals at the International Terminal. Please bring your order confirmation email and your passport for identification purposes.
Where to collect when departing from Auckland Airport
If you choose to collect on departure, you'll find the Auckland Airport Collection Point once you have cleared immigration and security screening, just past The Loop and Aelia Duty Free stores. Departures Collection Point is open from 4:30am to 1:30am NZST.
Where to collect when arriving into Auckland Airport
If you choose to collect on arrival, you’ll find the Auckland Airport Collection Point after clearing immigration, in the baggage claim hall, opposite baggage belt 3. Arrivals Collection Point is open from 5:30am to 2:30am NZST.
Pick up your order and enjoy!
The Collection Point team will ask you to inspect your items and sign for them. If you are travelling on a flight departing AKL International Airport we request you allow at least 60 minutes prior to your departure time to pick up your order.
Collection Point locations
DEPARTURES: next door Partridge Jewellers in departures.
ARRIVALS: after you clear immigration, in the baggage claim hall, opposite baggage belt 3.
Orders can be picked up from your chosen Auckland Airport Collection Point during these standard hours:
Departures: +64 9 256 8845
Arrivals: +64 9 255 9457
Fax: +64 9 256 8819
All prices are shown in NZ dollars. Your shopping cart displays the goods you have purchased.Discount codes & any shipping costs are calculated during checkout, before payment. Tax Free orders may be subject to local taxes or duties depending on the Tax Free allowance of the country you are entering.
We accept Visa and Mastercard credit card payments via Shopify Payments and via Paypal. Shopify and Paypal are both secure and encrypted and your credit card number will not be stored. You do not need a PayPal account to pay by credit card using Paypal.
All orders are processed pending availability and credit verification.
For Tax-free purchases we deliver your purchase to Auckland Airport within 3 business days of receipt of payment and will phone you if there are any delays. Your confirmation email will have instructions on the pick up location at Auckland Airport.
We take no responsibility for charges or delays incurred at receiver’s end as this can vary depending on the rules of customs in each country.
We do not accept returns for items outside of New Zealand, we are unable to support exchanges through our online store
Zip allows us to offer you an 'Own it now, pay later' option for online and in store purchases through installment payments. Pay in 4. Interest free. No fees.
All Terms & Conditions relating to Zip are within the above links. To pay via Zip select Zip as the payment option instead of Paypal in the checkout process. Saben is not liable for any late payment fees collected by Zip. By using Zip you enter into an agreement with Zip New Zealand.
FREE EXPRESS SHIPPING ON ALL NZ ORDERS - Offer valid only for customers shipping to a New Zealand address.
Orders placed on weekdays before 10AM New Zealand Standard Time Monday - Friday will begin processing straight away and can be guaranteed delivery between 1 - 3 business days* unless otherwise stated, however those that fall after 10AM New Zealand Standard Time Monday - Friday will begin processing straight away but cannot be guaranteed for the overnight delivery.
Orders placed on Friday after 2 PM NZST will begin processing on the following Monday.
Saben will contact via email if the merchandise you have selected is not currently in stock or if we require additional information for credit verification. Please note that estimated delivery time does not include Sundays or Public Holidays.
You may be required to pay further shipping charges where a change in delivery date or delivery address is requested by you.
*These are estimated delivery times only, and unfortunately we are not able to guarantee them. Saben will not be liable for any reasonable or unavoidable delay in delivery. Orders placed during Sale or Promotional periods may be subject to delay
Possible delays: Please note, that we are unable to deliver to PO boxes as we require a signature upon delivery.
AUSTRALIA - $30NZ
Australian deliveries will arrive 3 to 10 days working using NZ Post, International Air. Tracked Australian deliveries will arrive 2 to 7 working days using NZ Post, International Economy Courier.
REST OF WORLD- $45NZ
Deliveries to all other destinations will arrive 3 to 10 days working using NZ Post, International Air. Tracked deliveries will arrive 2 to 7 working days using NZ Post, International Economy Courier.
All international orders please note, that once your order has left New Zealand it may be subject to customs clearance procedures which can cause delays beyond original delivery estimates. Inside of New Zealand you will not incur any duties or taxes however for orders travelling outside of New Zealand, please note that Saben will not be responsible for any customs or duties taxes that occur once your item has left us.
Please feel free to contact us on email@example.com if you have any questions regarding a shipment
Immune your bag!
Using a protective spray should be the very first thing you do when you receive your bag: All bags, whether they are suede or leather, need to be protected with a water proofer before use (stay away from the oil based versions). Saben recommends Wrens Total Protector Spray, this is an invisible waterproofing spray for all smooth, suede and nubuck leathers. It can be purchased from your nearest Saben retailer, online or at any shoe repair store.
Reapply protector every 3-4 weeks to keep the leather soft and resilient.
NEVER overfill your handbag or evening bag, as this can put stress on seams, fastenings and straps and spoil the shape. Please try hard to keep the load reasonable.
Light leathers should be treated with extreme care – denim and dye can (and probably will) rub off on to the leather with no easy way of removing. Ensure your denim is colour fast.
White Handbags are extremely sensitive to light, and the leather will turn yellow if it is exposed for too long to spotlights, fluorescent lamps, etc.
Avoid handling your bag after applying foundation, perfume, body or hand creams, this will stain the leather.
Do not place your Saben bag on the floor, use a handbag hook. Any tough surfaces will possibly scratch the leather.
Wearing a bag often will inevitably result in rub marks, where the leather brushes against clothing etc. Saben recommends you swap your bags often to avoid constant rubbing and wear on one bag.
For stronger leathers (nappa or pull-up), moisturise your bag with a product like Wrens Delicate Gel. A mild yet effective cleaning gel, it cleans and nourishes all kinds of leather such as smooth, patent and metallic and gives a natural shine after buffing. Be sure to test any care products on a spot of the leather not easily visible e.g. Inside seam or pocket.
Always apply cleaning and protective product to a soft cloth, not directly on the bag.
If you find you have stains that need removing Wrens Ultimate Cleanser is tough on stains and gentle on leather and its fibres, perfect for removing dirt and water stains.
Suede leather handbags should be regularly brushed with a soft suede brush. Minor stains and marks may be removed with a suede eraser. The leather should retain its colour and appearance if it is regularly treated with a water proofer. These preparations make the leather water repellent, and in particular, impart grease and dust repellence.
Suede that has been rain-marked should be allowed to dry naturally and then brushed up with a suede brush. For serious stains, it is best to see a professional. When storing suede, wrap leather handles or straps in cloth so they do not rest against the suede and leave blotches.
Leather does not like water. Wipe off a wet leather handbag immediately and let air dry. Never use a blow dryer to dry a bag.
If your bag has a chain handle, dirt may accumulate in the chain links causing it to come off on your shoulder. You can avoid this by cleaning the chain with a small tooth brush or the corner of a soft cloth. Always store the chain inside the bag to avoid any scratching or indentations on the leather.
Brass or silverware cleaner will keep your fittings looking shiny. Take care not to get any on the bag!
Keep fasteners and zips running smoothly by running pencil lead over the open teeth.
Do not hang bags in storage; they are best kept in the packing bag supplied with, lying flat or standing upright and stuffed.
To help your bag keep its shape, it is best to stuff your bag with cloth or bubble wrap to keep it safe in storage. When not in use, store your bag out of direct sunlight and do not place light colours next to dark colours as this can cause colour migration, which is irreversible.
Take your bags out regularly and let them ‘breathe’ to prevent any dust and mildew forming.
We will repair your handbag at no charge for the first 90 days after purchase.
If you purchased a bag from us on-line that requires repair, please contact us on 09 376 1007 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you purchased your bag from a retailer, please first try to contact them regarding your repair.
If there is a fault or issue with a bag we must first assess the repair either by photos or in person. As each individual bag is made by hand, from time to time faults occur in the manufacturing process. Saben bags are built for longevity and in an effort to make sustainable fashion – we always opt to repair first.
Our repair process follows a 3-step procedure:
1. If we can REPAIR the fault/damage we reserve the right to first REPAIR the bag.
2. If we can’t repair, the bag and we believe it is fault of manufacture we will REPLACEwith the same or similar bag.
3. If we can’t replace the item, we will REFUND.Repairs are free for 90 days after the purchase date. Thereafter, we charge a repair fee which is based on the type of repair. To have a bag repaired you must first obtain a proof of purchase. Bags will not be accepted without a receipt.
We hope that you are completely satisfied with your order. If for any reason you wish to return your order or a portion of it, please notify us within 7 days of receiving your order.We are happy to refund the full purchase price minus the cost of shipping of any item returned in its original condition after such notification.
Sale items are not eligible for returns or exchanges for any reason.
Returns not sent in their original condition, without a proof of purchase, or past 7 days will be accepted at our discretion only.
We do not accept returns for items shipped outside of New Zealand, we are unable to support exchanges through our online store.
If a package does not arrive, or it arrives damaged, please contact us within fourteen days from confirmation of dispatch to claim insurance on the item. We will require your details, the details of the item that was lost, and the tracking number we sent you with confirmation of dispatch. If a damaged item has arrived we require it to be returned to the postal authority in your country as near as possible in the same condition as when it was delivered.
We will then replace your item free of charge.
• the item is seized by Customs or any other government agency.
• the item is sent to a country where no postal or courier service exists.
• the loss or damage is the result of an event beyond our reasonable control.
• the loss or damage occurs after delivery.
• the item was authorized to be sent without tracking or without insurance.
SECTION 1 - WHAT DO WE DO WITH YOUR INFORMATION?
When you purchase something from our store, as part of the buying and selling process, we collect the personal information you give us such as your name, address and email address.
When you browse our store, we also automatically receive your computer’s internet protocol (IP) address in order to provide us with information that helps us learn about your browser and operating system.
Email marketing: With your permission, we may send you emails about our store, new products and other updates. We will not send unsolicited emails and you can unsubscribe at any time.
SECTION 2 – CONSENT
When you provide us with personal information to complete a transaction, place an order, arrange for a delivery or return a purchase, we imply that you consent to our collecting it and using it for that specific reason only. If we ask for your personal information for a secondary reason, like marketing, we will either ask you directly for your expressed consent, or provide you with an opportunity to say no. We may disclose your personal information if we are required by law to do so or if you violate our Terms of Service.
SECTION 3 – SHOPIFY
Our store is hosted on Shopify Inc. They provide us with the online e-commerce platform and payment processing that allows us to sell our products and services to you. Your data is stored through Shopify’s data storage, databases and the general Shopify application. They store your data on a secure server behind a firewall. When you click on links on our store, they may direct you away from our site. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites and encourage you to read their privacy statements.
SECTION 4 – PAYMENT
Shopify Payments and the other third-party provider used by us (Paypal) will only collect, use and disclose your information to the extent necessary to allow them to perform the payment services they provide to us. They do not store your credit card details unless you choose to do that.
You do not need an account with them to pay by credit card – you can pay as a guest.
SECTION 5 – SECURITY
To protect your personal information, we take reasonable precautions and follow industry best practices to make sure it is not inappropriately lost, misused, accessed, disclosed, altered or destroyed.
Shopify & Saben will not see your credit card details.
SECTION 6 – COOKIES
If you have any queries please email email@example.com
The Sabenettes xx